Although ferrets and cats share many similarities, are their nutritional requirements the same? And can ferrets eat cat food? A quick answer; occasionally! But you may need to read to get better understanding of how much and why…
You may of course give some cat food to your ferret, however, be selective because you need one that is closer to the needs of your ferret. Exclusive use of cat food can result in unsuitable nutrition and possible illness or death for your ferrets.
- 1 Nutritional Requirements Of Cats And Ferrets
- 2 Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food: What Kind Of Cat Food
- 3 What Does Your Ferret Need?
- 4 Your Pet Food Store
- 5 Add A Few Varieties Of Foods
- 6 Make Gradual Changes In The Diet
- 7 Are You Giving Your Ferret Sufficient Food?
Nutritional Requirements Of Cats And Ferrets
Both being carnivores, cats and ferrets have particular nutritional requirements to stay healthy. They cannot digest plant nutrients completely, thus they need a diet with a larger proportion of animal protein. Their diet also needs to have low fiber and carbohydrate content.
Most cat food is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of cats, which is why it is generally considered suitable for ferrets too. However, the truth is that ferrets have slightly different needs. Additionally, cat foods come in many different varieties and you need to be very careful while selecting one for your pet.
Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food: What Kind Of Cat Food
In comparison to cat food, kitten food is considered to be a better alternative. Although, ferret food is available at most pet stores, in case you cannot find any, kitten food is a good option. You do need to be very careful and check the label for the right nutrients.
Crunchy Cat Food
Crunchy cat food is more suitable for ferrets than soft types. So if you do go for cat food occasionally, choose the crunchy type.
Canned Cat Food
Your ferret shouldn’t eat canned cat food because of several reasons. It isn’t possible to get suitably high calories from canned food for your ferrets needs. Keeping moist foods fresh is very difficult. As they are not crunchy, your ferrets’ teeth will start gathering plaque, which can lead to serious dental problems.
The Convenience Of Using Cat Food
You may be opting for cat foods for your ferrets due to the fact that they are less expensive. They can be stored for a long period without the risk of spoiling.
What Does Your Ferret Need?
While buying kitten or cat food for your ferrets, you must ensure that it contains easy to digest and high standard animal protein. Read the label and find the one that says 33% or more protein. As ferrets are carnivorous, plant based protein would not be right as they may have difficulty in digesting it.
Your ferret needs a diet that has a high content of fat and smaller amounts of carbohydrates. The minimum requirement of fats is 15%, while the fiber content should be less than 3%. This information is provided on the label so if you read it carefully, you will be able to choose the cat food with the right components each time.
Your Pet Food Store
There may be many pet stores near you that offer cat or ferret foods. Choose one that has well-informed and well-trained staff, with the right information about the appropriate foods for cats and ferrets. All ferret or cat foods are not equally good and some varieties may have unsuitable amounts of fillers that are unnecessary and possibly even harmful for your ferrets. You can also get your pet food from a trusted on-line supplier.
Add A Few Varieties Of Foods
Instead of giving your ferrets only ferret food or only high quality cat food, you can choose a blend of both. Additionally, you can even add some cooked or raw meats to the meals to enhance the nutritional value. However, it would be advisable to avoid frozen meats because of lesser nutritional value. Besides, ferrets usually dislike frozen meats.
Additional supplements such as taurine and calcium supplements can be added to your ferrets’ meals for better health.
Make Gradual Changes In The Diet
If you find a better brand of cat or ferret food that contains more value in terms of nutrition or suitability for your ferret, don’t make a sudden switch. This can make your ferret react by refusing to eat. Ferrets imprint on their food and it would be advisable to make any changes in the food or brand very slowly.
In case you are wondering how you should go about it, the plan is very simple. Mix a little amount of the new food to the previous one and then keep increasing the proportion until you use only the new one entirely. Observe your ferret very carefully during this period for any allergies or withdrawal symptoms.
Are You Giving Your Ferret Sufficient Food?
Ferrets have comparatively high metabolism and you need to provide sufficient nourishment that ensures appropriate digestion. Your ferret should be fed every 3 to 4 hours with good quality pet food or natural foods. You can give some snacks or treats but they shouldn’t have high sugar content, or be large enough to affect the regular meals.
Here is a great natural ferret food without color, texture and taste additives. It contains health and immune-enhancing fatty acids with omega 3s.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B003LVW6LQ” locale=”US” src=”http://www.furrytips.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/51PEh2Bqta9L.SL160.jpg” tag=”steffun00-20″ width=”91″]
It is your responsibility that your pet ferret gets the right foods in the right quantity. Now know that there is nothing wrong with feeding cat food to your ferret as long as you keep all those things in mind that have been discussed above.