Pet food costs a lot of money in local stores already. The prices are even higher in pet stores or even veterinarian clinics. Dog food is in relationship to cat food way more food in content for the same price as cat food. Let’s take a look at whether cats can eat dog food.
Basic Cat Food Contents
Cats have very specific nutrient needs. Cats are carnivores and can only get their nutrients from meat related products. Cats need vitamins and minerals such as taurine as their base nutrients. Cats have absolutely no need for grain based fillers (wheat, corn, rice, potato), vegetables and fruits.
They have little need for vegetables and grains. It means that cats get all they need by solely consuming animal-based proteins.
As such are grains such as wheat, corn and rice as well as potatoes, which are actually a mandatory ingredient of the cheaper cat food brands, not very useful for your cat.
There is however one exception. Cats seem to eat grass to get folic acid, a B9 vitamin, which is important for the functioning of cats. Folic Acid is a component in liver, kidney, yeast, wheat, green vegetables and grass. It is not said though that the folic acid in wheat, yeast and green vegetables are easy to extract for the cats body.
To cat food they also add a number of vitamins and minerals as well as taurine, specific for cats.
Basic Dog Food Contents
Dogs are being fed, like us humans, an omnivore diet. Dogs can get their nutrients out of both vegetables, fruits and meat. Even dog food seems to contain fillers and other components dogs don’t need. And there are also fruits and vegetables (as well as nuts and other food types) that dogs cannot handle or are poisonous to them.
Strangely enough, dogs are like cats also carnivores by biological origin. So why are we feeding them omnivore diets? This seems to have to do with the adaption of dogs to a more widespread diet of grains, plant matter and meats, living along side us humans for many years.
Dog food also contains added vitamins and minerals, specific for dogs and their needs.
Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
Although not directly poisonous, dog food is not proper food for cats. Often when our family’s dog comes for a visit, I see our cats diving in for the dog’s food. I think it is because of the scent of the food.
The opposite is also the truth, also dogs love to take a nibble from our cats’ kibble. Dogs should neither eat cat food as it is rather high in protein and is not balanced in nutrients for dogs.
Dog food does for example not contain taurine, which is essential to cats, but generally the food for dogs is meant to dogs. So no matter how cheap or good your dog food might be, give your dog the dog food and your cat the cat food. Better be safe than sorry.
A cat not receiving beneficial minerals and vitamins, especially taurine, at least gets ill and will eventually die.
Apart from dog food, there are a number of other foods that are poisonous to cats.
How Do I Find Good Food For Cats?
As said before, cats need mainly animal protein based meats and a number of vitamins and minerals. When you are going to a pet store or a local supermarket, all you can go by is the (sometimes limited) ingredient list that is provided on the package, tin or bag.
Order Of Ingredients
If you didn’t know this yet, the ingredients are not in alphabetical order on the package, but rather in the order of what the product has most of in percentage first, followed by what has less and less percentage.
So the first ingredient on the ingredient list is the ingredient that the product has most of. With the animal protein based meat requirement, a good type of cat food should start with an animal type, followed by some secondary protein sources and then the other ingredients such as fillers, oils and vitamins/minerals.
Unfortunately many cat food producers try to play it cheap and will have the fillers listed highly on the list. With taking that into account, it is easy to figure out what is a potentially bad product for your cat and what will most likely be good, or better.
Consult Your Veterinarian
With that said, I would still advise to consult your cats veterinarian clinic on what food type is good and well-balanced for your cat. Of course, they can still be biased by the various marketing campaigns of pet food manufacturers, but they have at least a global idea of what is essential for specifically your cat and its history of health.
To give an example, a neutered/spayed cat has different needs than one that is whole. A cat that is active outside burns more than an inside cat. And a cat that has some sort of background illness, has very specific needs over a perfectly healthy cat.
So take the advise of your veterinarian into account and then look at the ingredient list found on the packaging, before you decide on what is best for both your cat and your wallet.
What is your experience concerning cat food and dog food? Share your comments below.