Are you a proud hedgehog owner, or do these cute spiny friends visit your garden? Either way, you’re likely facing the dilemma of what to feed these adorable critters. Well, any respectable hedgehog breeder will recommend you provide them with a diet of good quality cat food.
If it’s your first time handling a hedgehog, this may come as a surprise. After all, you can find commercial hedgehog food. However, this option is not readily available, likely because hedgehogs are not popular pets. What’s even more concerning is hedgehog food is notorious for having poor-quality ingredients.
Cat food, on the other hand, is both readily available and protein-rich. However, even with cat food, there are some rules to follow. This article will answer questions you have about a cat food diet for hedgehogs, so read on to know more!
What Kind Of Cat Food Do Hedgehogs Eat?
Cat food is generally available as dry and wet food. Now, both of these are chock full of proteins and essential nutrients. However, the quantity of these ingredients tends to vary in both options. For that reason, you cannot treat them interchangeably.
Typically, high-quality wet cat food will have a water content of 80%. The remaining dry matter, though, will be very rich in protein and fat. Say the cat food has 80% moisture and 10% protein. The actual protein content, in this case, will be 50%, while the dry matter constitutes 20%.
Dry cat food, on the other hand, contains only around 10% moisture. Also, going by the previous example, the same amount of kibble will have 45% protein. The same applies to the fat in dry cat food.
A steady diet of wet cat food will lead to a very overweight hedgehog. Along with that, your spiny friend faces an increased risk of kidney problems later in life. So you should feed your critters wet food only as a yummy treat.
Another issue with wet food is that it is not very tooth-friendly, as it often sticks to the teeth. So this increases the chances of tooth decay over time. On the other hand, dry kibble helps clean the teeth as your critter munches through the food.
Is Cat Food Bad For Hedgehogs?
No, on the contrary, cat food is relatively healthy for hedgehogs. After all, it contains protein and all the other necessary nutrients your tiny critter needs. It also has fiber, which makes up for the chitin component.
However, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. If you’re caring for an older hedgehog, it is best to mix dry kibble with a bit of water. The water will soften the food, making it easier for your critter to chew and relish.
Also, keep an eye on how your hedgehog reacts to food. If your spiny friend enjoys wet food more, add a tiny bit of it to the usual dry kibble. This addition will keep your hedgehog from losing interest in the food.
A diet of cat food does not mean your hedgehog can only eat expensive products. The market has a plethora of affordable brands that are just as nutritious. However, one thing to remember is the quantity of cat food you feed your critters should be less. After all, they are a lot smaller than cats.
All of this aside, there are a few items in cat food you want to avoid. The following section will discuss them.
Cat Food To Avoid
The only cat food you need to avoid is ones including by-products. So that would mean ingredients like necks, intestines, and so on. While these may seem like rich sources of protein, they are not suitable for hedgehogs.
Other cat foods to avoid are any brands with fillers like wheat. These fillers have almost no nutritional value and have no real purpose in a hedgehog’s diet. All they will do is fill your hedgehog up without any real benefits.
Should Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food?
Yes, a hedgehog’s diet should include cat food, dry kibble, to be specific. However, that’s not all you should feed your little critter. Your hedgehog’s diet should consist of about 80% cat food and 20% insects, fruits, vegetables, and roots.
While this is the standard for all hedgehogs, some may be fussier than others. For them, you can skip the fruits, vegetables, and roots because hedgehogs can manage without these. However, you want to be careful with fruits and vegetables because some can be harmful to hedgehogs.
Insects are a non-negotiable dietary element. The reason behind this is that they are a source of fiber for hedgehogs. While cat food does provide your spiny friend with fiber, it is around 12% less than the necessary amount. So hedgehogs can digest chitin from insect exoskeletons as fiber instead.
A few other good sources of fiber include brown rice or oats. Or, you may try cooked and pureed carrots and pumpkin.
How To Feed Cat Food
The best diet for your hedgehog involves mixing feeds because it improves the diet quality. While most owners settle for mixing 2-3 suitable feeds, you can always opt for more. Now, there is more than one way to do this.
You can use one feed as a base and pile other feed layers for more flavor and variety. This practice not only enriches the mix but also improves its nutritional value. Or, you may choose to mix feeds equally either in 1:1 or 1:3 ratios.
The benefit of mixing feeds is that it makes up for flaws in any one product. You may find it easier to prepare and store a bigger batch of mixed feed in an airtight container. Also, pet hedgehogs tend to tire of their regular meals frequently. So mixing feeds can maintain their interest in eating.
Quantity Of Dry Cat Food Per Day
The appropriate amount of food varies from hedgehog to hedgehog. These variations depend on factors like age, gender, size, health, and activity levels. However, a standard amount that works for most hedgehogs includes 1-4 teaspoons (⅓-1⅓ tablespoons).
Most owners settle for 2-3 teaspoons in the case of an averaged sized hog each day. Remember to supplement this with fruits, roots, and vegetables if your hedgehog isn’t too fussy. Also, ensure your hedgehog gets to enjoy insects every day.
This Is My List Of Quality Cat Food For Hedgehogs
Since cats are relatively popular pets, there are multiple cat food options available in the market. So naturally, choosing only one option, particularly for hedgehogs, can be confusing. For that reason, we’ve picked the best cat food for hedgehogs out there to make your choice easier!
1. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend is ideal for younger or super-active hedgehogs as it supplies several calories. This food is all-natural and includes no by-products or fillers whatsoever. They also use high-quality meat from chickens raised without steroids.
- Actual meat, zero by-products
- Has probiotics for digestive health
- No fillers
- High in calories
2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor and Sensitive Digestion Dry Cat Food
The Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food is a premium cat food that is also excellent for hedgehogs. The product not only uses quality ingredients but also has very high fiber levels. GMO products, by-products, artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, and flavors are all absent.
- No GMO products, by-products, and artificials
- Chicken is the primary ingredient
- High fiber level
- High in calories
3. CRAVE Dry Cat Food
CRAVE Dry Cat Food is a premium product that features chicken as the primary ingredient. It is all-natural, using only original-source ingredients. Also, there are no by-products, artificial products, or fillers. So this cat food is quite easily digestible. A unique feature of CRAVE Dry Cat Food includes taurine, an essential part of the metabolic process.
- High protein levels
- Low amount of carbohydrates
- Crunchy texture
- Not suitable for picky eaters
4. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food
Pure Beyond Grain-Free features chicken and egg components as only 25% of its total ingredients. The remaining ingredients come from plant sources. You can be sure of this product’s quality as you can trace its components to their origins. However, the kibbles tend to be large, so you may need to break them into smaller portions.
- All-natural products
- Has probiotics to boost digestion
- No artificial products, fillers, or by-products
- Traceable sources
- High plant content
- A lot of calories
- Relatively large kibbles
5. Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food
With chicken being the number one ingredient, Instinct Kitten Food uses 100% natural products. Along with this, this cat food contains probiotics, which improves digestion. Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food also contains less moisture, meaning it has more essential ingredients.
- No by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- High in protein
- Low carbohydrate content
- Carb content may be insufficient for younger hedgehogs.
The simple answer to this article’s title is hedgehogs do eat cat food. For most owners, cat food is even the most reliable option. Of course, there are certain things to keep in mind regarding a proper diet and food quantity. Follow those tips, and your spiny friend will thrive on some nutritious cat food!