Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food? And Other Dietary Concerns

Posted by Katherine Ripley
anaxolotl/Flickr

Ferrets, like cats, are pure carnivores that need a high quantity of protein and fat in their diet.

Ferret food is not as easy to find in stores as cat food is, so you may wonder if it's okay to feed your ferret cat food.

Adult cat food generally does not have enough protein and fat for a ferret, but a good brand of kitten food will. Kitten food is higher in protein and fat than adult cat food, so kitten food is fine to feed your ferret if you cannot find ferret pellets in the store.

Be sure to check the ingredients, though. Ferrets cannot digest carbohydrates, so make sure the kitten food contains no corn or grain, and meat is the first ingredient.

Ferrets also do not naturally eat fish. Chicken, beef, or lamb should be the first ingredient in a good ferret food, and it should be the first ingredient in the kitten food you select.

The last thing you need to be aware of is the shape of the kitten food. Triangles, or any other shape with corners, can hurt your ferret's mouth. Round shapes are always best.

Selbe Lynn/Flickr
Selbe Lynn/Flickr

What About Treats?

You can feed your ferret cat treats if chicken or lamb is the first ingredient, and the treats are round or soft. Other great treats for ferrets are scrambled eggs, cooked or raw chicken, beef, or lamb. Lots of ferrets also like to eat small mice, which you can buy frozen at the pet store.

It is fine to feed your ferret meat regularly, but dry food is an important part of a ferret diet because it helps clean their teeth.

Ferrets might like to eat sweets, but sugar is not good for their digestive system.

Selbe Lynn/Flickr
Selbe Lynn/Flickr

Is there anything else I shouldn't feed my ferret?

A ferret diet should be low in fiber, so it is not a good idea to feed ferrets fruits or vegetables. Ferrets also cannot digest carbohydrates well, so do not feed your ferret any grains, even if they are whole grains.

Chocolate is toxic to ferrets, like it is for dogs, so be sure chocolate is well out of reach. It is not a good idea to feed your ferret any sugary foods in general.

Lastly, ferrets should not eat any dairy products. They do not have the enzyme required to digest lactose.

When feeding your ferret, remember to stick to animal protein from meat or eggs. If you follow that rule, your ferret will be healthy and happy.

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Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food? And Other Dietary Concerns