Is it okay to feed cats dog food?

May 20, 2008 5:19am CST
I would have thought since it's just meat in a tin it would be okay but I'm not sure. A friend has said it isn't because there is something in dog food that is great for dogs but not good for cats. I'm pretty sure I remember one of my friend's cat used to just eat dog food and was fine. Does anybody know for sure?
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7 responses
@MissK1 (214)
• Portugal
20 May 08
Well, I never fed my cats dog food, but I never had a dog either... lol My pet rabbit used to eat from my cat's bowl and he's fine. So if your cats like dog food, I don't think that there's any problem with that.
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20 May 08
Aren't rabbits vegetarian I bet the cat wasn't too happy about it.
@MissK1 (214)
• Portugal
20 May 08
I thought they were vegetarians too lol. And no, my cat wasn't happy at all. Since that time, he started ambushing the poor rabbit. He used to hide near his bowl and when the rabbit approached it, he would jump on him lol
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20 May 08
I bet the rabbit thinks twice about it now.
• United States
20 May 08
Nope. I wouldn't do it deliberately. It may not make your cat sick to eat it once, but repeatedly, they may have nutritional deficiencies, etc, as cats and dogs have very different nutiritional needs. Like what was said before, they may get sick because they produce or don't produce different amino acids as well.
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• Canada
20 May 08
I agree with you wholeheartedly! My understanding from my vet, is that dogs and cats have totally opposite digestive systems...digestive acids, and cats need a much higher concentration of specific proteins,and much less fibre than dog food! Cheers!
1 person likes this
20 May 08
It does seem strange that though they would both eat the same prey in the wild, pet food has been specifically designed for each species. I'm surprised cats need less fibre especially after the damage done to my houseplants.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
20 May 08
The only thing I think I know for sure is this. Cat's can't produce their own taurine, an amino acid, that dogs can. Usually when they eat mice and birds, they get it from them somehow. They actually get lots of stuff from the stomachs of their prey like nuts, berries, seeds and the enzimes to help digest it all. Dog food is formulated for the nutritional needs of dogs. They have a heavier frame and different energy requirements. Cat food is formulated for the nutritional needs of cats. They sleep for long periods of time and suddenly move very fast. They eat smaller amounts of food and usually higher amounts of meat to other ingredient ratio. Dog food often has around 26% meat dry and cat food often has 32% meat dry. 6% difference. Not sure what taurine does. Not sure what the difference in meat percentage does. Take care.
20 May 08
I remembered vaguely there was a difference between cat and dog food, thanx Writersedge for reminding me. I would guess that dog food might cause a lazy cat to get fat, as it is designed for a bigger and more active animal.
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@writersedge (22579)
• United States
24 Jun 08
Thank you very much for best response.
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@egdcltd (6972)
20 May 08
I spoke to a vet about it once, and he said you shouldn't. Can't remember about feeding cats dogfood, but catfood is far too fattening for dogs.
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20 May 08
After what Writersedge said I would have thought it would be the other way around.. I thought it might just be a marketing ploy to make us spend more on the correct food.
@TriciaW (2441)
• United States
20 May 08
My cats eat dog food. I used to buy them different food but found they were eating out of the dog's bowl and not theirs. They are surviving just fine. It also saves me money on getting different food.
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20 May 08
Typical contrary cats I wondered if it was cheaper to get dog food or cat food. It is just meat after all. As long as the cats are healthy I suppose it's okay.
@mummymo (23707)
20 May 08
I didn't think it was a good idea as I knew (or thought I did) that there was something cats need to nourish them that wasn't in dog food , since I wasn't sure I had a check and sure enough I found this link! http://cats.about.com/od/catfoodandnutrition/f/dogfood.htm Hope this helps! xxxx
1 person likes this
20 May 08
Thanx Mummymo, like you I couldn't think what it was and the link was very helpful. I wouldn't buy dog food for cats anyway but it's good to know that there is a good reason not to.
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@mummymo (23707)
20 May 08
Glad to be of a little help foxfire sweety! xxx
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@Marg12 (329)
• United States
20 May 08
I can't remember the reasons, but I think it is not good at all to let a cat eat dog food. The dog food and the cat food are made especially for either a dog or cat. I think there is something in the dog food that the cat cannot digest. And it isn't good thing to let a dog eat cat food, just for the reason that someone else had mentioned, and that is it is very fattening for the dog. Anyway, I do believe that it would be better for the cat to have cat food. Don't have a clue what happens if the cat eats dog food and maybe they would be just fine. I have just always heard that it just isn't healthy.
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20 May 08
I think the cats are okay if they eat it, as I'm sure my friend's cat was but there is not the same nutrition and I can't think why someone would buy dog food for cats. I never thought about it being fattening though.