Dear Tabby: Can my Cat Live on Dog Food?
I live on a limited budget and have three dogs and a cat. I hate having to buy dog food AND cat food. Can’t my cat just eat the dog food?
Thrifty Cat Owner
While you might think it’s a good economical move to feed your cat the dog food, it’s not a solution. Cats are carnivores and need a much higher level of protein than dogs do and the dog food will not provide that for your cat.
Cat’s also need an amino acid called Taurine. Dog food does not usually contain it as dogs can manufacture it on their own. A cat lacking in Taurine is susceptible to a devastating heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
In addition, cats need Vitamin A, while dogs can create Vitamin A from beta-carotene, so it may not be supplied in their foods.
While an occasional meal or snack on dog food will not harm your cat, dog food is deficient in nutrients that are essential for your cats health, so it is not a viable long term food source for your cat.
Why dog food is not for cats…and vice versa