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Can Rats Eat Cat Food?

There have been a number of viral videos of pet rats playing and cuddling their owners over the last year or so helping to break the bad reputation that rats used to have amongst the general population with this resulting in a number of people adding a pet rat to their family increasing.

With there being a huge number of first time rat owners out there right now, we often see a wide range of different questions from the community about caring for their pet rats and this is totally normal.

We have noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking if rats can eat cat food recently and the majority of the answers that we see on social media are far from correct so we wanted to publish our own article on the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better understand feeding their rat cat food as well as avoid making some very common mistakes.

The majority of the questions that we see from the community about feeding rats cat food are usually based on one of three questions so we have decided to cover them all in this article.

Our table of contents below should make it as quick and easy as possible to navigate our article and help ensure that you are able to get the exact information that you need for your pet rat.

Can Rats Eat Cat Food?

Although rats can and will eat cat food if you give it to them, you really shouldn’t be giving your pet rat any cat food at all due to the macronutrient ratios in cat food being designed for a cat that is an obligate carnivore that requires a high protein diet.

A rat is an opportunistic omnivore meaning that it needs far less protein in its diet and too much protein too often can cause serious problems with its body.

This is why some people on social media do say that they give their rat a small amount of cat food now and then without issue as they are able to balance out the macronutrient profile for their rat’s diet throughout the rest of the day.

Still, we really wouldn’t recommend this to our readers as it is just too much time and effort for most people, especially when you are able to just feed your pet rat a high-quality rat food that is often cheaper than cat food and is nutritionally complete for your pet rat.

We have also seen some people say that you can feed your pet rat wet cat food but this is not correct either.

Both wet and dry cat food are designed with the much higher protein requirements of a cat in mind and are both far too high in protein to be fed to a rat.

There are much better options on the market that you are able to use as rat food that will offer a more nutritionally complete diet and not pose any risk to your pet due to spiking its protein intake.

Why Do Some People Say They Feed Their Pet Rat Cat Food?

We have seen people on social media say that they feed their pet rat cat food without their pet rat having any health problems.

There are some situations where this can end up being correct as a rat requires around 16% of its diet to be protein where most cat foods around as high as 30% protein so you can mix other food sources in to adjust the protein content throughout the day and keep cat food within range for your pet rat.

Trust us, this takes far too much time and effort to do though and there is no point and if you end up making mistakes, you can end up accidentally causing problems with your rat.

Just go with a high-quality rat food that has been designed for your rats digestive system in mind and be done with it.

Some of the people on social media seem to think that mixing cat food with other foods works out cheaper than going with a rat food product but this is far from correct and rat food often works out cheaper than cat food these days.

You also have to realize that there are a large number of people on social media who are ignorant and won’t go off and research what is best for their pet rat and will say that they are feeding them cat food without knowing they are harming their rat.

The most common issues with a rat on a high protein diet is problems with its liver and this takes months to show any serious signs but by then the damage is already done so the people on social media saying that they feed their pet rats cat food may not know the error of their ways yet.

What Foods Are Better Than Cat Food For Rats?

There are a huge range of foods that are better for rats than cat food due to rats being omnivorous and being able to eat a wide range of different food sources.

Many people will only feed their pet rats kitchen scraps from their own meal with this usually not being a problem provided you try your best to track the macronutrient values and keep the total protein at around 16%.

We have a list of 23 unique rat treat foods that you are able to check out too that we published due to seeing so many questions from the rat owning community about different potential treats for their pet rats.

Some of those treat foods for your rat are common is most homes and offer a quick, easy, and cheap treat food option for your pet rat that the majority of rats tend to love.

You can also just purchase rat treats if you want though as rats seem to love their unique taste and crunch without you having to worry about them having too much protein in them like cat food.

For the main staple of your rat’s diet, we always recommend a high-quality rat food as they are cheap, healthy, and designed to be eaten by rats.

There’s minimal risk to your rat’s health by giving it a decent rat food as the macronutrient profile is designed specifically what rats need offering a more nutritionally complete diet for your pet.


That brings our article going over if rats can eat cat food or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand when a rat can and can’t eat cat food but in all honesty, we just wouldn’t recommend that you ever give your pet rat cat food as it’s just a pain to balance. If you do have the time available then you can try to balance your rat’s macronutrient intake but this will take more time than most people think when there are much better food options available for most rats.