Pet Ownership – Talk Page

Here are all the threads to draw from on pet ownership:

  1. 7 Reasons Why Cats are Terrible Pets (UV video)
  2. Is “owning” a cat vegan?
  3. Snails
  4. ABLC’s “ethical veganism”
  5. Having pets (again)
  6. Pets that are obligate carnivores/omnivores…
  7. owning lizards
  8. Feeding your pets Vegan?!
  9. The future of pets
  10. What do I feed the animals in my house?
  11. Pet/Dog Ownership
  12. Pet Ownership (Animal Domestication)
  13. Confinement isn’t always cruel – possible example
  14. Advice wanted on care of rescued chicken, and ducks.
  15. Companion Animal Care

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Facts and information

Diet

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:57 am

Female cats can be fed vegan, if it’s a properly formulated diet.

Here are some good recommendations:
http://www.vegancats.com/veganfaq.php

Male cats can have urinary tract problems, so generally speaking, it’s hard to feed most of them vegan.

I would recommend feeding male cats partly vegan, and partly freegan meat. Insects or worms might be another option to freegan meat, which are less sentient and more sustainable than tetrapod meat.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:12 am
garrethdsouza wrote:

Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:41 am

For feeding, what about rope grown oysters?

I’ve read those can cause certain nutritional deficiencies in cats, but if they’re supplemented that might work.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8727583_can-cats-eat-oysters.html

I’m having a hard time substantiating those claims, though, which seem to be about fish (in the references).

Adopt don’t shop

garrethdsouza wrote:

Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:41 am

Generally it is preferable to adopt pets from local shelters and have them neutered than it is to buy pets like a commodity from pet stores. The pet stores sources are breeder mills where animals are bred in often unacceptable conditions in cages etc and excess animals are often culled.

There are many animals in shelters that are actually in need of a forever home so it is better to adopt them than buy from pet stores. Also its better to “adopt” as a pet or family member rather than own which is something we use for commodities.

Time needed to spend exercising them

inator wrote:

Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:56 am

Don’t dogs generally require more time and effort investment though? I’m not sure I’d prefer adopting a dog, purely from a cost-effectiveness point of view. Even if I end up having to dumpster dive a few times a month to feed the cat some meat, that’d still be less time-consuming than having to take the dog out twice a day for a significant amount of time.

Also cats generally tend to themselves and also need less attention than dogs do throughout the day. All in all, I think it would definitely be easier for me to have a cat instead of a dog.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:54 am

I think that’s a common misconception. Cats are left alone because people think they don’t need as much attention, but then they suffer from boredom and depression, less noticed only because people communicate more poorly with cats and because those states may be misinterpreted as a cat’s normal behavior.
A cat needs a lot of play and interaction to be fulfilled; I think we can look at how much they play when such activities are available to them (like with a play partner or a very attentive owner) as a good indication of what they need. I don’t think it’s necessarily less than the needs of a dog, and I think the default assumption should be that these animals naturally need similar amounts of stimulation.
The social convention today is to leave cats to their own devices, but I think we’ll see that as cruel in the future, much as we see our past treatment of the mentally ill/retarded/autistic as cruel.
I don’t think a cat is necessarily any less miserable left unattended in an apartment all day than a dog is. We’re just less inclined to notice or frown on that as a society.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:11 am

I tend to agree, UV talks about cat lethargy like it’s a international epidemic, but I don’t see any studies backing that up, maybe they are just projecting their anecdotal experience of 2 out of 3 cats who had to be euthanized at middle-age I think, possibly correlated with over-eating.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:11 am

The idea that she went against their preference to go outside and kill for enjoyment, and there is no happy perfect state you can attain, whereas with dogs you can ware them out on long walks and they enjoy your company, sleep the rest of the day.

inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

That’s probably true, and I’m sure the same thing applies for dogs in some cases. Especially because some just keep a dog outside and rarely give it any attention. I just mean that, while giving them as much attention as they want, it seems to me that cats are on average less hyperactive.

Or maybe the fact that they are generally smaller makes it easier for me to deal with their activities, I don’t know.
A cat may open my closet and take out all my clothes to play in them, but it’s pretty unlikely that it will also chew on them and destroy them. Or if it runs around the house, it probably won’t knock over everything in its way. If it’s chasing and trying to catch me, I’m not as concerned that it may sever one of my arteries. Ok, that last one was exaggerated. But still.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:53 pm
inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

I just mean that, while giving them as much attention as they want, it seems to me that cats are on average less hyperactive.

Cats can be pretty hyperactive in the middle of the night, and I’ve found them more likely to wake me up while sleeping.

Overall though, that may be, but as NonZeroSum said, I think that’s an argument FOR dogs, which makes humans healthier and gets them out to do things (ideally).
I would also add that dogs seem more capable of managing their hyper and down-time and expressing them at more socially appropriate times and places. Cats do not seem to have mastered that, or don’t care.

inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

Or maybe the fact that they are generally smaller makes it easier for me to deal with their activities, I don’t know.

Getting a dog on the smaller side (just not a really tiny one) can be a viable option. They also tire out much more quickly on walks.

inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

A cat may open my closet and take out all my clothes to play in them, but it’s pretty unlikely that it will also chew on them and destroy them.

Maybe, but it’s easy enough to keep things away from a dog. And a cat is more likely to spray and urinate everywhere. Cats are not really potty trained like dogs are, they just naturally prefer the litter box… usually. If they’re in the mood to pee somewhere else, they will. A dog is doing it because he or she knows it’s the right place to go, and going on the carpet is bad.
It’s true that dogs are more destructive when they’re not getting enough stimulation whereas cats tend toward overeating and lethargy. If a dog is stimulated enough and has toys, chewing on things is less likely.

inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

Or if it runs around the house, it probably won’t knock over everything in its way.

Cats are more likely to jump up on tables and counters, even on top of your fridge, and knock things over and make a mess. Unlike a dog they might not eat your food, but they will lick it. With a dog it’s much easier to keep things out of the way.

I would say, also, that appropriately trained and well behaved dogs are very careful not to knock things over. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat that cared how many things he or she knocked over, and they don’t grow out of it like dogs do. You can safely have a lot more nice things with a dog than with a cat.

inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:58 am

If it’s chasing and trying to catch me, I’m not as concerned that it may sever one of my arteries. Ok, that last one was exaggerated. But still.

That’s true: a bad dog is much scarier than a bad cat.
But a good cat is much scarier than a good dog; with a cat, even a relatively well behaved one, he or she still might turn around and bite you randomly if you pet ever so slightly wrong, or just when the planets are aligned as such. Dogs seem to have better impulse control, and once socialized are less likely to bite.

inator wrote:

Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:04 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Getting a dog on the smaller side (just not a really tiny one) can be a viable option. They also tire out much more quickly on walks.

Yeah that’s something to think about. Dpending on what options there are around local shelters.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:28 am
inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:08 am

I’m not sure dogs in appartments are in a happy perfect state, even if they go on walks.

I don’t think by any means the average dog gets the required walking, but I think there is a big difference between dogs and cats, for dogs they look up to you to know what they’re doing, they like walks for ‘going out on the hunt’ and like spending time in their roost for resting in your company, obviously the larger the backyard they can walk in and out of freely the better but I think any dog psychologist will tell you as long as you’re fulfilling their need for walks, food and play, and you are maintaining your dominance in the hierarchy so they aren’t stressed thinking they need to do all the protecting, you’ve got a pretty happy content dog.

Saying all that I have always felt that pull from my dog to do more, the whole reason I got into cycle touring, from mountain biking with my dogs, and then taking them to live with me on land projects working outdoors where they can run and explore all day. I think that pull to want to be able do the best for cats and knowing you can’t really fulfill that totally if you want to be ethical can be upsetting when you see them over-eating or lethargic.

Domestic cats are basically an invasive species that are glutenous for enjoying the hunt more than the food, which means often torturing their prey and giving you half-dead animals as presents. Wildcats are quick killers, consume all their food and have a working niche that is threatened by domestic cats.

inator wrote:

Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:04 am
NonZeroSum wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:28 am

Saying all that I have always felt that pull from my dog to do more, the whole reason I got into cycle touring, from mountain biking with my dogs, and then taking them to live with me on land projects working outdoors where they can run and explore all day. I think that pull to want to be able do the best for cats and knowing you can’t really fulfill that totally if you want to be ethical can be upsetting when you see them over-eating or lethargic.

That’s true, it’s definitely sad to not at least have the possibility to do more for your pet. It’s really cool that you do all that with your dogs, unfortunately it’s not very common as far as I know.

Jebus wrote:

Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:16 am
inator wrote:

Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:56 am

Even if I end up having to dumpster dive a few times a month to feed the cat some meat, that’d still be less time-consuming than having to take the dog out twice a day for a significant amount of time.

This time doesn’t have to be wasted. I have so many dogs that I’m unable to take them all out at the same time. In the morning I take the older and handicapped dogs to a quiet place where I sit down for an hour to study the language I want to learn.

In the late afternoon I take the fit dogs out for a run or other exercise.

Breed in an ideal future?

NonZeroSum wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:11 am

All her arguments are great for letting domestic cats go extinct, the strongest being they are too good at hunting and there is already a working niche for wildcats, but we know that domestic cats aren’t going anywhere for the significant future, so there will be plenty to rescue.

Indoors or roam freely or wild?

PsYcHo wrote:

Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:34 am

Domesticated dogs often die in the wild, and most other animals can live Vegan lives themselves.

Cats thrive in the wild. Everyone has seen feral cats running around, whether in a city or rural area. I watched a video by a Vegan about why she feeds her cats meat. Basically, one almost died after switching it to a Vegan diet. Also, even if one could get a cat to survive on a strictly plant diet, felines are prolific murderers. They kill for fun and food. (If your cat has ever left a dead/nearly dead animal for you, that’s its way of saying ” you are a horrible hunter, so I killed something for you. Continue to feed and pet me, lest I leave you on another doorstep.”

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:02 am

Cats can survive in the wild sometimes, but not very well (domestic cats are not very well suited). In the forest, they’ll usually be hunted by other non-domestic cats (bobcats, mountain lions, etc.). In the city, they often get hit by cars, or poisoned. It’s not ideal.

Fully wild animals (who are suited to their environments) live much happier wild lives than domesticated breeds probably can.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:11 am

One step cat advocacy:

Keep your cat indoors when birds are most vulnerable — at least an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise — especially between March and July when baby birds may be out of the nest waiting to be fed. Also, keep your cat indoors after bad weather to allow birds to come out and feed.
Unnatural Vegan wrote:#4. Cats love to roam
https://youtu.be/RdDQsdS2gfE?t=8m15s

Cats get bored and prefer to roam.

Recent research tracking a number of cats showed that some feral cats have ranges of over a thousand acres:

The owned cats had significantly smaller territories and tended to stay close to home. The mean home range for pet cats in the study was less than two hectares (4.9 acres).

While that is substantially smaller, it shows that given the opportunity, even cats who primarily live indoors, inside of the house, they prefer to roam and go farther than just the backyard.

It’s not clear if the primary reason for roaming is because they like to hunt or it’s just because they enjoy walking around, assuming it is the roaming itself that the cats enjoy, well if you have a two hundred thousand square foot mansions then your cats are probably going to be pretty fulfilled. If you don’t happen to have a house that big, which obviously you probably don’t, what you can do is have like an outdoor, enclosed cat run, you could also have some cat runs inside, these constructions can effectively increase your cats play area, although it’s not clear by how much.

Taking your cat for walks on a leash and harness MAY be a good idea, but probably not for the average cat. Walking a cat is NOT like walking a dog, and you really should only do it in areas without any dogs present (coming across a loose dog with a penchant for chasing/killing cats is a recipe for disaster).

All in all, a cat patio is likely a better option for most cats.

Unfortunately the average apartment is only about a thousand square feet, that’s less than 1% of the space that they would prefer to roam around in and all of these extras, the cat runs and everything else, they are expensive and time consuming. Not everybody wants to spend thousands of dollars creating a cat paradise and nor should they, it’s not a very good use of money, when that money could save so many lives, when it is devoted to more effective altruism, like for instance giving it to Mercy for Animals, which you can do right here. [1]

You can also help to have fewer cats, particularly if they are over two years old, as a recent study suggested, while kittens actually like to have a lot of playmates, older cats really don’t tolerate a lot of company. The important point here is that cats are not dogs, they don’t like to go out on walks with you if you typically don’t like to be on a leash,* they don’t like to go for a walk, they don’t relish human contact like dogs do, they don’t really like contact with other cats, there aren’t cat parks where they can go run and play.

Dogs are a serious commitment too obviously, they need you know at least a couple of walks a day, they need a lot of time with you, but contrary to popular opinion cats really do require a lot more work, cats who are cooped up in such sub-optimal conditions, which they very likely are, most cats are, it’s pretty much the norm, they can become lethargic, they can overeat and they really don’t seem to live very happy lives.

Dogs have evolved along with humans for many thousands of years and there are good reasons to believe that well cared for dogs are happy, they’re happy in our company. But we just don’t know a whole lot about the psychological state of cats, of domesticated cats who really at this point are only marginally domesticated, people think that cats are easier, but I really think that the opposite is probably true, it’s just that cat’s needs are so often misunderstood and ignored.

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*talking about the average cat here (there are rare exceptions)

NonZeroSum wrote:

Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:11 am

I also looked into the risk to endangered species from cat predation claims and there’s no evidence on significant landmasses.

Best and easiest pets to adopt?

NonZeroSum wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:28 am
inator wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:08 am

True, but there are also more dogs than will ever be rescued. It doesn’t really matter if we rescue only dogs, only cats, or 50/50 dogs and cats, as long as the same number of animals is being adopted.

My concern is rather that giving people who are “a cat person” the information that having a cat while vegan is not very appropriate or kind of hard, that might not make them adopt a dog instead, but nothing at all. I’d rather concentrate on giving information about how to take care of cats properly, and maaaybe add a caveat at the end that dogs may be easier to care for – for those wo have a problem with getting some meat for the cat, and because of toxoplasmosis issues.

I really hope it’s not *ever*, but yea that actually was my inference, ‘not just dogs but cats too,’ that we should get excited about any industrious owners adopting animals because they’re setting a good example about neutering and caring, tipping the balance of overpopulation and suffering. Totes agree about the worry that less animals will be adopted, that’s the whole reason I spent 5 pages debating this point aha:

Me wrote:

Brim wrote:She mentioned ways to avoid the problems, if they actually watched the video. If they came away with the message that they personally shouldn’t get a cat and try to overcome those obstacles, I’m not sure what you expect of the video. The disclaimers were ridiculously long.

To frame those obstacles in proportion to how cats are currently being treated all over the world, not to hide behind the current state of disorganized rescue efforts in order to justify forgetting about cats and letting them go to slaughter.

Me wrote:

Brim wrote:Perhaps, and perhaps it’s also happening to fewer dogs (not for everybody, but on average for normal people who like cats and dogs if they give them a try).

If that’s an acceptable risk to you okay but I don’t think that makes for good vegan advocacy.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:28 am

I think they justify it because they think a strong message will push people towards dogs, and as a hard consequentialist, even if a lot more cats were killed and only a few more dogs adopted it would be all good. I think that’s naive and the narrative was all wrong. Any adoption has to be commended and supported for reducing the strain on overpopulation, and celebrating industrious ownership.

_______________

Philosophy

Consequentialist

What Pet to adopt?

ThatNerdyScienceGirl wrote:

Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:49 pm

I actually recommend rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, or other herbivorous animals for vegans, as it’s pretty difficult and time consuming to make sure your cat or dog is properly veganized.

Ownership vs letting them ‘free’

PsYcHo wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:42 am

[Consequentialists] would accept it as long as no harm came to the animal, especially if it benefited from the arrangement, such as being adopted from a shelter. (My original question mentioned how cats thrive in the wild, but the recent snow-storms made me question what they would actually prefer)

As far as the fact that cats kill other animals, that is inconsequential because while humans can choose to not harm animals, cats act on instinct. So having a cat as a companion (rather than “owning”) would be considered by Consequentialist (gotta come up with a shorthand for that word ;) ) to be acceptable.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:02 am

A consequentialist would only be concerned that the cat is well off and not harmed, and doesn’t mind owning the cat, since the cat doesn’t know any different.

Roaming/Hunting

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:02 am
PsYcHo wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:42 am

As far as the fact that cats kill other animals, that is inconsequential because while humans can choose to not harm animals, cats act on instinct.

. . .a consequentialist might worry about it.

Adopting a cat and letting it hunt in the backyard may cause hundreds of local wild animal deaths a year (largely birds, some with threatened populations) and leave them to rot, rarely eating them. How does that compare to not adopting, and the shelter euthanizing the cat? It’s a tough decision.

Consequentialists will usually keep a cat indoors. While the cat may not prefer it, it’s safer for the cat, and saves local wildlife.

Deontology

PsYcHo wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:42 am

[Deontologists] argue against animal ownership of any kind,

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:02 am

A deontological vegan may have an “animal companion” though, while rejecting ownership. Sometimes there’s not much of a difference, but the consistent deontologists will give the cat outside access rather than keeping the cat from running away if it chooses to.
. . .
A deontologist would consider that imprisonment, and would release the cat even if it were murdering neighborhood children.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:02 am
PsYcHo wrote:

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:42 am

As far as the fact that cats kill other animals, that is inconsequential because while humans can choose to not harm animals, cats act on instinct.

A deontologist wouldn’t worry about this, since it’s the cat’s doing.

NonZeroSum wrote:

Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:23 am

Likely an absolute stance like not interfering with their primal instincts, hard wired behavior to hunt.

Existentialist

amoral

vegan81vzla wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:34 pm

my personal opinion on this is that I don’t think owning animals is vegan, period. Feral cats can be dangerous to wildlife so they should be euthanized.

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:02 pm

Why?

vegan81vzla wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:59 pm

Because I am vegan to break with animal-human parasitic relationship, not to sustain it

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:39 pm

The relationship can be symbiotic, when it is one of care and companionship.

“Ownership” has nothing to do with it, as long as people aren’t harming them.

Cats, of course, aren’t ideal since they are obligate carnivores, but it seems reasonable enough just not to breed them and adopt instead. If we feed them vegan, or lower animals, we can care for them and let them live out their lives compassionately without causing great harm.

PsYcHo wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:55 pm

I notice you said it it better to euthanize (polite word for murder) feral cats. What about sterilization, as opposed to euthanization?

brimstoneSalad wrote:

Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:34 pm

I think he wants to kill the cats to save the mice and birds that the cats would kill if left wild.

Sometimes feral cats kill so many birds as to make local populations threatened, so there is some environmental argument for that too.
I can kind of understand it. Cats also are not well suited for the wild, so feral cats don’t always live very good lives.

But it’s much more kind of adopt the cats into warm and safe homes, as pets, rather than to kill them.

ethical

NonZeroSum wrote:

Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:23 am

I wouldn’t have a problem with cats hunting if they were quick killers and devoured their whole prey like the common ancestor they share with wildcats today.

Hard-line consequentialists would like to stop all animal predation in an ideal future, so they might lock them in even if a) they hunted only for food b) were good hunters and scavengers and it could be a means of meeting all their nutritional needs without having to feed them cow and c) there was no risk to endangered species in your area.

As an ethical nihilist if circumstances met those 3 criteria as it might depending on location(roads, endangered species) and certain breeds* of cats, I’d be fine with it. Otherwise just have to make their home entertaining with lots of toys that you can throw around or move around on their own like laser lights to exercise that desire to hunt.

*I haven’t looked into it but we have wildcat crosses in Scotland and Northumbria, so maybe they wouldn’t be so cruel to their prey along with maybe some traditional farmers ratter breeds?

If you are a responsible owner there is a good argument for being one of the people who does adopt cats from no kill shelters and tries to feed them vegan whilst either keeping them inside in the case of an endangered wildlife population at risk from domestic cat predation or sterilizing them in the case of local wildcat populations to protect their endangered gene pool and obviously just generally sterilizing for the overpopulation issue and to phase out domestic cats that are reliant on us killing other animals for food and having to conform to our dangerous cities and unfulfilling lifestyles for cats, just focused on letting cats roam side of things.