Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
Imagine this: it’s been a long day and you’re ready to feed your pets for the evening, only to discover that you are all out of cat food. But while there are no cans of cat food anywhere, you still have a giant bag’s worth of dog kibble.
In situations like these, you might be wondering: is it safe for cats to eat dog food? Can you feed a cat dog food?
Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
In the short term, yes. Giving your cat a bowl of your dog’s kibble until you can go to the grocery store the next day will not harm your cat. But if your cat takes a liking to your dog’s food, you might have to deal with them trying to steal his food for the rest of their life.
Some cats don’t need the incentive to get a taste for dog food. A bite here and there should be alright, but contact your vet if your cat eating a large amount of dog food on a regular basis. Make sure you stay on the look out for any sign of illness or food allergy, such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, poor skin condition, or increased bathroom accidents.
But feeding your cat dog food should exclusively be a short term solution. Cats are obgliate carnivores, which means that they require protein from animal meat to survive. While dog food contains plenty of nutrients for dogs, a cat will find it lacking for their diet. For example, most dog food does not contain enough protein, taurine, and additional vitamins and minerals that cats need to support their health.
Plus, dog food contains more calories and fat than what is healthy for your cat to consume regularily.
Cats should not be fed dog food on a long term or frequent basis, but if it is an emergency, then it should be fine. However, there are plenty of alternative food options you can give to cats you should consider on those days when you run out of cat food.
What Alternative Food Should You Give Cats?
Generally, vetinarians recommend giving your cat food specially made for them as often as possible. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) work closely with the Food and Drug Association to determine what nutrients are needed for every animal in every stage of their life. Ideally, when you buy cat food, you are looking for brands that have the AAFCO logo on them.
But if you have no other choice, then most meat is a good substitute. Be careful when feeding your cat raw meat. While cats are capable of digesting raw meat, there is always a risk of your cat consuming harmful pathogens in the process. Your cat may also spread these pathogens to humans through cross-contamination with other areas of your home.
If you need to give your cat raw meat, here are a few ideas:
- Animal muscles and organs (such as from poultry, rabbit, and fish)
- Raw bones, ground to a fine powder
Avoid giving your cat anything that is spiced or contained added sugars or oils. Consuming too much of either can be potentially harmful to your cat.
If you have been feeding your regular food up until now, then make sure you get them their regular kibble or wet food as soon as possible. Don’t use running out of their food as an opportunity to completely change their diet. This can lead to digestive irregularity, and your cat won’t like it too much. If you ever need to change your cat’s diet, do so gradually to give your cat time to adjust.