As hedgehogs continue to become increasingly common pets and hedgehog owners do their best to seek out the healthiest foods adorable little friends. It is essential to know what foods are beneficial for your pet and what foods can cause them harm.
That being said, if you have come across recommendations of cat food being an excellent alternative to hedgehog food and you’re looking for some answers, you’ve come to the right place.
Can hedgehogs eat cat food? It is safe to feed cat food to your hedgehog. Cat food is fortified with essential ingredients and nutrition that will give your little friend proper nourishment and comfort.
Nutritional facts about cat food
Cat food nutrition labels can help you evaluate and compare different cat foods and choose the best for your hedgehog. Knowing what to look for will help you make more informed decisions.
Hedgehogs need a balanced diet with portions of proteins, fiber, and fats. These nutrients aid in making the food as close as possible to their natural diet i.e insects, slugs, baby mice, frogs, fish, worms, small snakes, eggs, and even fruit. They need specific nutrients for good health.
Nutrients in well-balanced cat food include:
- Protein: Cat food is generally high in protein. Cat food that contains protein between 25% to 40% is great to feed to your hedgehog. Protein-rich foods provide a wider variety of amino acids that make up most of the dry mass of a cell.
The naturally occurring amino acid derivative L-carnitine is great to include in your hedgehog’s diet. It aids in enhancing heart health, burning fat, and supporting lean muscle mass. Some cat foods have added L-carnitine and the packaging usually states if it is on the ingredient list.
- Fiber: Soluble fiber is added to cat food to help it pass through the cat’s digestive system more easily. Soluble fibers in cat foods include fruits and veggies, flaxseeds, psyllium husks, barley, and certain types of legumes.
For your hedgehog, look for cat food with fiber levels at 5% to 10%.
- Fat: Pets need fat for producing energy and protecting their bodies. Cat food with a fat percentage of 10% to 15% is recommended for your hedgehog. For nursing moms and growing babies, higher fat content is beneficial. However, maintenance food for hedgehogs should have lower fat content.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are another good source of energy. Foodgrains like rice and corn are some of the most popular sources of carbohydrates you will find in cat food. Grain-free cat foods include alternative sources of carbs, like peas or potatoes.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Cat food labels that say “Complete and balanced” have added vitamins and minerals in them that are useful for your hedgehog.
Is cat food healthy for your hedgehog?
Different cat foods have different ingredients. The ingredients in the cat food decide whether it is or isn’t healthy for your hedgehog. Meat or chicken are highly recommended ingredients.
Make sure the cat food that you feed to your hedgehog contains the recommended amount of nutrients as mentioned above.
There is food specially made for hedgehogs, but it does not always contain the required ingredients to provide them with a well-balanced diet. That is why many hedgehog owners opt for cat food. It works wonders for your spikey friend and makes them very happy.
Benefits of feeding your hedgehog cat food
Cat food is a great option for hedgehogs because the protein-to-fat ratio is very close to what they require. A high protein brand of cat food is any day better than low-quality brands of hedgehog food.
High-protein cat food is readily available in the local grocery or pet store. On the other hand, to obtain good hedgehog food, you might either have to order online or drive to a specialty pet store since not all pet stores carry it.
How to keep stray cats away from your hedgehog’s cat food?
Leaving cat food out for your hedgehog in the yard can attract stray cats. You can ensure this doesn’t happen with the help of certain tricks to keep the curious cats away.
- You can set up a feeding station for your hedgehog with a small-sized entrance that only he/she can pass through.
- Keeping a dish of water at the entrance of the station will also prevent cats from entering as they don’t like to get their paws wet.
Can you feed your hedgehog canned cat food?
Hedgehogs can eat canned cat food as long as it doesn’t contain any harmful preservatives. The canning process itself is an effective preservation method so canned cat food generally doesn’t contain any significant amount of preservatives.
Do make sure it does not contain poultry by-products that are not suitable for hedgehogs and check that it isn’t freeze-dried. Be aware of the expiration date on the can and do not serve the food if it is past its date.
We would not recommend feeding your hedgehogs canned cat food on an everyday basis. It can lead to dental problems in the long run. You can provide your hedgehogs with canned cat food once a week.
How much cat food should you feed your hedgehog?
1 – 2 tablespoons of dry cat food (100 calories approx.) once a day is adequate. It is easy for hedgehogs to gain weight and become fat.
This can result in them being unable to get around well, so it’s necessary to keep checking on your hedgehog to make sure they are not gaining weight.
A few points to keep in mind when selecting cat food for your hedgehog:
- Choose adult cat food for your hedgehog. Kitten food is high in fat and isn’t healthy for them.
- As mentioned earlier, the food should contain a minimum of 30% protein and more than 15% fat.
- Try and test different cat food flavors with your hedgehog to check which one they like the most.
Hedgehogs are not picky eaters. Some owners will even argue that hedgehogs like the food made for cats more than the food made for hedgehogs!
Many breeders and hedgehog owners recommend mixing a few different cat foods to ensure that your pet receives a well-balanced diet.
Cat food is safe and healthy for your hedgehog and will keep them hearty and healthy when fed in moderation.