Last Updated on October 16, 2020
The ferrets have been one of the favorite pets of recent years, every day there are more people who adopt one to be part of their family. After dogs and cats (the #1 pets in the world) these animals can be a good option to keep your company, due to their friendly and playful attitude.
Although ferrets have been popularized as pets, it’s sometimes difficult to get their food at any pet store, or they don’t know much about them when you look for products for their care.
In view of this, many people tend to improvise on foods that ferrets can be given, based on animals that have similar eating habits to them.
Cats are purely carnivorous pets, like ferrets, and this leads us to ask: Are their nutritional needs the same? Can ferrets really eat cat food? Continue reading to find out.
Ferret’s Nutritional Needs
We emphasize that ferrets are predators, carnivores, just like cats. Its main source of food must come from animal proteins, low in carbohydrates and fiber. It’s difficult for them to digest plant substances.
In their natural habitat, ferrets feed on rabbits and rats, but if it’s a domestic ferret, the diet changes. If you don’t get feed (dry food) for ferrets, which are ideal for them, you can use cat food, but you must be careful when choosing because a ferret has slightly different needs.
For it to be a good food for the ferret, it must be ensured that the main source of protein is animal origin and it doesn’t possess any type of fruit or vegetables because they aren’t digestible for them.
Ferrets are animals with a very fast metabolism, they can eat up to 10 times a day in small quantities. It’s important to have water always at your disposal to avoid digestive problems.
Cat Food for Ferrets
Knowing that ferrets can eat cat food, you must keep in mind that not all of them are consumable for them.
Cat food is plan B if you don’t get ferret feed in pet stores, because eating a homemade diet isn’t recommended because it’s impossible to control the percentage of fat and nutrients that foods contain.
If you have to choose some type of food for your ferret, it would be kitty food, it’s the best alternative without a doubt. It should be preferably dry, and if possible, contain Taurine.
Kitty food should be supplemented with fatty acid and vitamin supplements. Cat feed doesn’t contain enough fat. Beware of the feed that is chosen, ferrets don’t need grains such as rice or corn as the main ingredient, and if they’re present in the food, they must be found as a fourth or fifth ingredient.
The Best Cat Food For Ferrets
Feed for kittens is best for ferrets, but there is a wide variety of these present in pet stores or in the vet. Sometimes you will ask yourself: Which of them is the best? Here is the list:
Cat foods must have nutrients that are easy to digest, and must contain at least 35% animal protein (vegetable protein doesn’t digest them), at least 20% fat and very low amount of fiber (maximum 4% ).
In the list of ingredients, you must realize that the first 3 are of animal origin. The fibers shouldn’t exceed 4%, as it can cause gastroenteritis.
Food should not have any type of fruit or vegetables, ferrets intestines are not able to digest it and can cause intestinal obstruction.
As we mentioned earlier, ferret metabolism is very fast, so you should always have fresh food and water available.
Can Ferrets Eat Wet Cat Food?
They can eat it, but it isn’t recommended that they consume it, or at least not in quantity, since the moisture of the food favors the formation of tartar on the ferret’s teeth.
Not only that, in the nutritive part, wet food doesn’t allow to obtain the appropriate level of calories, so in theory, a ferret should eat this food in large quantities to reach the necessary levels. Another disadvantage is wet foods are damaged much faster than dry foods, giving a point in favor of the latter.
Can Ferrets Eat Cat Treats?
Just as there are feed for ferrets, there are special treats for them. Whenever you want to reward your pet, ferret treats are the best if you don’t want to worry about the ingredients it contains.
In the same way as it happens with the feed for ferrets that aren’t obtained in pet stores, it happens with treats. Can your ferret eat cat treats? The answer is yes, but in a few quantities.
Treats shouldn’t replace meals during the day. Rewarding your ferret at most once or twice with a treat will be enough to keep it happy and vary its meals.
It’s very important to review the list of ingredients in cat treats, most of them are made from fruits, vegetables, sugar and grains such as rice and corn. Try to give a treat that meets the nutritional parameters we have explained above.
If you don’t feel very comfortable with giving him treats for cats, you can feed him small pieces of raw meat in good condition, cooked egg yolk or whole prey, such as mice and rats, which can be found in scarce pet stores (food of reptiles).
Ferret feed is the perfect food for them, you won’t have to worry about nutritional needs because they’re specially designed for these pets, you just have to serve it and give to your ferret a Little bit of water.
If ferret feed is unavailable in your area, cat food is very practical because it has similar characteristics and can be stored for a long period of time without being damaged. And not all cat foods are consumables for ferrets, especially those that have fruits, vegetables and grains as main ingredients.
And remember, a proper diet is essential to maintain health and achieve harmonious growth of any pet, especially if you wanna have a healthy ferret