Cat eating Dog Food? Help! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Cat eating Dog Food? Help!

My husband and I have just recently moved and therefore the critters have too. Shortly after moving..Murray, my cat , stopped eating his cat food and started eating only the dog's food. We have not changed Murray's food and nothing other than location has changed. He did eat his food fine for the first week we were here in the new house after which time he stopped and began eating the dog food. Murray has also taken to pooping outside the litterbox. We had ran out of his kitty litter and had to use an offbrand that does have a bit different texture so I did attribute this problem to him possibly just not liking the litter. I have since picked up his favorite kitty litter (cat attract) and just switched his box back over today. I'm hoping its the solution to that little problem.
I am looking for suggestions however as to what to do about his eating habits. How do I get him to eat HIS food again rather than the dogs? He hasn't lost any weight at all on this funky diet (at least not as of yet anyhow) but we've just been living here a bit over a month so far so its only been a few weeks since he stopped eating his cat food. He is being fed Solid Gold Catz-n-Flocken Dry. He has eaten this with gusto for the last four to five months so its not as though its a food thats new to him. The dogs food is Sensible Choice (aka Royal Cainin) Natural Blend Holistic Dog Food-Adult. The ingrediant and nutritional info is below for the dog food..
Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein Not less than 26.0%
Crude Fat Not less than 15.0%
Crude Fiber Not more than 3.0%

Moisture Not more than 10.0%
Omega 6 Not less than 3.1%
Omega 3 Not less than 0.55%

Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken, oatmeal, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavor, dried tomato pomace, flax, fish meal, brewers dried yeast, dried egg product, canola oil, potassium chloride, salt, extract of chicory, apples, blueberries, spinach, sweet potatoes, dried kelp, dehydrated alfalfa meal, yucca schidigera extract, cloves, parsley, calendula, dandelion, basil, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, extract of rosemary, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, vitamin A acetate, fish oil, sage, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus diacetylactis fermentation product, folic acid.

Murray isn't real fond of Wet cat food...he only likes the broth but I did manage to get him to eat a bit of a can of Merrick Grammys Pot Pie Canned Cat Food. He seems to enjoy it but didn't it but maybe a third of it. He had been eating some dog food already this evening however so I'm wondering if he'd have eaten all the Merrick Canned if he had been actually hungry. Is Merrick even a good choice to feed?
I am very very very picky as to what any of my critters eat, expecially my Murray kitty. I've been trying hard to find a quality human grade holistic cat food (and dog food) for some time now without much luck. I like the Merrick food label...however I had heard cats could not digest vegetables so why does the Merrick have veggies and fruits in it? Not understanding. The same was thought for Wellness Dry when I had looked into it for my cat. Yes I am very! Any suggestions or advice on this front would be much appreciated. I'm looking mostly for a dry food as I'm still not certain Murray will actually eat wet food much less how his system will react to a tummy full of wet food. He's been raised on dry food. He was bottle fed KMR Kitten Milk Replacer...weaned onto Royal Cainin Baby Cat Dry..then Royal Cainin Kitten Dry..and then Royal Canin Indoor Dry. He was on Indoor up until approx. 6 months ago when I happened to start my holistic food search again...always looking for better ya know? After looking at the label (again) for Royal Canin I was appalled to find that it contained a fair amount of corn and therefore was no longer suitable. I don't know how I had missed that when I first picked out that feed..shame on me. I thought Solid Gold would be a good choice as it seemed the best of what was availiable at the time...however now he won't eat it.. Anyhow..awaiting your replies..Thanks for whatever help you might be able to provide.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:03 AM
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First of all, here is the very simple, clear-cut explanation why cats should not be eating dog food: ... cleid=1165

Now. Number one. Dog food should NEVER be left down, not even for the dog. Two-three meals a day (depending on the dog's health status) and no food in between. A small late evening snack is acceptable to prevent early morning vomiting of bile (a problem for many dogs).

So. If food is not left down, the cat can't get to it.

Also, since the cat has developed a taste for dog food, you need to put kitty in a room with the door closed before you serve the dog his food.
After the dog has eaten and the dish has been washed and put away, kitty can come out of exile and start working on his own food.
If kitty sulks and goes on a hunger strike for a day or two, that's fine. Don't worry about it. In a day or two no health problem can develop. But kitty will get hungry, ready to accept cat food again.

You need to keep them separated at meal times as long as it takes for kitty not to want to eat the dog's food. And then keep doing what you've been doing: not leaving one morsel of dog food down after the dog has finished eating.

For cat food please choose very simple canned recipes that contain ground catfood. If you wish to feed some dry food as well, look for simple recipes also with few ingredients. And make sure kitty fills up on canned food instead of dry. The dry food should only be a very small part of the diet.

If food for a cat doesn't contain taurine, blindness and heart disease (dilated cardiomyopathy) are the consequences.

Lack of protein (please note: protein requirements for cats are higher than those for humans) leads to hair loss, a variety of skin and coat problems, lethargy, a weakened immune system, weak muscles and abdomen distension.

You also need to keep in mind that because your cat is an obligate carnivore, the protein you feed must be complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids. It must come from animal sources such as meat, fish, chicken, turkey, etc.

Plus, for cats, the B vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients also have to come from animal protein, so when there is not enough protein in the diet, deficiencies of all the other nutrients naturally follow.

Vitamin A for a cat must also come from animal sources.

Vitamin A increases immunity and aides in prevention of bladder, respiratory, and other infections.
Promotes growth, skin and coat health and muscle coordination.
Helps pituitary gland function.
Improves vision, hearing, and digestion,
Provides protection against toxic chemicals in food and water.

Deficiency of vitamin A causes loss of appetite, muscle atrophy, weight loss, dull and brittle coat, scaly hairless patches on skin, overgrowth of the cornea, conjunctivitis, retinal degeneration, intolerance of light, resistance to petting and handling.
In kittens: weakness, irregular muscle coordination (ataxia), tremors, and paralysis.

So, in short, it doesn't matter how great and wonderful a dog food is for your dog, it is not acceptable food for your cat. Your cat needs cat food in order to stay healthy. He will start eating it again as soon as dog food is no longer available.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:24 AM
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Have to add one more thing very quickly. Cats become very fond of wet food as soon as dry food is no longer available. In no time these poor, dry food deprived kitties become champion eaters of wet food.
The secret is to find the kind of wet food they find appealing and we are in business.
They will prefer certain brands, certain flavors, certain textures, certain smells.
Many cats will readily eat ground cat food but only lick off the juice of diced, sliced, etc food.
With a little experimenting we can find the right wet food and the long-term health benefits are well worth the effort.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. Thanks. However...I was already aware of the nutritional requirements of cats as well as that the dog food is not nutritionally adequate for a cat to be eating..hence why I was asking why he'd be doing this all of a sudden and how exactly to get him to stop. I do quite a bit of reading both here online and offline so as to educate myself in proper nutrition among other things.
The dog food ingredient list was posted to make sure that there are not items within it that could pose harmful to a cat for him eating it in the short term as I know some dog food ingredients are safe for dogs but can be no good for cats. Mind you this is not his normal diet and I don't approve of it nor encourage it but if it comes down to him not eating at all or eating dog food I would rather he eat something than go hungry. Cody, my dog, is four years old and has always had his food free fed. Murray is just turned two years old and while he'd occasionally grab a dog kibble or two once and a while it was more of a treat rather than a meal as at that time he was eating his dry kitty food. This is just a recent behavior change. I have tried moving his kitty food to different locations thinking perhaps he's just not liking where I had his food placed but as yet his eating behavior has not yet returned to normal. Since cats smell their food before eating it perhaps this most recent bag of Solid Gold smelled differently and therefore turned him off to it? I hesitate to alter Cody's (the dog) eating mannerisms without having tried everything else to get Murray to stop eating the dog food and start eating his proper food.
I have tried him with Canned before with poor success. Mind you it was not a top of the line canned was merely Friskies Canned. It was coarsely ground food. He did get some of it down and the result was a horrifying mess in the catbox. I've been hesitant to try wet food again thinking he'll make a mess of the catbox again..poor baby...but I did relent and buy a few cans of the Merrick Wet. He ate about 1/3 of a small can of the Grammys' Pot Pie flavor last night and ate approx. a tablespoon or two of the leftover this morning. He wasn't too fond of it this morning as it was cold from the refridge so I think perhaps giving it a quick nuke in the microwave to warm it a bit would help make it more appealing to him, yes of course making sure its cooled enough before serving it to him. So far I have not noticed any digestive upset with Murray about this wet food. It is what could be referred to as lightly ground I suppose. It appears from the pictures of the cat foods that they are all ground foods, some a little chunkier than others but all appear ground. The below link will take you to a picture of the food Murray had last night from the Merrick website.
Nutritional info of the Merrick Grammys' Pot Pie Wet food is below.
Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (Min.) 10.00%
Crude Fat (Min.) 3.00%
Crude Fiber (Max.) 1.5%
Moisture (Max.) 78.00%
Ash (Max.) 1.80%
Magnesium (Max.) .025%
Taurine (Min.) .08%

Calorie Content
992 kcal/kg - A 3.2oz. can provides 86 kcal of metabolizable energy, calculated value.

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Liver, Fresh Red Jacket New Potatoes, Fresh Carrots, Fresh Snow Peas, Fresh Whole Red Delicious Apples, Potato Starch-modified, Olive Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cassia Gum, Carrageenan, Flax Seed Oil (For Omega -3), Poultry Seasoning (Thyme, Sage, Rosemary) Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Complex,d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin, Lecithin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Cobalt Glucoheptanate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin,Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite

Due to my extreme pickyness and the knowledge that cats are strict carnivores I have been questioning why this food has potatos, carrots, peas and apples in it. I could have swore I had read in a few places that cats digestive systems cannot properly digest vegetable/fruit matter or was this incorrect? I've done a bit of reading of existing posts here in the forum and have seen that many folks here like Wellness (both dry and wet) for their cats however wellness also has the veggies/fruits in it. I assumed based on the cat food label that this food is no doubt far better than most, expecially due to being produced with human grade ingredients. This food smells good enough to eat. My dog gets a can of Merrick Wet Dog Food in assort. varieties once and awhile for a treat. His food looks just like human food and smells just like it too. He's always seemed to love it so naturally I assumed the cat formula would be appealing to Murray likewise. Several of the 'flavors' of the Merrick Wet for Cats do happen to be fish or seafood(Catfish, Salmon, Lobster, Crab, Crawfish, Shrimp, Whitefish, Sardine and/or Tuna are common ingredients found in those foods). I just recently had read that cat litter box odor increases on seafood diets and that diets containing fish are often too high in Magnisium(sp?) and Potassium which can cause problems down the road. The study I read however did not specify if their findings were based on wet or dry foods.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 12:56 PM
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I was asking why he'd be doing this all of a sudden and how exactly to get him to stop.
He is doing it because he CAN. And I explained in detail what you need to do to get him to eat cat food again.

I don't approve of it nor encourage it
Of course you do. That's exactly what you do by free-feeding the dog and leaving his food out for the cat to eat. SORRY! But that's the way it is.

if it comes down to him not eating at all or eating dog food I would rather he eat something than go hungry

The consequences are far too serious for you to allow this.

In your original post you wrote:

Shortly after moving..Murray, my cat, stopped eating his cat food and started eating only the dog's food.
There is no way anyone can misunderstand or misinterpret this sentence.

As a caring, loving and responsible owner, it is your responsibility to put a stop to this and start feeding your cat a proper, species appropriate diet.

It is also in your dog's best interest that you stop free-feeding him and bring some much-needed structure into his life.

I urge you to take this problem to a dog trainer AND a behaviorist who will advise you about putting your cat back on a normal, healthy feline diet.

Behavior change for whatever reason is always just one more reason for feeding the best, most nutritious diet one can find to make sure the nervous system is properly nourished because that's the best way we can stop unwanted behavior coming from stress, anxiety, etc.

By allowing your cat to eat dog food that will make him sick and malnourished, you are perpetuating the problem, whether the behavior comes from stress, anxiety, or a simple choice because dog food is available.

The high-carbohydrate food you included in your post is an absolutely horrible concoction. Guaranteed to cause serious digestive problems.

Fish. High in histamine, which causes inflammation. That's the major problem with fish in the diet. Simply put, not safe, not healthy.

Information about magnesium:

One more thing. If the cat stops eating his own food because he doesn't like it, it's even more important to quickly find a cat food he will happily eat.
Allowing the cat to eat dog food is NOT the answer. You should have immediately clamped down on this, in his best interest, the first day he started doing it.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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I am politely going to request that you please do not reply to this thread any longer as your 'advice' is nothing more than a rude lecture which I do NOT need. I am asking for advice not a lecture demanding that I do this and don't do that. I have done quite a bit of reading on both dog and cat nutrition therefore 90% of what you've lectured me on I already knew to begin with. I do not know everything there is to know about the nutritional needs of my pets..I know that which is henceforth why I am learn more. By learning I do not mean to be lectured for goodness sakes. I already know that dog food is not for cats..I already know that dog food is not nutritionally adequate for a cat to eat. I am not forcing my cat to eat dog food. His food is readily availiable as I commit the crime of having his feed availiable 24/7 as well. I AM trying my darndest to get him to eat his food..including offering him canned food which was against my better judgement due to past bad experiences with it. Why the heck do you think I've started this thread? I'm supposed to just immediately alter my dogs feeding schedule because you say so? No..I am fairly certain that there are other ways to solve this problem. As I already stated I am looking for opinions and've given your opinion and I thank you for it but please don't try to force it on me. There often is more than one solution to every problem..nothing is so cut and dry as to have only one route of action. Please if anyone else out there is reading this and has even a faint suggestion or advice for me that is not a blasted lecture then please feel free to share. I do not appreciate folks insinuating that I am an irresponsible pet owner when I am far from it. A irresponsible pet owner would not be here in the first place period.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:21 PM
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Hmmmmm.....I don't see a lecture, or demands, or force, or insuation. I see someone expending a considerable amount of time writing a rather lengthy post trying to help someone by providing information and advice. Perhaps the writing style is not what you'd like to see, but hey, we all have our own ways of expressing ourselves. All I see is good intent.

On the subject of of the local pet stores just got in the full line of the Merrick canned cat foods for the first time. I really have to laugh at the names. They're really cute!! I've only had a chance to try a couple so far, but they seem to be different from the other canned cat foods out there. They seem more like "real food", from a look/smell test rather than "canned glop." Haven't tried the taste test, yet. The cats like it fine, but don't seem to like it any better than anything else I feed them. So, I'll probably include Merrick in my rotation, but due to the high price, not exclusively.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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LoL...I'm guilty of the taste test for Merrick. I tried tiny bite of my dogs Merrick Cowboy Cookout and holy cow! Not only does it look and smell like Beef stew but it actually tastes quite a bit like it as well. It was actually pretty I know what the dog sees in it...lmao!

I haven't had the chance to try the cat food but from the fact it smells identical to the dog food kind with only a change of texture and addition of a few ingredients I am willing to bet that the cat food tastes good too. lol!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:50 PM
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I have a dog and he is fed only once a day....he eats his portion in about 10 minutes or less and then no more food until the next day.

You are feeding your dog a high quality kibble so I am curious as to why you are free feeding him? I think your best option is to start weaning your dog to a feeding could do it over a course of a week or 2 and in the meantime I dont think that will kill or harm the cat.

You will have much more success modifying the dogs routine than the trying to modify the cats!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Cody (my dog) has been free fed since he was just a wee puppy and he's currently four yrs old. When I got Cody I was still in High School so he was free fed for convinience. Because he has never had any problems from free feeding I've seen no reason to stop and it's become a bit of force of habit. Of the studies I've read over I haven't found any data containing proof that free feeding causes anything more than a higher likelyhood for weight issues but Cody has maintained a healthy trim weight (mind you he's an active dog who adores running around outside so he gets quite a bit of exercise) and has never been ill other than the cocci he had when I first got him but he was born in a barn around steers and *ahem* ate a lot of corn from the cattle feeder evidently. It didn't take him long to overcome that once he got on meds and proper dog food. If there is such a non-bias study proving that free feeding is truely harmful please do give me the link or direction as to where I can read it as I'd be very interested in reading it. I do enjoy digging deeper into issues such as that and if there is truely a problem with it then of course I'll make an educated decision on his future feeding method. Cody is my first dog and his first food was Pedigree puppy...he stayed on this until a bit after his first birthday and then switched to Pedigree Adult. Price was an issue then and the local pet store only offered so much so I chose what I thought was the best of the bad. He stayed on Pedigree until he was about a year and a half old at which time I discovered the Sensible Choice (Royal Cainin) Natural Blend-Adult and well he's been on that since. He'll continue on that until I happen upon a *better* holistic food that is affordable for my budget. He's a Golden Retriever/Irish Setter Cross. While Cody does have his food down and availiable to him all day he still only eats once a day normally..occasionally two smaller meals as he perfers to eat his food when his daddy (my husband) is in the room. He will eat without my husband being home of course but it takes him being pretty hungry and a bit of persuasion on my part. Typically his time to enjoy his meal is late at night while we are watching the 11pm news and settling down for the night as thats when hubby is quite obviously home and in the same room as him (Cody has his food in the bedroom due to this reason). Cody has a problem with bile vomiting occasionally due to his reluctance to eat while my hubby isn't home so I do keep some assort. cans of Merrick Dog-Wet and some healthy doggie bisquits around the house to encourage him to get something in his tummy.

Back on Murray's food..
I failed to mention that Murray HAD been eating his dry kitty chow just fine and dandy up until we got a new bag and refilled the feeder. Right after the feeder was refilled is when he stopped eating his own food. It does appear that he has nosed around and ate a little bit of it but certainly no more than to taste it. This was why I was wondering if perhaps the new bag either smells different to him or could be possibly rancid? The food was purchased and directly poured into the feeder once we got back home as the feeder was in need of being refilled. It smells fine to me but I don't have as good a sense of smell as a cat I don't have the bag any longer to recheck the date on it but I could have swore the date was fine when I got it as that is one thing I always check when buying my critter's food. The one thing I have not yet tried is switching out the feed in his feeder with a fresh bag.
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