Can hedgehogs eat cat food? Your questions answered

Can hedgehogs eat cat food?

Can hedgehogs eat cat food?

by Joe Brothwell |
Updated on

Unfortunately, in recent decades the number of hedgehogs in the wild has dramatically declined. So, it’s never been more important to care for the hedgehogs that visit your garden by ensuring they have shelter, water and food. But what grub is suitable? For example, can hedgehogs eat cat food? If so, what is the best cat food to feed them?

With the help of expert Fay Vass, Chief Executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, we answer those questions – and more – below…

What do hedgehogs eat?

Hedgehogs are insectivores, and their natural diet includes insects, worms, and a variety of other small invertebrates.

However, when supplementing their diet in the wild, hedgehogs can benefit from a balanced, protein-rich food source, and this is where cat food can be beneficial.

It’s also vital to make sure they have access to fresh drinking water – place a few shallow dishes of fresh water around the garden to help.

Feeding hedgehogs cat food is a common practice among wildlife enthusiasts, and it can be a suitable dietary option under certain conditions.

It’s important to remember that hedgehogs in the UK do not make good domesticated pets, and should remain in the wild.

Young hedgehog in natural habitat
©Getty Images/ sarote pruksachat

Can hedgehogs eat dry cat food?

Cat food, particularly dry cat food, is often used as a supplementary food for hedgehogs alongside their natural diet in the wild. This is because it is readily available, convenient, and typically high in protein, which is essential for hedgehogs.

If you already feed your cat a high-protein dry food, pop some in a cat bowl and let your prickly friend stumble across it in your garden.

To stop animals such as foxes from getting to the hedgehog's food first, keep it under a low platform or build or buy a special feeding station.

When selecting cat food for hedgehogs, it is crucial to choose a high-quality brand that lists meat as the primary ingredient.

Opt for a smaller kibble too, as it is easier for little hedgehogs to consume!

Avoid cat foods with a high grain content or those with a lot of fillers and artificial additives, as these can be harmful or nutritionally inadequate for hedgehogs.

Cat with dry cat food that hedgehogs can eat

Can hedgehogs eat wet cat food?

Wet cat food can also be given occasionally, as it provides moisture and variety in the diet. However, it should not be the primary food source due to its lower protein content compared to dry cat food and the potential for dental issues if used exclusively.

Despite its benefits, cat food should not be the sole component of a hedgehog's diet. A varied diet is essential to meet all their nutritional needs.

Hedgehog food FAQs

Fay Vass, Chief Executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, answers your questions…

What is the best way to ensure hedgehogs have enough to eat?

The best way to make sure hedgehogs have enough to eat is to provide natural food for them by creating wild corners and providing log piles.

They can use these to shelter safely and wake up to a bug buffet!

What supplementary food can I give hedgehogs?

You can supplement this by offering a ‘top-up’ of meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits and always plenty of fresh water for them to drink.

This article contains expert advice from Fay Vass, Chief Executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). The BHPS is a registered UK Charity, founded in 1982, dedicated to helping and protecting hedgehogs native to the UK.

Joe Brothwell is Editor of Take a Break Pets and adores all creatures great and small. Despite being a doting cat dad to Winnie, she continues to be aloof!

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