If you own a Ferret, this is a question you might have wondered about quite frequently. Maybe not in exact words, Can Ferrets eat Cat food safely?
Experienced pet owners who have owned cats and dogs are probably familiar with the idea of changing the diet of their pets. This process is much harder when it comes to ferrets. Ferrets develop eating habits early on in their lives. They will not recognize some things as food if they have never eaten them before. They will most likely avoid these. They will follow the same pattern and dietary habits throughout their lives.
Can I give cat food to my ferret?
If a ferret is never given cat food in the early stages of his life, he will most likely avoid it when presented. Ferrets cannot be forced to eat a certain type of food by starving them. They will not eat anything that they don’t recognize as food even if they die of starvation. If you wish to feed cat food to your ferret as an alternative, better start giving him some from a young age. Diet changes are very hard to make in case of a ferret and will happen really slow.
Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food – Is Cat Food Good For My Ferret?
Ferrets, like cats, are obligate carnivores. The requirement of protein and fat is high in a ferret’s diet. Because both ferrets and cats have high protein requirement, it may seem like a good idea to give cat food to a ferret. Also, ferret food is much harder to get compared to cat food. Because of this, many ferret owners consider giving cat food as an alternative.
Cat food seems like a good option as it is easily available and is much cheaper than ferret food. Food specifically made for adult cats does not contain an adequate amount of protein and fat to meet a ferret’s requirement. It is recommended that you do not buy adult cat food for your ferret.
What kind of Cat Food is Good for my Ferret?
Most of the cat food available on the market will fail to provide the proper amount of nutrition required to meet a ferret’s need. Kitten food is much better for your ferret in terms of nutritional value compared to adult cat food.
Cat food that has a minimum or no grains is best for ferrets. A ferret’s digestive system is very delicate and sensitive compared to a cat’s digestive system. Grain is very hard to digest for a ferret and will result in your ferret getting sick. If possible, only buy cat food that does not have any grains in it. EVO Grain Free Cat Food is a viable cat food option for your ferret. Make sure the cat food you are considering is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
Ferrets should not be given food that has fish in it. While buying kitten food, make sure it doesn’t have any fish in it. Always buy kitten food that has chicken or lamb. The shape of food is also important. Shapes with edges or corners, like triangles, tend to hurt the mouth of ferrets. They should be avoided. Go for round shaped food instead.
Cat treats are absolutely fine for a ferret provided they are chicken or lamb based. They should also be round in shape and soft so that they aren’t hard to chew and swallow for your ferret. Like cats, ferrets enjoy eating mice too. However, mice for a ferret’s consumption should be small in size. Frozen mice can be bought from pet stores.
Dry cat food is a good option for your ferret’s diet. Dry food, in general, is very important in a ferret’s diet. Dry food helps clean the teeth of a ferret. And, as dry cat food is much easier to obtain than ferret food, it is a viable option. Most ferret foods are made by modifying cat food formulas. This is the reason why ferret food costs more than cat food.
Best Kitten Food for Ferrets
Kitten food has a higher protein amount when compared to adult cat food. Carbohydrate content can still be a problem. Do not buy kitten food that has a high carbohydrate content. The main source of carbohydrates in kitten food is corn and grain. If the carbohydrate amount is high, chances are corn and grain are ingredients present in the kitten food. Always check the ingredients and discard any kitten food that either has corn and grain as ingredients or has a lot of carbohydrates.
A lot of kitten foods have fish in them. Try to avoid these as fish is not recommended for a ferret’s consumption. Chicken and lamb as core ingredients are much more beneficial to a ferret. Soft and round shaped kitten food is best and sharp edges may easily hurt a ferret’s mouth.
Kitten food, however, contains a higher amount of protein and will work well as an alternative to ferret food. Still, it’s highly recommended that you check the ingredients before buying kitten food. Some kitten foods may contain a high amount of carbohydrates. Corn and grain are a big source of carbohydrates. Do not buy kitten food which has corn or grain listed as ingredients. Make sure that the very first ingredient is meat.
However, low-quality dry cat food isn’t good for a ferret. There are ingredients of lower quality ingredients incorporated in it. These ingredients do not hold any nutritional value. It is essential to buy dry cat food that contains 32-36% of protein and about 20% fat. Carbohydrate amount needs to be low as well. Fibre content should be under 3%.
Another way to lower the cost of feeding your ferret is mixing high quality of kitten food with ferret food. This won’t lower the cost significantly. But, it will also ensure that the nutrition in your pet’s food is adequate. The diet of ferret should not be reliant only on cat food. Cat food is a good alternative, but it can’t be the primary source of protein and fat for a ferret.
For ferrets older than 4 years of age, adult cat food may be more beneficial. Protein requirement changes as ferrets grow older. Adult cat food is a better fit for older ferrets and it’s highly recommended to switch to it. Adult cat food given to a ferret should also be low in carbohydrates, fibre, and sugar.
Wet food made for dogs and cats aren’t ideal for a ferret. Wet food does not meet the nutritional needs of a ferret. It may also cause the teeth of a ferret to decay.
Canned Cat Food or Raw? Which One is Better for my Ferret?
It is recommended to stay away from canned cat food. Cat food that has been canned does not have a high density of calories. The calorie density found in canned cat food is inadequate for a ferret and does not meet the requirements of a healthy ferret diet.
Additionally, it is extremely difficult to maintain freshness in canned food. Moist products remain fresh for a very small period of time. Therefore, canned cat food isn’t healthy for a ferret and should be avoided at all cost.
Ferrets can benefit a lot from raw food. Raw meat is rich in protein which is essential for the health of ferrets. However, raw food is difficult to switch to as your ferret might not recognize it as food. It is advised to be patient and show your ferret by the means of gestures that it’s food and incorporate raw food slowly into his diet. Raw food should be kept frozen or it will go stale. Any leftovers should also be kept in a freezer a few minutes after your ferret is done eating.
The benefit of feeding cat food to your ferret is financial. It is significantly cheaper compared to ferret food. If you are on a budget, cat food can be a tempting alternative. However, not all cat foods will fulfil the nutritional needs of your ferret and you should be very careful while purchasing food for your ferret. Make sure it is healthy and does not contain harmful ingredients. Also, try to mix it with proper ferret food and feed both ferret food and cat food alongside each other so that the health of your ferret isn’t compromised while keeping the cost low.
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