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Why Dog Food is Bad for Cats?
Posted on : 04/07/2014 04:47:25 AM

Many pet owners make the mistake of assuming that dog food is suitable for cats, when in fact nothing can be further from the truth. Cats are obligate carnivores, unlike dogs which are facultative carnivores. This means that while dogs can eat almost anything, cats survive almost entirely on meat and meat products.  But led by the mistaken belief that cats can eat dog food and vice versa, pet owners constantly feed their furry animal dog food without realizing the damage the food is doing to its system. Constantly feeding the cat dog food or dog food in large quantities may cause permanent harm to it, and may even end up taking its life. If you don’t want such ill fate to befall on your beloved pet, make it a point today to learn about the eating habits of the cat, what you should feed it and what you shouldn’t, and importantly what are the major differences between dog food and cat food. Once you understand these points you will also realize why we need special food for cats.

The nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are different

From a nutritional point of view, both the cat and the dog respond differently to the nutrients you are giving them. Dog food is generally rich in Vitamin A and helps improve metabolism in dogs, but surprisingly it doesn’t have the same desired result in cats. Vitamin A in moderate amount is essential for the cat’s night vision and also keeps its skin healthy, but when taken in large amounts as is the case with dog foods, may cause lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, lameness, constipation, allergies, and rough hair coat condition in cats. The body of the cat is designed differently than a dog, and the sooner you realize this reality, the better it is for your cat.

Taurine is an essential component of a cat’s food

The diet you are giving your cat is incomplete unless you have included taurine in it. An amino acid, it is essential for the normal functioning of the cat and can be found only in animal tissues, like fish, beef, and poultry. Taurine deficiency may lead to a multitude of health issues including heart problems, respiratory tract disorders, blindness, hair loss, and tooth decay. When it comes to dogs, taurine is not a non-essential component as  they have the ability to convert beta-kerotene to Vitamin A, an ability cats lack.  To compensate for this inability, you must include pre-formed Vitamin A in your cat’s diet.

Cat food should be rich in thiamine

Dog foods don’t fulfill the thiamine requirement of cats, which incidentally requires on an average fives times more thiamine than what a normal dog needs. So, feeding dog food to the cat would lead to thiamine deficiency which in turn would mean a long list of health issues like loss of appetite, a hunched posture, and neurological problems. If unchecked the condition can even prove fatal for the cat.

Cats need protein rich diet

Cats need a lot of protein to keep them going as they use it as a direct source of energy. A healthy cat food should contain around 30 percent protein, whereas a dog can easily manage with around 25 percent protein. This 5 percent difference is enough to make life hell for your cat though, and you should take care that this never happens.

Cats need arachidonic acid, but dogs don’t

Cats require this essential fatty acid, but don’t have the ability to synthesize it in their diet. So, while buying food for your cat, make sure that it contains arachidonic acid, which is used by the cat to maintain its skin and coat, for normal kidney function and for reproduction. An omega -6 fatty acid, it also helps in healing inflammations. As for dogs, they are born with the ability to synthesize this acid in their diet and don’t need it separately. The implication is that since dogs don’t need this acid, dog food also don’t contain this component. So, feeding your cat dog food as a replacement for more cat specific food could mean you are depriving the cat an essential element necessary for its natural functioning.

The above points amply highlight that dog food is not the answer for cat food. In fact, it is a little bewildering that when there are so many special foods for cats available in the market, why would anyone feed cats dog food. If this is due to ignorance, it is time it was rectified. Cats are some of the most loved pets, it has already become the most popular pet in the United States, and if you don’t want it to suffer, get your priorities right. Cats are carnivores and trying to make them anything else by changing their food habits would only cause trouble for the poor cat and its owner and would not serve any useful purpose. Long live cat food!


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