Angela Westfall
Your guide to this review today is by cat expert Angela Westfall
Published 16:02 pm

You may be reading this because you have run out of food for your cat, and you immediately remembered you once stumbled upon your cat, treating himself to a delicious meal from your dog’s bowl. Hence, you imagined it would be all right to feed your cat with it since your cat was licking his lips when he was eating. Or perhaps your cat is under the weather, and you are wondering if it is because of the dog food you fed him with last night. Cats tend to feed on food that doesn’t belong to them – from the meal in your bowl to your dog’s delicious beef stew mixed with vegetables are all potential targets for your cat. So, is it ok for cats to eat dog food? Since curiosity killed the cat, why don’t you read this article to put your mind at rest?

Cat and dog eating food from a bowl

What Nutrients Should be in Your Cat’s Food?

So, before we continue, let’s take a look at the nutrients your cat needs the most.

Cats are carnivores, meaning they are animals that eat or feed on their fellow animals; as such, you must serve them with meals that are rich in fats and protein. Your cat requires the following in their dish.

  • About 40% of the protein in your cat’s staple
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Fiber
  • Taurine
  • Carbohydrates that can be digested easily by your cat
  • About 18% of fats from animals

What Differentiates Your Cat’s Meal from That of Your Dog’s?

So, now you may be asking ‘can you feed cats dog food since your dog’s dish has a certain percentage of meat in it?’ Well, unlike cats, dogs are omnivores meaning your dog can eat from both plant and meat sources. As such, a dog’s meal may sometimes include more vegetables than meat and bear in mind that cats require about 40% of protein from animals in their meals. Also, occasionally some dog owners feed their dogs with more meat, and this might explain why your dog’s food can be appealing to your cat, especially if the chicken stew is flavorful.

Is Your Dog’s Food Good for Your Cat?

Vitamin A is a necessity in any cat’s meal; in contrast, dogs can manage with and convert beta carotene from their meal into the highly rich vitamin A instead. Even though there are times that your dog’s meal may have extra vitamin A, on many occasions, your dog’s staple will not contain the required portion your cat needs for his or her development and growth.

Amino acids, such as taurine and others, are also very essential for your cat’s overall health. Again, your dog’s dish may not have sufficient taurine, which is good for your cat’s heart muscle to function correctly. Taurine in your cat’s food also boosts your cat’s immune system, helps to improve his vision and prevent vascular diseases.

The right amount of protein in your cat’s dish is also very critical to his growth. While some dog foods on the market have a high amount of the protein needed for cats in their feeds, the majority of these meals do not meet the required standard of protein your cat needs. A Low amount of protein in your cat’s food can affect your cat’s muscle growth. However, desist from dishing out too much protein often to your cat as diets with high protein can cause harm to your cat’s kidney. It should be done in moderation.

Cats, unlike dogs, cannot make arachidonic acids on their own, which helps in regulating your cat’s skin development and also crucial for their reproductive system.

So, it is not prudent to regularly offer your dog’s food to your cat as your dog’s meal may lack the necessary nutrients that are vital for your cat’s growth and health.

Cat sitting near a metal bowl

What Will Happen if Your Cat Unintentionally Eats Your Dog’s Meal?

Cat eating dog food is unavoidable, especially if you have different pets in your household. As such, if your cat inadvertently has a bite of your dog’s lunch, stay calm, and don’t be anxious. Your cat eating your dog’s meal will not result in a fatal condition only if it is not continuously done, and as long as your cat is not allergic to the dog’s food. Assuming your cat’s staple is out of stock in your home or the local pet shop, giving your cat the dog’s dish in that emergency won’t harm your cat. However, it shouldn’t be a daily routine as your cat will not be able to sustain him or herself on a dog’s dish for long. In the absence of the required nutrients, your cat will grow weaker and become sluggish over time.

How Do You Keep Your Cat Away from Your Dog’s Food?

So even though it is sometimes unpreventable for cats to eat dog food, you can limit it through the following ways:

  • Have a feeding schedule

If you have multiple animals or pets at home, it is necessary to have a daily schedule for feeding your pets. If you do not have a feeding timetable in place, your cats will always roam about to look for food from your dog’s bowl when they are hungry. Have a regular place where you feed your cat, and as much as possible, their feed should be accessible to them at all times to prevent them from wandering about searching for food.

  • Have them feed in different locations

You can limit the number of times your cat feeds from your dog’s dish by stopping both your cat and dog from moving into each one’s food. To implement this action, you can fence off your dog’s food structure inside the crate to make it difficult for your cat to gain control of the food source. Also, you can serve your cat’s food on a raised structure, and the height of your cat’s building will prevent your dog from feeding on the cooked meal. By carrying out this action, you will reduce the frequency at which they consume one another’s food.

Cat eating from a metal bowl

To Summarize

Overall, while periodic sharing of your dog’s meal won’t harm your cat, life-long dependency on food made for dogs can affect his health. To ensure your cat grows and stays healthy, serve him with foods with the inscription ” only for cats.” Although there are some similarities in cat and dog food, there are also many great nutritional differences to bear in mind. Always take the appropriate actions to best manage multiple pets feeding time at home. So now that we have let the cat out of the bag, hopefully we have succeeded in putting your mind at ease.

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Angela Westfall
Angela has fostered, adopted, screened and saved cats for over 15 years. She is known as one of Central Ohio’s most passionate and knowledgeable cat enthusiasts. Her rescue, Angels Assisting Felines has partnerships with PetSmart and PetSuppliesPlus to help more cats find great homes.


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