Can cats eat dog food? The short answer is no, they shouldn’t. Even though it’s probably not deadly for your cat to take a bite or two of dog food, they shouldn’t indulge very often in their canine pals‘ dinner.
While sneaking in the occasional bit of dog food won’t always result in an medical emergency for your cat, there are a number of reasons why cats should not be fed food meant for dogs.
Here’s why your cat should not eat dog food, even if they have done so before without serious issues.
Why Can’t Cats Eat Dog Food?
There’s a fundamental difference in the dietary needs of cats and dogs, and that means commercial cat and dog foods are prepared differently.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to get most of their nutrition from eating other animals. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores, so they can feast on both plants and meats for their nutrition. Feeding your cat dog food risks depriving your cat of their essential dietary needs.
Secondly, there are more specific nutrients that cats require from their food. Vitamin A is essential and must be part of your cat’s food, whereas dogs are able to turn beta-carotene into vitamin A. This means most commercial dog foods won’t provide your cat with enough vitamin A.
Taurine is an essential amino acid that cats also require in their food. Once again, a dog’s body is able to make its own taurine, whereas a domestic cat will rely on their food to supply it.
What Cat Health Issues Can Come From Eating Dog Food?
If your cat does not get enough taurine in their diet, they can find themselves suffering from a range of illnesses that include deafness, blindness and heart issues.
If not provided with the correct amount and balance of vitamins in their diet, a cat could become lethargic, suffer from gastrointestinal ailments, experience seizures, and even die.
So while you don’t need to panic if your cat somehow sneaks into some of the dog’s food, do not be tempted to feed them dog food on a regular basis.
Have you ever lived with a cat who kept trying to eat dog food? How did you keep it away from them? Let us know in the comments below!