Keeping a ferret is one of the most interesting things you can do. They are smart, friendly and also sociable. Ferrets also get along with other pets such as cats or dogs. However, this does not just happen instantaneously.
Most people wonder whether it is a good idea to keep both cats and ferrets. Well, this will depend on a few factors, and how you have introduced them to each other. I suggest you keep both of them under your supervision as they interact with each other.
In this article, we are going to look at all the factors that you must consider before you bring a ferret home. We will also focus on the relationship between cats and ferrets. Do they get along with each other or did you just sign up for something horrible?
Factors to consider before you bring your ferret to a cat household
Cats are sociable and calm pets to keep. In most cases, they will live with you just about anywhere including an apartment. Cats are also good with other pets and can equally get along with ferrets in the same household.
Below, I am going to outline some of the factors you may need to consider before to get a ferret to live with you and your cat.
Why are you getting a ferret?
One of the many reasons most people give up their pet ferrets is because they are not prepared. Well, when getting my ferrets, I did intensive research and since I adore pets, it was not as difficult to socialize with them. However, one of the questions you must think about is your big why?
Now, not to ruin your expectations but ferrets also need a lot of care, just as with other pets. This means that if you already have a cat, you must be ready to add your ferret to your responsibilities. Most people get pets for companionship.
Other people will get a ferret to keep their cats company while away. Whatever your reason might be, I suggest you prepare for taking up another pet responsibility, including introducing them to each other properly.
Two pets in the same household will also require constant supervision.
The status of your ferret
Ferrets are not as neurotic as dogs and cats might be. However, this does not undermine a ferret who has been through a traumatic event. It is always good to ask about pet background before bringing them on board, especially if you have other pets in the household.
For instance, if your ferret has been to a home where he was threatened or attacked by a cat, they may not get along with your cat either. Rescue ferrets that were also abused by feral cats may have some kind of fear of cats.
Let’s talk about your cat
Most cats are confused about ferrets. They do not understand whether they are prey or not. Eventually, a cat might choose to stay away and observe from a distance. Cats are predators and will hunt small animals for prey. A ferret fits that category quite well.
However, ferrets do not smell as prey to cats. Also, ferrets are strict carnivores and will also feed on small animals. This can be quite confusing for cats who have not had the experience to live with a ferret. You need to give them time to get acquainted with each other before you can let them interact.
It will all come down to how well you introduce ferrets and cats to get along with each other.
How to properly introduce cats and ferrets to each other
Cats and ferrets can live together and even get along with each other. However, first impressions do matter. You will need to properly introduce them to each other before you can let them play with each other.
Start by allowing your cat to observe the ferret from a safe zone. You should keep your ferret in his cage, well-closed so that your cat won’t try to get in. Well, some cats could have stronger hunting instincts than others.
Since cats are predators, they examine their prey first. Do not be surprised if your cat keeps coming to check on your ferret. They can see each other but cannot interact through touch. Both your ferret and cat will smell each other, trying to get conversant with each other.
Allow this to go on for a few days, while monitoring them. Your cat will stop stalking your ferret and decide whether they can be friends or not.
This process needs supervision until you are comfortable with both pets interacting freely with each other. As with everything else, you are going to face challenges as you prepare your two pets to cohabit together.
Ferrets are not exactly calm pets. They jump up and down, run around knocking everything down. This can be extremely confusing for your cat. Other ferrets will initiate too much play with your cat to a point that it is annoying.
Ferrets cohabiting with cats
Once you have successfully introduced your two pets to each other, you can now focus on how they are going to live together. You may choose to let them interact with each other if they already like each other. Following a proper introduction, they are now ready to interact.
Your ferret’s playtime could be an excellent time to watch them socialize. I suggest you use a ferret proofed area where they can play with each other. Now, the challenge is, if your ferret has not been taught to not bite, he might nip your cat’s paws and tail.
Now, your cat is not going to be very kind in response to the nipping. You will hear a few angry yowls from your cat, trying to warn your ferret. I suggest that you teach your ferret to stop biting. This can be done the same way you would teach a dog or cat not to nip.
Surprisingly, once your ferret stops biting your cat, they can interact with each other. However, this should always be under your supervision. You might see them engaging in games such as cat-riding and playing with toys.
However, beware of games that may arouse your cat’s hunting instincts. Running around the house could be one of these games. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not harm each other during play.
Most ferrets will eventually get comfortable with the idea of living with cats.
Factors to consider before getting a pet ferret
We are always talking about getting ferrets as pets. However, we must also look into our households before we bring one home. One thing I will tell you is that once you master the art of taking care of your ferret, it is going to be very easy for you.
However, before you bring your furry friend home, I would like you to consider a few factors among them time, household compatibility and ferret’s character.
Time is a must consider when you are looking to bring a new pet onboard. During the first few days, your ferret is going to need a lot of attention and care. I always advise pet owners to take up a few day’s to interact with your ferret.
If you want your ferret to get along with another pet, then this is going to need some more time. So I suggest that you undertake the adoption process when you have ample time. You will need to make your ferret as comfortable as you can for the first few days in your home.
Compatibility with your household
The environment where your ferret is going to live will determine his overall wellbeing. Therefore, I suggest that you make your house as accommodating as you can for your ferret. If you have other pets, take gradual steps to introduce them to each other, as I have described above.
With proper introduction, both your cat and ferret might become so acquainted with each other. Supervise them every day as they get closer to each other. Forbid games that might hurt or stimulate either of them to bite each other.
You should have enough room for both your ferret and cat. They should be able to enjoy personal space away from each other and with each other. It is unlikely that your ferret will react aggressively towards your cat unless he has had a traumatic experience with another cat.
While ferrets will get along with cats, you must give them some time. They won’t just start playing with each other immediately. And even when they have already accepted each other, you must supervise them during play.
Your cat will take some time to observe your ferret trying to figure them out. Eventually, he will get comfortable with having a ferret around. Some cats may not engage with ferrets but will enjoy watching the little fuzzy play with his toys. It is going to be an exciting journey for you and your pets as long as you meet the needs of each pet.