Can hamsters eat cat food? Being a hamster owner, you are always excited to get your hammy to enjoy a variety of foodstuff, including fruits, veggies, meat, etc. But can hamsters feel pleasant by eating cat food? Is cat food meant for them?
Can hamsters eat cat food? Well, cat food is not harmful when given rarely. However, letting your hamster munch on cat food is generally not recommended. This is because both are different animals and have different nutrient requirements.
This blog gives insights about do’s or don’ts of hamster feeding and cat food, so stay hooked!
Why should hamsters not eat cat food?
One reason is their class difference. Cats are obligate carnivores and feed exclusively on animal products. On the other hand, hamsters are omnivores and can eat both animal and plant food.
They can indeed digest some of the animal food. However, they are so tiny than cats and have lower dietary requirements than other animals.
Cat food is specially designed to meet their body requirements. In contrast, hamsters are fine by having a small number of animal fats and proteins.
Cat food is made from an extrusion process involving heat and pressure, contributing to a high moisture content of around 8 to 10%. This moisture content is not safe and healthy for hamsters.
Wet and dry cat food for hamster
Cat food is generally classified into two categories:
- Wet cat food
This food contains meat chunks in the form of gravy or other liquid pet food containing almost 70-85% water. It has relatively high portions of proteins and fats compared to dry cat food and is usually given separately to hamsters.
However, we recommend not offering wet cat food to your hammy because of its high moisture content.
- Dry cat food
Dry cat food comes in the form of kibble or ground meal that is shaped into pallets for pet consumption. It has a longer shelf life and is suitable for hamsters because of its low water content, approximately 6-10%. Serve the dry cat food to the hamster by mixing it in their regular meal.
Do You Know?
Hamsters can eat a variety of foods, and we have researched lots of them. Check out this One: Can Hamsters Eat Beans?
Things to keep in mind while introducing your hamster to cat food
Can hamsters eat cat food? Cat food can be added to supplement the protein portion in your hamster’s diet, especially for the pregnant or lactating ones. Because during this period, the hamster’s body needs more protein than usual to survive the pregnancy.
Stick to the following precautions while feeding your hamster cat food:
- Always choose dry cat food for hamsters.
- Serve your hammy to cat food only when you have a food shortage.
- Give them one or two pieces of cat kibble after 2 to 3 weeks.
- Slowly introduce cat food into their diet; if they don’t like the taste, stop feeding.
- Don’t try a variety of cat food brands, as they have different ingredients and flavors. Stick to the one flavor that your pet might love to eat.
- Remove the uneaten food parts from the cage, as the hamsters have a habit of storing extra food in their cheek pouches that will cause inflammation or swelling of these body parts.
Risks of cat food
Cat food is only acceptable for hamsters once in a while. Please don’t make it a part of their regular meal. Otherwise, it will pose many health issues for the tiny creature. Let’s shed light on the common health issues:
- Cat food is mainly manufactured by spraying a layer of fats over the kibble to make it more appealing for cats.
But beware that cats are more susceptible to fat-triggered diseases such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and cardiovascular disorders.
- As mentioned, cat food is rich in proteins, so overfeeding may cause kidney damage.
- Too much cat food also leads to various health problems like colitis, diarrhea, constipation, and in the worst cases, cancer of lymph nodes.
Beneficial snacks for hamsters
Can hamsters eat cat food? Yes, they can, but usually, it is not advised as a healthy diet for your furry friend. Below is the list of some beneficial snacks that can be used as valuable snacks for them:
- Fresh fruits (banana, apple without seeds, strawberries, and pears)
- Leafy vegetables (cucumber, spinach, carrots, and broccoli)
- Protein food (boiled egg, cooked chicken, and lentils)
Final thoughts – Can hamsters eat cat food?
Can hamsters eat cat food? The answer is yes, but only when you run out of food. Cat food is manufactured by tailoring specialized vitamins and minerals, thus meant for only cat consumption.
Your little pal will upset his health if overfed with cat food. Instead, there is a variety of healthy food, including fruits, veggies, and boiled chicken, that your pet can enjoy.