Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

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Can Cats Eat Dog Food

If you have more than one pet in the household, there might sometimes be an occasional munching of each other’s food. While doing so will not harm your cat if done now and then, long-term feeding dog food to cats is not the best idea.

This is because the nutritional needs and the way their bodies are made are very different. Today let’s answer this question, whether it is okay or not to give dog food to your cat.

Nutritional Needs of Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs are very much different creatures. As their bodies are made differently, how they process food, and the nutrients they need are very different. Cats, for example, are obligate carnivores. This means they require a massive amount of protein in their diets, especially as they cannot process plant-based proteins. This is why their diet should consist of a lot of meat-based and animal proteins.

Dogs, however, are omnivores. They can process the plant nutrients much better than cats, and their diets are much more flexible. Feeding your cat a dog diet with plant ingredients is not the right thing to do.

Compositions of Cat Food

Cats, for example, have food filled with proteins, just as they require. Taurine, for example, is an essential ingredient without which they might get sick. This amino acid is necessary to maintain heart function, reproduction, and vision. There are some instances of cats turning blind when taurine deprived.

As taurine is only present in animal proteins, feeding a plant-based diet will be harmful. The cat’s foods contain many proteins, fat, calories, whole food ingredients, animal proteins, animal-based fats, digestible fiber and carbohydrates, essential minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and enzymes.

In addition, the food is free from any byproducts, artificial additives, or fillers, making it perfect for the cat’s digestive system and body.

Bengal cat eating food from metal bowl
A Bengal cat is eating food from metal bowls

Why is Cat and Dog Food Different

The differences between cat and dog food are important to consider. For example, the taste is different. This is important to know because cats taste food differently than dogs. For example, they cannot taste sweetness. In addition, cats and dogs also have different amounts of taste receptors.

Surprisingly, cats have only 470 taste buds, while dogs have around 1700! Cat food, therefore, is specially made to be very delicious so that cats can fully enjoy it. Feeding your cat bland dog food will get it uninterested. Therefore, mostly you will see cats not liking dog food while it different the other way around.

Cat and dog food have different amounts of proteins. Cats need a lot more of it as they are obligate carnivores. Some dog foods do have a high protein level. However, not even those are enough for a cat’s diet; therefore, feeding your cat dog food will be like depriving it of its most crucial dietary need.

To be exact, dog foods mostly have a protein amount of about 18-26%, which is insanely low for a cat, as cat foods require at least a 40-50% protein content.

Mix wet and dry foods for your cat
A mix of cat dry and wet food

Cats also require taurine, which is not present in dog food. Cats need this essential ingredient and are unable to make it; therefore, it is vital to make sure that their diet has it. Without taurine, your cat might get a weak heart, digestion problems, and other harmful effects, including vision loss.

Another essential ingredient for cats is Niacin. Cats cannot make this on their own as well. Mostly, animal tissue has this nutrient while plants do not. As dog foods have more plant content than dog food, the cat’s needs may not be met.

Arachidonic acid is another essential element in a cat’s diet. Cats cannot produce this one as well. Without this, cats might more frequently suffer from abnormal kidney and liver problems or skin issues. As dogs can make this fatty acid by themselves, their food mostly does not have it, which is not a good idea for cats.

Vitamin A is also an important element in a cat’s diet. Dog foods do have some Vitamin A supplements; however, the problem is that these are not enough as much as needed by cats. When cats get a low amount of Vitamin A, they may get a poor quality coat, night blindness, or muscle weakness.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Yes, cats can eat dog food, and it may fulfill their nutritional needs for a while; however, this will never be enough in the long term.

Feeding a cat dog food is more like a last-term resort and should only be done for a short while. Otherwise, your cat can suffer from some severe health issues.

Cat eating dry food from bowl
A cat is eating dry food from a bowl

Is Dog Food Safe for Cats?

Is dog food bad for cats? No, It isn’t bad for cats. It doesn’t have any toxic elements that might harm your cat; however, it will not efficiently fulfill the nutritional needs. Your cat won’t get sick in the short term. As long as your cat is healthy, the dog food is generally safe and will not harm you.

Make sure to check your cat and its needs before feeding it anything. You should make sure that your cay doesn’t develop the habit of eating dog food in the long term.

Is Feeding Dog Food to Cats Beneficial at All?

If your cat needs a high moisture level, then feeding wet dog food should be fine. Can cats eat wet dog food? Well, apart from the moisture levels and other ingredients, there are many essential nutrients your cat requires.

These foods will fulfill only some nutritional needs while leaving out the others. This is mainly because commercial foods are specifically designed to meet your dog’s or cat’s needs. Therefore, a food formulated for a dog is not enough for a completely different species.


Now you know that it is best to avoid your cat eating dog food. However, if your cat has started to eat dog food, there are ways to prevent that. For example, you could keep the food out of your cat’s sight.

This will prevent the cat from thinking about it. You could also give your pet food at different times in different rooms, which will keep the cat away from dog food.

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