Should You Really Feed Your Hedgehog Cat Food?

hedgehog with food

Hedgehogs are increasingly popular pets, known for their distinctive appearance and curious nature. As with any pet, proper nutrition is crucial for their health and well-being. While there are specially formulated hedgehog foods available, many hedgehog owners consider cat food as a dietary staple for their spiky friends. This article explores the suitability of cat food for hedgehogs, what to look for, and how to incorporate it into their diet.

Understanding Hedgehog Dietary Needs

Before diving into the specifics of cat food for hedgehogs, it’s important to understand their dietary requirements. Hedgehogs are insectivores by nature, thriving on a diet rich in protein and low in fat. In the wild, their diet primarily consists of insects, along with small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Thus, any alternative food source, including cat food, should closely mimic this nutritional profile.

Protein: The Essential Nutrient

Protein is crucial for hedgehogs, supporting growth, muscle development, and overall health. A hedgehog’s diet should consist of about 30-35% protein. High-quality cat food, particularly those formulated for kittens, can provide this essential nutrient.

Fat Content: Balancing the Scales

While protein is essential, too much fat can lead to obesity and related health issues in hedgehogs. Ideally, the fat content in their diet should be kept around 10-15%. Therefore, when selecting cat food for hedgehogs, opt for low-fat options.

Fiber: For Digestive Health

Fiber plays a significant role in a hedgehog’s diet, aiding in digestion and preventing obesity. Cat food that includes sources of fiber can be beneficial for hedgehogs, contributing to their digestive health.

Choosing the Right Cat Food for Hedgehogs

When selecting cat food for your hedgehog, consider the following criteria to ensure it meets their dietary needs:

  • Protein Source: Look for cat food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient, such as chicken, turkey, or fish.
  • Fat Content: Choose cat food with a lower fat content to prevent obesity in hedgehogs.
  • No Harmful Additives: Avoid cat foods with artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, which can be harmful to hedgehogs.
  • Age Appropriateness: Kitten food is often a good choice due to its higher protein content and lower fat levels compared to adult cat food.

How to Feed Cat Food to Hedgehogs

Feeding cat food to hedgehogs should be done with care. Here are some tips to incorporate cat food into their diet effectively:

  • Gradual Introduction: If switching from another food source, introduce cat food gradually to avoid digestive upset.
  • Portion Control: Hedgehogs are prone to overeating. Measure the cat food to prevent obesity, typically offering about 1-2 tablespoons per meal.
  • Dietary Variety: While cat food can be a staple, ensure to provide a varied diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and insects to mimic their natural diet closely.
  • Regular Monitoring: Observe your hedgehog’s weight, activity level, and overall health. Adjust their diet as needed to ensure they remain healthy and active.


While cat food can be a suitable and convenient option for feeding hedgehogs, it’s important to choose the right product and feed it as part of a balanced diet. By understanding the dietary needs of hedgehogs and selecting high-quality cat food that meets these requirements, you can ensure your hedgehog thrives under your care. Always consult with a veterinarian experienced in exotic pets for personalized advice and to address any dietary concerns for your hedgehog.

Incorporating cat food into a hedgehog’s diet requires thoughtful consideration and careful management. By adhering to the guidelines outlined in this article, hedgehog owners can provide their pets with a nutritious diet that supports their health and well-being.

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