Your cat should never eat table food or dog food. Although table food or dog food is OK for an occasional snack for your cat, these foods should never replace cat food. When a cat is allowed to eat dog food or table food, it will be a possible challenge to get your cat weaned off the dog or human food.

Dog food will not hurt your cat if they eat these things on a rare occasion. Table food and dog food have essential nutrients for humans and dogs, not cats. Never allow table food or dog food to become your cat’s primary food source. If you have a dog and a cat, they are going to, at some point, get into each other’s food bowls. While pets are likely to share meals, this is not good practice to carry every day.

Why Does My Cat Keep Eating Dog Food?

The main reason cats eat dog food is that cats are attracted to dog food. The second reason is that a cat will do what a cat wants to do. If there is no dry food set out for your cat and you do not or have not fed your cat wet food, and there sits a bowl of dog food, your cat is likely to eat it. If you have multiple cats, you may find that one cat is drawn to eat the dog’s food while the other cat has no interest. Whether or not your cat eats dog food is an individual cat preference.

Why your cat keeps eating dog food presents a few other reasons. Some of the highest quality dog foods list most of their ingredients on the package. Included in these ingredients is a scent that manufacturers like Royal Canin put into their dog food to entice the dog to eat. Cats can sniff these scents and are drawn to the dog food.

You need to be sure to buy dry and moist food that attracts interest in your cat. If your cat does not like the brand, type, or consistency of the cat food you give your cat, it may wander towards a more appealing meal; your dog’s food bowl. If the texture of the dog food is different from your cat’s food texture, there is a possibility that your cat prefers the texture found in the food you feed your dog.

Cats are highly picky eaters. And until you find the type of cat food and the texture your cat likes, the cat may continue to eat the dog food. Every cat is different. Cats have individual likes and dislikes when it comes to buying cat food. You need to investigate your cat’s food and texture preferences. Consider what is in the dog food that draws your cat’s attention. Try to mimic the type and texture of the dog food your cat likes towards cat food brands.

Some cat breeds may also play a factor in why your cat eats dog food. Some cats have naturally shorter noses and pug faces that can interfere with their ability to pick up small cat food kibbles. The pieces of food in dog food varieties are larger than those found in cat food brands. The pieces of dog food may be more manageable for your cat to pick up and eat.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food? (wet or dry dog food)

Cats can eat dog food if the dog food is set out and made available for your cat. The same holds true for dogs eating your cat’s food. This is not a good or healthy practice for your cat to continue to eat dog food. While dog food will probably not make your cat sick, dog food does not contain all the necessary nutrients that a cat needs to keep it healthy. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs.

Cats who constantly eat dog food are not getting the vitamin A important for your cat’s health. Dogs cannot turn beta-carotene into vitamin A like a cat can. If your cat consistently eats dog food, it will not get essential taurine to keep its heart-healthy. Your cat could become deficient in this vitamin. Your cat can develop heart issues, such as cardiomyopathy, causing heart failure due to a lack of taurine in its body.

Domesticated cats and cats in the wild are natural meat-eaters. The amount of protein found in dog food will not meet the protein levels that a cat requires. Dogs do not need as high of a protein diet as cats. A cat can eat dog food on occasion. However, you cannot make dog food a regular diet for your cat because dog food does not provide complete nutrition for your cat. The following are essential nutrients your cat needs daily that are not found in dog food.

  • Higher protein levels
  • Taurine

The lack of taurine in dog foods that cats eat can weaken your cat’s heart, cause a loss of vision, and problems with the cat’s digestive system.

  • Arachidonic Acid

This fatty acid must be supplemented in your cat’s food because a cat’s body cannot make this essential nutrient, but a dog’s body can. Without these nutrients, the cat can develop abnormal liver and kidney levels and skin issues.

  • Vitamin A

Cats need vitamin A in their diet because a cat’s body cannot produce vitamin A. Dog food does contain vitamin A. However, the levels of vitamin A are too low to benefit a cat. Vitamin A deficiency means the cat will have poor quality coats and is likely to have night blindness, muscle mass deterioration, and muscle weakness.

  • Niacin

Cat bodies cannot make niacin, which is found in animal tissue. While plant life does have some small amounts of niacin, it is not enough to benefit a cat’s health.

The nutrients that cats need at every stage of their lives are lacking in dog food brands, and researchers say that dog food will not sustain a cat long-term due to lower levels of protein and the lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

The taste buds of cats are different than those of a dog.

  • Cats cannot sense sweet foods.
  • Cats have over 450 taste buds.
  • A dog has well over 1500 taste buds.
  • Cat parents have over 8075 taste buds.

Cat food manufacturers engineer cat foods to be tasty and entice even the pickiest cats to eat their product. Because dog food is significantly different from cat food, it is not common for a cat to even want to eat dog food. However, cat food is different and likely to draw a dog to a cat food bowl because most dogs love the higher protein content of cat food.

How to Get My Cat to Stop Eating Dog Food?

If your cat eats dog food once in a while, it will not harm them that minute. However, your cat can develop heart problems and other health issues if its primary diet is dog food. Dog food does not contain all the essential nutrients your cat requires to keep it healthy. Over time, your cat’s body will develop dangerous nutritional deficiencies.

You can keep your cat out of your dog’s food by changing feeding times and schedules for your cat and dog. Get your cat and dog on different feeding schedules and observe your cat and dog as it eats to ensure that it eats sufficient food made especially for them.

Feeding your dog means that you must monitor your dog to ensure that it eats all that it needs. As soon as your dog has eaten, pick up the food bowls and do not leave them sitting around for your cat to find and eat. Dogs that share their space with a cat benefit if both species are on a set feeding schedule.

When a cat shares its space with a dog, it is to the benefit of your cat if you set a feeding schedule away from your dog’s feeding schedule. It is wise to feed your dog and cat in different home areas.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.