By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
I know some of you live with cats and dogs. Often your cat eats on the counter and the dog’s food is on the kitchen floor. What about those of you who don’t want your cats on counters or tabletops? Has your cat ever tasted the dog food? Has your dog eaten the cat food?
A few of you have written to me asking about feeding both cats and dogs in the same household. I have lived with two cats and one was heavier than the other—so that is an issue too. I spoke with Dr. Amy Dicke, Technical Services Veterinarian, P&G Pet Care, about feeding cats and dogs.
“It’s my experience that dogs like cat food more than cats like dog food,” she explains. “So separate feeding might be as simple as putting the cat food in a place the dog can’t get to.”
Dr. Dicke suggests:
- Placing the cat’s food at a height attainable by the cat, but not the dog. That would include countertops, washers, dryers, bureaus or wall shelves.
- Designate one room as the cat’s room. Put a baby gate across the doorway. The cat will have to hop over the baby gate. Or position the baby gate so that there’s just enough room for the cat to crawl under it. You could also install a cat door in the room door and keep the room door closed.
- Turn an extra closet into a kitty dining room by installing a cat door in the closet door.
- Use a pet crate that’s large enough for your cat to eat in comfortably, but small enough to keep your dog out; if necessary narrow down the crate door using study cardboard.
- Train your cats to eat on schedule and supervise them during feeding times.
Multiple Cat Homes
To make sure that one cat isn’t getting the lion’s share of the food, Dr. Dicke recommends putting your cats on a feeding schedule to control the amount they eat.
Multiple Dog Homes
Some dogs will eat only to satisfy their caloric need. Others can feel competitive and try to eat all the food. For situations where one dog wants to eat more than their fair share, Dr. Dicke suggests:
- Do supervised scheduled feedings. Feeding time should be timed (15-30 minutes) with uneaten food removed.
- Do unsupervised scheduled feedings, but put each dog in its’ own room with the door closed.
- Schedule specific feeding times and feed each dog in its’ own crate.
Cats Eating Dog Food and Dogs Eating Cat Food
“Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements and really should not eat each other’s food long term,” says Dr. Dicke. “Cat food generally delivers more calories per unit than dog food; therefore, a dog consuming cat food can intake excessive calories and develop an obese state.”
“Cats eating dog food as the primary source of nutrition have the potential for a more serious outcome. Cats require a higher level of protein and unlike the dog must have the amino acid, taurine, and the fatty acid, arachidonic acid supplied through their diet. An occasional venture into each other’s bowls will not be harmful but is not recommended on a regular basis.”
What About You?
Do you live in a multiple cat and dog household? If so, how do you handle feeding time? Please leave your comments in the Comments section below this post.
Editor’s Note: I am going to be on Conscious Discussions radio show with host Lillian Brummet. Here is a link to the show: http://blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions. The talk will cover how you can get involved with animal advocacy.