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Essential Vegetarian » 7 reasons why your cat cannot be vegetarian

7 reasons why your cat cannot be vegetarian

Any vegetarian or vegan who has a cat, at some stage thought about feeding it vegetarian diet. Out of all the domestic animals cats are unique. A study by the National Cancer Institute suggests that all current domestic cats in the world are descendants from a group of self-domesticated wildcats 10,000 years ago. In fact there’s still no conclusive evidence that domestic cats should be classified as a separate species.

Being a true carnivore a cat (domestic or wild) subsists on a diet consisting primarily of meat. In its natural state the cat will hunt and provide for itself at every opportunity. A wild cat eats all of its prey including hair, skin, flesh, bones and internal organs. Cats are very unlikely to give up meat voluntarily. If you intentionally feed cat vegetarian diet, it will look for meat somewhere else. Many cats will hunt and kill mice, rabbits and birds. Certainly they will consume other foods as well, especially of animal origin. However as these are not important in their diet, cats will eat them only in small quantities and not on a regular basis.

Cats lack the physiology to properly digest vegetation. It’s no coincidence that a cat eats grass to induce vomiting to get rid of the hair collected in its stomach. The cat’s digestive system cannot convert plant based nutrients in to the form that its body can utilize. That’s why cat are are called strict carnivores, as they need to take the active form of the nutrients from other animals, who do the conversion beforehand.

Here’s 7 most important nutrients that your cat is unable to get from a vegetarian diet:

  1. Taurine is an amino acid essential for cats as unlike other mammals, cats cannot synthesize it. In the absence of taurine, a cat’s retina slowly degenerates and the cat suffers eye problems and can become irreversibly blind. This condition is called central retinal degeneration (CRD). Cow’s milk is a poor source of taurine and there is none in plant foods. The only rich source is meat.
  2. Arachidonic acid is one of the essential fatty acids. Dogs and humans can convert linoleic acid found in vegetable fats into arachidonic acid. Cats are unable to do that, as their liver doesn’t contain delta-6-desaturase enzyme (no kidding!). Cats need arachidonic acid to be able to produce an inflammatory response so that the body can protect itself in case of disease. Arachidonic acid also helps control skin growth and is necessary for proper blood clotting, proper functioning of the reproductive and gastrointestinal systems. Animal fat is the only major source of arachidonic acid, very small amount can be found in eggs and milk. Arachidonic acid deficiency takes some time to develop but its effect on the cat is profound.
  3. Vitamin A found in vegetables (carotenoid) cannot be converted by cats in to the active form of vitamin A (retinol). As cats do not have the necessary enzyme to do the conversion they have to hunt other animals that have done it for them (mice, rabbits). There are sufficient quantities of retinol in meat and very small amounts in eggs and milk. Liver is the richest source of preformed Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency in cats can cause night blindness, retarded growth, and poor-quality skin and fur.
  4. Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that cannot be synthesized by cats. Vitamin B12 is present only in animal products.
  5. Niacin can be synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan by many mammals but not cats. Meat is the best source of niacin. Insignificant amounts of niacin can be found in milk and eggs. Lack of niacin in cat’s diet can cause loss of appetite, loss of weight, inflamed gums, and hemorrhagic diarrhea.
  6. Thiamin (vitamin B1) has an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. Cats are very susceptible to deficiency of this vitamin. Thiamin is rapidly destroyed by heat, that’s why only raw meat is the only good source of this nutrient. Very small amount can be obtained from eggs and dairy. Thiamin deficiency in cats can lead to anorexia, ataxia, paralysis and finally permanent brain damage.
  7. Protein is required by cats in large amounts. Over 30% of a cat’s diet should consist of protein and this can be a problem on a vegetarian diet.

For all these reasons cats must not be fed vegetarian or vegan diet. Cats have very specific nutritional needs which you must meet if you want to keep them fit, healthy, and happy.

You might have to make some hard choices as this is a question of life and death for your cat. It might be impractical or impossible to let your cat hunt, but killing your cat by feeding it food they cannot digest is just another way to participate in animal cruelty that we’re trying to avoid in the first place.


188 Responses to “7 reasons why your cat cannot be vegetarian

  • 1
    Surface Tensions
    July 15th, 2007 20:16

    Vegetarian Blog Carnival #3…

    It’s 16 July 2007. Do you know where your Vegetarian Blog Carnival is? Welcome, I’m Mitchell, your host and now on to the Veggie Blog goodness.

    Need more reasons to convince your friends and family to go vegan, or at least eat less m…

  • 2
    admin
    July 21st, 2007 01:21

    Whatever solution I propose would raise quite a few ethical questions.

    1. Don’t have a cat. Sometimes it’s not a option. (Not exactly the same but… Should you have children? What if they start eating meat?)
    2. Let you cat hunt freely and survive on it’s own. This really depends on where you live, how spoiled your cat is, how fit and healthy it is etc
    3. Buy meat for you cat. Stick to something that a cat would catch naturally in the wild, better organic and free range. Variety is very important.

    I wouldn’t consider any prepackaged cat food (vegan or not) as an acceptable solution.

    So take your pick, mix and match or come up with your own.

  • 3
    Peter Cox
    July 25th, 2007 17:07

    Sorry, but this is bad and inaccurate information!

    Please see, for example, Vegecat:

    http://www.vegepet.com/forcats.html

    Apart from that, there are other major errors… “Vitamin B12 is present only in animal products.” - VERY wrong!

    Peter

  • 4
    admin
    July 26th, 2007 09:01

    Always be wary of the information given by someone who wants to sell you something. There are currently no independent studies on the long term effects of a veg*n diet for cats. Any veg*n cat food is just a mix of vegetable matter with lab synthesized amino-acids, minerals and vitamin. Hardly a good diet for someone you care about. We do not know enough about cat nutrition to experiment with their health. Please do some more research on what cats actually need and why they’re classified as obligate carnivores. This could be a good start
    http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=vegetariancats

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common in vegans for a very good reason. Please have a look at this for example http://www.vegansociety.com/html/food/nutrition/b12/

  • 5
    petra
    August 8th, 2007 06:36

    I am really suprised at this article, on a vegetarian site especially. It seems the author has some out-dated information here! The 7 nutrients mentioned can all be met sufficiently with a specially formulated vegan diet. Some of these nutrients (taurine and arachidonic acid) are synthesized, and others have been found in vegetable foods, including algae. If you read that back of regular meat cat food you’ll see that it is also supplemented wtih (usually because it’s cheaper) the synthetic forms of taurine etc. This is because the ‘meat’ in most cat food is actually the rubbish - feathers, feet etc. which doesn’t contain as much of these nutrients, and also because the processing at high temperatures depletes these nutrients in the final food. So in this respect feeding a cat a vegan diet is no different to feeding it a meat one. When choosing a vegan food, chose one that meets the AAFCO’s Cat Food Nutrient Profile e.g. Evolution Diet, Vegecat, VeganPet
    You mentioned that a cat will go outside and hunt if it isn’t getting meat in it’s diet. Is it not preferable that a cat supplements it’s diet in this way if needed? To catch a bird or mouse that has had a free life, rather than to feed it meat from animals that have been raised in miserable captivity? Our cat has been on a vegan diet for about 2 years now and has only caught one mouse about a year ago which she didn’t eat. She prefers to chase leaves!

  • 6
    admin
    August 10th, 2007 19:52

    Most of the issues you raised are answered in my previous responses or links.
    I am advocating vegetarian diet for humans (omnivorous). I’m against experimenting with health and well being of obligate carnivores as veg*n pet food manufacturers do.

    What is essential to understand is that obligate carnivores do not simply supplement their diet with meat, 99% of their diet is meat.

    Like it or not, living in the modern world involves some compromises. Hey, why don’t we stop using computers, cars, etc? They’re all made by people who do eat meat from “animals raised in miserable captivity”!

  • 7
    Adam
    September 17th, 2007 16:27

    I found your blog via Google while searching for cat food and your post regarding 7 reasons why your cat cannot be vegetarian looks very interesting for me

  • 8
    Rod
    September 25th, 2007 22:02

    To Petra…

    As one that holds a vet. assistant degree you should know the following:

    Cats are carnivores…dogs are onmiovores…..there are numerous nutrients and chemicals that cats need that they can only acquire if they eat ANIMAL-derived tissues.

    Cats process little or no enzymes that wil break down the plant-produced carotenoids. They need to eat other animals to obtain vitamin A. Dogs on the other hand - have enzymesw in the lining of their intestines that can break down plant carotenoids and convertt these into active vitamin A.

    Cats can obrain Niacin only by eating the preformed vitamn.

    Cats are extremely sensitive to even a single meal deficient in arginine and are unable to make their own.

    Cats must eat preformed taurine and since taurine is not found in plant tissues, cats MUST consume meat to obtain it. (Dogs make their own)…

    Cats can NOT make their own arachidonic acid even in the presence of adequate linoleic acid. This is because their liver contains NO delta-6-desaturase enzyme to convert linoleic to arachidonic. Dogs can ake their own A.A. and it is not an essential fatty acid for dogs. Cats NEED to eat meat to satisfy this requirement!

    anyways…..just some facts to consider………

  • 9
    David Olivier
    January 4th, 2008 15:45

    Sylvestre - the cat I rescued on the street eight years ago - will be surprised to know that he is a carnivore (an “obligate” one at that), since during those eight years he has not eaten any meat at all, nor any other animal products. And no, I don’t let him go out to slaughter birds and mice; natural or not, I don’t see how inflicting suffering and death on a sentient being can be a good thing.

    He is in good health - despite being FIV+ for at least those eight years. And so are my three other cats. All cats at my home have been vegetarian since 1989; for many years with homemade recipes with the addition of the Veggiecat supplement, and then in the last three years with vegan kibble made by a European firm (Amì, in Italy; there is also Benevo, in the UK).

    Yes, there are synthetic vitamins in what I give them, but then so what? There is also a lot of synthetic methionine (an amino acid) in the food given to the animals raised for meat; actually my cats have probably eaten less synthetic nutrients than if they had been brought up on commercial catfood, or even on plain meat.

    I get the feeling that you are more a adept of the religion of nature than of ethical living. For someone who does not want to contribute to the suffering and killing in the world, feeding cats (and dogs) a well prepared vegetarian diet is a must!

    (And also keeping them out of the garden - for the sake of all the sentient beings there!)

    David

  • 10
    nicola
    January 24th, 2008 16:40

    David,
    Your really trying to tell me that I ought to keep my cat in the house holed up & to never let him out to do what comes naturally to him??! Is that cruel? Or am I being totally stupid here?
    Good god then if this is the case what of all the wild animals “slaughtering” their prey???! Perhaps crocodiles should not eat zzebra, or lions too? What of these. Indeed many wild animals in this country catch & eat rabbits dont they?? Foxes, wheasels, etc etc. We had a feral Cat hav her kittens in our barn. She brought them rabbits, birds, etc to eat. Should I have told her that was wrong? Was she doing something totally unnatural to her? well?
    Nicola

  • 11
    G
    February 1st, 2008 10:44

    Here are some websites with information about converting your cats to becoming vegan.. It is not easy to make personal decisions about ones own eating habits as well as our pets. Getting as much information as possible is needed to make the best decision possible. This decision can not be based on someones opinion, but on facts. I have spoken to people who have healthy vegan cats. We need not to make some of the comments as are above to eachother, but respect the fact that someone may not actually want to feed their animal what is really in the cat food. I am not saying any of this in a mean way but in an informative way. If it can be done safely and the animal will be healthy well then there is no harm. Only good from a vegan point of view.

    http://www.satyamag.com/jan04/difelici.html
    http://www.satyamag.com/jan04/gillen.html

    G

  • 12
    Mike
    June 1st, 2008 16:58

    Vegan and vege pet produce is a money making gimmick sold to people who are imposing a wrong headed ideology onto animals.

  • 13
    J
    January 22nd, 2009 08:48

    To all the people who left comments, you do realize you are debating on a food you do not even eat yourself, don’t you? And you all think you are right, but I’m going to guess that none of you have actually done the sufficient laboratory research to back up your arguments. You’re just going off of something you read somewhere or someone told you. NEWS FLASH: Not everything you read or hear is correct or true. Conduct your own little study.

    You have the choice of the food you throw down your gullet so why not give your cat(s) the same choice. Buy both kinds of cat food non-veg and veg and put both kinds out for them to eat. Which ever one they eat is the one they are choosing and the one you should keep buying for your cat(s). Imposing your will on your cat should not be construed as love. At best it is a benevolent dictatorship, and even that is disgusting. People need to step outside of there own “righteous” viewpoint and start really looking at life and using there brains for thinking. This is so simple but when you don’t use your intellect we end up with pointless conversations like this. This should have been the first and last comment. Unless all subsequent comments are in the vain of “Yeah, that’s probably the best way to decide.”

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  • 16
    Judy
    March 27th, 2009 14:22

    I’m kind of surprised by the rudeness of people who choose not to eat meat because of cruelty. Aren’t we all on the same page that we want to consume, create, purchase, etc. products that do the least hard to the environment and other creatures?
    This is my opinion and only mine, though I would like to share it.
    Our second set of Basset Hounds and our Corgi mix all ate a vegetarian diet and lived longer than anyone expected, even our vet. We lost the Corgi mix to a heart tumor - he was 10. We more recently lost one Basset who was 13 and had heart disease. Our oldest, 15, continues to thrive and even survived a stroke 8 years ago. Our previous set of Bassets, who were meat eaters, lived 3-4 years less than our vegetarian guys.
    I know, I know - the discussion is on cats.
    We are getting 2 Basset puppies in 4 weeks, a kitten in 5, and a German Shepherd Dog puppy in 9. I do plan to feed them all a vegetarian diet. If our kitten doesn’t thrive, I will make the only choice possible for her to live. I will choose a reputable food that is as cruelty-free as any fish or poultry based food can be, but it will never be my first choice.
    While it is true that I am choosing the foods my companion animals eat they don’t have the ability to go out and buy it themselves. In our area, there are coyotes (at night) and large birds of prey (during the day). It would not be sensible to let a kitten out to roam and catch her own foods.
    And yes, it is true that many large animals like lions, and grizzlies eat meat. First of all, they don’t live in my home. In addition, I have the hope that when we return to Eden, that won’t be the case. That’s just me, and I’m not suggesting everyone should accept my point of view.

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  • 23
    Non
    September 4th, 2009 03:20

    I can’t believe you people. I’m literally absolutely blown away by wanting to feed a cat a vegan diet. Don’t get a bloody cat if you don’t want to feed it meat.

    I just made the step of feeding raw meat to my cat because dry kibble and processed wet food is almost as retarded as feeding a Vegan diet to a 99% CARNIVORE. I give my cats a lentil and they’ll turn their noses up, maybe bat it around until it’s no longer edible. Garbage. I give them a raw piece of fish or chicken, they go nuts. OH GEE, I WONDER WHY.

    Don’t get a cat if you don’t want it to be a cat. Try a Rabbit, Chinchilla, Rat, Mouse, Hamster, Iguana, Uromastyx, or a maybe a pet rock… Or a Ch-ch-ch-chia pet. Those things grow GREENS RIGHT OUT OF THEM HOLY CRAP.

    Kudos to the Admin for being Vegetarian and AGREEING that cats are NOT vegetarians.

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    sorry to say but CATS as ALL OTHER LIVING BEINGS are “by design” vegetarian actually vegan is correct . There is no creature alive that “cannot” be vegetarian by design but the change of environment has made it a necessity to become a semi carnivore . Fact …. in India people feed cats nothing but vegetables and they live longer . I suggest watching Walter Veith on Zoology and Genetics to understand .

    By the way in the Bible is stated that the world’s plants and environment would change and would that it would never be recognised and acknowledged .
    Just read up on the Kea bird in New Zealand …. when they destroyed it’s natural habitat and the roots of the trees it use to feed on they started attacking Sheep and eating into them ….. When the Trees where replanted the Kea returned to a vegetarian Diet …. From a website :…The kea are still predominantly vegetarian eating lichen on stone, roots …

    Many Lions and Tigers are exclusively being fed vegetarian diets . The Name black or brown “Bear” is the singular of berries and guess what his main source of nutrition is … Grass and Berries account for + 70 % of his diet .
    So me as a Meat lover must accept that eating another animal is a curse put on the world which comes from having Seasons … and this is also written in the Bible .
    All of the above from Protein to Vitamins are found in the plants , berries ,Nuts and grains around us .. Juts to name one .. the highest contents of Proteins are in Plants not animal produce … Soy , Whey or Cannabis seeds contain far more proteins than animal products . I can find a alternative for any of the above for multiple reasons . One … it makes sense … Two .. If you believe in God thats how he would have made it …. third … Any living creature on a Vegetarian or better Vegan diet “lives longer” including your Cat , Dog ,Lion and even your snake will live longer . thanks

  • 75
    Rage
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    To those who would feed a cat a vegan diet and use the excuse “they’re perfectly healthy, so why not?”

    To quote Chris Rock.. “You can drive a car with your feet if you want to, that doesn’t make it a good ****ing idea!”

    Quit playing god.

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    Rage i agree with u!!! My hole thing is why would God make carnivorous animals in the first place if it was so wrong… Sorry cats r ment 2 eat meat!!! 2 b honest im sick and tired of vegans trying 2 force ther ways on every1 and everything around them.

    If u wanna follow a vegan diet, good 4 u but dont force ur cat 2 do the same, its just another form of animal abuse if u ask me…

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    Frankly speaking…Everything that’s written is true….I’m Vegetarian….A cat came in my house and delivered 3 kittens….I didn’t knew what to do????….It’s then when I started researching….and found d info….For past 3 weeks , cat was feeding her kittens, milk…..But all of a sudden, 3 days back when I was away for work, cat got Dead bird for it’s kids….Kids weren’t interested at all, were too scared….It happened twice….But d third day, when once agin d cat got a bird, kittens started feeding and I was shocked, at d sight….Now puzzled….Wat to do??????? Anyone here to HELP???

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    wait.. but all of those things exist in vegan cat food and can be synthesized. I agree that cats have very specific nutritional needs.. and we know what they are.. so if we know what they are and there are vegan versions available then why not? Obviously you should have cats (especially males) checked regularly for urine crystals to prevent UTI’s, but I don’t see anything in this post which would make a cat becoming vegetarian or vegan impossible.

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    I am truly horrified at the amount of people on here commenting to say they think it is okay to give a cat a vegetarian/vegan diet. I have worked for a vets, and my best friend has worked as a head Veterinary Nurse and worked for the RSPCA and is highly qualified. Cats cannot and should not be fed a vegetarian/vegan diet unless you want them to die. They have to be fed meat in their diet…period!!! Ask your vet if you don’t believe this article!!!. Many rescue centres now include this in questionnaires they make potential adoptive families complete as part of the adoption process. If you answer that ‘yes, I can feed my cat a vegetarian diet’ they will quickly reject you as an adopter (with very good reason).

    Wake up if you think this is acceptable, firstly cats are carnivores and you have no right to change that, secondly don’t take on a pet unless you do thorough research first, and thirdly, for Christ’s sake talk to a vet before you form opinions on what a good diet is for your pet, or don’t have one at all, and certainly don’t inflict your own dietary preferences on to your pets!

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    WOW!!! good golly….some of the replies are just …just mind boggling lol. I sat here laughing at quite a few, as someone that works in a veterinary clinic I found it quite interesting. People who dont have the background studies are prepared to put it out there with no back up what so ever. Yes you may have a cat that you chose to not give meat too…it WILL catch up with them because they DO need meat. AS WRITTEN ON THIS GREAT WEBSITE ::: PLEASE READ THIS AGAIN!!!!!!They require Taurine is an amino acid essential for cats as unlike other mammals, cats cannot synthesize it. In the absence of taurine, a cat’s retina slowly degenerates and the cat suffers eye problems and can become irreversibly blind. Cats also need arachidonic acid to be able to produce an inflammatory response so that the body can protect itself in case of disease.
    I pointed out the MAIN things.

    So are you still sure that they can be vego? I have 5 cats and 3 dogs, my cats get fed meat, they dont catch mice or birds cause they are too lazy and slow lol and no they arent fat! lol

    Some people just need to really start thinking about their pets,rather then enforcing what you do (being a vego) onto your pet.

    just my 2 cents from australia :D

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    my only point/question is, if you have an ethical objection to the consumption of flesh, why the hell would you choose a carnivore for a pet?

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    I have fed my cat Ami Cat for years. Most of the above posts are rubbish. Domestic house cats are not wild animals but have been bred into pets. My cat is THRIVING on Ami Cat - very healthy, full of energy - a very happy companion. Go vegan for life.

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  • 104
    Jackie
    January 8th, 2012 04:15

    My husband’s best friend’s ex-wife was a militant ignorant arrogant “know it all” intolerant vegan who forced her sister and law to put her cat on a vegan diet when she was living with them/going to school(while they were still married). The cat developed diabetes and started to go into kidney failure. It began peeing unconscionably all over everything. The vet told her she needed to IMMEDIATELY put the cat
    back on meat if she wanted the cat to even hope to live. When she did the cat was feeling better a few months later and I believe it made a full recovery. The one thing that I cannot STAND about th vegan movement is the FACT that SOME ANIMALS “MUST” EAT MEAT! Even a veterinarian will tell you and SHOW you why! The problem is that you’re so stuck on YOUR idealisms that you end up living in a box (more like a fantasy world honestly).

    I am going to move on and speak from experience as a human (and not all people are the same either thank you), I actually went on a vegan diet for a few months. Well, what was the result? Oh, and pleeeeease don’t tell me ” you just didn’t do it right!” YES!! I DID!!! I did the research and had a balanced diet overall. However, I began to put on weight and my energy levels were awful. My skin became pale and malnourished looking, plus I craved carbs, yet would feel rspecially bloated, tired and sick after eating a meal with grains.

    Fast forward…. Thank GOD I went to a homeopath and he examined me, took my blood and my lab results showed low thyroid, low iron, over abundance of estrogen ! The vegan diet had totally screwed up my body’s “Eco system.”. He told me….”You’re
    killing yourself here!”. “Try eating only meat, eggs, Ezekiel bread and green veggies
    for a few weeks and see how you feel.

    I had a 100% recovery and felt like a million bucks! You couldn’t PAY me a billion dollars to destroy my health and vitality by going on a vegan diet ever again. It’s just NOT for everyone… I wish some of you extreme militant vegans could accept that people are different! Some people can go vegan others just CAN’T! I’m sorry!

    ……” AND ESPECIALLY CATS WHO ARE CARNIVORES BY NATURE “…. Period!

    Wake up and smell the reality people! Good God!

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    Lulu
    January 29th, 2012 05:23

    I have a cat …its not mine, someone gave it to me when the went overseas…. But now being a vegan I am faced with the choice of what to feed my new friend.

    I’m vegetarian, well I guess I can’t call myself vegan because there are few and far between occasions I have some dairy in my diet.

    This cat came with meaty cat food… Biscuits, treats and wet cat food pouches.

    So I started her on that… Then mixed in some vegan biscuits… She hated them…. But then I tried the other brand …. She loved them.

    Now I feed her the vegan biscuits… And mix in a small amount of what’s left of her meaty cat food.

    I love this cat dearly… She’s wonderful, and most of all she’s a conscious being like every other animal out there… So I don’t want to cause her any pain or suffering and I want her to have a happy and fulfilled life.

    But really what is the impact of me feeding her meat based pet foods vs vagan cat food.?

    Let’s have a look….

    Veganpet™
    Protein 31.2%
    Fibre 3.0%
    Fat 14.6%

    Essential fatty acids
    Arachidonic Acid 0.1%
    Docohexaenoic Acid 0.1%

    Taurine 0.1%
    Magnesium 0.1%

    Ingredients
    Corn, soya, maize meal, rice, flax meal, yeast, brewers yeast, sunflower oil, canola oil, spirulina, kelp, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, yucca extract, omega 3, omega 6, linoleic acid, vitamin C, prebiotics, taurine, l-carnitine, amylase, essential fatty acids Aa, DHA, EPA.

    All this meets the the nutritional requirements of a cat as per the Assosciation of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) cat food nutrient profiel for kitten and adult maintenance.

    And unlike other cat foods… All this is made to human grade consumption standards, using organic ingredients where possible… I think I might try some… This is the first time I’ve ever tried cat food… But I just tried it and it tastes well I’m not a cat but it kinda tastes like a nice grainy rye bread toast… Not bad. Better save the rest for my cat.

    Now I know this is hardly a cats natural diet in the wild…. But my house is not the wild. If the cat lives under my roof then this is what we are going to try. Of course if she refused to eat this (which she doesn’t she LoVes these bickies!) then I’m not going to harm the poor cat and starve her, I am prepared to feed her the meaty stuff if that is what it comes down to…. Now what’s in the standard “meaty” cat food?

    Well it’s hard to the ingredients on the net… Here’s one:

    Chef chicken & turkey casserole wet cat food:

    Ingredients:
    Meat by products from: chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and mutton, gelling agents, cereal by products, fish by product, thickeners, emulsifiers, minerals, colouring, , vitamins, Taurine…..

    Now they have to add the vitamins and taurine because in the processing of the meat by-products the taurine is destroyed and many vitamins are lacking.

    Nutritional analysis:
    Protein: 7% ( the reccomended amount by AAFCO is 30% - however this is a wet cat food so the 30% is based on dry matter which this analysis doesn’t state)
    Fat: 3.5%
    Fibre:1.0%
    Sodium: 0.5%

    Now the ingredients again sound hardly natural for a cat to eat… I assume this product meets the AAFCO standards but I can’t tell from the labeling.

    Hills science diet indoor cat biscuits:

    Ingredients:
    Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Animal Fat (preserved mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Soybean Mill Run, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Natural Flavor, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Potassium Citrate, Taurine, Fish Oil, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, L-Arginine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

    Well alot of the non-meaty stuff is the same as my vegan cat food… Eg. Taurine, rice meal, and corn, vitamin c… Then there is the chicken meal…

    Now what is this chicken meal, or other animal meals?

    It’s basically the animals that are dying or died of and illness… Who knows what? ..These animals are then cut up and used as choice cuts of beef or lamb, or plump whole chicken, as the pet food labels claim. Being thrifty instututions slaughterhouses take all that is left over, including the head, legs, intestines, liver and lungs, (not to mention whatever it was the beast died of) and render it down in a big vat. The hair is skimmed from the top and whatever remains is dreid and powdered, leaving beef or chicken meal or meat and poultry by-products or digests.These productss are found in every dog and cat food available today. I think this is a questionable source of nourishment for our animals. On reading labels you will see feather meanl and blood meal. What is feather meal? It is ground up feathers very high in protein, but totally indigestible. The same goes for blood meal.

    Well I think the healthiest food for this cat is the vegan pet food… She does do some of her own hunting.. I’ve seen her catch a fly, a moth, a spider… She really isn’t much of a hunter… So I don’t see her catching one of the many hundreds of rabbits that are running around out there..

    So if it comes to the point that what I’m feeding her is causing harm and suffering then I will get her some meat… But most of the pet food out there… You can hardly call that meat anyway.

    Anyway just wants to tell you my story… Very long!

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  • 109
    Don't let ceiling cat die for your sins
    February 25th, 2012 20:13

    Lulu -

    If you are real and not a shill trying to push a vegan product, please try to at least research your claims.

    Protein isn’t just protein. Plant proteins aren’t even digestible to cats at all before cooking, and they are far from fully digestible after cooking.

    Hill’s is no baseline for comparison. It’s lousy food backed by a lot of marketing - and I worked for them for years. I know.

    AAFCO is far from a Gold Standard when it comes to what is or is not an appropriate food for your pets. These are the same people who said it was fine to feed ground up cows to other cows. These are the same people who didn’t even suggest Taurine be added to cat food for a decade after the science was in.

    What your furry roomate is willing to eat is no guide to what she ought to be eating. You might as well put a salad and cupcake in front of a two year old, and then assume that whichever she chose was best for her.

    Just because she’ll eat vegan food doesn’t mean it’s healthy, or good for her. It means the food has been treated with an additive she finds irresistible, the way salt on chips makes them irresistible to kids.

    This “These productss are found in every dog and cat food available today” is so untrue, and so easily disproven, that while it’s rude to do so I’m just going to have to come out and called it a damned lie.

    Premium cat foods do not use that crap. There are literally dozens of manufacturers of cat foods totally free of them. I will not list them, because I’m not here to drum up business for anyone.

    Meat-By products, Chicken/Beef meal, ect are disgusting lousy sources of nutrition. There’s a reason cats who eat these diets so often suffer organ failure.

    It’s the same reason, in large part, that cats who eat vegan diets suffer organ failure. You’re right - Hill’s make a product much like the one you’re advocating. It has very little of what a cat ought to eat. It’s mostly comprised of cheap vegetable foods and additives.

    As you said, just because there’s a protein percentage on the label doesn’t mean it’s a digestible source of protein. Feathers and plants are much alike, for a cat. Bulk they can’t really use.

    If you wait until the animal in your care shows signs of what you’re doing to her, it may be too late.

    Once she starts crapping blood, once she starts running into things at night, once you hear her scream in agony when she urinates (did you know cats can actually cry big moist tears when they’re in enough pain? I wish I didn’t know) once she starts gnawing all the fur off of her stomach, once her heart stops beating because the muscles in it gradually degraded….

    You won’t have the chance to just start feeding her properly and easily fix the problems you could have easily prevented. Your plan makes about as much sense as feeding your kid raw sugar until she gets diabetes, then changing her diet.

    Like I said, I worked for Hill’s and I know what’s in their food. I quit working for them because what I was doing was harming animals that had no way to make their needs known before it was too late.

    Now that you know you’re harming animals, will you reconsider what I believe is probably your job with Veganpet™?

  • 110
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    109- There are absolutely no mass market cat foods on the market today that use actual animal parts a cat would find in the wild. Even if a cat food container says “chicken” on the ingredients, these are the organ meats (lungs, eyes, face, etc) and other leftovers from processing the parts of the chicken for human consumption. “Meat byproducts” are one rung lower than the lungs and hoofs - these are animal parts that can’t be classified as meat, and include ground up portions like teeth, bones, chicken feet, beaks, feathers.

    I feed my cat meat because she is picky and just won’t eat the handful of nutritionally complete vegan foods out there. But you are completely kidding yourself if you think feeding your cat “premium” reconstituted cow lungs is more natural than grains. Cats actually do eat grass and grains and vegetables in the wild - but there has never been a small cat that had eaten cow lungs or ground up pig eyes in the wild.

    There is absolutely nothing nutritionally unique about meat. No, you can’t just feed a cat bread, but a nutritionally complete vegan cat food meets 100% of the nutritional requirements of a non-vegan cat food, including taurine, b-vitamins, etc.

    If you think there is something magical about meat that cats need to survive, just google vegan cats. There are hundreds or thousands of vegan cats out there, some in their teens or over 20. There has never been a cat that suddenly keeled over and died after moving to a nutritionally complete vegan cat food. There have been plenty of cats that have keeled over and died from eating “premium” non-vegan cat foods (menu foods, greenies, etc).

  • 116
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    April 2nd, 2012 22:44

    You’re utterly insane if you think there’s the first thing “natural” about feeding grains to a cat. It makes as much sense as feeding liver to a cow.

    Cats do not eat grains in the wild. Cats cannot digest raw grains at all, and they find it very hard to build fires. This is simply counter factual nonsense. Provide one link to any remotely credible source, or retract.

    Cats do, in fact, eat grass in the wild. When they want to throw up because they’ve eaten something that’s causing stomach distress.

    Cats eat the organs first, when they kill prey too large to eat whole. That’s where the essential vitamins and minerals they need are to be found, and those are the parts that would otherwise spoil first. There’s nothing nasty, for a cat, about chowing down on lungs and faces.

    “Meat Bydproducts”, the great boogies of the feline abuse industry (sorry, ‘vegan catfood industry’) are only found in the lowest grade of pet food products. One can easily avoid them at prices a lot lower than meatless canned mistreatment.

    You have to be simply unbalanced to endanger an innocent animals health in order to try to force it to comply to some bizarre sense of morality that is meaningless to it. There are plenty of actual vegetarian animals out there that thrive on a vegan diet, that are loving and affectionate. It’s impossible to fathom the vanity that leads a person to abuse a cat when they don’t have to.

    The old vegan saw about food safety, again? I remember how you’ve been so safe from the e-coli in spinach, the salmonella in the peanut butter, the tomatoes with e-coli……
    I’m off to search for wild cats eating turnips or digging up carrots. You know, like the old saying goes, “The cats in the corn!”.

    We all know people who eat bacon and eggs and deep fried foods all the time and die at 90. Should those anecdotes, dear vegan, be taken as evidence as to what the ideal human diet is?

    Somehow, “My gran is 90 and eats a kidney pie everyday” doesn’t seem a sound argument to you, but “My cat is 17 and has eaten vegan food his whole life and will still eat if I physically shove this nasty crap in his mouth” *is*?

  • 117
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    April 9th, 2012 07:08

    And I quote the back of a “meat filled” Friskies can:

    Guaranteed analysis: Crude Protein (Min) 9%, Crude fat 3%, crude fiber (Max) 1%, Moisture 82.0%, Ash (Max) 2%, TAURINE (min) 0.05% (wow, really, THAT small?)

    SOME FIRST INGREDIENTS: Water sufficient for processing, Meat by-products, Turkey (OK, this is something I can at least figure out without such a wave of mystery), Weat Gluten, and at LEAST 65 others ingredients including Ammonia Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Dried Egg PRODUCT (What’s that supposed to mean, why don’t they describe what this product is, or just say Dried Egg if that’s all it is?)

    They put down so many other names, colors, and dyes on ONE cat can, that we have to go look up in an online dictionary to even know what it means. Why so strange and mysterious about the canned cat food and most of the dry food? Shouldn’t we as pet owners have a right to know what’s given to our loving pet cat in actual English? This is the Artificial (and who knows what repercussions this has on our pet) product/ and like products this thread starter is defending? Saying how much better it is for your cat originally? Wow, amazing.

  • 118
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    April 14th, 2012 08:31

    Friskies a low-price low-quality food. Good foods do not contain grains, particularly wheat or corn.

    You’re doing the equivalent of reading the label on a box of Captain Crunch to tell us why no one should ever eat any form of cereal.

    The “thread starter” didn’t advocate feeding Friskies. The “thread starter” advocated feeding cats the food they’ve evolved for at least 30 million year to eat to the exclusion of all else - meat.

    Potassium Chloride the bio-available form of potassium you’ll find in any mutli-vitamin. Taurine is an amino acid. If they labeled the amount of b-12, it would be around .05% too.

    I agree that people have a right to know what’s in their pets food. This conversation is about whether people should abuse their cats by denying them meat.

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    http://www.vegetarismus.ch/vegepet/tyke.htm
    This lionness was raised vegan, refused to touch meat. Many big cats in zoos are raised vegan.

    Originally all animals were vegan until their natural abundant sources of food in far larger varieties than we have today were taken away.

    In experiments blood parameters for anything are far more optimal in vegetarian fed ’so-called carnivores’ than meat ones.

    I think there are things we do not understand about how these animals can live this way. Perhaps it is to do with PH level. For example as humans if we eat meat we can’t make B12. If we go vegan we are alkaline and the bacteria which creates B12 can thrive in our gut. Therefore we can produce B12.

    Maybe the case is the same for cats, if they are on vegan diet they are alkaline and can do more things naturally without ripping up other creatures.

    Note vegan cats are docile and friendly, and live longer, and grow larger!

  • 123
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    July 9th, 2012 15:23

    I believe a cat can thrive as a vegan but not a vegetarian (same with human beings)

    You eat milk you strip your bones of calcium because there is not enough calcium in milk to counter the acidity of caseine digestion. Ammonia is also produced during the digestion and that means it has to be reduced in toxicity to the also-toxic urea, then got rid of.

    Allergies are rampant for people who eat meat and/or dairy. After quitting both they disappear within a month (1-2 weeks for most people).

    They also cause cancer. Cancer cells have a thick protein wall. They require enzymes to break them down for the immune cells to destroy them, however if the enzymes are busy breaking down looooooong chains of animal proteins, they are not available to fight those cells.

    Bananas win. They are loaded with TNF alpha which destroys cancer.

    Nothing to do with cats, sorry :P

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    Lori
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    Good lord, so much misinformation! Can your cat eat a vegan diet that is calculated with supplements for it’s needs? Yes. Do all cat foods currently sold, most of which include meat (very bad meat I might add) meet these requirements? No. There is so much crap in most pet food that you wouldn’t want them eating it anyway.

    As for the “my sister’s friend’s cat” was vegan and got diabetes….__________ (fill in the blank). News flash! Cats who eat commercial cat food get sick all the time. Sometimes it’s directly related and sometimes it’s not.

    But whatever you do, PLEASE do not let your cat outside to go hunting! Cats are one of the largest causes of song bird depopulation. These are not wild, native animals!!!!

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    sorry im not a vegan or anything silly like that its just my cat is kinda a little homo and wont eat meat like any kind tried giving him tuna raw and he barely sniffed it liver nope almost seemed repulsed by it.. but i caught the little weirdo picking raspberrys growing near the deck 0.o really it was funny when he came back inside his lips were a little swollen from the thorns on the branches yet the next day he was eating the berrys again every time im eating a banana he follows me around a whines until i give him some loved spagetti squash, ate some blueberrys. really any thing i offord he ate EXCEPT MEAT!! really wth is wrong with him hes a good cat and eats basic cat food without complaint and i know he doesnt give a shit about sentient beings as he takes down anything that moves so why the hell doesnt he like meat.

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    I had to reply to the ignorance that abounds in these response. Sure, *humans* can derive B12 from plant tissue. Cats cannot process the B12 out of plant tissue because it simply does not stay in their system long enough. Neither animals nor plants create B12…it is created by bacteria. Yeast is a fungus that creates B12 from bacteria it metabolizes. Once again, it would stay in a cat’s system long enough for the cat to obtain enough B12 from it.
    You’re talking about giving your “veg*n” cats synthesized supplements and then rail against companies who are cruel to the animals they grow for food because they give them synthesized supplements. Oh, the hypocrisy!
    If you don’t like animals killing other animals and you want to “stop the violence,” buy a hamster, not a cat.

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    (Last sentence of first paragraph should say “Once again, it would NOT stay in a cat’s system long enough for the cat to obtain enough B12 from it.”

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    It is surprising how angry people get with those of us who say we are vegan (And healthy). I’m researching as we want to get a cat for my Mum but not to cause the deaths of many other animals in doing so by virtue of its diet.

  • 142
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    February 1st, 2013 18:32

    At least this linkspam is about whether cats can be vegan :).

    I’ve just finished “Cats: can they be vegan?”, an episode of “The Vegan Option Internet radio show:
    http://theveganoption.org/2013/02/01/cats-vegan-lorelei-wakefield-andrew-knight/

    I talk to three veterinarians with differing views and experiences of vegan cats, including Lorelei Wakefield, the only person to do research on the subject. At 23 minutes long, it’s shorter than this comment thread, and you can listen to it whilst doing the washing up :).

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    Gabs
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    I have to thank you for writing this article, and question a lot the people that can only see otherwise. Just because you can syntethis a false healthy diet for your cat doesn’t mean you should. Cats do not have ethics, that is a human trait. They do not waste their days on what is right and wrong, they instead live as happily as possible. I have had to take my cats off what is considered a normal diet for them - processed and cooked foods filled with grains, vegetables, a slim amount of protein and other questionable fillers - to stop a new cat to the family from becoming more obsese. The cats are all healthier for it, and no longer get hair balls and fight less among themselves.

    Yes, you can put a cat beside a plate of fresh, raw meat, and a plate of smelly grain based cat food, and they may pick the grains, but its not because they’re picking a healthy choice. They’re addicted to it, just like humans are addicted to high fat, salty and sugary foods. I picked a vegan lifestyle for myself because when I looked at a human’s place in nature, I saw veganism. When I look at a cat, I see carnivore. On of the ways we convince people that humans aren’t carnivores is by comparing cats - obligatory carnivores - to humans. Their digestion tract alone, not to mention shape of teeth and claws spells it all out. Cats should not be eating cooked foods - they have no way of creating fire.

    We humans, in all our infinite wisdom have changed this planet for the worst with all the intentions of good. Its bad enough that cats can’t be free in highly populated areas because of a fear of cars. They have no place beside us anymore, but trapped in our houses. Should you change their diet to suit your needs and confused sense of ethics? You cannot put ethics on nature, there is no place for it there. Death happens, and if it doesn’t populations explode, diseases run rampant, and food sources depleate. Cats eat meat, and there is nothing wrong with it. They are designed for it to fit in nature. Keep them near your garden and you’ll have less competition with the squirells for your fresh fruit and vegetables.

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    I agree. No one should impose a specific diet on an animal. I am vegan, I eat a lot of lentils to get extra strength and fee fine.

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    April 3rd, 2013 17:36

    Taurine occurs naturally in food, especially in seafood and meat. The mean daily intake from omnivore diets was determined to be around 58 mg (range from 9 to 372 mg) and to be low or negligible from a strict vegan diet.”

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    April 4th, 2013 21:48

    I read as far as “taurine is an essential amino acid”… I’m a biochemist and I know for a fact that taurine is not an amino acid. I didn’t read any further because I can’t be sure of the accuracy of the article after reading that.

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    My experience proved that cats can be just as healthy as if they would hunt on vegan diet, being fed this way from first days.
    I don’t know why you posted that ignorant article with outdated information, but I feel pity for your bigotry.

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    The problem I’m seeing here is people wanting to have their cake and eat it. No matter how clearly the facts are stated, there are still people who want to have a cat, yet don’t want to violate their personal moral code by feeding it what it needs to eat. I’m sorry, but not all animals can go veggie, as much as some might want that to be the case. Different animals have adapted to take advantage of different lifestyles, which require different diets, and so just as much as a human wouldn’t do well on a diet purely of raw meat, cats aren’t built to the task of consuming large quantities of plant matter. As others have stated, there’s a reason people avoid lower quality cat foods, namely the high quantities of plant based filler. Veggie/vegan cat foods are essentially entirely filler. You can artificially pump in as many supplements as you want to veggie/vegan cat food, but what you’re essentially feeding your cat is worse then the shittiest store’s own brand floor-sweepings-in-a-can. Your cat might survive on it, just as some people survive many years on a diet of frozen pizza’s, but no doctor on earth would recommend it, just as no vet would ever advocate feeding veggie/vegan to a cat. It’s a stupid risk to take, and the only thing you achieve is to shift the suffering from the animals that end up in pet food to the pet you’re malnourishing. If you honestly can’t deal with feeding meat in any shape or form, you have to accept that you’re unable to care for a cat.

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    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/kitten-nearly-dies-from-vegan-diet/comments-fngnvmj7-1226682108386

    Cats need meat (as I do).
    Cats don’t have the teeth, nor the digestive system (plus all the stuff listed above) to be vegans…

    If you want a vegan animal, take a rabbit or a hamster.
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  • 169
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    July 23rd, 2013 13:34

    and to finish, for those who are vegans to avoid animal cruelty, there are about 85 million cats in the US.
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    Every single thing that you mention can be sourced from vegetation or synthesised, in fact a great deal of it is sourced that way in commercial dead animal pet food due to the processing and cooking of the ‘food’ depleting the ones from the flesh (sourced from dead, diseased, disabled and dying animals and the part deemed unfit for human consumption or unethical because of their origin: horses, greyhounds, dogs, cats etc)

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    These same arguments could easily be applied to humans. Humans cannot adequately get B12 or D in many cases. We deal with this problem technologically via supplementation. The same can be done very easily for cats. I have a cat who is nearing the end of her life at almost 20 years old. For her entire adult life she has been fed vegan catfood and has had good health all along.

    There are several sources for vegan catfood, including two pre-made varieties (Evolution and AmiCat) and one vitamin supplement that you combine with home made recipes (which even has the option of a low-magnesium variant for urinary issues in some cats), the latter is made by Hosana and is called “Vegecat” or “Vegecat phI”. All of these include vegan/synthetic sources of Taurine, etc.

    Please don’t trust the above misinformation. There is little point in killing 1000 chickens to feed your one cat when there’s a better option. Even IF there were no good vegan cat food options you’d be better off with your cat living half as long and contributing to no other animal deaths. But, the fact is, there are options. My cat and many other peoples has lived vegan for 20 years. Do your research.

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  • 188
    digestive enzyme deficiency
    April 14th, 2014 21:23

    During the growing period, a plant can vary in mineral and vitamin content
    by as much as 900%. He recommends taking one or two 550-milligram
    capsules of powdered ginger or 30 drops of tincture
    right before each meal. Not every person with digestive issues needs to be on enzyme supplements.

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