In the wild it would not be uncommon for a fox and a bobcat to eat the same meal of prey be it a bird, a rabbit, a mouse, some quail eggs on the ground, etc. And those meals would supply to the fox and bobcat all the protein, fat, and micronutrients it would need.
Can a cat eat dog food or can a dog eat cat food? Well of course the answer is yes, but the real question would be does the dog or cat get what they need when they eat the other species commercially made food? The answer to that is maybe yes and maybe no. The cat would not get all that it would need if the commercial dog diet is formulated to barely meet the minimum nutrient profile for a dog. It would especially be lacking in some major nutrient levels for the cat such as protein and taurine. Dogs would do fine on just about any cat diets because the minimum protein level of a cat food is well above those required for a dog food and all the other minor nutrients would most likely be met.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials has established minimums for dogs and cats in separate Nutrient Profiles. In the dog profile, there are 36 nutrients and in the cat 42 that must be guaranteed. The six additional nutrients in cat foods that are formulated to meet the AAFCO Nutrient Profile not required in dog food are Methionine, Phenylalanine, Taurine, Arachidonic Acid, Vitamin K and Biotin.
We suggest you not feed dog food to cats as the sole food if the bag says formulated to meet the AAFCO Nutrient Dog Profile because the company would be using a synthetic vitamin/mineral premix that would typically not include added synthetic Taurine, Methionine, or Vitamin K and Biotin. These nutrients would not be guaranteed in the product. A typical synthetic vitamin/mineral premix specially blended for a cat food would include these added nutrients. The minimum required protein for dogs is 18%. This would not meet the minimum required protein for cats. A diet this low in protein would also not have adequate taurine which is a required nutrient for cats.
At Nature’s Logic, we develop diets more like the prey bird or rabbit that meet the needs of both species. We prove these diets in AAFCO feeding trials. Though we label our diets for either dogs or cats, our dog foods exceed the protein requirements for not only maintenance for a cat but also reproduction and growth (kittens). Our dog foods contain a minimum of 32% protein plus natural taurine, Vitamin K and Biotin which are required for cats. So don’t worry if your furry feline enjoys an occasional meal out of Fido’s bowl. It is getting a good, meaty meal with lots of good things it craves.
In conclusion, not all dog foods can be fed to cats, but most cat foods can be fed to dogs. At Nature’s Logic we formulate our diets trying to mimic the meaty high protein and low carb diets both dogs and cats would enjoy in Nature. In fact, our cat and dog cans are the same formulation. If you find you are out of Nature’s Logic cat food some night and it is too late to get to the store, your feline will do just fine on a meal of Nature’s Logic canine dry kibble or canine canned food. Your cat won’t know the difference.