Do you want a household with ferrets and cats?
Are ferrets good with cats?
Ferrets are pretty interesting pets and this is not an uncommon question for you to ask yourself. So, today I am going to cover this topic, including questions like do cats like ferrets, do ferrets like cats, and who to introduce a ferret and a cat properly.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ferrets And Other Pets
Ferrets are pets who love company so having a multi-pet household is possible with them. But, not every animal is a good ferret companion. They can coexist with bigger animals like cats and dogs, but I wouldn’t recommend combining them with smaller ones like rabbits, birds, lizards, etc. If you are interested in learning more about ferrets living with different pets, read my post about ferrets and other pets.
Are Ferrets Good With Cats?
If you want a household filled with different pets, a ferret and a cat are actually a pretty good combination. Most ferrets and cats get along in general, but that also depends on their personalities, experience, and other situations.
Most ferrets are fascinated by long-legged high-jumping furry companions so they will definitely try to get as close as they can. Cats, on the other hand, are curious but aren’t sure how to act around those small-like-prey-but-not-prey creatures with short legs.
Even though cats and ferrets are a good combination, that doesn’t mean you can suddenly put them in the same room and expect them to act like best friends. Their introduction should be slow and under your control. Also, don’t leave them unsupervised unless you are 100% sure they get along just fine.
When To Introduce Cats And Ferrets?
You can introduce a young ferret to a kitten, an adult ferret to an adult cat, an older ferret to an older cat, and every other combination between those. The first thing you need to know is which are the best combinations and which are not recommended.
Kitten And Ferret
As you can assume, the best combination would be to introduce a young ferret – kit to a kitten. That way both animals will grow up together which will result in a good relationship between them. That way both pets don’t know how to act and they will learn everything there is about life right next to one another. They will consider themselves as a part of the family and they will quickly become inseparable. The problem with the kitten and ferret combination is that neither knows how to act so you have to be next to them at all times so you can be sure to intervene if something goes wrong.
Adult Ferret And Cat
When you are introducing an adult ferret to a cat, you have to have patience. At first, both pets will be curious about the other one and they will want to explore as much as they can. Keep them under control so both of them stay within some boundaries. That means you will have to separate them if there are teeth or claws involved in the first encounter. The good thing about introducing a cat and a ferret is that a cat can easily jump on high furniture (sofa, table, kitchen cabinet) if a cat wants a break. Ferrets, on the other side, have the ability to crawl in some box, but they are mostly too curious to back out.
Old Ferret And Cat
When I say “old ferret” I mean ferrets above 6 years old. Most of those ferrets are still relatively active so introducing them to another pet shouldn’t be a problem. But, if you have a ferret that has some serious health problems, decreased mobility, or any other challenge, think hard about adding another member to your animal kingdom. In those situations, you could stress out the older ferret which is not something you want. The same story is with older cats and any other pet in general.
I Wouldn’t Recommend
What I wouldn’t recommend is a combination of a young pet with a really old pet. Young pets (especially ferrets) are very energetic, they want to explore, play, jump and that could be overwhelming for any pet, let alone older ones. So, this is definitely a combination I would avoid if it is possible. If you still want to try it, you are welcome to do so. Just, keep an eye on them. If you see that the older pet is not comfortable, break up their introduction.
Another thing I wouldn’t recommend is introducing a ferret to a cat with high hunting instincts. If you have a cat that kills mice, birds, or any other small animal often, then you should think twice before getting a ferret. Cats are known to kill rabbits (bigger than ferrets) without any trouble and if your cat does that, he might find a ferret as some strange prey. The good thing about ferrets is that their smell doesn’t scream “I’m a prey” so cats will think twice before doing it, but it has happened. If you want to know more about ferret smell, check out my ferret smell post!
How To Introduce Cat And Ferret?
The introduction between a cat and a ferret can last from a couple of hours to a couple of months. It depends on many factors and you are the most important factor of them all. You will have to decide what personality can match the pet you have at home. That means you have to find a compatible personality of a pet you want to a personality of a pet you have at home. Remember, you are in charge of the introduction and you are the one who says when it is time to break and when it is time to play. With that in mind, let’s see what you have to know before setting up a perfect introduction environment.
Introduce Them On Neutral Ground
If you have a ferret and you want to introduce it to a new cat, do it on neutral ground. That can be a room your ferret isn’t often, a garage, or some other space. If you can’t do that, you can introduce them in your home, but with boundaries. Ferrets are very territorial and most of them won’t charge an unknown animal the moment they see it, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you have a cat and you want to introduce a ferret you can do it with the help of a cage. Use the cage your ferret is familiar with it and put it near the cat. Let your cat sniff the cage and sniff the ferret through the cage, but don’t open the doors yet. Look at their reaction for a few minutes and if they are sniffing without strange looks, hisses, or any other bad sound, you can set the ferret free.
Hold Them Both
During the introduction, it is a good idea to hold a ferret in your hands and let your family member hold the other pet. Let them near each other and see how they are behaving. Are they curious, scared, angry, happy?
Don’t hold them tight, simply hold them in your hands so you can separate them if something goes wrong. Don’t put them very near each other, let them see from a safe distance then slowly bring them closer, keeping an eye on their reactions.
Plan An Escape Route
Before you let the ferret from your hand, make sure the ferret has somewhere to crawl if something goes wrong. It can be a small box near the cage, a tube, or a tunnel. Just make sure the cat can’t go after the ferret so it has to be a really small hole.
The same story is with the cat. That is much easier because cats can jump but still, make sure there is a stool, a table, or any other elevated surface your cat can jump to if he has to. Don’t forget to close the doors of the cage because they both can enter there and you don’t want them in such a small space together.
Put Them On The Ground
If everything is OK, you can put them down. Watch carefully how they react one to the other. They will probably stand still and slowly sniff each other. If everything goes well, you can step back but keep an eye on them at all times.
When To Intervene?
The moment you hear hissing from any pet, be careful because it might turn to something else. If the hissing continues, you can take a small break in their introduction and try again later. The same thing is with biting and any other attack. If the attack is serious and you can see blood, separate the pets immediately and stop the introduction.
How To Know They Are OK?
If you’ve made all the necessary steps to introduce them properly and you don’t see any hostile reactions, that is a good sign. There are a few scenarios you can expect. One of them is that both animals will ignore each other. Knowing the ferret’s curious nature, that is highly unlikely.
Most cats tolerate ferrets and most ferrets will try to play with cats by biting their legs, tail, and tummy. So, when ferrets get too overwhelming for cats, they will jump somewhere high and inspect them from a safe distance. That is the most common scenario.
The next scenario is the best one and it is the one where ferrets and cats act like one big happy family. They play together, they eat together and they sleep together. With that scenario, you don’t have to worry and you can simply enjoy a great show they will give you.
Can A Cat Kill A Ferret?
Yes, in theory, a cat can kill a ferret. But, that doesn’t mean your cat will kill your ferret. If your cat has a habit of killing other small animals, make sure it isn’t without supervision around your ferret. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Do Cats Eat Ferrets?
No, cats won’t eat ferrets, but they can kill one. Don’t forget that cats are agile hunters and although it is rare, it has happened. That is why you have to be sure that there are no bad emotions between your cat and your ferret before you leave them without supervision.
Do Cats And Ferrets Generally Get Along?
Yes, cats and ferrets generally get along just fine, especially if they grew up together. If you want to mix a ferret with other pets, cats are the best option, including dogs.
Why Are Cats Afraid Of Ferrets?
I can’t say that cats are afraid of ferrets, but I know they don’t know how to act around them at first. Probably the biggest problems are ferrets’ teeth. Ferrets love to bite, they are playing like that and cats aren’t happy with ferrets biting their legs, tails, or tummy. If you want to train your ferret to stop biting, read my post about it here.
Can I Have A Kitten And Ferret?
Just like any other combination, you can have a kitten and ferret, but you have to be careful because a kitten can’t escape as fast as an adult cat can. An adult ferret can harm a kitten with its bites so make sure your ferret isn’t too aggressive with the kitten. Also, as always, keep them under constant supervision.
I hope I’ve helped you with the are ferrets good with cats question. As you can see, their coexistence is possible with a few guidelines and they get along far better than dogs and ferrets. I assume it is because cats can easily get away from ferrets when they become too much for them. I can’t say that cats like ferrets, but I can say that they tolerate them. It is a small chance that a cat will attack a ferret, but it has happened so no matter how small the chance is, it is still there. So, keep your pets under supervision unless you are 100% they are good, and share your thought with us in the comments below!