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Can Cats Eat Dog Food Too?

Published on November 22, 2011 by in BARF

Question: Help! I ran out of food for my cats. Can I feed my cats dog food instead?

Answer: As you will soon learn, the answer to this question is yes they can…however, be prepared to experience the result of doing so.

It is estimated that 90 percent of disease in animals is related to poor nutrition. What you get from having your cat eat from the dog’s bowl is a lack of proper nutrition for a feline animal.

To properly understand the difference you have to look inside of the feline’s mouth and analyze their dental structure. You will notice that a cat’s teeth have been designed for ripping and tearing of flesh. Therefore, does it make sense then that a dry, heat-processed feline diet is appropriate nutrition for this species? Of course not, meat is what they crave!

Cats are called obligate carnivores. This means that they are dependent upon meat as the basis of their diet and the most appropriate form of meat would be a fresh, raw meat source. A diet that contains 60 to 80% meat is close to what they would consume in the wild.

Supermarket cat food and even the exclusive veterinary brands are not what nature has intended for our felines to eat. If a cat eats from a dog’s food bowl that was comprised of raw meat, vegetables, and a few grains the cat would have a potentially adequate nutrient base. Yet there is much more of a difference between diets for dogs and diets cats if they are consuming a dry kibble diet.

There are essential nutrients that felines need that cannot be acquired naturally from eating a cooked or kibble diet. Taurine for example is an essential amino acid that is found in raw meat (mainly organ meats), which is destroyed by the heat process of cooking. Cats lacking this essential amino acid can become sick and taurine deficiency can lead to heart complications.

Feeding cats a cooked meat diet also weakens their digestive system and makes them more susceptible to parasites and infections from sources such as tapeworms (transmitted via fleas). When a cat is fed a fresh, raw meat diet, his intestinal tract remains clean and strong. The digestives juices are potent, and the environment within the bowel is inhospitable to worms, salmonella, and so forth.

Also, be aware that cats that are free-fed (meaning that a bowl of dry kibble is left out for the cat to graze on throughout the day), can lead to an environment conducive to the formation of urinary crystals and calculi over time. That is because the urine becomes more alkaline which is the right medium for crystal formation.

It is ironic however, that a dog can eat a cat food diet and gain sufficient nutrition from it. A canine has a better adaptability to convert the nutrients in a cat diet to a sufficient nutrient level. Basically the cat diet requires a higher level of protein and a few added vitamin and mineral supplements in order to gain a sufficient nutrition base.

The main lesson to be learned is:
• A cat needs fresh, raw meat to thrive and function nutritionally.
• A cat has a greater demand for a higher level of protein
• In order to convert a raw meat diet for dogs to a diet appropriate for your cat, you will need to add 20 to 25% more meat protein to the diet. This becomes a very simple process to convert your dog’s diet to a proper cat diet.
For more information on raw diets for our pets, please visit www.barfworld.com.

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7 Comments  comments 

7 Responses

  1. People who don’t cook animal’s food before feeding it to them are asking for food poisoning their animals. A wolf in the wild only lives 5-7 years. One in captivity can live 15 years. Would you deliberately shorten the life of your pet because “holistic” sounds so great?

    “Holistic” is a marketing term used to describe the entire person or the entire animal. Like a cancer patient at a specialized hospital that gives then pastoral care, social services, one-on-one nutrional consultation from a registered dietician, and so on. Have you ever seen an ingredient on a food label named holistic? No, because it is an idea, not a food.

    Please cook the food and save your pets lives. Big commercial food companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars scientifically testing their Vitamin, mineral, anti-oxidants (treats free radicals), Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and other essential amino-acids that your animal’s bodies need. Like cats, they cannot make Taurine (essential amino acid), and if not included in their diet in the right amount, it will cause heart failure and blindness if gone untreated.

    I am just a concerned veterinary technician student learning that nutrition is not trial and error. Hill’s Diet, Purina Pro Plan, Eukinuba and other quality foods like these have specially qualified veterinarians that with additional PhD nutritional degrees that makes them the experts in animal nutrition. If you really want the best nutrition for your pet, get a consultation with a DMV nutritionist. He or she can design a home COOKED diet especially formulated for the needs of your pet.

    Hope this post makes it on the BARF website…

    • Gw

      Hills Science diet is what it says and vets are trained to sell that lab junk. How can you talk about what animals naturally do in the wild and then bring up science diet? Eukanuba is ok but I think it’s just IAMS with a different label. Pro plan chicken and rice is good and mid range price.

      Any food that u do look at, look for the first ingredient to say chicken or beef and not say bi product right after it.

  2. Great blog Rob. Many people have pets but they don’t know about the proper food they should be giving them. And I know a lot of people who give dog food to their cats and they don’t know that its wrong. This post should help all the cat and dog owners who don’t know what is good for their pets.

  3. I’d should examine with you here. Which isn’t one thing I normally do!
    I enjoy reading a publish that can make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to

  4. jojo bottrill

    I have recently switched my cat to the barf diet. My friend recommended it who feeds his dog on it and he gave me some. My cat loves it but I’ve just found out that their is a version for cats. It is more expensive, over twice the price. Does anyone know if it is safe to give a cat the dogs version if barf? It has quite large pieces of bone in that the cat one doesn’t. Now I’m worried i ight have caused some damage inside his stomach. Does anyone have any info on this?

    • Monica Samson

      Hello Jojo,

      The BARF Diet is properly formulated for both dogs and cats and contains a natural source of taurine (which cats need) in the organ meats we use in our diet. To feed your cat, use the same feeding chart as the one for dogs – basically 3 ounces of food for every 5 lbs. of your cats body weight. Give us a call if you would like to give The BARF Diet a try for your cat. We have plenty of cats on our diet that are doing well.

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