Can gerbils eat cat food? The short answer to this question would be no, but you might be surprised by what else gerbils can eat. With more than 50 species of the gerbil, it’s essential to ensure that you know what your pet can and cannot eat. In general, they are omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything they can get their little paws on, including plants, vegetables, fruit, grains, and even meat products.
Do They Enjoy Cat Food?
While gerbils aren’t all that different from cats (except for maybe, you know, size), it can be hard to tell whether or not they enjoy eating cat food. That said, you don’t have to go on instinct alone; there are some pretty clear signs that your gerbil is at least somewhat open to eating cat food.
First and foremost, if you offer your gerbil a choice between cat food and regular mouse chow, he’ll choose—well—mice chow about 90% of the time. If your gerbil is enthusiastic about gobbling up his usual ration of dried meat and grains in favor of some wet kitty snacks, then it’s safe to say he probably enjoys them!
Do Gerbils Need a Special Diet?
Some pet owners assume that all animals have to eat a specific type of food, but that’s not true. Many pets will survive just fine eating something other than what they’re used to, making it easy for them to adapt to a new home with very little adjustment time. Take gerbils, for example.
Pet owners who notice their gerbil getting fatter or less active are often told to switch up their food because they may be getting too many calories from their current diet. But does switching gerbil food make any difference if he eats cat food?
What Is Wrong With Cat Food For Small Animals?
Before starting, it’s important to point out that some diets should never be mixed. A mix of certain foods may cause your pet to become very ill and ultimately die. One of these is cat food, especially if your small animal is one of those cute little critters that love chewing on cat toys.
That’s because cats require protein found in meat or meat byproducts, not plants and grains like dogs do. If you feed them a diet full of carbohydrates and too few nutrients, they won’t have enough energy to play with their favorite toy. If you have more than a tiny animal in your household, it might be time to consider special dietary foods for gerbils or other pets.
Gerbils should never be fed cat food.
Some people think gerbils should be fed cat food, but it’s wrong. Although you may want your gerbil to enjoy a diet similar to that of his feline counterpart, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t feed cat food to your gerbil. This can lead to serious health problems such as obesity, tooth decay, and an upset stomach. No matter how cute, feeding your gerbil cat food isn’t healthy or safe for them.
Instead of being expensive and bad for your gerbil’s overall health, why not try a high-quality brand of pet food specifically made for small rodents? There are plenty of pet stores or online brands that can provide your furry friend with everything he needs.
Cats are carnivores while gerbils are herbivores
While it’s true that cats eat anything they can get their paws on, they are obligate carnivores; their bodies need meat to be healthy. That’s why cat food is packed with high-quality protein and other nutrients that can only be found in animal tissue.
The last thing you want for your gerbil is an upset stomach or digestive problems due to an improper diet. So instead of feeding them cat food, give them fresh vegetables and fruits like carrots, lettuce, apples, and sweet potatoes.
Pellets designed for gerbil consumption
Many people purchase a gerbil, hamster, or other rodents as a pet without realizing that these animals are very different from cats and dogs. Yes, all of them are rodents—but they’re not interchangeable! In particular, never give your pet hamster cat food.
If you were to do so, you’d quickly find that your hamster won’t eat very much and will lose weight rapidly. Why? Because cat food is too rich for these little guys, their systems aren’t equipped for it. There’s an easy fix: Pellets designed specifically for gerbils are available in most pet stores! Even if your local shop doesn’t carry them by name, they’ll almost certainly have something else with similar nutritional values and ingredients.
Gourmet pet foods for your gerbil instead of cat food
If you feed your gerbil cat food, it will get sick. Cat food is designed for cats and dogs, not for gerbils. Not only that, but unlike gerbils, pets with hair are lactose intolerant, meaning that milk-based foods can hurt their digestive systems.
Switching from cat food to gourmet pet food made for gerbils can help your gerbil live a much healthier life. More than just taste and nutrition is at stake: A homemade diet could also lead to poor growth and development in smaller pets like rats and mice. As such, it’s best not to switch a small pet’s diet too quickly or without consulting an expert first.
What a gerbil expert has to say
No, never feed your gerbil cat food. To begin with, a standard pet gerbil’s diet should consist of seeds and grains and small amounts of hay (grass). Cat food is not nutritious for any animal – especially rodents like gerbils – and you can easily cause harm to your pet if you start feeding him cat food.
It contains lots of protein which gerbils don’t need. They are omnivores, and they love eating veggies, too! When it comes to veggies, they might even prefer vegetables over seeds and grains, so by adding some greens to their diet and plain water; you can keep them happy and healthy.
What an animal expert says
Gerbils cannot eat cat food. While gerbils are rodents, they have different nutritional needs than cats, who are strict carnivores. Instead of cat food, gerbils need a diet high in fat and protein; they should get a mix of seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, corn kernels, and peanuts.
Grapes also make an excellent treat for gerbils. Feeding your pet too much fruit can lead to health problems because it contains a lot of sugar—but grapes (with or without seeds) are generally safe for animals to eat as long as you don’t give them more than two or three at once.
What a vet says
When determining whether a gerbil can eat cat food, it’s important to note that both of these animals are members of the rodent family. Gerbils and cats have very different dietary needs, says Dr. Christine Liao, DVM, MS, CVA, and founder of Veterinary Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles.
Pet owners must understand that food made for one species is not automatically appropriate for another. Cats, unlike gerbils, are obligate carnivores—meaning they need to eat meat to maintain their health and wellness. Cats are also far more likely than rodents like gerbils to develop digestive issues when fed a poor diet or contaminated food, notes Dr.
My opinion on the matter
A gerbil is a type of rodent that needs to eat something akin to what a rat eats. So, no, it cannot eat cat food.
Use this article to answer the question, Can gerbils eat cat food? And discover why you should never give cat food to your gerbil under any circumstances. Remember that all pets have different nutritional needs, so it’s always best to check with a veterinarian or pet expert if you have any questions about feeding your pet correctly. Your gerbil will thank you!
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