Best Cat Food for Ferrets

Although once banned in many US states, ferrets have become popular pets across America. Because of this, it’s surprising that it’s cat food that is most often recommended for your ferret’s diet.

But, as ferrets are true carnivores like cats, cat food has all of the protein and fat that ferrets need in their diet. Cats and ferrets are closely related animals, so it makes sense that their diets are similar, but there are some important differences.

There is specific ferret food available, but it’s not all that easy to find and there isn’t much choice available. So it’s much easier to buy cat or kitten food instead. 

Before you go out and buy just any cat food, make sure to read through this list of the best cat foods for ferrets, and especially read through our buyers’ guide for advice on what you should feed your ferret, as well as (most importantly) what you shouldn’t feed it.


Top 5 Best Cat Food for Ferrets

OUR TOP PICK

This cat food is one of the best for ferrets as it’s specifically for kittens and is full of protein and made from real meat with no artificial ingredients, which is why it’s our top pick of the best cat foods for ferrets. 

The smooth paté style of this cat food will make it easier for your ferret to eat and digest. This cat food also contains high amounts of lean meats and healthy fats which are great for your ferret. 

As the name of this brand suggests, the overall health benefits of each ingredient has been considered to ensure this food includes only the best, most natural ingredients.

This cat food does have some carrot in there which is said to be good for immunity due to the high levels of antioxidants in them, but, depending on the amount, this might cause some irritation in your ferret.  

Small amounts of vegetables can be okay, especially when included in other foods as this will help digestion. Ferrets definitely shouldn’t eat pure, whole vegetables, but they can be okay if they are already blended but it’s worth checking with your vet. 

Pros

  • Gluten free
  • High in protein
  • Specifically designed for kittens
  • No grains
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cons

  • Only available in one flavor
  • Only available in a pack of 24
  • Small amounts of vegetables

EDITORS CHOICE

This is the only dry cat food included on this list, but that’s not because dry food is bad for ferrets. This cat food would be a great option for your ferret as it is free from grains and packed with protein. 

Although only available in one flavor, this cat food is a combination of deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal which means it is 65% protein. 

As well as protein, this cat food includes omega fatty acids from flaxseed and salmon oil which states that it will give your cat a healthy coat and healthy skin, which will also be true for your ferret. 

As well as healthy skin and coat, this cat food will also support your ferret’s whole body health due to the prevalence of minerals, vitamins, and probiotics.  

Pros

  • Free from grains
  • High in protein
  • High in fat

Cons

  • Only available in one flavor
  • Only available in a pack of 24

BEST VALUE

This Purina Pro Plan kitten food is a great option for your ferret as it is packed full of protein and comes in a wide variety of flavors and even in different textures. 

It might take a while to find out exactly what you ferret will want to eat and what works best for them, so buying a variety pack can be a good idea.  

A variety pack will also help to diversify your ferret’s diet which will help them have a good balance of all the nutrients that they need.  

This variety pack contains quite a bit of fish, which ferrets can eat but isn’t part of their natural diet. It is a good source of protein, but make sure that your ferret’s diet is still mostly made up of meats. 

You do need to be careful with this food as it does include rice which is difficult for ferrets to digest. If you’re unsure, speak with your vet and ask for their guidance on what nutrients your ferret needs and exactly what they should avoid. 

Pros

  • Available in multiple flavors
  • Available in multiple pack sizes 

Cons

  • Contains small amounts of rice

RUNNER UP

This Tiki Cat Luau is a great option for ferrets as it is free from grains and low in carbohydrates. It is, however, lower in fat than your ferret needs, so make sure to add other foods that are high in animal fats to their diet. 

It’s difficult to find the perfect cat food for ferrets as cats, similar to ferrets though they are, do still require different nutrients. However, it is very difficult to find specific ferret food, so if you have to use cat food, make sure it’s not the entirety of your ferret’s diet.  

This Tiki Cat Luau is available in a wide range of flavors, some of which are very high in protein. Make sure to check the label so you know exactly what your ferret will be getting.  

Pros

  • Free from grains
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Available in multiple flavors
  • Available in multiple pack sizes
  • High in protein (varies between flavors) 

Cons

  • Low in fat

RUNNER UP

This Nulo cat food is another great cat food option as it is free from grain. Grain is difficult for ferrets to digest, so aim for foods like this one, that are rich in protein and low in grains and carbohydrates. 

Available in variety packs or single flavor packs, this cat food is a good option as it contains fish-free portions. Although fish is fine for ferrets, it isn’t necessarily good for them, so choices such as turkey and duck are great. 

One of the issues with this cat food is that it does have some carrots, dried ground peas, and cranberries which might not agree with your ferret’s digestive system, however, it is in small quantities and usually for flavor and added vitamins.

Make sure to double-check with your vet to find out exactly what your ferret needs. 

Pros

  • Available in multiple flavors
  • Available in multiple pack sizes
  • Free from grains 

Cons

  • Lots of fish options
  • Contains some ground vegetables

Best Cat Food for Ferrets Buying Guide

Ferrets are true carnivores which means they can only really eat raw meat. 

The best kind of cat food for ferrets is actually kitten food. Ferrets need a lot of protein and fat and kitten food is high in both of these.

Cats are also true carnivores and so only eat meat, which is why cat food is often suggested as the best food for ferrets.

Overall, when considering which food to buy for your ferret, you should speak to your vet or a professional. Cat food can be useful, but if you feel your ferret needs more nutrients and don’t want to be regularly feeding them mice or large portions of raw meat all the time, you can use cat food as a base.

You can either mix in some raw meat to the cat food or even just use cat food as their most regular food and then give them a few pieces of chicken or turkey throughout the day.

Essentially, so long as your ferret gets lots of protein and fat and doesn’t eat any dairy or too much veg, they should be okay.

What Ferrets Should Eat

As ferrets are carnivores, they can pretty much eat any kind of meat, but it’s best to choose something high in protein and fat.

As well as knowing exactly what they can eat, it’s important to know what your ferret needs to eat. It’s not simply a case of feeding them so they stay alive, they need a balanced diet with exactly the nutrients that their body requires to keep them happy and healthy, just like every other animal.

Make sure you give your ferret a variety of meats so make sure they get a good balance and speak to your vet if you have any concerns.

Raw animal bones are also good for ferrets to gnaw on as they help them clean their teeth and are a good source of calcium.

The best foods for ferrets are:

  • Chicken
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Lamb
  • Lambs’ hearts
  • Offal
  • Rabbit
  • Turkey necks
  • Pigeons
  • Minced beef
  • Offal
  • Raw bones

What Ferrets Should Not Eat

Dog food might seem similar to cat food and so a good option, but this is best avoided. 

Ferrets can’t digest fiber well, so they shouldn’t eat fruit and vegetables. Although they are important parts of the human diet, fruit and vegetables cannot be digested by ferrets and may become blocked in their digestive system. Vegetables also have high levels of carbohydrates which ferrets can’t digest either.

Due to this, they also shouldn’t eat any bread or cakes or anything that is high in carbohydrates. They also can’t eat any grains, so avoid any cat food that has anything like rice in.

Dairy should also be avoided as, although it is high in protein and fat, ferret digestive systems aren’t suited to digesting dairy. Ferrets are essentially lactose intolerant as they do not have the enzyme that’s needed to digest lactose. Feeding your ferret dairy may result in them becoming dehydrated, having diarrhea, and you may even end up having to take them to the vet.

So, even if your ferret seems to love dairy products, it’s not worth the risk.

Much like with cats and dogs, ferrets should also avoid caffeine and chocolate. If in doubt, avoid anything that you wouldn’t give to a cat or dog, this also includes grapes and anything containing xylitol. Although you are unlikely to feed your ferret anything with xylitol in, it’s still best to make sure any products containing this are kept well away from your pet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ferrets eat dog food?

Not really. Although cat and dog food might seem similar, they are in fact very different. Dogs don’t have to eat meat like cats and ferrets (they can even be vegetarian or have a plant-based diet) but their food usually contains a lot of vegetables that ferrets can’t digest. 

Due to the vegetable content in dog food, there isn’t enough protein or fat in dog food, so not only does it have foods that ferrets can’t digest, but it also simply won’t give your ferret the nutrients it needs.

Should ferrets eat wet or dry cat food?

If you choose to give your ferret cat food, it should either be wet kitten food or premium dry cat food. The best option is wet kitten food, but premium dry cat food with a high protein and fat content.

It’s more important to check the ingredients and ensure it has at least 32% to 36% protein and 20% fat. Fiber should be no more than 3%. 

Can ferrets eat eggs?

Yes, ferrets can eat eggs either raw or cooked, but they shouldn’t have them very often.

It’s fine to give your ferret a couple of eggs once or twice a week as a treat, but any more than that can make them unwell and cause constipation.

What can ferrets drink?

The best thing to give your ferret to drink is water. Water is full of minerals that are healthy for everyone and anything else, such as milk, would be difficult for ferrets to digest. Although it’s a cliché, cats actually shouldn’t drink cream or milk either.

As cats are also true carnivores and have similar dietary needs to ferrets, they can’t digest dairy.