Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Cats cannot survive on dog food alone, and the same holds true for dogs eating cat food. Cats need sufficient vitamin A and taurine to live healthy lives.  Dog food is lacking in these, as well as lacking in arachidonic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid present in animal fats) and adequate meat protein levels cats require.  Our feline friends require sufficient vitamin A and taurine to live healthy lives.  Dog food is lacking in these, as well as lacking in arachidonic acid and adequate meat-protein levels cats require.

Can cats eat human food?

Cats are carnivores.  Most of their diet should be made up of protein.  A raw food diet is not recommended, as, without cooking, the food can contain live bacteria such as listeria, salmonella or e-coli.

Some human foods that you can treat your cat to sparingly are cooked salmon, skinless chicken or turkey, lamb, cooked eggs or lean beef.  DO NOT feed kitty raw meat or fish, fat, bones or raw eggs.  Also, be sure NOT to add any spices or powders – they could be lethal!  In addition, NEVER feed kitty foods such as garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, shallots or chives.

It’s okay to feed some human foods such as a little steamed carrot, broccoli, green beans or asparagus.  A bit of blueberry or banana is safe.  Personally, I’ve never encountered a cat who liked fruits and vegetables, but there may be some cats who do.

Speaking of safe fruits – can cats eat strawberries?  Strawberries are non-toxic but do not offer much in terms of nutritional value.


Can cats eat chocolate?

A big, resounding NO because it can be lethal to cats.  Cats do not like chocolate unlike we humans, who go crazy for it.)  It contains an agent that is toxic to cats called theobromine.  Even white chocolate contains it.  This delicious food can give cats seizures, abnormal heart rhythms,  tremors, and death.

Other food (or foods) cats should not eat are dairy foods—milk, cheese, etc.  Cats are lactose intolerant.


On the flip side, can dogs eat cat food?

No, not in the long term, because this food is not properly balanced for a dog.  For one thing, it is so high in protein it can be hard on a dog’s liver and kidneys.  Cats need to eat meat as their primary food source.  On the other hand, dogs require more fiber than cat food provides.    There are four different types of commercial food for cats:

  • Canned food contains about 60-78% of water.
  • Semi-moist foods in pouches contain 25-35% water.
  • Fresh pet foods are similar in water content to canned foods
  • Kibble only has 3-11% of water.

So, further comparing the difference between food made for cats and food made for dogs – food made for cats tends to be higher in protein, fat and vitamins and minerals.  While cat and dog foods share many of the same ingredients, cats are obligate carnivores and require more protein, fatty acids, essential amino acids plus many vitamins.

It’s pretty clear what all this information shows – cats should eat cat food, dogs should eat dog food, with an occasional fruit or veggie treat you know is safe.