Can Turtles eat Cat Food

No, you should never feed you turtle cat food. It’s not recommended as part of a healthy diet. Cat food has way too much protein and is too calorie-dense, which can mess up your turtle’s digestive system and cause rapid weight gain (which leads to health problems). 

In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons why cat food is bad for your turtle, what to do if you accidentally fed your turtle cat food, and answer some other questions on the topic.

Last but not least, we’ll show you how to create a balanced diet for your turtle and our three favorite turtle food pellet brands. It’s chow time! 

Reasons Why Cat Food Is Bad For Your Turtles

For the most part,

turtles are omnivores.

They’ll eat anything they can, including fruits, veggies, meat, turtle food, bugs, and even live fish.

So, it makes sense that one would think that fish-based cat food could be a good choice for your turtle, right? 

Wrong

Here are some of the main reasons why cat food is bad for your aquatic pet turtle. 

  • There’s Not Enough Vegetable Content. 

Turtles are omnivores. In the wild, they eat a well-balanced diet that consists of aquatic plants, algae, and various meats such as animal carcasses or small fish they’re able to catch.

Their omnivorous diet ensures that they get all of the protein they need to grow (without getting too much), and most importantly, they get all of their vitamins and minerals (from the plants). 

However, if you look at the ingredients on the back of a cat food can, you’ll see that there’s hardly any vegetable or vitamin content.

Sure, cat food does have some added minerals and a few basic vitamins, but the ratio is not enough for a turtle. 

Cats, by nature, are carnivores, meaning that their body can get all of its necessary nutrients from consuming meat.

Cats don’t need to eat vegetables or plants to survive; turtles do need to eat plants.

Similarly, turtle food wouldn’t have enough protein for cats. 

  • It Can Cause Digestion Problems. 

Again, this comes down to the protein aspect. One of the first symptoms that your turtle may experience if they eat too much cat food is that they’ll become constipated.

They may become somewhat ill and will be slow and lethargic.

This is because their body requires additional time and energy to digest all of the extra protein. 

It’s kind of like if a human were to eat 5-pounds of steak in one sitting;

you’d probably be sick afterward! 

  •  It Can Cause Rapid, Unhealthy Weight Gain. 

Lastly, the excessive protein and fat content in cat food mean that it’s very calorically dense.

Eating a small serving of cat food has the caloric content of a huge serving of turtle food.

This means that your turtle can overeat, which not only causes exhaustion and lethargy but can cause the turtle to grow too fast.

Also read – > Do Turtles Get Along With Cats?

If the turtle’s shell can’t keep up with the growth, it can cause severe pain. 

What Do I Do If I Feed My Turtle Cat Food? 

Eating cat food once or twice shouldn’t have a huge effect on your turtle.

Usually, you’ll just notice that they’re a bit more slow or tired than usual.

So, if you accidentally fed your pet some cat food, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Just make sure that you don’t continue to feed it to them. 

Creating A Healthy Diet For Your Turtle

The most important part of a turtle’s diet is turtle food. It usually comes in the form of pellets but can also come in the form of freeze-dried fish, shrimp, or bugs.

Also read -> Can Turtles Eat Fish Food? 

Turtle food is specially formulated to contain all of the vitamins, proteins, and nutrients necessary for the turtle’s health. 

Many pet owners also give their turtles fresh fruit, vegetables, and even live bugs (like flies) to supplement the turtle pellets.

Just make sure that the majority of your turtle’s caloric intake comes from their pellets.

These other foods should be used supplementally as snacks and treats. 

Recommended Turtle Pellets

Since turtle pellets are going to make up the majority of your pet’s diet, it’s important to purchase

high-quality pellets that are specifically formulated for turtles and other aquatic reptiles. 

Think of your own diet, for example.

If you fill your body with a bunch of junk food, you’ll be tired and lethargic; conversely, if you fill your body with healthy high-nutrient foods, you’ll be happy and energetic. 

The same applies to your turtle.

If you feed them well, they’ll be more active, happier, healthier, get sick less often, and most importantly- live longer.

So, all of that being said, here are three of our favorite aquatic turtle pellet brands. Isn’t it time you gave your turtle the good stuff? 

Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks for Aquatic Turtles (link)

TetraCare specializes in making high-quality supplements, foods, and pet care products designed specifically for reptiles and amphibians. Their ReptoMin floating food sticks are easily one of the most popular brands on the market and are widely recommended by veterinary professionals. This food has a perfectly balanced blend of important vitamins (like Vitamin C), nutrients (like Calcium), and proteins (from potato, shrimp, and fish). 

Pros

  • The floating pellets are easy to digest texture and small pellets. 
  • Great for any age turtle. 
  • Balanced formula with every important vitamin and nutrient that a growing turtle needs. 

Cons

  • The floating pellets can create a mess if your turtle doesn’t eat them all. 

Fluker’s Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle Food (link)

If you want to give your turtle the most natural food blend on the market, then you can’t go wrong with Fluker’s. Unlike most turtle food, which is blended and then pressed into pellets, Fluker’s Buffet Blend has real chunks of freeze-dried shrimp and mealworms. This blend also includes pellets (that have the important vitamins and minerals), but these only make up about one-third of the mixture. Overall, this is as close to nature as your turtle can get! 

Pros

  • Contains real shrimp and mealworms for a natural eating experience. 
  • Great protein content. 
  • Mixed with pellets to create a balanced diet. 

Cons

  • Due to the real shrimp and worms, they can make your turtle’s water smell bad if they’re left uneaten. Be sure to clean any remnants out of the tank at the end of the day. 

Natural Aquatic Turtle Food With Growth Formula (link)

If you’re looking for your traditional turtle food pellets, this is a great choice. Like Tetra’s pellets, these contain a formulated blend of vitamins, minerals, and fish proteins to create a balanced diet. This turtle food is specially formulated for young, growing turtles between 2 and 6-inches long. It contains extra proteins and amino acids to promote healthy growth and activity. The only drawback is that these pellets do not float (which some turtles prefer). 

Pros

  • All-natural formula with no artificial ingredients. 
  • A formulated blend designed specifically for young turtles that are still growing fast. 

Cons

  • The pellets don’t float. 

Turtles and Cat Food: F.A.Q.’s

Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding turtles and cat food. 

Can Turtles Eat Dry Cat Food?

Even dry cat food has too much protein and too many calories to be healthy for turtles.

Also, the dry pellets may be too large for the turtle to comfortably eat, so it’s not a good idea. 

Can Turtles Eat Canned Cat Food? 

No, you should avoid feeding your turtles canned wet cat food at all costs. The protein content is simply too high and can cause a number of health problems when consumed regularly. 

Also read -> Can Turtles eat Canned Tuna

Can Box Turtles Eat Cat Food?

No, even box turtles should not eat dry cat food. They need a well-balanced diet from turtle food or a blend of vegetables and light proteins. 

Can Box Turtles Eat Canned Cat Food?

Box turtles should not eat canned cat food either! In fact, wet cat food is even worse for your turtle than dry cat food. 

Conclusion

If you want to make sure that your turtle lives a long, happy, and healthy life, keeping a strict eye on their diet is key.

The best way to ensure that they get all of the nutrients they need and consume a well-balanced diet is to use high-quality turtle pellet food, which should consist of most of their meals. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.worldturtleday.org/single-post/2018/02/03/the-abcs-of-turtle-and-tortoise-feeding
  2. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/turtles-aquatic-feeding 

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