If you leave it to your cat, it will try at least try to eat almost anything. My nephew once gave my cat some fries. Not only did she gobble them up, but she also demanded that she be fed more of it! As cat owners, the onus is on us to feed nutritious) food to our cats.
Can Cats Eat Ferret Food?
Cats do as they please. As much as you try to stop them from eating something you don’t want them to indulge in, they will find a way to get it somehow. But, you should still know what items are a no-go so that you can keep these food items well beyond their reach at all times.
This brings me to ferret food.
Can cats eat ferret food? No, they can’t eat ferret food in large quantities and over an extended period of time. While it is not the ideal meal for them, if your cat has already eaten a small amount of ferret food, you don’t need to be concerned for its health!
You might be surprised with my answer, as ferret food does seem healthy, with its fair share of protein, fat, and various minerals. Not to mention that ferrets can eat most types of cat food.
Alas, the cat needs what it needs, and it certainly does not need ferret food! Keep reading to find out more.
The Safety Drill: Is Ferret Food Safe for Cats?
Ferret food is not always safe for cats because of what it might contain.
Sometimes ferret food contains ingredients that cannot be tolerated by the stomachs of cats. This includes items like tuna, sardines, and salmon. If your cat eats such items, it may experience an allergic reaction or stomach issues like diarrhea and nausea.
Considering that ferret food isn’t designed (and understandably so), keeping in mind the dietary needs and restrictions of cats, it is recommended that you should avoid feeding it to your pet. In case you have already given one or two nibbles to your pet, don’t freak out. A few pieces won’t hurt.
The Food Battle: The difference between ferret food and cat food
To understand why the answer to “can cats eat ferret food?” is a no, it is imperative to identify the differences between ferret food and cat food. And these differences arise because of the contrasting dietary needs of the two animals.
While ferrets are carnivores that require a high protein and fat diet, cats are omnivores that require both plant-based and animal-based nutrients. Hence, ferret food can never replace the benefits cat food can provide.
Deconstructing Cat Food
Did you know that to lead a healthy life, a cat requires 41 essential nutrients? They can be grouped into six main groups called fats, water proteins, carbs, minerals, and vitamins.
Cat food is made by including all these six groups of nutrients in the right amount. This can be derived from mixing vegetables, meat, cereals, and vitamins. All pet food available has to be aligned with the recommendations of the European Pet Food Industry Federation as well as the NRC guidelines.
And these guidelines lay down the specific nutritional requirements of cats as per their life cycle. This is why you will find separate options for kittens and adult cats!
Demystifying Ferret Food
A ferret requires a diet that has 40 percent of nutrients stemming from animal-based sources. This is because ferrets cannot digest plant-based protein. The food of these carnivores should also contain 20 percent fat and fewer carbs. By default, these requirements are different from a cat’s.
Naturally, ferret food available in pet stores is derived from animal-based protein sources that contain low carbs and high fat. Even if you make raw food for ferrets, you need to keep these nutritional restrictions in mind.
Kibble or No Kibble: Can cats eat ferret kibble?
Now that I have communicated what cats require in their meals and whether or not can cats eat ferret food, I’ll first let you guess the answer to this question.
Your Hint: What is ferret kibble?
I am sure if you aren’t an owner of a ferret, you might be confused by the terms thrown your way! I’ll make this question easy for you by defining what ferret kibble is.
Ferret kibble is dry ferret food that is made by mixing meat, vitamins, and minerals together in a mash-like consistency. It is then forced out through a machine like the one used to make pasta. It is then pressed and dried to form the dry food we know as kibble.
Just like any other ferret food, kibble also contains 35 percent of protein, 20 percent of fat, and 3 percent of fiber.
What’s your answer?
If your answer is a firm no, then you are correct! Cats cannot eat ferret kibble. At least not as a daily treat or meal.
The type of ferret food doesn’t matter. Whether it be wet, dry, or canned, all food that is prepared, keeping in mind the nutritional needs of another animal, can never be the right option for a cat. Therefore, don’t feed your cat ferret kibble.
But what if your cat helps herself to some? Let’s head on to the next section.
Red Alert: Can ferret food make cats sick?
As I mentioned above, ferrets and cats do not have similar nutritional needs. This is why any type of ferret food can never be an alternate for cat food. But what if your precious cat ate some of the food of your ferret? Will she be sick now?
Well, this depends on how much food was consumed.
If your cat exhibits serious allergies to seafood, then the chances are that she will experience diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach problems if a lot of ferret food is eaten.
Here, the ingredients of the food also matter. Not all ferret food has these ingredients and, therefore, may not always lead to this complication.
Also, certain pet foods contain artificial ingredients that are harmful to cats. It is always better to research all the ingredients of the ferret food your cat just devoured.
If there is anything particularly harmful in the food, seek help from a vet to avoid any major health issues. The chances are that your vet will ask you to monitor your cat for up to 48 hours in case serious symptoms have not set in.
One thing that ferret food always is rich in is protein. But, too much protein (given daily and over a long period of time) can lead to kidney ailments in cats!
Usually, feeding your cat ferret food one time does not pose severe health risks. It is when you try to replace cat food with ferret food is when the real issue begins! So avoid doing so.
Bonding over food: Do ferrets and cats eat the same food?
Because cats and ferrets both love protein, you might misinterpret this as thinking that ferrets and cats eat the same food and hence can share a meal together. But, as I laid out repeatedly in this guide, ferrets and cats do not eat the same food.
But, do they like each other’s meals? Definitely!
Let’s start with the feline. Cats can never get enough of ferret food. This is why you will find your cat trying to get its hand on your ferret’s meal.
As ferret food is packed with protein (something that cat food is devoid of), cats tend to like it. And while it may serve as a rare treat, it is not nutritionally apt for it.
Do ferrets love cat food?
A weird combination, isn’t it? Yet, you cannot change the preferences of the two animals! It turns out that most ferrets equally love cat food as well. But, just like ferret food is not suitable for cats, the same is true for cat food for ferrets as well.
Food made for felines does not have enough proteins for a ferret. Hence, it cannot provide them with the health benefits they need to live an energized life. This is why it is recommended that you never give a ferret cat food.
In Conclusion: Don’t mix it up
All in all, can cats eat ferret food? No, they shouldn’t because it is not made for them. And while both animals might like their proteins, ferrets are carnivores while cats are omnivores. In other words, cats don’t require the same amount of (high) protein that ferrets do. And they do require plant-based nutrients.
Both of these conditions cannot be satisfied by ferret food. So, if you have both ferrets and cats as a pet, don’t mix their food up. Also, make sure that during their lunchtime, your cat and ferret are separated. This will avoid any instance of self-serving as well.
While your pets may not know any better, now you do! Let the cat eat its cat food and treats. Don’t experiment with their diet. And if you are ever confused about a given food item, research before incorporating it into their diets. In fact, you might find some of my other guides helpful too.
Keep your pet healthy and satiated! Until next time.