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Can cats eat dog food?

Nutrition Science

Written by Karin Lundgren

Licensed Veterinary Nurse

I have been working for the last 10 years doing what I love - making sure our pets, especially cats and dogs, are healthy and happy. After graduating from SLU, in 2013, I have worked in both larger animal hospitals and smaller clinics, with anaesthesia, dentistry and nutrition.

Meet the team

From time to time we get questions about whether it is possible to give our insect-based dog food to cats as well - the short answer is no, and here we explain in a little more detail why cats cannot eat dog food at all.

Can cats eat dog food?

Petgood's insect-based dog food is specially developed for the dog's nutritional needs. Our recipe is therefore adapted to the dog's need for protein, fat, energy, vitamins and minerals.

Cats, on the other hand, are completely different animals than dogs. The dog is an omnivore while the cat is a carnivore. Cats have a higher need for fat and protein in their diet, and also another essential amino acid they need to get through the diet - taurine. Taurine is a vital amino acid for the cat, as a lack of this nutrient can lead to heart disease or serious eye damage and blindness. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that cats are fed with cat food - these always contain higher levels of taurine.

Besides taurine, there are also other vitamins and fatty acids that are essential for the cat to obtain through their diet.

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that is important for, among other things, the nervous system, the muscles and the function of the eyes. Dogs can absorb vitamin A from both animal and plant-based sources, such as carrots where beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by enzymes in the dog's body, just like in humans. Strict carnivores on the other hand, such as cats, need active vitamin A directly in the diet.

Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a vitamin that omnivores, such as the dog, can absorb in several ways, partly by converting the amino acid tryptophan to niacin in the body, and partly by eating a diet rich in niacin. Also here, the dog differs from cat, as cats can not convert tryptophan to niacin themselves, but need in directly in their diet.

Arachidonic acid, is an essential fatty acid for the cat, which is mostly available in animal-based sources. Dogs can assimilate this fatty acid from plant-based sources, while cats need it directly from animal-based ones.

All of these reasons give us the short answer to the question "can cats eat dog food?": No, they can not, as they are at risk of developing severe nutritional deficiencies.

So, no dog food for cats!

To ensure the best possible nutrition for our feline friends, our head veterinarian Dr Nicky Sluczanowski has put a tremendous amount of care and love into our cat recipe. We base the nutritional content in all our recipes on current recommendations from FEDIAF and the latest research. And insects are not plants - they are rich in protein and essential amino and fatty acids, just like the cat needs.