If you live with mixed species pets, it can be easy for cats to sneak a bite from their canine housemate’s food bowl from time to time. While this may not cause harm, it would be ideal if cats consumed high-quality feline diets tailored specifically to meet their dietary requirements.
Why Cats Eat Dog Food
One or two bites of dog food won’t do any lasting damage to your cat, but if they make it an ongoing habit or start replacing their usual meals with that of their feline companion, it could have serious repercussions for their health. Cats need amino acid arginine that dogs don’t require; eating only dog food could leave your feline lacking this vital nutrient.
Dogs also possess an additional need for an omega-6 fat called arachidonic acid that is only readily available from meat sources; while dogs can produce it themselves in their livers. Cats cannot.
Many pet owners opt to feed their cats a raw diet, which contains more meat and less plant-based ingredients than kibble. Unfortunately, cats shouldn’t consume this form of nourishment due to potential food-borne pathogens and medical conditions posed by it; before considering this route for their cat’s nutrition, seek advice from your veterinarian regarding safe feeding practices.
Dog Food Taste
Cats have different nutritional requirements from dogs, so using dog food as cat food would not be beneficial. While nibbling a bit here and there may not be harmful, cats should receive all their nutrition through their own food source.
Tastes may differ among dog foods, but most contain proteins like chicken and beef which appeal to cats who are obligate carnivores. Furthermore, some products use meat byproducts and grains such as rice or peas to increase protein content without increasing muscle meat consumption.
Many have asked what dog food tastes like, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some report it tasting bland and unappetizing while others have noted similarities with Grape-Nuts cereal or milk. If you want to know exactly what your pup’s food will taste like, try it yourself first and see.
Dog Food Texture
Though cats and dogs may appear similar, their nutritional requirements differ dramatically. Cats are carnivores who require meat proteins and animal fats in their diet for survival while dog food contains more carbohydrates which do not meet all their dietary requirements.
An animal’s taste in food may depend on scent, taste and texture; many picky eaters will prefer wet meals over dry kibble due to being more suitable to their chewing ability than hard, dry pieces.
Palatability in pet foods can also be determined by their texture and type of fiber used. A study discovered that dogs preferred dog food made from large sugarcane fiber particles over those made with smaller particles; initial crispness and grittiness were considered less critical. Furthermore, binding agents and emulsifiers used to formulate wet and dry pet foods also contribute significantly to overall palatability; examples include IsoNova Technologies’ functional egg product Ova 70 which creates soft chewy mouthfeel in wet formulas while Fiberstar Citri-Fi TX can texturize plant-based protein ingredients while simultaneously reducing crumbling biscuit treats.
Dog Food Choice
Your cat may enjoy snacking on some dog food every once in awhile, but it should never become part of their regular diet. Dog food cannot meet all her nutritional requirements (e.g. taurine and arachidonic acid).
Your vet may recommend alternative diets, like raw or homemade food, that could be healthier for your cat than commercially available foods. Before making such changes to their diet, be sure to speak to him or her first.
At its core, your cat’s food selection will depend on her preferences for texture and taste. But if she keeps raiding the dog bowl regularly, it might be worth speaking with your vet to explore your options in ensuring she gets an ideal diet that keeps her both happy and healthy.