Jeff Kaufman

Software Engineer @ Nucleic Acid Observatory
10175 karmaJoined Aug 2014Working (6-15 years)Somerville, MA, USA


Software engineer in Boston, parent, musician. Recently switched from earning to give to direct work in pandemic mitigation. Married to Julia Wise. Speaking for myself unless I say otherwise.

Full list of EA posts:


The opinion is quite a crazy read: the justices generally agreed on the outcome, but it's a patchwork of "concurring in part and dissenting in part"s.

I think these considerations only make a difference between waiting one or two weeks for a response and sending one versus several emails to a couple of people if there’s no response the first time.

I'm not sure I understand this part?

If you're sending a draft as a heads up and don't get a response, I don't think politeness requires sending several emails or waiting more than a week?

Then this is not the right test for the question we're talking about. This study is saying "we didn't find strong evidence that vegan diets increase the risk of lower urinary tract dysfunction in vegan cats" but Knight is interpreting it as if it says "we found strong evidence that vegan diets don't increase the risk of lower urinary tract dysfunction in vegan cats".

However, neither our recent study (forthcoming), nor Dodd et al.’s 2021 study, showed any increased risk of lower urinary tract dysfunction in vegan cats. Dodd et al. included 1,026 cats whose diets were known, of whom 187 (18%) were fed vegan diets. We included 1,369 cats, of whom 127 (9%) were fed vegan diets. The prevalence of lower urinary tract dysfunction was not statistically significantly different between cats fed vegan and meat-based diets, in either study. Hence, this concern appears to have been unfounded.

Dodd has:

Considering the suggested increased risk of urinary tract diseases in cats fed PB diets [22], this health disorder was chosen for sample size estimation. Assuming the proportion of cats fed MB with urinary tract disorders was 4%, calculation of the sample size comparing two different proportions with the estimation that three times as many cats fed PB would have urinary tract disorders (12%), yielded a required sample size of 116 cats per diet category.

If I'm reading this correctly, if urinary tract disorders were 8% in vegan cats compared to 4% in meat-eating ones they probably would have ended up with a result of "no significant difference"?

Thanks! It's pretty weird that they'd make their product harder to use in a way that should be really easy to fix.

Replacing even a fraction of meat consumption has a sizeable impact–a study last year estimated that replacing a mere 20% of beef with microbial protein would halve the rate of deforestation. Therefore, replacing a significant fraction of the meat that cats consume would help prevent trees from being cut down. Moreover, getting cats to eat 20% less meat in terms of chicken in the United States would save nearly half a billion chicken a year from brutal livelihood and slaughter.

The statistics you link are based on meat for human consumption, but as you note later current cat food is cheap waste products. While we shouldn't treat these as having no effect on the amount of animals raised and killed, it seems to me it should be quite a bit smaller than the effect of changing the demand for the expensive portions of the animals?

Vegan cat owners also have more work to do. When a cat is transitioned to a vegan diet, their urine must be monitored for changes in pH. Meat-based food tends to be more acidic than vegan food, which cats are not adapted to. When a cat’s urine is too alkaline, they are prone to forming mineral crystals in their urine, which are painful to eliminate. Owners must acidify their cat’s food as needed.

Why isn't the vegan cat food appropriately acidic from the manufacturer? Is this related to the limited ingredients problem you describe after?

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