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5 Best Cat Foods for Ferrets in 2023: Reviews, & Top Picks

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

This is our review of the best cat food for ferrets in 2023.

Certain kinds of cat food are a good choice for ferrets. We know from experience how tricky it can be to find foods made especially for ferrets.

When you know which cat foods are suitable, you have a greater variety of food at your disposal.

We have done extensive research on the best cat food for ferrets and have compiled them into this list.

Ferret Cat Food Comparison Table

Top 5 Cat Food For Ferrets
Instinct Raw  Boost Grain-Free Kibble
  • Food form: Raw, Dry, Frozen
  • Flavor: Chicken
Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food
Best for Whole Prey Nutrition
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Protein-Rich
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Free-Range Chicken Cat Food
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Chicken
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Fish
Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Formula Dry Cat Food
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Turkey

How We Picked Cat Food for Ferrets

Not just any food will do for your ferret. There are certain features I look for when choosing the best cat foods for ferrets.

High Meat Protein Content:

Remember, ferrets are carnivores. They need meat and have specific nutritional requirements, and they’re not able to get the nutrition they need from vegetable matter. In fact, plant matter doesn’t offer them any nutrition at all.

All the foods on this list are outstanding when it comes to protein content, tailored for carnivores, and they’re good enough for ferrets.

Product and Manufacturer Reputation:

All of the cat foods included on this list are from brands and manufacturers known for their dedication to quality. The best thing you can do as a ferret owner is to research a company before committing to a product to ensure you get the pet food that works best for you.

Many of these companies choose to source their products in an ethical and environmentally-conscious way, which I find to be tremendously important.

Ingredient Quality and Composition:

Ferrets shouldn’t be given food with high levels of fillers, such as unnecessary carbohydrates and fiber. Meat and animal protein must always be the focus. Ideally, animal meat should be at the top of the cat food’s ingredient list, which you should always read before purchasing.

Appropriate Fat Content:

The best fat level for ferret food is between 20 and 30% fat. Fat is more important in the ferret’s diet than many owners realize. Be especially careful to give your ferret fatty cuts of meat as a supplement if you give it a food with a lower fat percentage.

Our Best Cat Foods for Ferrets

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Kibble with Real Chicken, Duck or Salmon:

Best Overall
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Kibble
Overall Best Food for Ferrets
  • Food form: Raw, Dry, Frozen
  • Flavor: Chicken

In our opinion, the best cat food for ferrets is the Instinct Raw Boost Grain-free food. It comes in three varieties to suit your ferret’s choice: chicken, duck, and salmon.

What’s more, the chicken and duck are sourced from cage-free environments while the salmon is wild-caught. We know sustainability is important to decision-making process when picking food for ferret.

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Kibble is unique in that it offers high-protein kibble combined with the freeze-dried raw meat of your choice. The meat is raw when it’s freeze-dried, meaning your ferret will get the benefits of raw protein.

Another perk of this food is its 22% fat composition, which is ideal for ferrets.

There’s no filler in this food, and it’s free of artificial flavors and preservatives, wheat, corn, and soy.

Moreover, your ferret will benefit from high levels of antioxidants, omegas, and probiotics. These are essential for a healthy coat and skin, as well as a strong immune and digestive system.

  • Exceptional animal protein source
  • Free of grain, potato, corn, soy, and by-product meal
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Ferrets may ignore the kibble and only eat the raw meat portion
  • Relatively expensive   

Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food:

Best Whole Prey Nutrition
Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food
Best Whole Prey Nutrition for Ferret
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Protein-Rich

Our second choice ferret cat food is the Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food, which gives your ferret whole prey nutrition.

Of course, ferrets in the wild eat every part of the prey they catch. In that vein, Orijen includes all parts of the animals they use.

This has a significant impact on nutrition, as different parts of an animal’s body vary in the nutrients they contain. With this product, your ferret will enjoy the benefits of nutrients from bone, cartilage, and organs, as well as flesh.

Orijen uses high-quality, fresh ingredients from regional sources, including wild-caught fish and free-run poultry. Eggs used in Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food are nest-laid, so you can rest assured the animals are treated humanely.

The first five ingredients in Orijen Cat and Kitten Food are fresh chicken meat, fresh turkey meat, fresh whole eggs, fresh chicken liver, and fresh whole flounder. However, the variety of choices don’t stop there, so you’ll be able to experiment with many delicious options for your pet.

This cat food has a freeze-dried coating that your ferret will delight in. When your pet bites the kibble, a raw meat flavor will be released.

It’s one of the reasons I think Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food is the best kitten food for ferrets.

  • Whole prey nutrition, including bone, cartridge, organs, and flesh
  • Freeze-dried raw components
  • Outstanding protein content
  • Several kinds of meat and eggs included
  • A little less expensive than comparable options
  • Fat level is high at 44%
  • Expensive

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Free-Range Chicken Cat Food:

Best as a Treat
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Free-Range Chicken Cat Food
Best as a Treat for Ferret
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Chicken

If you’re looking for the perfect cat food treat for ferrets, the Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Free-Range Chicken Cat Food is a premium choice to consider. Not only is it on the pricier side, but it comes all the way from New Zealand and uses only the healthiest ingredients and processes.

Ziwi uses a modern air-drying process when harvesting meat from free-range chickens. This technology is called Z-TWINTECH, and it’s highly effective at preserving the full nutritional value of this food’s premium-quality ingredients.

One of the unique features of this cat food is how it contains New Zealand Green Mussels, which make up three percent of the whole product. This mussel is a rich source of glucosamine that helps with several aspects of health, including the well-being of your pet.

The Peak Air-Dried is free of GMOs. The chickens are raised without growth hormones and antibiotics. Plus, there are no glycerin or grain sugars included.

Since this is a more expensive product, many ferret owners may not use it for full meals but just as snacks and treats. But if you want to feed it to your pet for its meals, you can’t go wrong. This is a highly nutritious food.

  • Extra nutrients from New Zealand Green Mussels
  • Free-range chicken raised antibiotic-free
  • Full nutritional value ensured by Z-TWINTECH air-drying process
  • Free of GMOs
  • Exceptional taste
  • So costly you might only want to use it as treats

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Dry Cat Food:  

Best Affordable Option
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Best Affordable Option for Ferret
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Fish

If you’re looking for ferret food at an affordable price, consider the Blue buffalo grain free dry food.

When it comes to dependability, Blue Buffalo is a mass-market brand that you can rely on as a nutritious source of high-protein for your ferret. Grain-free, this food is rich in animal protein and provides a high level of antioxidants and vitamin content.

This food includes Blue Buffalo’s Life Source Bits, which are blends of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that are carefully cold-formed. This process is vital in preserving all the potency of these beneficial ingredients as the nutrients would otherwise be compromised by heat.

In the fish variety, you’ll see top-quality whitefish at the top of the ingredient list. That same commitment is evident for Blue Buffalo’s chicken products, with genuine poultry being used.

One of the most affordable options out there, Blue Buffalo is made in the United States, and it doesn’t contain any poultry by-product. Additionally, it incorporates flaxseed, which is abundant in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Rich in protein
  • Free of poultry by-product meals, artificial preservatives, and flavors
  • No wheat or other grain
  • Relatively affordable
  • 7% fiber level a bit high 
  • Contains some fillers and unwanted ingredients

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula Dry Cat Food (Various Meats):

Best for Picky Ferrets
Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Formula Dry Cat Food
Best for Picky Ferrets
  • Food form: Dry
  • Flavor: Turkey

The Dr. Elsey brand is known for its patented “Clean Protein,” a formulation meant to match protein levels in whole prey.

This company urges pet owners to feed their beloved furry friends “protein, not plants,” and they stand by this motto in how their products are formulated.

Dr. Elsey’s kibble is the cat food to choose for picky ferrets. That’s because it comes in several different flavors, so you’re sure to find at least one your pet will devour.

In particular, there’s chicken, duck, rabbit, turkey, and salmon. No matter which one you choose, meat is the first ingredient on the list, and it will contain an exceptional amount of omega-3 fatty acids content.

Like other pets, ferrets need and benefit from omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. Veterinary research has found that boosting the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your ferret’s diet may help with skin problems and disorders.

It’s also completely free of grain and glutens, and it doesn’t have any artificial preservatives or filler either. Dr. Elsey products are non-GMO and have the advantage of being created and formulated by a veterinarian.

  • Exceptional omega-3 fatty acids content
  • Animal protein is the first listed ingredient
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • 5 meat varieties available
  • Veterinarian-formulated
  • Expensive
  • May include up to 10% plant-sourced protein

Is Dry or Wet Cat Food Better for Ferrets

If you’ve ever had a cat or dog, you know that dry kibble helps keep their teeth clean. The same is true with ferrets. All other things being equal, dry cat food is a better choice than wet cat food for your ferret.

Giving your ferret wet food on a regular basis will result in serious plaque build-up on their teeth. On the other hand, dry food will often help to scrape plaque from the animal’s teeth.

Besides avoiding potential plaque build-up, dry food has the added advantage of being far less messy. There is nothing worse than missing a bit of spilled wet food, only to find it days later, encrusted onto your floor or wall.

Ferret Kitten eating

Can I Give My Ferrets Kitten Food?

Yes, you can give your cats kitten food as long as the ingredients are appropriate. A food for kittens, however, probably won’t have as much fatty acid content as cat food. If you feed your ferret kitten food, it’s especially important to give a fatty acid supplement every day.

One great thing about kitten food is that it tends to have a much higher protein level than cat food. This comes in handy for ferrets, as these carnivores need as much protein as possible. So when you give your ferrets kitten food, you probably won’t have to give them as much protein supplementation in their diets.

Like with cat food, check the ingredients of your kitten food. Make sure it is grain-free and doesn’t have a large amount of complex carbohydrates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions people ask about feeding your ferret cat food:

Should I Feed My Ferrets Cat Food?

You can give your ferrets cat food as long as you’re careful about its quality and ingredients. Always keep your ferret’s nutritional needs foremost in your mind. Most veterinarians recommend not exclusively feeding cat food to your ferrets. You should add other kinds of appropriate food to your ferret’s diet to supplement where needed

If you want to feed your ferrets cat food, choose one of the foods we listed earlier or another with the right nutrients. It must be high in animal protein, no fillers, no grains, and an adequate level of fat. Remember, your ferret thrives on meat and, in the wild, would likely eat their prey whole.

How Often Should I Give My Ferrets Cat Food?

If you address your ferret’s nutritional requirements and make sure the cat food satisfies them, you can feed your ferrets cat food on a frequent basis. Of course, you should always consult with your veterinarian when making any dietary decisions for your pet. Talk to them about the specific brand you use and what supplements they may need.

Can I Give My Ferrets Cat Treats?

You can give your ferrets any food that fits their nutritional requirements. There are certain cat treats on the market that would be suitable for your ferret. Be aware, though, that there are also plenty that likely won’t offer any benefits for your pet. For example, stay away from cat treats that are full of fillers and grains.

As with any kind of pet, you don’t want to overfeed your ferret. With that in mind, consult with your veterinarian to establish how much food they should be fed each day. Treats are fine but don’t overdo them, or you could end up with a chubby (and unhealthy) ferret.

Unhealthy food that should be considered a treat are foods that contain sugar, grain, as well as dairy, and fruits.

What Other Foods Should I Give My Ferret?

As obligate carnivores, ferrets need plenty of meat, so it will greatly benefit your pet to feed them raw meat regularly. Ask your veterinarian for advice on how much raw meat to give your animal and the best means of doing so. Giving your ferret some fatty cuts of meat is a fantastic way of getting more of that essential nutrient in their bodies.

Ideas for other types of raw meat you can give your ferret include chicken necks, chicken feet, gizzards, brain, tongue, heart, and liver. Ferrets need the nutrients from bones, but in some cases, you may have to smash up the bones in the meat. This is often true with chicken necks.

Can You Keep Ferrets and Cats at the Same Time?

There is no simple way to answer this question as you need to consider several factors. Remember, you should never cause unnecessary stress for any animal in your household.

It’s possible that ferrets would harass your cat and that a cat may try to hurt a ferret. Always remember an animal’s natural instincts and keep your pets happy and comfortable.

If you do have cats and ferrets, never try to feed them at the same time. If you do this, it will lead to stress, conflict, and potential injury. Each pet needs their own space and a sense of security in the food you provide.

Do Ferrets Get Hairballs?

Yes, ferrets can get hairballs. Unlike cats, they won’t throw up to get rid of them. This means they are potentially a more serious problem. If you think your ferret has a hairball, bring them to the veterinarian as it may require surgical removal.

Give your ferrets treats made for preventing hairballs in these animals. Ask your veterinarian or look at your local pet food store to find one that works best for you.

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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