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- A Public Service Announcement for Food Stamps had an old woman with her cat in the kitchen. She opens a can of cat food, puts it on a plate, then instead of putting it on the floor for the cat, she puts it on the kitchen table for herself.
Anime and Manga
- In an early episode of Pokémon, Brock shows the gang the food he developed for Pokémon. The Cloudcuckoolander scientist who's joined them for the episode tries it (not accidentally, this is after Brock's shown it to the group) and says he likes it, but every other non-Pokemon character finds it disgusting.
- An earlier example has Ash deciding to sample the food Brock has made for Pikachu, which he immediately regrets. Brock mentions that while Pokemon can and do enjoy food made for humans, the reverse is rarely true.
- Implied in Dragon Ball Super in Trunks' Bad Future, when his friend Mai finds a can of food and excitedly points out "It's not even cat food, either!"
- In the beginning of A Far Off Place Harry mistakes the cat food for pate. When he finds out what he ate, he is so embarrassed he takes another bite.
- In UHF, Weird Al accidentally feeds his co-host dog treats while filming a promo for butter cookies. His friend gags at the taste, but continues eating them until Al notices his error and transitions smoothly into a promo for the dog treats. His friend then runs off screen to vomit.
- Happens to Fiona's dad the King in Shrek II.
- Happened in Superman III.
- In Lethal Weapon 3, Murtaugh takes a bit of a dog biscuit and finds that he likes it. As a Running Gag through the rest of the film, he occasionally chows on more dog biscuits.
- In Prince Of Tides, Lila is insulted that her boorish husband Henry ridicules her cooking for being too fancy, so, with her children's help, she fixes a hash that has dog food as the main ingredient. She sets this "dish" before Henry, who pronounces it quite tasty.
- In Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service, the eponymous main character winds up cooking hamburgers for his client's boss when his client can't make it home in time for the dinner, and he's complimented on the unique taste. After the event, his client asks him where he got the hamburger meat and it turns out that he used the horse meat meant for the dog.
Live Action TV
- Good Times: A 1975 episode, the Evanses' neighbor resorts to buying cheap dog food to eat when she can't afford regular food at the store. This causes some unintended unease with Florida when she invites her over for dinner and the neighbor offers to bring meatloaf. (Of course, in the end, the neighbor reveals she made the meatloaf ... from ground beef, but not until after dinner, when everyone is sure they've eaten Alpo.)
- Divorce Court: In the mid-1980s dramatized version, a woman fed up with her husband and boorish beer-drinking friends fixes chili con carne, not telling them until afterward that she had substituted dog food for the hamburger. (Fortunately, nobody got sick.)
- On Dual Survival, Cody and Dave once had nothing but a can of dog food to eat. As they're digging in, Cody mentions that American food regulations require pet food to be made suitable for human consumption because pet food sales spike during times of economic crisis.
- On The Honeymooners, Alice takes care of a dog, and heats up some dog food on the stove. Ralph and Ed find it, taste it and like it.
- Three's Company had Mr. Roper eat some dog food he mistook for a stew Jack had whipped up.
- The Golden Girls has Dorothy eating some Chicken food that Rose had left behind.
- In 3rd Rock from the Sun, when Dick quits his job at the University, the aliens are reduced to eating cat food. Sally tries to convince them that they are actually eating cat, but Mary makes Tommy gag by pointing out to Dick that "Your son is eating cat food!"
- To Tell the Truth had one of these in a 1973 episode. Several sample dishes were set before the panel, and the dog food part was only revealed as host Garry Moore read from the affidavit, and announced their job was to identify who was promoting dog food as a cheaper alternative to the high meat prices of the early 1970s.
- Season 1, Episode 3 of Saturday Night Live had an early "fake commercial" for "Felina Cat Food", where a woman was asked to sample tuna noodle casserole, one made with regular canned tuna, and one made with cat food. She found the cat food version "CHUNKIER! And, uh.. CREAMIER!" ... until it was revealed what she ate.
- Benson: Big Eater Pete sees a bowl of food on the kitchen table and eats it, not knowing that it is cat food for Katies new kitten.
- Season 7 of Shameless (US) introduces Etta, the elderly owner of Fiona's laundromat who, due to dementia, is prone to eating cat food.
- The episode of The Worst Witch where the girls receive their cats features Miss Bat eating from a tin of cat food.
- Red Dwarf episode "Marooned" features Lister and Rimmer stranded on a planet where their limited emergency supplies include tins of dog food.
- Done on Will & Grace. Justified in that Will was so obsessed with his new dog that he was actually cooking food for it on the stovetop, when Grace came by and tasted it. Her response upon being told was a croaked-out "Needs salt".
- In an episode of The Crazy Ones, the agency is loaned a cat food company's mascot for a few days so they can be "inspired" for their pitch. Simon sets out bowls of cat treats all over the office, and Andrew mistakes them for free snacks. He spits out the first handful, but later develops a taste for them, to the mockery of the others.
Andrew: It says human-grade, you elitist!
- In an episode of Kenan & Kel, the duo decide to make a list of life goals to complete, and one of Kel's goals is to eat dog biscuits, which he does. He later carries the box around to snack on.
- The last verse of Run–D.M.C.'s You Be Illin'
For dinner, you ate it, there is none leftIt was salty, with butter, and it was def...But Holmes, you did not read, it was a can of DOG FOOD!
Jon: (eating cat food) This tastes funny.Garfield: If you add water, it makes its own gravy.
- In The Men from the Ministry whenever One and Two are hiding an animal in the office Two is sometimes forced to eat the animal's food to fool Sir Gregory into thinking it's just his breakfast or medicine.
- Our Miss Brooks: In Poison Ivy, Mrs. Davis sets out dog biscuits in place of cereal for breakfast. Miss Brooks and Walter Denton both fall victim.
- Baten Kaitos has dog food as an item/weapon. Using it poisons the target and inflicts damage, so you can fight enemies by force-feeding them dog food until they die.
- 7 Days to Die has canned dog and cat food among the food items that can be scavenged. The player can't really afford to be picky, considering the game is set in a Zombie Apocalypse.
- A tragic example with Mrs. Avery in the nineties claymation sitcom/Eddie Murphy vehicle The PJs. Subverted in that she can actually afford food, it's just that she's won a lifetime supply of dog food and didn't know what else to with it.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants "Missing Identity", SpongeBob comments that he has been feeding his pet snail Gary for years and doesn't even know what it tastes like. He doesn't like it, but later has to keep on eating it when he retraces his steps to find his eponymous identity.
- In the episodes Have You Seen This Snail and Gary's New Toy, Patrick is known to often eat pet food.
- In "Pineapple Fever", when Squidward locks himself in SpongeBob's room, he gets hungry and finds a bag of food to eat. When Gary wants to eat some, Squidward refuses to share until realizing that he's eating snail food and spits it out in disgust.
- In Big Top Scooby-Doo!, animal trainer Doubleday absent-mindedly shoves a dog biscuit into Shaggy's mouth. Shaggy doesn't mind and eats it anyway.
- An episode of Rugrats has Angelica running away from home and hiding at Tommy's house. She orders the babies to get her some cookies, but when they can't reach the cookies on a high shelf, they opt to give her dog biscuits instead. Angelica eats them with enjoyment until the babies tell her what she's eating, she reacts with disgust and anger. The babies themselves don't understand and remark that they eat them all the time.
- The first episode had Tommy convince the other babies to hunt down some dog food, thinking that it would make them into dogs. When they finally get to it and eat some, they immediately spit it out in disgust.
- Helen accidentally eats dog food in the first episode of Martha Speaks.
- In the Bob's Burgers episode "There's No Business Like Mr. Business", Tina finds a box of Aunt Gayle's cat food, has a taste, and becomes utterly hooked on it. She then gives some to Gene, who likes it as well and soon both of them are scarfing it down. Then they discover that the box was Linda's, who had also developed a taste for it.