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Why Does My Cat Eat Dog Food? (And How to Stop It)

Why Does My Cat Eat Dog Food? (And How to Stop It)
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Cats are well known for being finicky and picky eaters so it can sometimes be baffling as to why your cat is sneaking over to eat your dog’s food. If this is your first time experiencing this, you might begin to worry about your cat eating the dog’s food.

Is it okay for your cat? Is there something wrong? You might watch to see if it was a one-off experience or if your cat is doing it repeatedly.

If you are concerned, it is good for you to know that in itself, it is not dangerous for your cat to snag a bite or two of your dog’s food.

What is more important is understanding some of the potential reasons why as well as knowing how to reduce how often it happens.

Is it Safe?

Ultimately, yes, it is safe for your cat to be eating at least a few bites of your dog’s food.

Of course, it is something that shouldn’t be prolonged and it shouldn’t replace your cat’s diet either. You will want to watch the cat to make sure that it is still eating its own food and that its own food still makes up a majority of its diet.

Dog food, however, should never make up the majority of your cat’s diet. This is, understandably, because dog food has the nutrients meant for dogs and not cats.

Cats and dogs, even small dogs, have vastly different dietary requirements and dog food cannot sustain a cat. Dog food lacks certain nutrients that your cat needs, such as Vitamin A.

This also applies to the amino acid taurine and the fatty acid arachidonic acid. Dogs can make these on their own so it is not included in dog food.

Cats need these and a cat who is deficient in taurine can develop dangerous heart conditions. And then there is a very simple problem. Cats require more protein than dogs do so dog food doesn’t meet a cat’s dietary requirements.

Why Do Cats Do it?

Unfortunately, cats cannot speak to people through words so it is impossible to know exactly why cats choose to eat dog food. However, there are several reasons why a cat might be enticed to do so.

For one, dog food tends to smell much more of meat than cat food does. As a carnivorous creature, a curious cat is going to be quite interested in the meaty aroma of dog food, meaning that it is going to take a few bites.

Another reason could be that a cat is simply interested in wet food. Cats love wet food so chances are that if it’s left out for the dog, the cat is going to snag a few bites out of it.

Cats, being the finicky eaters that they are, value the texture of their food quite a bit. One reason why a car is repeatedly eating the dog’s food is that the cat simply enjoys the way the tooth-cleaning, gum-massaging dog food feels in its mouth, as strange as this may be.

Some people have found that this is particularly true for breeds of cats that have short noses, specifically Persian cats.

And finally, it could simply be a matter of taste. In the same sense that desserts and comfort food often taste good but do not sustain you, it could be that your cat finds that the dog food tastes good, which is why it keeps going back to it.

Consider getting a similar flavor of cat food to the dog food if you believe that this is the case as this can partially cut down on the cat eating out of the dog’s bowl.

How Do You Make It Stop?

Speaking of making the habit stop, it can be hard to get a stubborn cat to stop eating out of the dog’s bowl. However, there are a few ways that you can do your best to keep it from happening.

The best way to get this done is to establish a feeding schedule for both pets. A feeding schedule means feeding the cat a set amount of food at specific times of the day, rather than leaving out food and letting the cats and dogs free-feed.

This removes the bowls of food from the equation and when there aren’t bowls of food out to graze from, your cat cannot eat dog food.

When the animals eat, you can watch them to make sure that the cat isn’t eating from the dog’s bowl. At the same time, you can consider moving the dog’s bowl farther away. This will further prevent temptation for the cat to go eat from it when it is on a feeding schedule.

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