There are many people out there that own both a cat and a dog (or more). The question here is whether their food is the same, and what would happen if a cat ate dog food? Is this safe for your kitty, or is it something you should stop as soon as you notice? Let’s talk about the differences between cat and dog food.
Why Does My Cat Keep Eating Dog Food?
The most obvious reason is that cats are meat-eaters. The smell of dog food might be tempting for them, and they will try to sneak a bite or six. The cat might dislike its own food, and we all know that the grass is always greener on the other side. This isn’t something that should worry you, and it is not dangerous if it happens.
However, feeding your cat dog food is not something you should do regularly. A small amount from the dog’s bowl won’t harm the kitty, but you shouldn’t allow it to do it often.
Dog and Cat Food Are Different
The first thing you need to understand is that cat and dog food are different. This is also one of the reasons they are sold separately. Manufacturers don’t just put different stickers on the same food.
Cats taste everything differently. They don’t have the ability to taste sweetness, and they have 470 taste buds. Cat food is rich in protein, but it also has taurine, fatty acids (arachidonic acid), vitamins, niacin, and other substances.
While dogs still need protein, they also eat grains and vegetables as part of their omnivore diets. Cats are carnivores, so protein is all they need (and want).
Can Cats Eat Dog Food for a Couple of Days?
It is not recommended. Keep in mind that dog food is not dangerous for cats. They won’t get sick or anything similar, but it lacks the high protein levels their own food has. If it is an emergency, then it is perfectly fine for your cat to eat this type of food.
We all know that cats are curious, and the smell of the food might be too tempting to resist. So if you happen to run out of cat food and there is no store nearby, letting your cat eat food out of the dog’s bowl is not a problem. However, you shouldn’t make this a regular practice, and you should try to avoid it as much as you can.
What About the Long-Term?
The main difference between cats and dogs is that cats are carnivores. They require high levels of protein, and without it, the cat will lose muscle mass; it will become lethargic and have problems staying healthy.
Furthermore, cats require taurine as well. This amino acid is essential for vision, fetal development, heart function, immune system, etc. So replacing cat food with dog food is a bad idea, and it will cause many problems.
This is not a long-term solution, and cat owners should ensure that their feline has a proper diet. The difference in food is significant, and it is not even recommended for a dog to eat cat food. If this happens, it can lead to obesity and even pancreatitis. Cat food is too much for dogs to handle, and dog food doesn’t have enough protein and healthy cat stuff.
So if it happens a few times, it is perfectly fine, but don’t let it become a habit.
Life Stages and Food
Not only are these two types of food different, but a cat’s diet requires different nutritional levels based on its life stage. There are three categories for cat food you can find — growth, maintenance, and all life stages.
Growing kitties require more nutrients, while older cats need protein to keep their muscle mass. As we have mentioned, dog food doesn’t have enough of either, and it cannot support a cat at any life stage.
Keep in mind that seeing cats eating dog food is not that common. The taste is not good, and it is not something they can live on. If you are wondering about the easiest way to solve the problem of your cat eating your dog’s food, the answer is separate feeding areas. While it is perfectly normal for us to dine together, cats are loners. They would rather eat alone, and putting food for your dog and cat in different parts of your home might be the solution you need.