Your hamster’s diet should mostly consist of high-quality specially designed hamster food rather than cat or mouse food. However, there may be times that you run out or are unable to source hamster food. In this case, it is okay to feed your hamster cat food.
Cat food can also act as a supplement to your hamster’s normal diet because of the protein it contains. However, it is not recommended to feed your hamster cat food on a long-term basis.
Can hamsters eat cat food?
Can I feed my hamster dry cat food or can hamsters eat wet cat food? Hamsters can be fed cat food, however, it is not recommended as their normal diet. You should feed your hamster high-quality food specially designed for hamsters rather than cats or mice.
Cat food can be used to supplement the protein in your hamster’s diet, however, it is not recommended on a long term basis. You should usually just feed your hamster normal hamster food.
If your hamster needs extra protein, try supplementing their diet with fresh insects such as mealworms that they can catch themselves. They will get enjoyment and exercise from catching their own protein.
Cat food can also be used to supplement pregnant or lactating hamster’s diet. During this period, a hamster will need as much protein as possible, so offer some cat food every few days. Baby hamsters may also like cat food and the protein will help to support their growth.
Dry cat food can be mixed into the normal hamster mix, while wet cat food can be offered separately.
What should you feed your hamster?
The majority of a hamster’s diet should consist of specially designed hamster food from a pet shop.
Pellet Hamster Food
Pelleted hamster food offers your hamster a complete and balanced diet. This type of diet is highly recommended as each pellet contains a balance of the vitamins and proteins that your hamster required.
Hamster pellet food can come in a variety of shapes including biscuits or cereal. Some hamsters can be fussy when it comes to loose seed mixes and may only eat their favorite ones. This results in the hamster missing out on certain vitamins and minerals. Pellets ensure a balanced and healthy diet.
Despite that pellets prevent an unbalanced diet, they can become boring and some hamsters may refuse it after a while. If this is the case, try supplementing the pellets with other food items to make your hamster’s diet more varied and exciting.
If you choose seed food for your hamster, make sure to pick a mix that contains a variety to ensure a balanced diet. It is a good idea to look out for a mix that contains grains, seeds, and dried vegetables. Certain seed mixes also contain pellet food as part of the mix, to ensure a balanced and healthy diet.
When you offer a seed mix to your hamster, make sure your hamster finished what is in its food bowl before giving more to ensure it doesn’t just eat its favorite parts.
You can offer your hamster a range of fresh food that you may find in your kitchen. However, make sure that you limit these types of treats to less than ten percent of your hamster’s diet.
Always make sure to avoid giving your hamster junk food and only offer healthy, fresh food such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruit in moderation.
Pre-made products such as yogurt and honey sticks are too sugary for your hamster and you should avoid offering them. Dwarf hamsters can be prone to diabetes, thus it is important to completely avoid sugar in their diets, so don’t offer them fruit as a treat.
You can offer your hamster a variety of fresh food including:
- Deseeded apples
- Cooked chicken
- Dandelion leaves
- Unsalted nuts (not almonds)
- Cooked potato
- Plain popcorn
- Pumpkin seeds
- Romaine lettuce
- Sweet potato
- Wholegrain bread
- Wholegrain cereal
- Wholewheat pasta
- Cooked brown rice
Hamsters enjoy peanut butter however it is important to be careful and monitor them if you do offer it as it can become stuck in their cheeks. Apply a thin layer of peanut butter on a piece of wood, but be cautious.
Tip: Wondering how to feed a baby hamster? Click here to learn the difference in diet needs.
Make sure to avoid offering your hamster:
- Apple seeds
- Raw beans
- Citrus fruit
- Raw potatoes
- Sugary or salty food
What can I feed my hamster if I run out of food?
As much as possible you should feed your hamster a diet of specially designed hamster food from a pet store. However, it may be the case that the pet store runs out of hamster food or you are unable to pick it up. In this case, you want an alternative food to offer your hamster so that it doesn’t go hungry.
There are some other fresh food options that you can safely offer to your hamster as a treat or when you run out of proper hamster food.
To sum up
Hamsters can occasionally eat cat food, however, the best diet for your hamster is a pellet diet supplemented with fresh food. If your hamster is fussy with pellet food, try a seed mix with pellets or sprinkle some seeds onto the pellet mix.