Can Hedgehogs Enjoy Cat Food? [Feeding Guide]


If you’re the proud owner of a cute, spiky little hedgehog, you know just how important their diet is to their overall health and happiness.

And you’ve probably pondered the question, can hedgehogs eat cat food?

Well, good news – you’re not alone in your search. Many hedgehog owners have asked this very question.

In short, yes, hedgehogs can consume certain types of cat food, but there are specific considerations to consider to ensure your little friend’s well-being. We’ll dive into all the nitty-gritty details as we move along.

Quick Answer

In a nutshell, hedgehogs can eat cat food, but it’s crucial to note that not all cat food is created equal regarding your prickly pal’s dietary needs.

Certain types of high-quality cat food, particularly those rich in protein and low in fat, can be an acceptable part of a balanced hedgehog diet.

However, cat food should not be the sole food source for your hedgehog. It needs to be supplemented with other foods like fruits, vegetables, and specific insects to ensure they get a balanced diet.

Moreover, it’s vital to avoid cat food with fish-based ingredients, as hedgehogs can be sensitive to fish and it’s not a natural part of their diet.

Why or Why Not: Hedgehogs and Cat Food

If you’re wondering if cat food is safe for hedgehogs, the answer, like many things in life, is – it depends.

The main factors to consider include the type of cat food, its ingredients, and the overall nutritional balance of your hedgehog’s diet.

Type of Cat Food

Not all cat foods are created equal. High-quality cat food, both wet and dry types, which are rich in protein and low in fat, can be a part of your hedgehog’s diet.

For example, some hedgehog owners have found that Friskies cat food works well in a balanced diet. However, other cat food brands or types may not be as suitable.

Ingredients Matter

Cat food ingredients need to be scrutinized carefully. While hedgehogs are natural insectivores, they can digest some plant and animal matter.

However, it’s best to avoid cat food with fish or fish by-products, as hedgehogs don’t typically eat fish in the wild and may not digest it well. So, can hedgehogs eat dry cat food with fish? The answer is preferably no.

Balanced Diet

A hedgehog’s diet needs to be balanced and varied. While high-quality cat food can contribute to their protein needs, it shouldn’t be their only food source.

Hedgehogs also need fruits, vegetables, and insects in their diet for a healthy balance of nutrients.

Understanding Hedgehog Nutrition

To really grasp why cat food can or cannot be a suitable food for your hedgehog, it’s essential to understand what a hedgehog’s diet should look like.

In the wild, hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, feasting on insects, worms, centipedes, and even small mice.

This diet provides them with the high protein content they need – typically, a healthy hedgehog’s diet should consist of about 30-35% protein.

Besides protein, fat is another critical aspect of a hedgehog’s diet, but it should be limited to about 5-10%. Higher fat content can lead to obesity, a common problem in domestic hedgehogs.

Now, where does cat food fit in all this? Many types of high-quality cat food contain high levels of protein and low levels of fat, which aligns reasonably well with the nutritional needs of hedgehogs.

The problem, however, comes from the fact that cat food is often designed to suit the dietary requirements of cats, which can be different from hedgehogs, especially in terms of certain vitamins and minerals.

Therefore, while cat food can be a part of your hedgehog’s diet, it’s essential to ensure they’re also getting a variety of other foods.

This may include fruits, vegetables, and insects, as they each contribute to your spiky companion’s overall health and well-being.

Best Types of Food for Hedgehogs

While the primary food source for hedgehogs should be a specially formulated hedgehog diet, you can supplement this with other nutritious foods, including some types of cat food.

When choosing cat food for your hedgehog, remember to focus on high-quality options that are rich in protein and low in fat. A few popular choices among hedgehog owners include:

  • Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Natural Adult Dry Cat Food: This cat food is well balanced, made from real meat, and is grain-free, which makes it an excellent option for hedgehogs.
  • Halo Grain-Free Natural Wet Cat Food: This wet food is a great source of hydration and is made with real, whole meat.
  • Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Chicken Recipe: This food is made with natural ingredients and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, making it a suitable choice for hedgehogs.

However, remember that even the best cat food should not replace the natural diet of a hedgehog, which includes a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables.

For instance, insects such as mealworms, waxworms, and crickets are excellent protein sources. Fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, bananas, and leafy greens can provide essential vitamins and minerals.

While cat food can provide a source of protein for your hedgehog, it’s always essential to consult with a vet or a pet nutrition expert to ensure that your hedgehog’s diet is balanced and meets all their nutritional needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about hedgehog diet and feeding habits to help you make the best decisions for your prickly friend.

Q1. What are the basic dietary needs of a hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are primarily insectivores and need a high protein and low-fat diet. Their diet should consist of about 30-35% protein and 5-10% fat. However, they can also consume some fruits, vegetables, and animal matter.

Q2. Can hedgehogs eat dog food?

While dog food is not inherently harmful to hedgehogs, it is generally not recommended as a dietary staple because it lacks the high protein content that hedgehogs require.

Q3. How much food should I feed my hedgehog?

Adult hedgehogs should eat approximately 1-2 tablespoons of food per day. However, the exact amount may vary depending on your hedgehog’s age, size, and activity level.

Q4. Can I feed my hedgehog fruits and vegetables?

Yes, in moderation. Fruits and vegetables can provide essential vitamins and minerals but should be given as part of a balanced diet along with insects and animal protein.

Q5. Can a hedgehog eat cat food with fish?

Preferably not. While some hedgehogs might tolerate it, many do not digest fish or fish by-products well. Moreover, fish is not a part of their natural diet.


Feeding your hedgehog a well-balanced diet is crucial to their health and longevity. While high-quality cat food can play a part in your hedgehog’s diet, it shouldn’t be the only source of nourishment for your prickly friend.

Remember, the best diet for a hedgehog mimics what they would eat in the wild: primarily insects, supplemented with small amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Cat food, especially those rich in protein and low in fat, can help supplement their protein needs but should be used in moderation.

Before making any significant changes to your hedgehog’s diet, it’s always a good idea to consult with a vet or a pet nutrition expert. They can provide personalized advice based on your hedgehog’s specific needs and preferences.

Feeding your hedgehog might seem a little complicated, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can provide them with a diet that keeps them happy and healthy. Here’s to many delightful meals with your spiky companion!

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