Not sure how many of the positive reviews are from real people, wording and tone seem pretty similar to Evolution's website. My two cats were feral when my spouse and I rescued them as kittens 5 years ago. They ate meat-based cat food and then we had them on a nutritionally complete raw meat diet (specifically designed for cats) for about 6 months. To my dismay, they got pretty fat and lazy as they grew into adults. I didn't think a vegan diet was possible for cats until I spoke with Dr. Andrew Knight, a vegan vet originally from Australia. He is one of the few vets who has done research into and promotes vegan diets for both dogs and cats. After some guidance from the vet and my own research, I decided to try vegan food for the kitties using the Vegecat Phi supplement - which includes essential nutrients for cats (taurine, Vitamin A, of course, amongst others) and is designed to prevent urinary tract issues. Neither of our cats had shown any signs of medical problems but from what I read that was a big concern when feeding a diet high in plant-based proteins and carbs. As long as the diet is properly supplemented, it doesn't really matter where the cat gets the nutrients from - animals or plants (this piece of advice came from the mouth of a vegan vet out of the UK who feeds his own cats vegan food). That being said, we add an enzyme (Prozyme) to the food that makes it easier for the cats' bodies to absorb the food's nutrients. We made kibble and wet food using both of these supplements, following the manufacturer directions and our cats did fine on that for about 2.5 years. It was a lot of work, and while we continued to use the supplement for making wet food we decided to buy a vegan kibble to ease the workload - Ami, shipped from Italy. Both cats like eating this kibble and it is nutritionally complete. Worth mentioning that our male cat also eats canned pumpkin with his meals to increase fiber and prevent diarrhea, added based on the advice of our vet because he was digesting his food too quickly and experiencing soft stool. Added pumpkin aided his digestion a lot and he has perfect poop.
Only within the past month have we switched from homemade wet food to Evolution brand canned wet food. It smells pretty good, and our cats seem to like it. They have bigger (but normal) poop but otherwise we haven't noticed any negative effects. We will continue to mix in the Vegecat Phi supplement and the enzyme because these have worked wonderfully for the past 4 years. Our indoor, 5-yr old vegan cats are fit, have tons of energy, eat well and eliminate normally. They've been eating vegan food for about 4 years. Points to consider:
-Commercial cat food is also supplemented with added nutrients after it is processed, because the heat from processing breaks down naturally-derived nutrients like taurine in meat.
-I agree that it's not natural for cats to eat a vegan diet, but they can certainly live and thrive on one if they like the food and it is properly supplemented. It's also not natural to feed cats tuna, milk, beef, pork, most seafood, etc., because they couldn't hunt these animals in the wild in their current evolutionary state. It's not natural to keep them indoors, but a choice made by their guardians for lots of reasons. It's not natural to spay or neuter, not natural to pet them and shoot them with vaccines, etc. These are decisions we have to make for them, regardless of our reasons - so is the decision what to feed them.
-Every cat is an individual and may not do well on a vegan diet. Take your cat to the vet regularly to ensure you are on top of any health issues that may arise, regardless of the diet you choose to feed them.
-Carnivore is a word whose Latin origins lie in the 16th century. We've learned a lot since the 16th century, and continue to learn a lot today, about the world around us, other species, and ourselves. I would guess that we will continue to discover more about the hardiness of other species and their abilities to adapt and evolve, regardless of the restraints we currently believe they operate under.
-Vegan dog and cat food is still a tiny, niche market. Evolution does not have the best reputation because of the founder's behavior. I would recommend using a supplement like Vegecat and a digestive enzyme, or feeding multiple brands of vegan food to ensure your cat has an opportunity to absorb all the correct nutrients they need to survive. Ami, Benovo, VeGourmet are all brands worth checking out. Do your research!
Evolution seems like a good product, but really needs more of a long-term market base to prove its quality. Because my cats are healthy I am willing to try the food and see how they do. My cats are young and all signs - from their eye and teeth health, to the quality of their coats, to the quality of their elimination, to their behavior and activity levels, point to their overall well-being but as with any diet, close monitoring and common sense is key.