Even though ferrets and cats have many things in common, are their nutritional needs the same? Can ferrets eat cat food? The quickest answer we can give is: from time to time! But you may need to read the following paragraphs to better understand how much and why.
Of course, it is possible to give cat food to your ferret if selected for its needs. The exclusive use of cat food can be unsatisfactory and nutritionally inadequate, resulting in potentially fatal diseases.
Nutritional needs of cats and ferrets
Both being carnivores, cats and ferrets have special nutritional needs to stay healthy. They cannot digest plant substances, therefore they need a diet based mainly on animal proteins. Their diet must be low in fiber and carbohydrates.
Cat food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of cats, which are usually considered suitable for ferrets as well. However, the truth is that ferrets have slightly different needs. Furthermore, cat foods exist in very different variations and it is essential to be careful when choosing.
Can ferrets eat cat food – what kind?
- Kitten food
Compared to cat food, kitten food is considered the best alternative. Despite this, ferret food is available in most pet stores, in case it is not possible to find it, the food for kittens could be a valid alternative. It is essential, however, to check the label carefully.
- Dry cat food
Dry food is more suitable than wet food when it comes to ferrets. So, if you decide to choose cat food from time to time, it is better to opt for the dry one.
- Wet cat food
Ferrets shouldn’t eat canned cat food for several reasons. In the first place it is not possible to obtain the right level of calories, necessary for the mustelid, moreover, keeping food fresh for a long time is very difficult. Not being crunchy, the ferret’s teeth may begin to fill with plaque, which could lead to serious dental problems.
The convenience of using cat food
You could opt for cat food for your ferret for added convenience. It can also be stored for a long time without the risk of damaging it.
What does the ferret need?
Before buying cat or kitten food to give to your ferret, you need to make sure it contains easy-to-digest nutrients rich in standard animal protein. The label should state the presence of 33%, or more, of proteins: being carnivorous ferrets, vegetable proteins are not adequate for their needs as they could have a lot of difficulty in digestion.
The ferret needs a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. We are talking about 15% fat and the fiber content of less than 3% for an ideal food. This information is present on the label, by reading it carefully you will be able to choose the best cat food with the right nutrients.
There are many online stores that offer cat and ferret food. Choosing one that is knowledgeable and highly trained, with the right information regarding the most appropriate foods for cats or ferrets, is ideal.
Food for ferrets or cats is not equally good, some varieties may have unsightly elements, such as additives, which are potentially harmful to animals. If there is no pet shop near your home, you can buy great food from a trusted online supplier.
Add a variety of foods
Instead of giving the ferret only specific food or only high-quality cat food, you can choose a combination of both. It is also possible to add raw or cooked meat to meals to increase the nutritional value.
However, it is always best to avoid frozen meats, which are known for their lower nutritional value. Ferrets usually don’t like frozen meats.
Additional supplements, such as taurine or calcium, can be added to their meals for better health.
Gradual changes in diet
If a better brand of ferret or cat food is found, the change should not be sudden: this could lead to a refusal of the food. Ferrets are very habitual with their food, for this reason, it is better to make very slow changes in the change of feeding.
To proceed with a gradual change it will be sufficient to mix a small amount of new food to the one already known and continue to increase the percentage until it is used entirely. During this transition period, it will be advisable to carefully observe the ferret to notice the appearance of any allergies or symptoms of malnutrition.
Are you giving the ferret enough food?
Ferrets have a very fast metabolism and it is necessary to feed them frequently for adequate digestion. The ferret should be fed good quality food or natural food every 3 to 4 hours. It is possible to give some snacks or processed food as long as it does not contain sugar or as long as it is not abundant enough to affect regular meals.
It is important to correctly dose the right foods in the right quantity: now that we have clarified the neutrality of cat food for your ferret, it will be enough to keep this information in mind to provide it with a healthy and adequate diet.
This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case of any kind of discomfort.