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By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Is it dangerous for my 5-year-old poodle/Shih Tzu, Babou, to eat cat food? I am babysitting my daughter's 16-year-old cat, Cinnamon, for the summer, and he is eating her food. I finally put the cat food high up where Babou can't reach it, but wondered. -- Jeanine Szajna, Bayport, NY

Dear Jeanine,

Dog and cat food look similar, but the kibble itself has very different ingredients to accommodate the distinctive dietary needs of dogs and cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, which mean they are meat eaters out of necessity. Their food is super high in protein and fat, which is probably why dogs love it so much. It also contains taurine and arginine, two amino acids cats can need and can only get from meat.

Dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat meats, grains and plant-based foods, so eating a super high-protein, high-fat "cat food diet" is not only bad for their digestion, but eventually can lead to pancreatitis. Don't let Babou eat Cinnamon's food. I am glad you moved it out of his reach.

Dear Cathy,

Could you please warn people about lost cats getting closed in people's sheds, garages and basements. I know someone whose cat went into a neighbor's basement. Since the man never went into his basement, the friend's cat wasn't found for three months. He couldn't walk when they found him, but believe it or not, he lived. It was a miracle. -- Linda Okula, Jamesport, NY

Dear Linda,

Thanks for the cautionary tale. Lost cats like to hide from people, so if you happen to be searching for your lost cat, be sure to check the many unexpected places in your neighborhood that Linda suggests.

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(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)

(c) 2017 DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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