Is eating dog food safe for cats? You may be wondering whether it’s harmful for cats to consume dog food. Perhaps you served your cat dog food by mistake, or your cat sneaked some food from the dog’s dish.

Small quantities of dog food, on the other hand, are unlikely to hurt a cat. Long-term feeding of dog food to cats, on the other hand, might cause difficulties. Although cat and dog food seem to be identical, there are several key distinctions.

Can you feed the dog food to cats? 

Yes, a cat may consume a tiny bit of dog without causing toxicity or long-term damage. This is a question that often arises during a veterinarian appointment.

The extended response, on the other hand, delves further into the contrasts between our feline and canine companions.

While a smidgeon of stolen dog food will not damage cats, it will not help them attain their optimal health.

Here’s everything you need to know about cat nutrition, including why you shouldn’t give your cat dog food in the long run.

Can cats eat dog food indefinitely?

Cats cannot be kept alive on a dog food diet. If a cat is solely given dog chow for an extended length of time, it may have negative, if not fatal, implications.

This is because the nutritional components in dog and cat food are different in order to suit the nutritional demands of these two species.

The nutritional requirements of cats and dogs differ.

While we share our hearts and homes with both dogs and cats, nature has shaped them into quite distinct creatures with very different dietary demands throughout time.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that all of their bodily systems need a diet of meat-based proteins and animal fats to operate effectively.

On the other hand, dogs are true omnivores. An omnivore’s diet is more versatile since they can consume both meat and veggies. The nutritional requirements of cats are not met by a dog food diet.

Can You Feed Dog Food To Cats? (Explained)

What Are the Differences Between Cat and Dog Food?

Here are a few important distinctions between dog and cat food formulations. Taste Cats and dogs have distinct tastes.

Cats, unlike dogs, do not have the capacity to detect sweetness, and the amount of taste receptors in each species differs. Cats have 470 taste buds, whereas dogs have 1700—by comparison, humans have nearly 9000.

Cat meals are designed to be very tasty in order to convince our fussy (and taste-bud-deficient) feline pals to consume them.

*As a side note, cats are seldom interested in eating dog food since it is unappealing to them. Dogs, on the other hand, like the tasty, high-protein composition of cat food.


Cats, being severe carnivores by nature, need food with much more protein than dog kibble. Although certain brands and kinds of dog food have greater protein levels than others, even these specialist dog meals do not meet the high protein levels required to keep cats healthy.

The protein content of most dog meals is 18-26 percent “As-Fed.” For cats, however, I normally suggest aiming for a protein level of 30-34 percent “As-Fed,” with a 40-50 percent protein canned cat food as an optional supplement.


Cats (and humans) are among the few animals who lack the capacity to produce taurine, therefore they must get it from their food.

Taurine deficiency in cats may result in:

  • Bruised hearts (dilatated cardiomyopathy)
  • Visual impairment
  • Problems with digestion

Taurine is now included to every commercially available cat food; however, it is seldom seen in dog food.


Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that cats cannot produce; it must be consumed. Low arachidonic acid levels in cats cause nonspecific indications of sickness, such as: 

  • Values of the liver and kidneys that are abnormal
  • Increased skin problems occur on occasion.
  • Because dogs can produce this fatty acid on their own, it is seldom added to dog food.

Vitamin A 

Another nutritional ingredient that cats cannot produce on their own and must be supplemented in their food is vitamin A. While vitamin A supplements are often found in dog meals, they will never be sufficient for good cat nutrition.

Cats that are deficient in vitamin A will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Coats of poor quality
  • Muscle degeneration and weakness
  • Night blindness may occur.


Niacin is essential in a cat’s diet since cats cannot produce it on their own. The most prevalent source of niacin in cat diet is animal tissue; nevertheless, vegetables contain minimal quantities of niacin.

However, a meal that has less animal tissue and more plant tissue, such as grains, may not provide cats with the necessary quantities of niacin.

Also Consider the stage of life of your cat 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a non-profit organization that constantly monitors and regulates the pet food market.

“…formulated to satisfy the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile for… (a life stage),” says the label on cat foods that follow AAFCO’s nationally accepted nutritional values. In the pet food market, life phases are divided into three categories:

  • Growth
  • Maintenance
  • Stages of life

Not only do cats have unique protein, vitamin, and dietary requirements, but these requirements change as they mature.

Fast-growing kittens need more nutrition and energy sources, but healthy senior cats require more protein to maintain muscle mass.

Dog food, with its lower protein and other nutritional content, cannot conceivably support a cat in any of its life phases throughout time.

Final words

It is possible for you to feed dog food to the cat. The greatest approach to guarantee that cats stay in our lives for a long time is to provide them a nutritious, high-quality food tailored to their specific requirements.

While dog food is harmless and will not hurt a cat if a few kibbles are consumed, it is not intended to match the nutritional requirements of cats. 

Related Article: 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat? (Explained)

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0], pub-5769274547049626, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie nameActive

Privacy Policy

Who we are

Our website address is:


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.


If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Who we share your data with

If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue. For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.

Nine-part guide covering all aspects of pet care


Save settings
Cookies settings