Can Guinea Pigs eat cat food?

Feeding guinea pigs a balanced diet is crucial to their overall health and wellbeing.

As a herbivore, guinea pigs require a specific set of nutrients to maintain their health, and it’s important to provide them with the right foods to meet their nutritional needs.

However, some pet owners may wonder if it’s okay to feed their guinea pigs cat food. You may have found your guinea pig interested in cat food, and happily eat it.

In this article, we will explore the topic of feeding guinea pigs cat food. I think you’ll find the differences between cats and guinea pigs interesting, and it may help you feed them both a better diet!

The hazards of feeding Cat food to a Guinea Pig

Cats are carnivores and Guinea Pigs are herbivores, so there’s already a huge mismatch.


You may be surprised to learn most cat foods are made from grains and plant-based ingredients which a Guinea Pig will naturally eat. There’s two problems with this – first, your cat shouldn’t be eating grains or plant-matter because they’re carnivores, and in turn your guinea pig shouldn’t be eating the meat and animal fat content which always makes up part of a cat food.

Worse still, for both your cat AND guinea pig, is most cat foods contain artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. These are added to cat foods for reasons other than the health of your cat, such as making the food look more appealing to you (food colors), to stopping it going rank (preservatives).

Feeding guinea pigs cat food can lead to several health problems, including obesity, digestive issues, and kidney problems. The high levels of protein and fat in cat food can cause digestive upset in guinea pigs and may even lead to obesity over time. The lack of vitamin C in cat food can also be a concern since guinea pigs require this nutrient in their diet.

“Feeding cat food to guinea pigs can lead to health problems, including obesity and gastrointestinal issues. Guinea pigs have unique dietary requirements, and they need a diet that is specifically designed to meet their needs.”

Dr. Bridget P. Williams, veterinarian at Cornell University

Most of the time these health problems won’t develop overnight. By the time your guinea pig shows symptoms it will be too late.

This is sadly the same for our cats. Cat food made of grains and other non-meat ingredients can cause long term health failure. Most of the time it’s their kidneys which are affected, and this may take a few years before they show symptoms.

It’s important to remember that guinea pigs have very different dietary needs from cats, and feeding them cat food can have serious health consequences. It’s always best to stick to a diet that is specifically formulated for guinea pigs to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to thrive.

The nutritional needs of Guinea Pigs

“The key to a healthy guinea pig diet is variety. Make sure they have access to fresh hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of fruit. Avoid feeding them foods that are high in sugar or fat, as well as any toxic foods.”

Dr. Micah Kohles, veterinarian at Kansas State University

Guinea pigs have unique nutritional requirements which you must meat to ensure their health, wellbeing, and long happy live.

Unlike carnivorous cats, guinea pigs are true herbivores. This means their diet should consist of high-quality hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of fruit.

Guinea pigs require a diet which is high in fiber to keep their digestive system healthy. They also require vitamin C as they cannot produce this on their own. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to serious health conditions for your guinea pig.

The dangers of feeding cat food (and other inappropriate foods) to Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, and their diet should consist of foods that are specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. They may willingly eat cat food because of the grain and plant-matter content, but the remaining meat and animal fat content is harmful. For your cat it’s the exact opposite, with the grain and plant-matter content being the harmful constituent.

If only you could cut it in half!

Calcium in inappropriate foods can also be harmful to your guinea pig, as can foods which are toxic to them such as chocolate or avocado (particularly the skin and pips which are very harmful to cats and us as well).

Cat food is also lower in fiber than what your guinea pig needs, so this can also be problematic. This can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea and can even cause impaction, a condition in which the intestines become blocked.

To ensure your guinea pig stays healthy and happy, it’s crucial to provide them a diet which is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. Avoid feeding them any inappropriate foods or ingredients and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your guinea pig’s diet.


We’ve dug into the science and various differences between a cat and guinea pig, and have found a resounding conclusion.

No, it is not safe to feed cat food to your guinea pig.

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