Ask Seth: Nutrition For Senior Cat
I have been feeding my senior cat food for the past year, and my new veterinarian suggested that I switch him to a ferret diet. Is this a good idea? Can you please explain the difference between cat food and ferret food? What would you do?
Ferrets are strict carnivores and should be fed a high protein (at least 34%), high fat (at least 20%) diet which includes high quality dry chicken or lamb. This means that chicken or lamb should be the first ingredient listed on the nutritional ingredients. I know that Totally Ferret and Zuprem for Ferrets are two brands that our local zoos use to feed their ferrets. These are both ideal because the food is naturally preserved with vitamin E. Ferrets have a short digestive tract so they need protein that is easily digested. Cat food can have grains or corn as the primary ingredient and they should not be used regularly, but could be used in a pinch if you run out of the ferret diet. Cat feed contains too much fiber and not enough protein, which can lead to kidney stones, bladder stones, malnutrition, dull coats, and other ferret health problems. Speak with your veterinarian to see what foods they recommend. I have heard some veterinarians have their own recipes for ferret feed that meets all the nutritional requirements for ferrets.