Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food? Caring For Your Cute Companion | Kidadl


Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food? Caring For Your Cute Companion

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Do you know that vegetable proteins and carbohydrates present in cat food are actually bad for your ferret?

Ferrets are basically carnivorous animals require ferret foods. The family Mustelidae also consists of other carnivores like polecats, minks, skunks, badgers, and weasels.

Domesticated ferrets are descendants of European polecats belonging to the family of Mustelidae. Ferrets have a slim and lean body and a long tail, with an average body length of 20 in (51 cm). They have an average life span of 7-10 years. They have different colored fur. The color of the fur can be white, black, brown, or mixed. Since they are close relatives to polecats, they can easily hybridize with them. Initially, ferrets were used for hunting rodents in ancient Rome. It is believed that Egyptians were the first to domesticate ferrets. They have a slim, lean, and long body that makes it easy for them to enter holes of rodents such as rabbits, rats, or moles. Ferrets will easily chase and hunt them out of their holes. Many species of ferrets including black-footed ferrets are endangered. Ferrets are purely carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet. Their diet must contain a low amount of carbohydrates and fiber and a high amount of animal protein and fatty acids. An adult ferret requires 30-40% of dietary high protein content and 18-30% of fatty acids on a regular basis.

That is why it is not recommended to feed ferrets commercial dog or cat food as they have an inadequate amount of high protein content. Is cat food for ferrets? Is dry cat food good for ferrets? Read on to find out more about if ferrets can eat cat food. After reading all about the need for ferrets to have natural nutrients, do read about what a group of ferrets is called and if ferrets are good pets.

What cat food can I feed my ferret?

Can ferrets eat cat food? Ferrets are carnivorous animals and require a high amount of animal protein and fat regularly. High amounts of carbohydrates or fiber-rich food are not recommended as they might cause damage to the ferret’s digestive system and digestive tracts. It is very important for your ferrets to get proper diet food and dry food in order to stay fit and healthy. Ferret owners can find the right pet food in the pet store. They will find various grain-free food for feeding their ferret. It is really important to check ingredients before feeding your ferret.

There is good quality ferret diet food available in the market. You are usually advised to feed them that. Still, can you use cat food for ferrets? Though cat food is not recommended for your ferrets, try giving dry food. You may feed that for a short period. Avoid giving them cat food for an extended time. Also, dog food is strictly prohibited because dog food is high in plant proteins and contains large amounts of grains. But in case you can't find ferret pellets, you don't need to worry much, you can feed them kitten food as it is more nutritious and higher in protein than adult cat food. Since a ferret would require at least 30% animal protein and 15% fat regularly to stay fit and healthy, you may provide them with kitten food in case you don't have ferret pellets. But you shouldn't feed these types of cat food on a regular basis.

Along with that, you must also avoid feeding them fruits, vegetables, dairy products, or food products with a high amount of sugar in them. Since ferrets are strictly carnivorous their system is not well designed to process these types of food.

What can I feed my ferret if I run out of food?

Is dry cat food good for ferrets? Can ferrets eat cat food of any type? Since ferrets are carnivorous animals, raw meat is the best food to feed them. If you run out of ferret food, you can also feed ferrets kitten food or baby food with high meat proteins.

A ferret's diet must contain 30-40% protein, and at least 15% fat. You can also feed your domestic ferrets eggs. Usually, ferrets are given suitable raw food like raw chicken for nutrition. They can also eat fish, but if the situation persists, you can also provide your ferret with suitable dog or cat food for nutrition. Kitten food contains suitable high protein which will help your ferret. It contains much of the other quality natural nutrition needed for a healthy pet body. Make sure you are feeding the best cat food which contains quality nutrients from grains, fiber, and other quality nutrients. Grains really enhance the ferret’s bone density and feeding such nutrients will only lead to a smoother and easier life for your local pet.

Wild ferrets eat each and every part of their prey. This includes all the flesh and bones. This helps ferrets to exercise their jaws as well. Also, it fulfils their daily requirements of protein and calcium. The average ferret diet must consist of just meat and fat. You must make sure they are provided with at least the minimum amount of proteins and fats required by them regularly. Raw meats are the best food option for your ferrets. You can offer your ferrets the following meat varieties:

Lamb meat

Chicken meat

Turkey neck meat

Rabbit meat

Pigeon meat

Game bird meat

Chicken wing meat

Lamb’s heart

Mice or rats

Raw animal bones for calcium

You can also feed them low lactose milk. Remember, if you fail to provide a proper diet to your loving little friend it may suffer from serious health diseases such as diarrhea, insulinoma, stones, weight loss, tooth decay, or problems related to digestion.

Light gray ferret eats from the trough

A Ferret's Nutritional Needs

Ferrets are strictly carnivorous animals. This means their food must contain a high amount of animal protein. Not just any protein, or not even vegetable protein. An adult ferret requires around 30-40% of animal protein and 15-18% of fat on a daily basis in order to stay healthy. If you are not able to meet the nutrition needs of your pet ferret it might lead to various health problems (many of which can be fatal).

Here are some basic facts you need to know in order to better understand nutritional needs of your pet ferrets:

Since ferrets are carnivores, their diet consists mostly of animal protein and fat.

Their digestive system is also designed for the same and thus it would not be able to handle a lot of carbohydrates.

Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are also incredibly bad for them. Since they have no cecum in their digestive system, they cannot digest complex carbohydrates.

Treats like chocolate, ice cream, or products with high amounts of sugar are also bad for them, especially for their pancreas.

Also, they have a very high metabolic rate so they burn a lot of calories.

This means they would need food items with a high nutritional value. It is hard for them to digest grains or fibers, thus these foods do not have enough nutritional value for these creatures. The diet of your pet ferret must meet its nutritional needs in order for it to stay fit and healthy. Remember: a healthy pet is a happy pet!

Can ferrets eat cat treats?

We know you share a very loving bond with your ferrets. They are very cute and adorable animals after all. Their little face and those puppy eyes can melt your heart and is enough to hypnotize you into giving them treats, maybe all day. But this is generally a thing which is not recommended. Cat treats or any other wrong kinds of treats can be harmful to your ferrets and can lead to some serious health problems.

Here is a list of treats that you are advised to avoid as they can be very dangerous for your pet and can even be fatal:

Avoid giving them fruits or uncooked vegetables as it could make them suffer from malnutrition or digestive problems.

Avoid giving them dairy or milk products, unless they have low lactose or they are completely lactose-free.

Avoid giving them sodas or sugary drinks or snacks as sugar can lead to tooth decay and also increase blood sugar levels in ferrets.

You must also avoid giving them nuts, as ferrets cannot digest them and it can lead to intestinal blockage.

Avoid giving them spicy snacks; though they may enjoy it, the excess amount of salt and spices will make them suffer from severe gastrointestinal upset.

You may provide them with eggs, shredded chicken, or different varieties of animal meat as treats. You can also give them formulated ferret treats as they contain an adequate amount of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals which is beneficial for their health.

Can cat food kill ferrets?

There is a small possibility that it may. Good quality cat treats can be given to ferrets without much issue. But most cat food or baby food available in the market is high in carbohydrates and also high in vegetable protein instead of animal proteins. Thus, it is not recommended on a regular basis.

High carbohydrates can increase the amount of glucose in their blood beyond the safe level, and lead to insulinoma. Insulinoma is a type of pancreatic cancer. Not only that, these foods usually contain vegetable proteins in a good amount. These vegetable proteins are very hard for little creatures to digest easily. You must avoid giving these foods to your ferrets regularly:









Sweet potatoes




If they intake these foods in a large amount it could affect their reproduction abilities or cause gastroenteritis, ulceration of the skin, and formation of bladder stones or even cancer!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can ferrets eat cat food then take a look at ferret vs weasel or ferret facts.

Hemant Oswal
Written By
Hemant Oswal

<p>With global experience in marketing and business development, Hemant is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi and a Master's degree in Marketing from The University of Adelaide in Australia. Hemant's work in China, Hong Kong, and Dubai has honed his skills and provided valuable experience. He broadens his understanding of the world through reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries.</p>

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