Ferrets and Cats: How to Make Them Get Along

Ferrets are very friendly and active animals, which make them ideal companion pets for humans. In addition, ferrets can also develop a harmonious relationship with other domesticated animals such as dogs. However, when it comes to sharing a home with cats, pet owners may need to exert extra effort to make the relationship work.

Ferrets and Cats: How to Make Them Get Along

Photo: Lindsey Turner|Flickr

Ferrets have full energy, which is why they need to be always active and engaged in various activities. On the other hand, cats are most of the time quiet and prefer to do things independently. When these two opposite behaviors clash, the result can be disastrous.

So what do you need to do in order to peacefully keep these two amazing animals at home at the same time? Well, the first thing to realize is to give constant supervision especially when these two pets are interacting. During playtime, ferrets can be very vigorous and annoying, which can be seen by cats as signs of aggression. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid injuries on both parties like biting and scratching.

Aside from giving constant supervision, you can make the initial introduction slowly and gradually. Don’t expect the two animals to immediately get along perfectly after letting them loose inside your home. The process of being comfortable with each other’s presence will require time and patience. The best way to handle initial introduction is to keep the animals in two different cages placed in close proximity. Let them build comfort and trust. Expect a hostile reaction during the first few days especially on the ferret’s part. After a few days or weeks, both will become more and more comfortable.

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Observe the changes in their behavior, and if you think that they are ready to interact with each other, carefully let them out of their cages. During this time, you can expect a little hostility and a lot of curiousness as they to interact physically. When extreme behavior is still displayed, separate immediately and put them back to their respective cages. On the other hand, if they start to get along, give more time and allow them to interact and bond more freely.

The next thing to consider when keeping these two animals simultaneously is their ages. Ideally, the best age to start building a relationship with any animal is during formative years. It is a significant advantage if these two animals grow up together. Aside from developing a comfort level with each other’s presence at a young age, growing up together also enables easier training.

If you are planning to take home and keep kittens when you already have a ferret, you must be extra careful when introducing these wonderful animals. The natural instinct of a ferret especially the young ones is to play and interact with the kittens. Although this instinct is very innocent and, ferret’s aggressive and energetic nature can injure or harm the kitten’s fragile body. Furthermore, the kittens might feel very uncomfortable and stressed in the constant presence of ferrets.

The good news is that you can make a harmonious and peaceful relationship between a ferret and small kittens if you do these steps. First of all, make sure to provide separate cages for both animals. Doing this will give protection and separation especially on the part of the very young kittens. In addition, keeping your kittens in a sturdy and solid cage or enclosure will also protect them from other animals that can pose harm or injury.

Secondly, you can teach and train your ferret to avoid interacting and playing aggressively with the kittens. Instead of allowing it to play with the kittens, give toys made specifically for ferrets to make it busy and occupied. In addition, say “no” using a stern and authoritative tone whenever your pet ferret goes near the cage of the kittens. However, never use an angry or shouting tone every time you are training or issuing a command. Ferrets are very sensitive to negative emotions and do not respond very well to this type of training.

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Lastly, always spend time with your pets in order to achieve an environment where both you and your pets can live peacefully and harmoniously. In the end, constant supervision and care are really the most effective tools for your pets to get along perfectly.

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