Your cats must eat cat food. Dog food simply doesn't have the minerals, nutrients, and ingredients cats need as a part of their diet! An exclusive diet of dog food for your cat is not a good idea. Occasional bites of dog kibble will not harm your cat but this shouldn't become a habit.
If you run out of dog food it's OK to feed kibble to your cat for a day but it's not advisable and here's why:
PetMD.com tells us that some dog foods lack the appropriate amount of Vitamin A that cat needs to survive,
"Vitamin A must be supplied in cat food, whereas dogs can make do with beta carotene instead (their bodies can turn it into vitamin A). While some dog foods may contain additional vitamin A, many won't have the amounts a cat requires for a lifetime of optimum health."
1. Cats require taurine.
Not getting taurine will make your cat very sick! Taurine is a type of amino acid, and amino acids form the main constituents of all proteins. Taurine is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It is critical for normal vision, normal digestion, normal heart muscle function, and to maintain a healthy immune system. Taurine is an essential amino acid in the cat. Clinical signs are slow to develop.
2. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that cats need.
Dogs can produce arachidonic acid naturally while cats must ingest it through their meals.
3. Protein levels are another big reason not to feed cats dog food.
The Nest tells us,
"Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must eat animal-based proteins to obtain the nutrients they need to survive and maintain their health. The nutrient profiles of the Association of American Feed Control Officials state that the minimum amount of protein required by a dog food is 18 percent, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is 8 percent less than the minimum amount of protein required for cat food, which is 26 percent."
Always feed your cat and dog separately in two locations! Make sure your dog's bowl is out of reach.
Cats eating dog food is more common than you think. It does a lot of damage if this happens on a regular basis. So cat treats and your cat's diet cannot include dog kibble. Unless a freak snowstorm hits and then a day or two is ok if you're stuck with only dog food but remember to stockpile in the future. Your cat's health will suffer if this becomes a habit.
Does your cat enjoy dog food as a snack? Have you experienced this as an issue in your home? Leave us a comment and let us know!