Can My Cat Eat Dog Food?

Can My Cat Eat Dog Food?

Cat Eating
elycefeliz / Foter

Your cat will not be directly harmed by eating some dog food. So, can she eat dog food? Well, yeah…BUT… Should she eat dog food? NO!!

Many cats will obviously walk up to the dog’s bowl and start chowing down. After all, the dog food looks and smells much like cat food. Eating a little here and there won’t make your cat fall over dead, but dog food is definitely lacking in specific nutrients that cats require to be healthy.

If you continue feeding your cat a food made for dogs, a cat can actually go blind or develop a heart condition.  Pregnant cats can have miscarriages and other negative issues with their pregnancies and the fetuses.

Taurine – found in muscle meat, heart, and liver – is the difference between dog food and cat food. Taurine supplement has been added to commercial cat foods for years and almost all cat foods contain it. Cats require higher amounts of protein than dogs. They need this amino acid – taurine – in their food for optimum health and to prevent heart disease. Dogs make their own taurine. Isn’t that weird?

Another nutrient or supplement that cats need is Vitamin A and in a different form than the type of Vitamin A that dogs need. Cats also require a specific B-complex vitamin that isn’t found in dog food.

Dog food and cat food are made differently, as you can see. If a cat continually eats dog food, the cat’s health will be compromised. Kitty is missing important nutrients!

Cats are carnivores. They need meat (protein) in order to have a quality life. Dogs are omnivores. Dogs can eat more non-protein foods which include vegetables and even fruits. Cats are not able to digest those foods very easily when they eat an excessive amount. Dog food will have very little nutritional value for your cat.

The reverse is true, too. In other words, it’s not a good idea to let your dog eat your cat’s food! Cat foods can be high in calories, if a dog is chowing on it, so a dog that eats cat food could get fat. And fat pets are at risk for health problems.

If your pets steal each other’s food, try your best to keep them separate while they eat. In fact, once the pet indicates they are finished eating at that time, you should pick up any bowls containing uneaten foods. Otherwise, for example: the cat could wander over to the dog’s bowl an hour later and start eating his food!

Don’t worry about the pet not completely cleaning out the bowl every single time they are fed. They won’t starve – believe me! And the next time you plop that bowl down in front of them, if they had not ate everything from the previous feeding, then they’ll likely lick that bowl shiny clean!

>Feeding Cat


Jessie Cat says: Well, there are no dogs in my house. And if there were, after learning about their food, I’d stay away from it. After all, I’m the boss around here and have to stay in tip top condition to give orders to my humans!

Gina says: Yes – I agree with the first part. And yeah…*eyes rolling* for the second part.

8 responses to “Can My Cat Eat Dog Food?

  1. I have a cat that is 15 years old. She has recently refused to eat cat food. Instead, she steals the dogs food. If we take her away from the dog food she will stand at the door and cry non-stop until someone finally gives in and lets her in the dogs room again. Is there any supplements that I could purchase to add to the food she insists on eating?

    • Tasha: Don’t let your cat eat the dog’s food as it’s regular food. Bad idea. No-I wouldn’t try to add supplements. Dog food doesn’t provide the correct diet for a cat-it’s missing certain things (like taurine–see my article on page you posted this). Suggestions you can try or mix & match: DON’T free feed the pets. Feed dogs & cats in different rooms w/door closed between them. Feed dog (& cat) at specific times and keep apart. Food doesn’t need to be “out” all the time. They will learn to eat when the food is plopped down & after set amount of time, take the bowls away. If dog is large then use elevated feeding bowls so cat cannot walk up to bowls on the floor anymore. Try new cat foods to see if you can entice cat into eating her own food again. Some people use the heavier refillable treat balls & feed dogs that way — the dog has to “work” (which is great exercise) to get the food out of the treat ball/toy & gets fed in the process – as food spills out the dog eats up right away. So, there you go. Not saying this problem is an easy fix, but here are ideas. Good Luck!

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