You've adopted an adorable little kitten and a floppy-eared puppy as playmates. You decide you'll save a little money by feeding both your pals puppy food. Your little furry friends may get along fine, but they shouldn't be sharing a food dish. Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements.
You know your kitty loves meat, evidenced by the adorable begging at your ankles whenever chicken's on the menu. However, kitty can't choose to be a vegetarian. He's considered a strict, or obligate, carnivore. Dogs can, biologically speaking, omit meat from their diet and survive on veggies alone. Dogs are kind of like humans: omnivores. Meat-eaters by nature, that doesn't mean we can't survive without meat. Our bodies can make many of compounds necessary for us to live all on its own without having to depend on consuming it via another animal.
Since dogs and cats don't work the same biologically, their food is made differently to suit their needs. Cats cannot convert beta carotene into vitamin A, like dogs can. He needs vitamin A from animal tissue of an animal who can make its own vitamin A. Dog food is not formulated with this active vitamin A that kitty needs. Niacin is an essential B vitamin that must be obtained through diet. While your canine can convert tryptophan into niacin, kitty can't. His food needs preformed niacin to keep him healthy.
Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins. Taurine is an amino acid that kitty needs that dogs can make on their own. Dog foods either lack taurine entirely or don't have enough to supplement kitty's diet. Taurine is vital for a cat's proper heart function, vision and reproduction. Arginine is another amino acid that helps kitty eliminate the protein waste from all the meat he eats. He'll be extremely sensitive to low levels of arginine, while his puppy pal isn't. Dogs can create arginine internally so they aren't sensitive to low levels.
Protein and Fat
Cats need more protein in their diet than dogs, about twice as much. While some high-dollar dog foods do have higher percentages of protein, they usually don't meet kitty's nutritional needs. His diet needs to consist of at least one-third animal protein. Archidonic acid is a fatty acid that is important in fat utilization and energy. Kitty's liver cannot produce it from linoleic acid like a dog can, so his food needs to contain proper levels of it. Always make sure your furry pals have a quality food formulated to meet their individual needs.
- Petmd.com: Cats Are Different: How A Cat's Nutritional Needs Are Different From A Dog's
- Petmd.com: Why Dog Food Is Not For Cats...And Vice Versa
- The Encyclopedia of The Cat; Michael Pollard
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images