Can cats and ferrets cohabit? That’s a great question to ask if you are thinking of bringing a new exotic friend into your house. In this article, we will see if the two species are a good fit under the same roof or a combination best to avoid.
With a little bit of time and a proper introduction, cats and ferrets generally get along. They can actually be fantastic playmates. However, as their personalities differ quite a bit, make sure you understand when and how to introduce a ferret to your cat.
- 3 Reasons Why Cats and Ferrets Can Be Great Friends
- How Can I Introduce My Ferret and Cat?
- When Not to Introduce a Ferret to a Cat
- Do Ferrets and Other Animals Get Along?
3 Reasons Why Cats and Ferrets Can Be Great Friends
1. Similar Needs
2. High Energy
Ferrets are playful and make excellent companions, but they require more work and supervision than other kinds of pets. To have a happy and friendly ferret you should begin handling it constantly from a young age.
Cats are more easygoing and tend to have a much calmer disposition once they reach adulthood, after about 8 months. This can be a problem since ferrets behave like little kittens pretty much their whole life. This might annoy your cat, depending on its personality. Or it can be really fun to watch.
Keep in mind, similar to cats, ferrets are carnivorous creatures. Their natural instinct is to hunt, so any smaller pets you may have can quickly become prey to a mischievous ferret.
3. Intelligent Pets
Just like cats, your ferret will surprise you with their intelligence. They will learn to recognize their name and you can even teach them tricks. Being intelligent creatures, they can typically entertain themselves while you are away.
If left to their own devices for too long, there is a lot of trouble these little animals can get themselves into. A few hours of supervised play outside of their cage each day should keep even the most active of ferrets in check.
How Can I Introduce My Ferret and Cat?
1. Be Patient
2. Supervise Their Play Time
3. Separate Their Living Spaces
4. Give Them More Time to Adjust
When Not to Introduce a Ferret to a Cat
1. Large Age Differences
Ferrets and cats are both carnivorous creatures, with prey drives that may kick in when presented with an intruder. For this reason, it is not advised to introduce a ferret to a kitten, or a cat to a kit, since the adult animal can very quickly harm the youngster.
Even if they are just trying to play, an adult animal can cause serious harm to the baby if you are not constantly supervising them.
2. Different Personalities
If you have a cat or ferret that has a more aggressive, snappy, or possessive personality, they may be better off as only pets.
As fun as it is to get a new family member, you have to honor your commitment to the one who is already living in your home. The key to a successful introduction is knowing when your current pet is or isn’t ready to add a new member to the family.
Do Ferrets and Other Animals Get Along?
Ferrets and Dogs
The topic of ferrets and dogs is not as cut and dry. You really must consider the temperament of your dog when deciding how it would do with a ferret. Breeds like terriers have a high prey drive and will be likely to chase ferrets, and large dogs may accidentally hurt them during play.
To have the best success keep the dog’s food away from the ferret, and following the principles previously discussed, do not allow dogs and ferrets to play freely together without supervision.
Ferrets and Rodents, Birds, and Lizards
Due to their carnivorous nature, it is not recommended to allow ferrets to interact with small pets like rodents, birds, and lizards. While they may not mean to hurt smaller animals, quick movements can activate a ferret’s prey instinct.
These fierce little hunters can cause a lot of damage to an unsuspecting animal, so for the sake of both parties, keep these ones separated.
Resources and further reading
- Companion Animals and Us: Exploring the Relationships Between People and Pets, edited by Anthony L. Podberscek, Elizabeth S. Paul, James A. Serpell