Can cats eat dog food? The short answer is yes they can, the long answer is that they shouldn’t and certianly not over a long period of time. A cat’s nutritional requirements are quite simply very different to dogs.
While on the surface cat and dog food does look similar (a sloppy brown mess), outward appearances can be deceiving. Lets look at the pros and cons of feeding your cat dog food.
Can Cats Eat Dog Food – The Benefits
There are no benefits to feeding your cat dog food. Despite the fact it may be convenient on a day that you have run out of cat food, and you have reserves for the dog in the cupboard – nutritionally you are not doing your pet any favours by mixing up the diets.
Cats And Dog Food – Why is it bad for them?
Cats are actually carnivores, (where as dogs are omnivores). Because of this cats require higher levels of protein than dogs in the overall cat food ingredient ratio.
Cats also need an amino acid called ‘taurine‘ in their diet. They are unable to produce this within their bodies. Taurine is a present in the majority of cat food products.
Dogs meanwhile can physically create taurine themselves – as a result dog food has no reason to include it.
If your cat does not have taurine in their diet, the consequence can be severe. Heart disease and other health problems may occur.
A Healthy Cat Diet
A cat needs a different form of Vitamin A compared to dogs. Dog food contains lot of beta-carotene and is an efficient way for dogs to absorb Vitamin A.
Cats need their vitamin A delivered via their food in a different way. Commercial cat foods accommodate this nutritional need.
Another deficiency a cat will experience if fed only dog food, would be the absence of arachidonic acid in their bodies. This is a fatty acid that cats are unable to produce themselves, therefore need it in their food. Dogs on the other hand, do not.
The Bottom Line
While a small amount of dog food on rare occasions will not harm your cat, over a longer period of time your cat will be missing out on essential parts of a healthy diet.
Common sense has to prevail here. They are two very different animals, giving your cat dog food is not caring for them in a way a loving owner should.