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Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food?

David Fields
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by David Fields

In this article, we will answer the question can ferrets eat cat food?

Yes, ferrets can eat cat food. Choose cat food with a protein content of at least 36% or higher and a fat ratio of 22% for the best option for your ferret.

Remember to stay away from dangerous foods or items that provide little or no value to them, and your pet will remain healthy and happy.

Can Ferrets Have Cat Food?

Ferrets Eat Cat Food

Ferrets can thrive exceptionally well on cat food if you choose the correct type for them. If you cannot find any specific ferret pellet food for them, opting for high-quality cat food will be suitable.

Because of their carnivore needs, the cat food will require an extremely high protein content with fat. In addition, ferrets can have a hard time digesting cat food that contains large amounts of carbohydrates or other additives. These ingredients mean you should not offer your pet any food items with sugar or complex grains.

Ideally, your ferret should receive high-quality kitten food that contains 36 to 40% meat protein and fat content of around 22%. Unfortunately, many adult cat food options cannot provide this ratio of protein and fat, but kitten food can.

We talked extensively about ferrets food in our best cat food for ferrets article.

What To Do If Your Ferret Eats Cat Food Regularly

Unlike other pets in the home, ferrets are carnivores. This distinction means that they primarily eat meat and the flesh of other animals or organisms. In the wild, carnivores are often the predators of omnivores and herbivores in the animal kingdom.

Ferrets who are young, extremely active, pregnant, or nursing will have higher dietary needs than any other time of their life. It is a good idea to recognize how their nutritional needs may change as they grow.

Because of their limited diet, choosing the proper food that can provide high amounts of dietary protein and fats is critical for them. But what about cat food? The answer is a little more complicated than just running out to the store and picking up a bag of cat food off the shelf.

Be sure to talk to your local veterinarian if you have any concerns with your pet’s diet. But overall, a high-quality kitten food with ample protein and fat should be a terrific option for your ferret.

Cat Ferrets Eat Wet Cat Food?

There are some significant differences between wet cat food and dry options. While ferrets can eat wet cat food and seem like they enjoy it, this food choice is not ideal.

Unfortunately, wet cat food will not have an exceptionally high protein content than dry food does, making it not a proper meal choice for your pet ferret. Your little critter would have to consume substantial amounts of wet cat food to receive the ideal nutrition their bodies require each day.

Ferrets also require hard food for crunching and to help clean their teeth, which soft cat food does not provide. You can give your ferret some wet cat food as a treat or supplement their diet once in a while, but it should not be their staple food source.

Can Ferrets Have Cat Treats?

Anyone who loves their pet may want to provide a special treat now and then. We, humans, love snacks and treats, so why wouldn’t your ferret be the same?

You can give your ferret some acceptable cat treats as long as they align with proper dietary needs. You will need to be diligent in reading the ingredients before choosing a cat treat for your pet ferret.

Stay away from cat treats that list corn or grains, such as wheat or rice, as the top ingredients. Instead, be sure to select treats that still contain a high protein ratio of at least 35% or higher and do not use fillers. Treats are a special item and should not make up the majority of their daily diet.

How Much and How Often Do Ferrets Eat?

Unlike a pet cat who may eat once or twice a day, ferrets are active critters with an extremely high metabolism. Their digestive system is also very short, meaning that anything they consume will digest entirely within two to three hours. Because of this quick digestion time, they may eat anywhere from eight or more times a day, depending on their age and activity level.

Ferrets can also be quite picky in their food choices. Therefore, you want to avoid giving your ferret the same food choices day in and day out. Instead, try mixing up their mealtimes by combining two types of high-quality cat food or mixing in other raw or cooked meat proteins. This way, your pet will not develop a preference for one kind of food.

As a general rule, your ferret will eat anywhere between 5 to 7% of its total body weight in food each day. Depending on their age and activity level, this may mean your pet will require between 50 to 75 grams of hard cat food every day. 

What Can’t Ferrets Eat?

Because ferrets are by nature carnivores, their bodies cannot digest complex carbohydrates like grains. Therefore, these food choices include rice, corn, oats, and wheat, and consequently may be the primary ingredient in many pet foods and treat options.

Ferrets cannot digest dairy products. Therefore, do not provide any milk, yogurt, cheese, or other dairy items to your pet as a treat or otherwise.

Stay away from offering any chocolate or human junk foods to your pet ferret. The sugars and other additives have absolutely no health benefits and can cause damage if they consume them.

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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