Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food Safely?

http://www.amazon.com/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&tag=myferretpet-20&linkId=FZICFQ75IIK6MN4CQ: I’m wondering if there are any wet cat foods that I can give my ferrets as a treat? I know that some of the dry cat foods are okay but I’m not sure about canned foods? We have 4 ferrets that we normally feed with Marshall ferret food. However, at the moment, we’re a little strapped for cash, and I was wondering if cat chow or kitten chow was a safe, temporary substitute.

A: Ferrets can eat catfood, as long as it’s a high-quality brand like Evo, Blue Buffalo, or natural selections.

Other stuff to check (this is mostly the same as for dry foods though, so it might not be anything new):

  • Check the ingredients list to make sure meats are the first few ingredients. You may also want to avoid by-products or ensure that there aren’t any listed vegetable proteins (ie. “potato protein”) that are “artificially” boosting the food’s protein level.
  • Grain free canned foods are often (but not necessarily always) high quality. Looking for “grain free” on labels helps narrow down the search if you’re checking through pet shop shelves.
  • Some brands of canned food have adopted the tactic of telling you the percent of meat that’s in the food right on the front of the label. These ones are usually great. There’s a few brands out there that are 95% meat.
  • Usually foods that are labelled as being for kittens or for “all life stages” are more likely to meet these guidelines than ones that are only suitable for adult cats. That can help boil down your search as well.

If I had to give a “cut-off line”, I’d say that good, high-meat canned formulas are usually 10% or more protein and 5% or more fat. If you’re used to dry food that probably sounds low, but canned foods are usually 70-85% water, so that doesn’t leave much space for the protein/fat/carbs/etc. Exceptional foods can get up to around 12% protein and 7-9% fat.

Ferrets that are only used to kibble won’t always accept canned food. I have one ferret that loves canned cat food as a treat (I made sure to introduce it to her at a young age), and one that won’t touch it. You will need to blend the new food in gradually – say over a week – with the old food as ferrets will not accept an instant change in their food. You can help the process along by squirting Ferretone over the top of the kibble . Ferrets love Ferretone and it’s good for them.

What Cat Food Brands Are Best for my Ferret?

There are a few good canned foods that you can give as a treat. These tend to be meat only foods or innova evo canned foods. For example I get the 95% venision Evo from innova (they also have rabbit, turkey, beef etc). Wellness also has 100% meat such as buffalo. Merrick has their before grain canned which is quite nice and they have things such as quail.

I didn’t like zupreem either – but thats just me. After the melamine scares, my boys don’t get grain foods anymore. I just don’t want to risk it. I feed orijen cat and innova evo small bites (dog) … They’re both high protein/fat and grain free – very little waste! I also mixed in a 6 fish cat sample bag to see what they thought about it – and thus far, so far so good.

I quit using Evo because it gave my ferrets gas and since I took them off of it and put in Natural Gold Hi-Pro Lo-Carb their coat is SO much softer and silkier! The Evo made their coat feel really coarse and crappy looking! the one I feed is in a yellow bag with a cartoonish looking ferret on the front. It’s like 3 or 4 pounds and I get it at Petsmart. That’s the only actual store I’ve seen it at, other than online. I’m glad they sell it now too!

What Ferret Foods Are Healthiest

My ferrets get a mix of ferret and cat foods. The most effective kibbles for your ferret (whether or not it is cat or ferret kibble) is supposed to be full of (meat-based) protein, low in carbs, moderate to elevated fat, have absolutely no corn, has taurine (There’s no doubt most, if not all, cat and ferret foods do), and also preferably grain free.

Believe it or not, the best canned food for ferrets we’ve found as far as having the most meat and least fillers we get from dollar stores. look at the off brands. we really didn’t like any cat foods from wally world.

Premium Cat Foods

Ferrets can certainly consume cat food providing it’s top-notch cat grub. High quality cat or kitten foods will meet the nutritional requirements of ferrets. Becuase the majority of ferret foods are quite low in quality, there’s a good number of cat/kitten alternatives that are actually healthier and more nutritious for ferrets.

Chicken soup for the kitten lover’s soul is quite inexpensive if you’re in a pinch, and better for ferrets than the wal-mart food (medium as opposed to poor quality). Keep in mind too though that since higher qulaity foods are more nutrient dense with less vegetable/fruit fillers, ferrets don’t need to eat as much of them to satisfy their energy and nutritional and needs. Even if the bag costs more to buy, it lasts longer and ends up costing you less in the long run.

Kitten Food for Ferrets

You shouldn’t feed the ferret Cat grub, although kitten food happens to be a good alternative. Foremost you cannot feed a ferret dog food, it’s possible to feed them cat food still it seems to have to generally be Kitten edibles as cat biscuits just doesn’t actually have the right nutrients in it.

Cat edibles is actually ok in a particular emergency, and yet it’s possible to discover premium ferret grub for all existence levels in most pet shops, still here in CA. Most ferret owners prefer to feed many brands of edibles because ferrets imprint on their nutrients, so if you run out of one edibles, you need a backup.

Are Ferret Foods Made The Same as Cat Foods?

The hierarchy of cat/ferret food runs basically like this:

  • High quality ferret food
  • High quality cat food
  • Low quality ferret food
  • Low quality cat food

The idea is that some cat food is better than some ferret food, but the absolute worst is the low quality cat food. Frankly, if someone is going to go with the cheapest possible cat food for a ferret, they shouldn’t have a ferret in the first place. These poor ferrets are very likely the ones that shelters most often see when they get sick and need expensive vet treatment, and the ones that create the stereotype of ferrets being prone to illness more than other pets.

A lot of people including myself, choose to feed high quality cat/kitten foods. It’s all about the ingredients and percentages, not the picture on the front of the bag. And a lot of time you get charged more just because the food is labeled for ferrets. A cat food with high meat content (real named meats, not just by-products or non-specific meat categories), no grain or corn, and high protein and fat is much better than a low quality ferret food.

Just because a bag claims to meet your ferrets nutritional needs 100% doesn’t actually make it true. Pet food guidelines for what the bag can claim about nutritional completeness are pretty vague. It’s up to the pet owner to know what is actually in their pets food and be capable of deciphering the back of the bag. Because, sadly, pet food companies will claim anything to persuade you to buy their product!
Ferret or cat food, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is finely printed on the back of the bag.

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