Message Number: YG1595 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-22 13:18:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Digest Number 79Feeding cat food
to ferrets

This letter from Sandi is a good example why no one should still be
cat food to their ferrets. It is likely that this "cheap" cat food
ferret was eating was deficient in several nutrients not the least
of which
was probably taurine. Having said this, there are some premium cat
which have been fed by thousands of ferret owners which many will
say have
caused no apparent damage. Many may feel or give examples of this
correct. However, why would ferret owners continue to feed cat
foods and why
would vets continue to recommend them since there are good
alternatives? One
reason I have heard from vets is that by feeding a mixture of cat
foods one
is less likely to have a nutritional deficiency. This is poor logic
none of the cat foods have been designed, tested or proven to be
nutritionally adequate for ferrets. Many nutritional deficiencies
do not
show up for months and sometimes years. As with Sandi's ferret
often it was
too late to correct.
Before cat foods were developed many cat owners would feed dog foods
scraps of meat, milk and assorted other "leftovers" from the table.
We soon
learned that this was not sound nutrition. Many cats developed
specific and
non specific nutritional deficiencies on these "diets." Since there
several foods on the market today for ferrets, why not at least call
or find
out from the manufacturers or other ferret owners if there is not
better than continuing to feed cat foods. The reason I joined this
group was
to help provide nutritional input to these types of questions and to
individuals aware that there are many alternatives to cat foods.
If anyone is feeding cat food out of necessity, please at least add
balanced vitamin and mineral supplement if you can find one. You
will most
likely have to add a source of both metabolizable protein and fat to
meet the
amino acid and fatty acid deficiencies in these cat foods. As I
have said
before, it is almost impossible to know what the nutrient levels and
availability is in any ingredient or food stuff.
Therefore, please feed a complete and tested diet designed for
ferrets. Look
on the web at for more information or other web
sites to
decide which is best for you and your ferrets. Please do it for
your ferrets
DR Tom Willard