Cats are notoriously fussy eaters, but even the fussiest felines enjoy stealing a tasty snack when they see the opportunity, and this often includes dog food! Cats rule the roost in most households, and many dogs will not stop the cat from stealing their food or even letting you know that it’s happening.
While this is fairly harmless on occasion, it can swiftly turn into a habit that can be harmful to your cat’s nutrition over time. Dogs are omnivores, and their food often includes many ingredients that cats—obligate carnivores—should not be eating on a regular basis. This can cause obesity, among other things, so ideally, you don’t want your cat eating any dog food.
Is your cat stealing food from your dog’s bowl? Here are a few tips on how to stop it!
How to Stop Cats From Eating Dog Food
1. Don’t Free-Feed Your Dog
Most dog experts agree that free-feeding your dog is generally a bad idea, and if your cat is stealing their food from time to time, stopping free-feeding is an ideal way to limit your cat’s access to your dog’s food. You should remove any uneaten food from your dog’s bowl after 10-15 minutes to stop not only your cat but also other animals and insects from getting to it.
2. Feed Your Dog at Scheduled Times
Feed your dogs at scheduled times—ideally, twice a day—and try to feed them outside, away from your cat. Feeding your pooch two smaller meals a day will increase the likelihood of them finishing the food, so your cat won’t be able to have any access to it.
3. Feed Your Pets at the Same Time
It’s a great idea to feed your cat and dog at the same time. This way, your feline will be far more interested in their own food and satisfied enough to leave your dog’s food alone. Try feeding them in different areas too, as this will reduce the temptation of grabbing a taste of each other’s dinner! Lastly, try feeding your dog in a shut-off area, like outside or the laundry area, so you can keep an eye out and make sure they’ve finished their meal.
4. Use a Platform
This applies mostly to larger breeds, but using an elevated platform just wide enough to fit your dog’s bowl may help. Place their bowl just below head height and with no room around it, so your cat cannot get to the food while your pooch is eating!
5. Make Sure Your Cat Enjoys Their Food
A simple reason your cat keeps stealing your dog’s food may be that they do not enjoy their own. If you have switched to a new brand of food, your cat may not enjoy it (they are fussy!), or they may simply prefer the taste of your dog’s food.
6. Use Sealed Containers for Storage
Cats are sneaky, and they can easily claw their way into a sealed bag of dog food and steal pellets without you knowing. Try keeping your dog’s food in a large, sealable plastic container with a tight-fitting lid to keep curious claws out.
While it’s harmless on occasion for your cat to steal a few pellets from your pooch, this should not become a regular habit. There are certain nutrients, such as taurine, that cats require in far larger amounts than are found in dog food. Cat food is generally higher in protein and far more calorie-dense than dog food, so cats will not get their nutritional requirement from dog food, which generally has less protein and more fiber and carbohydrates.
This lack of certain nutrients can lead to serious health issues over time, and an overload of other ingredients can quickly lead to obesity.
Your cat should not eat dog food on a regular basis, and the best way to stop them from eating it is to limit their access as much as possible. There are different ways to stop your cat from even having the chance of getting to your dog’s food, and this is the most important point to keep in mind.
As long as your cat doesn’t have access to your dog’s food, they won’t be eating it!
Featured Photo Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock