Ferrets are obligate carnivores. Their systems digest efficiently high proteins such as raw prey that replicate their ancestral nutrition in the wild. However, ferrets can also eat a range of cat foods that consist of protein and fats. They also take eggs, occasionally.
Sadly, although these small animals are carnivores, you should not feed them bones, either raw or cooked. Bones become hard and sometimes indigestible to ferrets. They also form into sharp fragments that can stick, tear, and damage your pet’s digestive system.
Ferret Diet and Nutrition
Keeping a healthy ferret requires that you give them food that consists of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins in the following percentage:
– Essential Proteins
Proteins contain amino acids that ferrets need to manufacture blood and develop muscles and bones. When picking the food for your furry animal, make sure that it is made of animal protein since ferrets do not digest plant proteins.
The diet should consist of 30-38% protein. If the food is low in protein, your pet will compensate for the needed amounts by eating excess to allow the body to squeeze adequate amino acids from the bulky ingested quantity.
Low protein diets also make ferrets weaker and vulnerable to diseases such as Aleutian Mink disease—which result from low antibodies.
Ferrets have short digestive tracts that suit easy-to-digest proteins. They thrive best on turkey necks, rabbits, game birds, pigeons, minced beef, offal, lambs’ hearts, whole chicken, mice, and rats.
Fats are essential in generating the energy your pet needs to walk, play, grow, reproduce, maintain its structure, and respond to stimuli. Your pet will thrive in a diet consisting of 18% high-fats, though the percentage varies based on the stage of life.
Young pets need about 22 to 25% of high-fat for growth and development. Conversely, adult ferrets can do with 18% as they only need the contents for survival and daily activities.
Most domesticated ferrets thrive on fat supplements such as Linatone and Ferretone. When feeding your pet, consider adding 1/8 tablespoonful of these two supplements to keep it in good health and shape. Remember, too much supplement will make your pet obese.
Dash out the supplements as treats when feeding your pet. This way, you can know how much your new family member can take.
Ferrets need carbohydrates to aid digestion and supplement their body energy requirements. Carbohydrates come in two forms as starch and fibers. Fibers are complex and indigestible to ferrets. Conversely, starch is digestible to ferrets only when cooked since they are water-soluble.
An ideal diet should consist of 5 to 8 percent soluble carbohydrate.
Vitamins are essential elements that aid in metabolizing food that your ferret eats. Also, they protect against diseases such as scurvy and vision impairments.
However, unlike humans, ferrets do not consume foods such as vegetables and fruits that contain a range of vitamins. Do not serve your pet fruits such as apples, blackberries, lima beans, peas, pink beans, figs, and bananas as they can cause harm.
Supplements such as the Alaskan Salmon oil contain Vitamin A, E, and D3 that work best in ferrets.
Generally, the vitamin contents in most supplements vary between 10-18%. Some other supplements contain additional B Vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, and B12. Others contain water-soluble vitamins such as Pantothenic acid, niacin, and biotin.
Is Cat Food Good for Ferrets?
Yes, ferrets can eat and thrive in cat food. Cat foods are mostly high protein that makes up a high percentage of ferrets’ diet. Therefore, if you cannot afford premium ferret food, you are free to settle for any cat food with 32-38 percent high protein.
Which cat Food is the Best for Ferrets?
The best cat food should not only enable the pet to survive, but it should also prosper and thrive on it. When choosing the best food for ferrets, you have two options; either wet or dry food.
– Wet Cat Food
Ferrets eat wet cat food. However, they cannot thrive in it. Unlike humans, ferrets require high fat and protein foods to keep good health and physical wellbeing. Wet foods have low caloric density m\king them not an ideal option for ferrets.
When you put the pet on wet food, they will need to munch too much food to attain their nutritional needs. Consequently, you will have a lot to clean. Also, wet foods cause plagues as they stick on the teeth of ferrets.
– Dry Cat Food
Dry foods are your ideal option when choosing cat food for ferrets. They do not lead to plagues and have sufficient caloric density.
When shopping for dry cat food, check the ingredients to ensure that the food meets the ferret’s dietary requirements. Also, check the treats and make sure that they are low in carbohydrates as you may not want to see your pet becoming obese.
– Kitten Food for Ferrets
Kitten foods are way better than cat foods when looking for something that your pet will love. They are high in both proteins and carbohydrates. Most importantly, they are easy to digest, making them ideal for ferrets.
When shopping, look for kitten foods that have protein contents of about 32% and crude fat of about 20%. Most of these foods contain healthy meat proteins such as chicken or lamb that are necessary for a ferret’s diet.
You can top the diet up by dashing food supplements to aid make up the deficit. Otherwise, the kitten food should be low in grains and corn as the ingredients can potentially harm your pet.
How Much cat Food Can a Ferret Eat?
The quantity of food you serve to your pet depends on its nutritional value. As explained before, ferrets tend to consume too much when the food contains low protein and fat contents. This helps the body digest too much to meet its nutritional requirements.
However, with an ideal diet, the fuzzy buddy will only eat what is adequate for its daily requirements.
Averagely, your pet should eat food that is 5 to 7 percent of its body weight daily—about 50 to 75 grams of 1 kg cat food.
However, this amount may differ depending on your pet’s individual needs. For example, the young ones may need a high quantity of food for growth. Adult pets may need high quantities of food during reproduction and gestation.
Yes, ferrets can survive and thrive on cat foods, especially kitten foods. However, do not put your pet exclusively on cat food unless you cannot find ferret foods in the local stores.