In this article we’ll be covering the best cat food for ferrets! Why would you want to feed your ferret cat food? Well, in many cases ferret food could be unavailable depending on your location, and even if it is, often times you’re limited to maybe one or two choices, and they may not be the best ones.
In these instances, it could actually be more beneficial for you to feed your ferret a high quality cat food! However, you should keep in mind that ferrets aren’t cats, and they have their own dietary needs which must be met. So, we’ll also be covering proper ferret nutrition, and we’ll help you to find the best cat food for ferrets that perfectly matches their nutritional needs.
What kind of nutrition to ferrets needs?
Ferrets are carnivores, and this actually makes their dietary needs pretty close to cats. However, there are plenty of cat foods out there which aren’t great either. The best cat food for ferrets is one that has a very high protein content and a moderate fat content.
It’s best to avoid foods which are high in carbohydrates, because your ferret doesn’t need these. If the first ingredient in the list is corn or wheat, don’t buy it! This is a common filler used in cat foods, and it’s not good for your ferret.
Honestly, it’s not great for cats either, but pet food manufacturers use it because it’s cheap and provides filler calories. Here’s what to look out for when choosing a cat food for your ferret.
- 40% protein or more
- 20% fat or more
- Low or no carbohydrates (3% or less fiber)
- No corn or wheat
- Whole prey mixes are better (Meat, organs, and bones.)
- High-quality meat protein sources (chicken, salmon, ect.)
How do you read the ingredients label?
Pet food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in order of prominence on the label. This means that if an ingredient is listed first, then that’s what the food is mostly made of.
When shopping for cat food for your ferret, you should look for foods which list a meat item in the first position. Preferably, the first few items will be meat proteins. If a grain or veggie appears too close to the top of the list, the food is likely low in quality.
Here’s our pick for best cat food for ferrets!
Now that we know what we’re looking for, it’s time for our ferret food list! This list has been formulated to prioritize foods which offer high-quality and valuable meat proteins, little to no carbohydrates and preferably use a whole prey approach to nutrition which is very valuable for ferrets.
#1 – Wysong Archetype
Wysong has been making high-quality pet foods for decades, and they have many foods which would be suitable for ferrets. In fact, they have a special version of one of their best foods which has been reformulated just for ferrets! Many pet parents trust their ferret’s health to Wysong and for good reason.
Archetype is a freeze dried diet which is composed almost entirely of meat, over 95% actually. It has a very low fiber rating, it contains no starch, it features over 44% protein, and it’s the food for ferrets you could probably ever buy.
This food is so nutritious that it can actually be fed to not only ferrets but also cats and dogs. This is because it has no low quality fillers, which often stops smaller animals from eating commercial dog foods! The food also features a super healthy whole prey approach, which is great for ferrets. This means that the food contains not just meat but also healthy organs and bones, an important part of ferret nutrition.
If you’re not familiar with freeze dried foods, then you should know that they offer you the best of both worlds! Not only will you have the benefits of feeding your ferret a nutritious raw food diet, but you’ll get the convenience of a dry food.
You don’t have to worry about formulating anything yourself, as this food is ready to go, and because it’s composed almost entirely of meat, your ferret will readily accept it. You can either feed this food dry or you can also mix in some water which will make a tasty gravy that your ferret will appreciate. This food comes in several flavors as well including chicken, quail and rabbit. Click here to see the full ingredients for this great food.
#2 – Wysong Epigen 90
Wysong makes our list yet again with another high-quality food for ferrets. This is their Epigen 90 diet, and it’s entirely starch free, unlike many pet foods on the market. It features over 90% meat, and it focuses on a nutritious blend of both whole meats and organs to offer your ferret maximum nutrition.
This food is pretty much the same as the Epigen 90 which Wysong markets to dog and cat owners. This is because their foods are so nutritious, that even smaller animals can eat them since there’s no fillers getting in the way.
It features a super high 60% protein, even more than the Archetype, 18% fat and only 3% fiber, making it a great food for ferrets. It’s rich in healthy Omega-3s, and it features a meaty taste that ferrets won’t turn down. While Arcehtype still features the highest-quality ingredients, this food is a close second, and it’s about the best you can get for a kibble diet. Click here to learn more about this food.
#3 – Orijen Cat and Kitten Food
If you’d prefer a food with freeze dried meat for your ferret, then Orijen makes a great option. Their cat and kitten food offers 90% meat, and just 10% in vegetable items. Much like Wysong, Orijen also favors a whole prey approach, and your ferret will still benefit from receiving the benefits of healthy organ meats and bones.
This particular food features a tasty assortment of proteins including poultry, whole fish and eggs, which your ferret will love. Orijen uses no meat meals, instead utilizing more beneficial whole meat and freeze dried bits, which ups the taste factor significantly!
Orijen’s biologically appropriate kibbles are a great choice for discerning pet parents, but this food does contain a lot more fiber than Wysong’s products, thus making it our third choice. It’s also less affordable as a kibble food than Wysong’s Epigen 90.
It contains 3% fiber, 40% protein and 20% fat, the lower fat content could make it a good choice if your ferret is a big over weight. Click here to see the ingredients list and read reviews about this food.
Should I feed my ferret a wet or dry food?
Ferrets have unusual eating habits which many pet parents are not quite prepared for. Normally people will recommend giving them a dry food, because it’s better for them to have access to food at all times. This is partially due to the fact that they have very fast metabolisms, and partly due to the fact that ferrets will not gorge themselves on food just because it’s available to them.
However, adding moisture to their diet like a wet food can is beneficial, and they will also be more excited about eating. You can get the best of both worlds by offering them a freeze dried diet like Wysong’s or at least supplementing it while mainly feeding them a quality dry food. This way they can have a dry or freeze dried food available all the time, but you can also provide a wet diet to them as a supplement or treat.
Should I feed my ferret only cat food?
The foods we’ve talked about in this article are nutritionally complete, and it is possible for your ferret to live on just these. However, everyone loves a good treat now and then, including ferrets! There’s a variety of great ferret treats out there that you can give your furry friend.
Wysong makes these Dream Treats, which are a high-quality, high-protein and low fiber treat which can be fed to dogs, cats and ferrets! They are made almost entirely of freeze dried meat, and they’re a great way to supplement your ferret’s diet if you plan to feed them a kibble food.
Avoid table scraps which could have hidden starches or sugars which are not good for your ferret. It’s also not advisable to give them things like peanut butter, fruits, sweets or grains.
How do I know a food is healthy for ferrets?
When choosing a cat food for your ferret, make sure to check the guaranteed analysis. This provides insight into the nutritional information for the food. It will give you a break down of the protein, fat and fiber levels, and you can compare these to what you know are appropriate for your ferret.
Make sure that the food offers an acceptable level of protein, 30% at the minimum. It should also be very low in fiber, with around 3% being the maximum that you should accept.
Focusing on foods which offer whole prey food combinations is also a good bet, because they are more nutritionally sound, and they mimic the types of foods that your ferret would eat in the wild. Wysong’s foods tick pretty much every box here, and that’s why so many pet parents believe that they have the best ferret foods.
Feeding whole prey to ferrets
Looking to give your ferret a valuable supplement to their diet? Try feeding them a whole prey item. Most people no longer feed their pets live prey items as this is not only seen as inhumane to the food, but it’s also dangerous for the animal your feeding.
In many cases the prey item could injure your pet, however, there are lots of frozen food sources you can pick up, and if you order them in bulk by mail it’s often much cheaper than purchasing them at a pet store that can charge outrageous prices for frozen mice.
A ferret’s diet can be improved with the occasional feeding of frozen pinky mice. If you’re not squeamish, then you can purchase them online, stow them in your freezer, and give your ferret a healthy treat once in a while. All you need to do is leave them out to defrost, and then offer this food item to your pet.
If that’s not quite your cup of tea, then you can also supplement a freeze dried or frozen raw meat food. These foods contain much of the same nutritional benefits, they are just already ground up and preserved for you. They can be used as a treat or even as a topper for meals to add to the nutritional benefits of dry kibble foods. Ferrets love the taste, and it makes it easier to get a picky eater to eat their dinner.
When choosing the best cat food for ferrets, try to remember that your ferret is an individual. Animals have preferences just like people do, and it’s perfectly possible that your ferret may not like every food you send their way.
You should also take into account your ferret’s personality. If they are on the lazy side, then opting for a lower fat food will likely be best for them, or they could put on weight too quickly and become obese. If however your ferret is very active, then they may be burning more calories, and a higher fat content food could actually be a good choice for them.
The point is, that many pet parents are too black and white in their view when choosing a food, and it’s important to remember that not all animals are the same, even if they are of the same species.