Getting set up for a new ferret, whether it is your first ferret or a companion for a current ferret, can sometimes be overwhelming. Between bedding, toys, and other essentials, you may be left with a number of different questions. One of the many questions ferret owners may be asking themselves and their ferret owning friends is “can ferrets eat cat food”? In truth, there is no quick answer to this question. This article will discuss whether or not ferrets can eat cat food and what to look for in the best food for ferrets.

Well, Can Ferrets Actually Eat Cat Food?

In short, yes, a ferret can eat cat food. However, it is important to consider a couple of things when trying to decide what to feed your animal. The nutritional needs of cats and ferrets are different, and the nutritional needs of ferrets are more aligned with the needs of kittens rather than grown adults. Additionally, all cat foods are not created equal. When looking at the price of ferret food, it may be tempting to opt for a cheap cat food alternative. However, feeding your ferret a food that is nutritionally deficient will not do you or your ferrets any favors. Do not switch your ferret to cat food for money saving purposes. When wondering if a ferret can eat cat food, there are only a few times that cat food would be an ideal substitute. The first is if you are unable to find high-quality ferret food in your area. While ferrets are becoming more and more popular as pets throughout the world, unfortunately, it is sometimes still impossible to find quality food for your ferret that is branded specifically for ferrets. Additionally, your veterinarian may suggest cat food for your ferrets for various health concerns. If you have questions about the brand or type of food you are feeding your ferret, always ask your veterinarian.

What To Look For In The Best Kitten Food For Ferrets

Now that we have answered the question “can ferrets eat cat food?”, it is important to know what to look for in the best ferret food substitute. Look for kitten food that includes some type of meat, such as lamb or chicken, as the first ingredient. Ideal kitten food for ferrets will contain at least 32% protein and 20% crude fat. If the kitten food you find does not have this level of crude fat, you can add fatty acid supplements, which can generally be found in most pet stores, to your ferret’s food to help make up the deficit.

What To Avoid In Cat Food For Ferrets

In addition to having a high fat and protein content, you should also know what to avoid in your kitten food for ferrets. Corn and other grains should be either very low on the list or not in the food at all. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, meaning that they can only utilize nutrients found in animal protein and not plant matter. Therefore, having grains in the food, particularly within the first five ingredients, means that you are feeding your pet ingredients they do not need and potentially could cause health problems for them. The best carbohydrate to have in your ferret’s food is brewer’s yeast or rice, though these may be difficult to find. Make sure at the very least that the first ingredient is meat.

 Best Brands of Kitten Food For Ferrets

There are multiple different brands of kitten food that will work for your ferret when you are considering your options, but here are a couple of recommendations to help you get started.


Proactive Health Healthy Kitten is one great choice for a kitten food to feed your ferret. This food contains 33% protein and 22% crude fat, meeting the two ideal requirements. Additionally, the first two ingredients are chicken and chicken meal bi-products, meaning that your ferret will get their nutrients from ingredients they can digest.

Royal Canin Feline Health

Royal Canin Kitten Dry Cat Food is another great option for kitten food that will work as a ferret food substitute. This food contains an adequate amount of protein at 34%, but is a little bit low for crude fat at 16%, which means if you choose to use this food, you may want to supplement with a fatty acid supplement.

Hills Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development

Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food

Hills Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development Hills Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development is an excellent option to feed your ferret. It has more than the recommended amount of both protein and fat, at 36% and 23% respectively.

Are There Other Alternatives To Ferret Food?

While the correct kitten food can be a fantastic option, you may be asking more questions beyond can ferrets eat cat food. In reality, kitten food is better than any other type of animal food for ferrets. Many other small animal food and dog foods do not contain anywhere near enough protein and fat. Raw diets are possible for ferrets as well, but there are some health concerns associated with feeding your ferret a raw food diet. Either way, most veterinarians and ferret experts suggest feeding a raw food diet in conjunction with high-quality kibble, either ferret or kitten, to help keep your ferret’s teeth healthy.


If you are wondering if ferrets can eat cat food, rest assured that there are some good options if you do a little bit of research. Whether you are feeding your ferret high-quality ferret food or high-quality kitten food, your ferret will be happy and healthy. Check our Ferret Food Chart.