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dog food for cats

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have two cats about a year old and one full grown chocolate lab. Because of the size of my dog, I have the cats' litter box, food, and water in a room with a sort of baby gate so the dog can't get in and eat anything. However, there is nowhere in the house that we can put the dog's food to keep the cats out of it. My cats LOVE dog food, so much so that they will not eat cat food. I know it is important for them to have certain nutritional additives that are in cat food and can go blind and have serious heart problems if they do not have these as part of their diet. I have tried changing cat food brands and it did no good. I have also tried mixing the cat food with the dog food so they'd at least get a little, but the dog picks through and eats all the cat food, leaving only dog food. My husband and I are not home enough to consistently get on to the cats for eating from the dog food bowl. The dog has become so accustomed to the cats eating from his bowl that when we tried to stop free-feeding him, he would allow the cats to eat first when we give him his food. I know that there are taurine supplements for cats. Is that enough? Any suggestions? Thanks!!
post #2 of 12
Talk with your vet... What brands of dog and cat are you using and what flavors??
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
My husband insists on Iams, but I tried Special Kitty first. I'm currently using the last of the kitten food (Iams doesn't give you a choice of flavors with kitten stuff, and I'm not sure what flavor it is). When I finish off this bag, I'll be using the Chicken and tuna (I think) flavor of the adult cat food. That may make a difference, but by now they're so used to eating the dog food, they may not even notice their food is different.
post #4 of 12
Put the cats in a different room when you feed the dog. We do it and it becomes habit very quickly, and is not really all that much trouble.
post #5 of 12
try to match the dog food flavor and shape( this could be it as my younger cat likes big kibbles
post #6 of 12
I would consult a vet if it continues ... some dog food contains added taurine but not usually to a cat need leval ... My kidney cat is allowed some dog food for the lower protein
post #7 of 12
I wonder if it's safer for a dog to eat cat food than for a cat to eat dog food. Dog food can kill a cat but cat food is just considered to be too rich for a dog as I understand it. I could be wrong. My Mom sometimes gives her dog Chloe a Friskies pouch as a treat.

I only have cats but this is what I would do if I had both dogs and cats. Do not free feed the dogs. The dogs must be fed twice a day at scheduled meal times away from the cats, no exceptions. Cats can be free fed or meal fed, whatever your preference, but they must be fed in high locations. Dogs are not good jumpers so this is an advantage. Feed them on places like counters, book shelves, refrigerators, dressers, anyplace high that your cat likes to jump and your dog can't access. Washing machines, only when they are not running. This should solve the problem.
post #8 of 12
Are you leaving dog food down all the time? My sister has 2 black labs and I can't imagine them eating their food slowly enough to allow any cats to get a look in!

Dog food isn't nutritionally balanced for cats. It doesn't contain enough taurine and, I think, the amount of protein will be different. Dogs do well with cereal and vegetables but those are not good for cats when in the quantities often found in dog food. If your cats are eating dog food they'll have less room for their food and may not be getting the nutrients they need. I agree with Cearbhaill - shut the cats out when you feed the dogs if need be so that they don't have the opportunity to eat the dog food.
post #9 of 12
The problem in feeding cats dog food is that cat and dog food is made up of different proteins. I can't remember the exact numbers, but dogs can make I think 8 of the proteins they need, where cats can only make like 4. [Again don't quote my numbers lol]. Cats also need taurine.

Cat food and dog food is very different. I would try other foods, and not free feed your dog if that's what you're doing.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Today is day two of not free-feeding the dog. I've taken to squirting the cats when they DO try to get the dog food, but they've only had a couple of chances between Buddy finishing eating and me putting the food away again. This is actually the first day that the cats have been allowed out of their room in the morning and they have not been able to go racing to the dog food bowl (evil mommy only leaves cat food with them in their room at night, so of course they go hungry). They were a little confused when they got to the dog food place and nothing was there. Here's hoping there will be an empty cat food bowl at the end of the day, because I don't think they ate anything yesterday. I'm thinking of trying to find a bowl that looks just like Buddy's to put there cat food in, so they know it's food. But wouldn't that confuse them since I'm telling them they can't eat out of Buddy's bowl? This is all quite new to me. When growing up, my parents always kept the dogs outside and the cats inside, so there was never this problem. My husband doesn't seem to think the problem is bad enough to stop free-feeding the dog. He doesn't think it's fair to Buddy and he asked me to leave his food out yesterday evening. Any good way of convincing someone who's "always right" that this has to be done? Thanks for all your help! I know this is important for my cats' health. I'm just trying to get it done with a minimum of inconvenience, if there is such a thing.
post #11 of 12
I have a labby too - and can't imagine labs leaving food in the bowls! Besides, labs gain weight pretty fast and its not a good idea to be free-feeding them or filling up the bowl all the time.

Depending on the weight of the dog you should be breaking the number of cups you are feeding (usually 2-3 for a lab) in half and giving him half in morning and half in evening.

Keno (our lab) gets 2 cups a day - she's 60-65 lbs at almost 4 yrs old (perfect weight for her size) and that is one cup in the morning, one cup in the evening. She finishes it all within a min or 2
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
As of yesterday, my cats had not eaten in 2 days and my husband is already fed-up with the "unfairness" of not free-feeding Buddy. He told me to just give in and find a supplement for the cats. I called the vet. Not only did she say what I was thinking (that a supplement is not enough and they NEED cat food, and that they will eat the cat food before they starve), she also told me that my husband need to stop whining!! I felt vindicated. She suggested I add some tuna, canned cat food, or even chunks of meat from those baby food cans they have now, the step after the mush. She said to mix a little of this with their cat food and gradually stop putting it in the food - hopefully this will entice them into eating what is theirs. So I put some tuna in their food yesterday evening (and a little in Buddy's dish too, he felt left out) and locked them in their room while Buddy and my husband and me were eating. They came out and the pile of food in the bowl was a little lower. This morning, after being in their room all night, the bowl is about half empty, and it normally would be another week before we'd be to that point. Things are looking up. The question is, when I have to go back to work (when school starts back up again), will I be able to keep it up? It's easy while I'm home all the time. We'll see.
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