How do Cats and Dogs know which is cat food and which is dog food?

How do Cats and Dogs know which is cat food and which is dog food?
Aneleh asked:

I have 2 cats and three dogs. One night, I ran out of cat food (the dry type) and my cats were hungry. So since I had dog food only and the shops were closed, I gave them dog kibbles. They’re more or less of the same shape and size and are made of the same ingredients – chicken. My cats took a nibble and refused the rest of the bowl, preferring to go hungry than eat dog food. The next day, i got them a fresh pack of made-for-cats kibbles and they immediately dived in and ate up. How come my cats knew what I gave them wasn’t cat food?

I also know of dogs that won’t eat cat food for the long run (not mine though, cos they’re pigs and will eat anything).

It would be good if a pet food manufacturer can answer this question. Is there some special ingredient you put in cat and dog food that makes cats and dogs know which kibbles is who’s? Also, nowadays, dogs are eating fish too – like salmon. You can’t say it’s the ingredient. How come they know the difference?

Evil Cat attacks

8 thoughts on “How do Cats and Dogs know which is cat food and which is dog food?

  1. jemima

    Evil scary Cats

    They don’t is the simple answer. I’ve fed my cat dog food and although she wasn’t too keen on it, she ate it. I think it’s to do with the density and bulk of the meat. If I mash the dog food for her she eats it. The dog just eats!!!

  2. reispinscher

    Cat Flushing a toilet

    The formulation of pet foods requires that cat foods have different combinations of ingredients. This may cause a different smell and taste to the food.

    also cats have an inability to produce tartarine, which requires that pet food manufactures provide an amount of this in there diet. this is not hte same for dogs, if you ask your vet they will advise you not to feed your cat dog food, due to this fact.

    discuss this further with your vet at your next appointment.

  3. gregorynsmith7051

    Cat and Rat

    They know, especially dogs. If you leave the cat food bowl on the floor the dog will go after it before it goes for the dog food. Cat food is higher quality ingredients than dog food, and dogs know this because after they try cat food they think it tastes better. Cats usually won’t eat the dog food if it is on the floor because of the same reasons. They know the cat food tastes better as well. Here is a solution to keep the dog from eating the cat’s food. Put the cat food bowl up on the counter top where the dog can’t reach it. Only the cat can jump up there, and the cat won’t go near the dogs food bowl on the floor.

  4. C S

    Safe Flea Control

    Even small dog kibbles are different than the ones made for cats – not just the ingredients (which is really important), but the texture and the smell too.

    My dog will eat the cat food, my cats won’t touch the dog food. Actually, I don’t mind the catts not eating dog food, becasue they need differnt nutrition. There is stuff in cat food that they have to have, and I think it makes the cat food too rich for dogs.


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