If you have the pleasure of sharing your home with both a cat and a dog, there may be occasions when your cat samples your dog's food.
Some cats are fastidious about what they eat and would not go near your pooch's dinner, others will eagerly feast upon anything that takes their fancy.
Not if it is just an occasional sampling, there is nothing in Rover's food that would harm a feline.
It is not what is in a dog's cuisine that is the problem; it is what is not in it.
A cat should not be consistently fed a diet of food that is meant for dogs. Simply put, the two species have different dietary requirements.
Felines need a higher level of protein than do canines; the level of protein in Rover's chow simply is not enough for them.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that to enjoy a healthy life they must consume animal based proteins.
Dogs on the other hand, are omnivores, they can eat both animal and plant based foods.
Even if a particular brand of dog food does contain an increased level of protein, it is very possible that it comes from plants and so will not do your cat any good at all.
Also it is essential that cats have sufficient taurine (a.k.a. 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid,) a certain kind of amino acid, in their diet.
A cat not getting enough taurine can end up with heart disease, eye problems (including eventual blindness,) dental problems and even hair loss.
Queens that do not consume this amino acid in sufficient quantity over time, run the risk of pregnancy problems including smaller litters and stillbirths.
Taurine is added as a supplement to feline food. Any cat foodstuff labeled as approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials should include a minimum of 0.2% taurine in wet food and 0.1% in dry.
Canine foodstuff either does not contain any taurine or only tiny amounts that are insufficient for feline needs.
This is because dogs’ bodies can manufacture the amino acid naturally; they usually don't require the supplement.
Cats have significantly less capability, compared to dogs, to convert carotene (a pigment found in plants and vegetables such as carrots,) into vitamin A.
Cats need preformed vitamin A, found in animal tissue. A cat eating dog food would simply not get enough.
You may find that some brands of dog treats contain pretty much the same ingredients as cat treats. But even if the treat is formulated especially for dogs, a small amount very occasionally is not likely to harm your cat at all.
Of course treats are just that, treats, and should only be given to either animal occasionally.
If a cat eats dog food regularly she or he would be at risk of the above mentioned health problems.
Dogs of course, are liable to wolf down kitty's chow if given half a chance.
The consequence of the occasional nibble will possibly be a bout of diarrhea. But if Fido regularly feasts on kitties chow he will almost certainly become overweight and that's not a good thing. This is because of the higher protein and calorie content.
There are also nutrients that a dog needs that a feline menu will not supply.
It may have crossed your mind that as you have to keep a supply of cans for both of your animal friends, why not just keep a supply of one kind?
After all, to a human, there does not seem to be a great difference between the two. But now you know the reasons why that would not be at all good for the health of your pets. A cat eating dog food is a big no-no, so too is a dog eating food that is meant for cats.
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