The squirrels in my backyard eat pretty much anything. The other day, I started wondering “do squirrels eat cat food?” I wanted to make sure that they didn’t eat all the cat food that I was feeding my cat. I’ll share everything that I found, just in case you’ve been wondering what squirrels eat.
Do Squirrels Eat Cat Food?
Squirrels love pretty much any type of kibble, especially, since they have sharp incisors that help them eat nuts and other foods. The cat food doesn’t contain veggies, but they love dry cat food. Just because they eat cat food, doesn’t mean that it’s good for them.
If you want them to stop eating cat food, you can feed the squirrels with a feeder up in a tree.
Most squirrels won’t bother eating protein cat food if they have access to seeds, nuts and other types of food. They are survivalists and will eat whatever they can get their little paws on.
These scavengers will eat dog food, ferret food, or any other pet food, and not all of it is good for them.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Cat Food?
Baby squirrels require a special diet until they are at least 6 weeks old. At 6 weeks old, you can start introducing them to solid foods. They won’t be able to chew very well, so it’s best to feed them squirrel blocks.
You should avoid giving cat food to squirrels until they are at least 10-12 weeks old.
Do Squirrels Eat Wet Cat Food?
They prefer eating solid dry cat food, however, if they only have access to wet food, they will consume it. Wet cat food provides Taurine which is what’s found in the muscle meat of animals.
This food is a great source of protein for your cat, but not for your backyard squirrels.
If you want to protect your backyard wildlife, the best way to get them to stop eating your cat’s food is to ensure that they have food in the squirrel feeder.
If they can find food, they probably won’t eat pet food.
Cat Food Ingredients and Is It Good for Squirrels?
All cat food will contain different types of ingredients, however, some of the common ingredients you will find on the label are:
Turkey meal, duck and or chicken (primary sources of protein)
- Soy protein
- Wheat gluten or corn meal gluten
Squirrels cannot digest cellulose and must rely on foods that are rich in protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Squirrels are primarily herbivores and nuts are an optimal source of protein for all types of squirrels.
The funny thing is that squirrels are not the only ones who love eating cat food. You’ll find that birds and other animals love eating it too. It’s not uncommon to find squirrels stealing food from cats.
Cat Food Can Be Dangerous for Squirrels
As I mentioned above, squirrels cannot digest cellulose. Several types of inexpensive plant fibers are added to canned pet foods and processed dry foods. These include flaxseed, fruit pectin, oat, grain hulls, beet pulp, buckwheat, and other grain hulls.
The cellulose helps control weight issues, diabetes, and hairballs in cats. While this is great for cats, it can harm your backyard squirrels.
Best Foods for Squirrels
Okay, now that you know cat food can harm your back squirrels, your next question is what should you feed them? I totally understand since I love feeding my bushy-tailed friends as well. That’s why I am going to share what I feed my squirrels and where we get their food.
We feed our backyard squirrels critter blend that we get off of Amazon. We’ve also found that they love eating sweet corn squirrel logs and make great treats for them.
However, the most important thing when it comes to feeding squirrels. You need to let them forage for their own food as well. There’s nothing wrong with feeding them when their food supply is short like in the winter.
If you’re going to be feeding your backyard squirrels, you want to make sure that you’re feeding them the right foods that will provide them the nutrients their little bodies require.
Related Articles On Foods Squirrels Like to Eat
References and Further Reading
Squirrel Refuge – What Do Squirrels Eat
Healthy Pets– Dr. Becker – Keeps Your Pet From Absorbing Nutrients – And You Won’t Believe How Trendy It Is