Hedgehogs

15 Best Cat Foods for Hedgehogs (2019)

best cat food for hedgehogs

Today we are here to look at the topic of cat food for hedgehogs. You may have many questions about this subject, such as:

  • Why isn’t hedgehog food recommended?
  • What kind of cat food do hedgehogs eat?
  • What is the best dry cat food for hedgehogs?

We will be answering all these questions and more, plus giving you independent reviews of some of the best foods available. We’ll also consider how needs change over a lifetime and which food suits which life-stage.

Contents

Why not just feed commercial hedgehog food?

The problem with almost all hedgehog food on the market is two-fold:

  1. Poor quality ingredients.
  2. Lack of accessibility.

Poor quality ingredients

Commercial hedgehog food often contains poor quality or unsuitable ingredients such as meat derivatives, meat by-products, cheap fillers (like corn and soy), low-quality oils (like canola), or skew towards plant material.

Hedgehogs need a good quality animal protein source which is easily digestible. Meat derivatives and by-products are animal products (any animal) made from what is left over when all the meat has been removed. They do contain protein, but it is much less digestible than muscle meat.

Lack of accessibility

It can be difficult to access a good quality (or indeed any) hedgehog food in a local pet store or grocery store. Cat food is usually much easier to find, even if you are looking for quality brands.

Points to look out for when choosing a cat food

  • Is the first ingredient – even better the first two ingredients – from a specified meat source (eg chicken, turkey, salmon, pollock or lamb – not generic terms like meat, poultry or fish)?
  • Is the protein level between 30 and 35 – for all general use?
  • Is the fat level between 10 and 15 – preferably closer to 10 if your hedgehog tends to gain weight?
  • Is the product free from by-products and derivatives, which are poor quality food sources?
  • Does it contain GMO products, grain, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors? You may (or may not) be concerned about these things.
  • Does the product contain Omega 3? This may (or may not) be essential for hedgehogs, as omega 3 requirements are, as yet, unclear.
  • Is the fiber 5% or above (higher is better)? You will need to push the fiber levels up using insects, fruit, roots, and veg. The optimum fiber in the diet overall is 15%.
  • Does the company meet your ethical standards for animal welfare, sustainability and so on?

Does it matter whether I choose wet or dry cat food?

Yes, it does. Good quality wet cat food will contain up to 80% water, but the dry matter is often very high in protein and fat. For instance, if the product contains 10% protein and 80% moisture, then the protein is actually 50% of the (20%) dry matter.

If this were a kibble (usually about 10% moisture) it would be 45% protein! The same applies to the fat content, so feeding mainly good quality wet food will lead to a very fat hedgehog with potential kidney issues later in life. Wet meals should be kept for regular treats.

Wet food can also be less “tooth-friendly” as dry kibble cleans the teeth during the process of crunching, whereas wet food tends to stick to the teeth, with a greater potential for decay over time.

Can I just feed dry cat food or are other foods necessary?

Dry cat food should make up about 80% of your hedgehog’s diet, with the remainder being insects, fruit, roots, and vegetables. This should be the aim for all pet hedgehogs, but some of the fussiest may have other ideas!

Hedgehogs can manage without the fruit, roots, and vegetables, but they do need an insect element to their diet because the chitin of the exoskeleton is the fiber they are adapted to digest easily. Cat food generally provides much less fibre than hogs need (around 15%).

Hedgehogs need freely available water when fed dry cat food

Don’t forget that dry food has very little moisture, so, hedgehogs need a constant supply of clean drinking water alongside their food. This is best provided in a heavy shallow crock on the habitat floor. Some hedgehogs can learn to use a gravity-fed bottle, but many won’t.

Life stages and aims when feeding hedgehogs

Like all mammals, hedgehogs go through predictable life stages and have different nutritional needs as they age. Young hedgehogs need more protein and calories for growth, while older hedgehogs need lower protein levels to protect their kidneys.

Sick hedgehogs need protein and nutrient-dense foods to support their immune systems and help them heal. Hogs who are underweight need extra calories, while those who are obese need fewer. So rather than feed one food for life, try to be sensitive to what your hedgehog needs.

In each section, the different foods will be ordered in terms of least calorific to most calorific, so that you can easily select feeds that are suitable for your individual hedgehog’s needs.

Recommended cat food for adult maintenance

These recommendations are all average hedgehog feed options in terms of nutritional profile and calorie content. They will suit hedgehogs with a normal appetite, who don’t tend to have a big need for calories, although the Halo product at the end would support a more active hedgehog. The Solid Gold food we begin with is at the opposite end – excellent for maintenance for a hedgehog who tends to be greedy.

1. Solid Gold – Fit as a Fiddle

Pollock, Peas, Tapioca, Chickpeas, Turkey Meal…

  • Protein 30.0% min
  • Fat 8.0% min
  • Fat 10.0% max
  • Fiber 9.0% max
  • 330 Kcal/cup

Great ingredients including omega-rich Alaskan Pollock and turkey meal. Featuring a unique blend of 20 ‘superfoods’, this recipe supports the immune system as well as skin and coat health.

No corn, wheat, or soy added and no artificial preservatives or flavors are used.

This low-calorie formula will help to maintain a healthy weight in hedgehogs who are prone to obesity.

BUY ON AMAZON

Available online at Chewy, Amazon, and Petco or use the store locator on their website.

2. Blue Buffalo – BLUE™ Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal…

  • Protein 0% min
  • Fat 10.0% min
  • Fiber 9.0% max
  • 346 Kcal/cup

Great ingredients and contains their exclusive LifeSource Bits® which are vitamin and mineral nuggets with antioxidants. These are cold-pressed – rather than heat-treated – to retain maximum nutrient availability.

Pretty low calorie for a maintenance feed, which is useful for greedier hedgehogs and those prone to weight gain. Good fiber content and contains omega three. Does contain a small amount of fish meal lower down the ingredients list.

No corn, wheat, or soy.

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Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon, or sold via Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart.

3. Blue Buffalo – BLUE™ Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Barley, Brown Rice, Menhaden Fish Meal…

  • Protein 0% min
  • Fat 9.0% min
  • Fiber 8.0% max
  • 349 Kcal/cup

Excellent ingredients and contains their exclusive LifeSource Bits® which are vitamin and mineral nuggets with antioxidants. These are cold-pressed – rather than heat-treated – to retain maximum nutrient availability. Also contains omega 3.

Low in calories, so would suit an adult hedgehog who was prone to putting on weight. Good fiber content. The only real issue with this food would be for anyone wanting to avoid fish altogether, as it does contain a small amount of fish meal.

No corn, wheat, or soy.

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Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon, or sold via Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart.

4. Chicken Soup for the Soul – Classic Indoor Cat Dry Food – Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas…

  • Protein 32.0% min
  • Fat 13.0% min
  • Fiber 7.0% max
  • 358 Kcal/cup

Excellent quality ingredients, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Good amounts of chicken and turkey (first three ingredients) and also contains duck and salmon so offers a good variety. Good fiber levels.

Contains a wide range of added fruit, roots, vegetables, and herbs, plus vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Contains omega 3 from flax and salmon.

No wheat, corn or soy

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Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food can be difficult to source. Amazon does sell some varieties and you can also use the store locator on their website.

5. Halo – Healthy Weight – Grain Free Holistic Chicken and Chicken Liver Recipe (Indoor Cats)

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Dried Peas, Dried Chickpeas…

  • Protein 32.0% min
  • Fat 13.0% min
  • Fiber 5.0% max
  • 397 Kcal/cup

Halo prides itself on its ethical stance on the animals it uses in its products and does not support factory farming or routine antibiotic use. The food is free from GMO vegetables and has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Contains great ingredients with a range of fruits and roots, plus vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Offers omega 3 from flaxseed and salmon oil. No fish flesh in this product.

No wheat or corn. Does contain some non-GMO soy protein.

Halo also has fish and game options which match the same nutritional profile and calories.

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Easy to buy online at Chewy or Amazon and sold at Petco or PetSmart.

Recommended high protein cat food for hedgehogs

These recommendations will provide higher levels of protein for growth or repair. They are mostly similar in terms of calories, but the I and Love and You product that we begin with is better for any hedgehog who has low energy requirements.

1. I and Love and You – Naked Essentials Chicken and Duck

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lentils, Chickpeas…

  • Protein 34.0% min
  • Fat 14.0% min
  • Fiber 4.0% max
  • 359 Kcal/cup

Great ingredients, and one that’s fish free if that’s what you are after. Also grain-free, this food uses several roots as carbohydrate sources. Contains omega 3 from flaxseed, plus probiotics and a range of vitamins and minerals. Fiber is low and will need extra care to top up.

No GMO products, artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.

There is a salmon and trout option available, which also contains turkey and has a slightly lower calorific value at 350 Kcal/cup.

Easy to order direct from the manufacturer who offers loyalty bonuses.

BUY ON AMAZON

2. Rachael Ray Nutrish – Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewer’s Rice, Dried Peas, Corn Gluten Meal…

  • Protein 34.0% min
  • Fat 12.0% min
  • Fiber 8.0% min
  • Kcal/cup 371

Good quality ingredients, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Good amounts of chicken (first two ingredients) and also contains a small amount of salmon. Contains some added fruit, vegetables and roots along with a range of vitamins and minerals.

Omega 3 from flax seeds and salmon. Good fiber levels. The cornmeal in this product is not GMO-free.

A comparison between this and the previous I and Love and You product shows clearly that you can’t use fat levels to judge calorific value. This one is lower in fat but higher in calories.

Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon and sold at Walmart.

BUY ON AMAZON

3. Solid Gold – Katz-N-Flocken

Lamb, Chicken Meal, Peas, Brown Rice, Pea Protein…

  • Protein 34.0% min
  • Fat 12.0% min
  • Fiber 3.0% min
  • 375 Kcal/cup

A great quality food with omega 3, fruit, herbs, probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Lamb adds variety to the usual poultry or fish.

The low fiber is problematic and it can be boosted by mixing this with another higher fiber cat food like the Rachael Ray Nutrish feed above.

Available online at Chewy, Amazon, and Petco or use the store locator on their website.

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4. Solid Gold – Nature’s Harmony

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Chickpeas…

  • Protein 35.0% min
  • Fat 15.0% min
  • Fiber 3.0% max
  • 380 Kcal/cup

A great quality food with omega 3, fruit, roots, herbs, probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Turkey meal and pollock meal are also included in the ingredients giving variety.

The low fiber is problematic and it can be boosted by mixing this with another higher fiber cat food like the Rachael Ray Nutrish feed above.

This food has a higher fat level as well as more calories so not ideal if you have a greedier pig or one who is already overweight.

Available online at Chewy, Amazon, and Petco or use the store locator on their website.

BUY ON AMAZON

Recommended low protein cat food for hedgehogs

These recommendations provide a lower protein option where this has been advised by your veterinarian or kidney issues are suspected.

1. Blue Buffalo – BLUE™ – Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal…

  • Protein 0% min
  • Fat 10.0% min
  • Fiber 9.0% max
  • 346 Kcal/cup

We’ve reviewed this cat food above in the adult maintenance section, but it merits a second mention here, for those who are searching for a lower protein food.

Based on Chicken and chicken meal, this feed includes a great spread of nutrients. It contains a small amount of fish meal lower down the ingredients list. Like all BLUE™ products it includes their exclusive LifeSource Bits®, which are full of micronutrients.

Excellent amounts of fiber. Contains omega three.  No corn, wheat, or soy.

Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon, or sold via Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart.

BUY ON AMAZON

2. Blue Buffalo – BLUE™ Mature Indoor Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Turkey Meal…

  • Protein 28.0% min
  • Fat 13.0% min
  • Fiber 6.0% max
  • 371 Kcal/cup

Great ingredients and contains their exclusive LifeSource Bits® which are vitamin and mineral nuggets with antioxidants. These are cold-pressed – rather than heat-treated – to retain maximum nutrient availability.

A solid low protein option when protein levels need to be managed. Fair amounts of fiber. Contains omega three from flaxseed. One of the few cat foods not to contain any fish. Good mix of fruit, roots, and vegetables.

No corn, wheat, or soy.

Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon, or sold via Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart.

BUY ON AMAZON

Recommended cat food to help hedgehogs gain weight

The following recommendations are chosen based on calorie content as this is a better indicator of a food’s capacity to increase weight than values like percentage of protein or fat. These foods are suggested for times when hogs need to increase weight, for instance, during adolescence, for a very active hog, or after an illness.

1. Wellness – Complete Health™ – Indoor Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Rice, Herring Meal, Barley…

  • Protein 00% min
  • Fat 11.00% min
  • Fiber 4.00% max
  • 420 Kcal/cup

Despite the deceptively low protein and fat levels, this food makes it clear why calories really matter too! At 422 calories per cup, this is the perfect food to help a hedgehog to gain weight after illness or during the juvenile period.

The food contains omega 3 and is naturally preserved. It contains cranberries, kelp, and probiotics amongst other ingredients, as well and many vitamins and minerals.

Easy to buy online at Chewy, Amazon, Petco or PetSmart. Or use the store locator on their website.

BUY ON AMAZON

2. Purina Muse – Charmed with Chicken

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Pea Starch, Natural Flavor…

  • Protein 32.0% min
  • Fat 14.0% min
  • Fiber 3.0% max
  • 422 Kcal/cup

Also contains egg, pumpkin, and spinach, plus vitamins and minerals. The recipe uses beef fat but does state no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. Also grain-free and no corn, wheat, or soy.

No omega 3 (it is unclear as to whether these are essential for hedgehogs).

The fiber content is low, which could be problematic for hedgehogs. Care would be needed to add more fiber to the diet in other ways.

The 422 Kcals per cup are partly from the higher fat content of this feed and this may make it a less healthy option that the Wellness formula above.

Purina have their own online store. Also sold on Amazon and Chewy.

BUY ON AMAZON

3. Rachael Ray Nutrish – Zero Grain Chicken & Potato Recipe

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas, Pea Flour, Turkey Meal…

  • Protein 32.0% min
  • Fat 12.0% min
  • Fiber 5.0% max
  • 437 Kcal/cup

Good quality ingredients, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Good amounts of chicken (first two ingredients) and also contains a small amount of fish meal, peas, and pumpkin along with a range of vitamins and minerals.

Omega 3 from flax seeds. Moderate fiber levels.

This product achieves a high-calorie level while keeping the protein and fat levels moderate, which is really useful when trying to increase weight, whilst maintaining good health.

Easy to buy on Chewy or Amazon and sold at Walmart.

BUY ON AMAZON

Recommended cat food to help hedgehogs lose weight

The following recommendations are made based on the calorie content of these foods – not just the protein and fat. The foods can be used to help hedgehogs lose weight, though intake may also need to be reduced.

1. Diamond – Naturals – Indoor Cat Chicken & Rice Formula

Chicken Meal, Chicken, Peas, Ground White Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley…

  • Protein 0% min
  • Fat 14.0% min
  • Fiber 8.0% max
  • 313 Kcal/cup

Chicken from cage-free birds. Includes a lovely range of fruit, roots, and vegetables, plus chia seeds and kelp. The chia seeds will help to give the good fiber level. The food contains plenty of antioxidants and probiotics, plus omega 3 from flax.

Another product which achieves a high-calorie level while keeping the protein and fat levels moderate, plus has a solid nutritional makeup.

Find a store using the store locator on their website or buy online at Chewy or Amazon.

BUY ON AMAZON

2. Chicken Soup for the Soul – Classic Weight & Mature Care – Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas…

  • Protein 0% min
  • Fat 8.0% min
  • Fat 10.0% max
  • Fiber 8.0% max
  • 325 Kcal/cup

Excellent quality ingredients, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Good amounts of chicken and turkey (first three ingredients) and also contains duck and salmon so offers a good variety. Good fiber levels.

Contains a wide range of added fruit, roots, vegetables, and herbs, plus vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Also offers omega 3 from flax and salmon.

No wheat, corn or soy

A great low-calorie option where a higher protein level is also required, perhaps for younger hogs who are being greedy, or fat hogs who are healing from illness or injury.

Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food can be difficult to source. Amazon does sell some varieties and you can also use the store locator on their website.

BUY ON AMAZON

3. Solid Gold – Fit as a Fiddle

Pollock, Peas, Tapioca, Chickpeas, Turkey Meal…

  • Protein 30.0% min
  • Fat 8.0% min
  • Fat 10.0% max
  • Fiber 9.0% max
  • 330 Kcal/cup

We’ve reviewed this cat food above in the adult maintenance section, but it deserves a second mention here. At only 330 calories per cup, it’s ideal for weight loss.

Great ingredients including omega-rich Alaskan Pollock and turkey meal, plus their blend of immune system boosting healthy foods.

No corn, wheat, or soy added and no artificial preservatives or flavors.

BUY ON AMAZON

Available online at Chewy, Amazon, and Petco or use the store locator on their website.

The best way to feed cat food

There is one feeding method that is almost guaranteed to improve the quality of your hedgehog’s diet and that is mixing feeds. Many owners choose to mix 2 or 3 (or even more) suitable feeds.

Sometimes this means using one as the base feed and adding the others for extra variety and interest – both in terms of nutrition and enrichment. Others prefer to mix the feeds in equal parts, so, half and half or three times a third.

This also has the advantage of ironing out the weak points of any individual feed. It may be helpful to make up a big batch of the mixed feed and store it in a large airtight container for ease of use.

How much dry cat food should I feed?

The amount of food needed varies considerably between individuals depending on factors like activity level, age, gender, size, and health. For most hedgehogs, a good amount is between 1 and 4 teaspoons (⅓ to 1⅓ tablespoons), most commonly about 2-3 tsp for an averaged sized hog. This is per 24 hours.

This would then be supplemented with insects, plus fruit, roots, and vegetables if the hedgehog enjoys these.

Finishing off

We hope you now feel confident to select and prepare suitable cat foods for your hedgehog. You might want to keep a record of what and how much you are feeding, as well as regularly weighing your hedgehog.

This will help you to make good choices and choose different feeds quickly to address any weight gain once your hedgehog reaches adulthood.

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