When considering adding another pet to the household, you should always keep in mind any current pets and how well they will get along. When people are concerned about the relationship between ferrets and cats, they are almost more concerned about the well being of the ferret. It is important to keep in mind that a ferret can be just as dangerous to a cat as a cat is to a ferret. So should the two even make an attempt at living in the same home?
Why Ferrets and Cats Have Trouble Getting Along
There are many reasons why ferrets and cats might not get along well. One factor is that cats have been known to kill kits and adult ferrets because they see them as prey due to their small size and may hunt them. Another factor could be the ferret. In the wild, ferrets will actually hunt in packs and eat animals much larger than themselves. Due to this, the ferret may actually hunt your cat and could actually kill it if they get in a well-placed bite. For this reason, cats and ferrets should always be kept separate – even under supervision as they are both extremely fast and it will be too late if you need to intervene. If the ferret is inside the cage, it is safe to supervise them in the same room.
How to Introduce Your Ferret to Your Cat
There is no way to have a ferret in your house without your cat knowing – they will hear and smell the ferret. Having another unidentified animal in the house can be stressful for your cat, so you should actually introduce the two even though they won’t be spending any time together. While your ferret is inside their cage and awake, let your cat into the room so they can check out the ferret. You can plan to feed the ferret and give your cat treats at the same time to further increase a good feeling while they are meeting for the first time. Your ferret will likely not pay any attention to the cat at this time as they understand they can’t get out of the cage, which is fine.
What If My Cat is Aggressive Toward the Ferret?
Some cats will be unable to accept that there is prey in the house that they are unable to hunt. Unfortunately your cat may remain stubbornly planted outside your ferrets cage, constantly looking for an opportunity to attack. Unfortunately, even though they are unable to physically hurt the ferret, this increases feelings of stress for your ferret. If you cannot prevent your cat from constantly hunting your ferret, you will need to keep your ferret outside of the room where the cage is held.
How Dangerous Are Ferrets to Cats?
Ferrets can be the size of a small, average-sized dog, which makes them look like they would be a pretty gentle creature. However, this is not the case. Ferrets hunt and eat animals much bigger than them by precisely biting the neck and ripping the jugular vein. If your ferret suddenly decides to attack, it will be too late for you to make any kind of preventative action and your ferret could kill your cat in an instant. Luckily, if you are feeding your ferret enough and the cat is not causing the ferret to act defensively, lethal attacks are rare, but your ferret may still cause substantial damage to your cat.
How to Ensure the Safety of Both Animals in the Home
The safest way to keep both a ferret and a cat in the home is to never let your cat in the room when it is time to let your ferret out of the cage. If your cat won’t stop hunting your ferret while they are in their cage, you will need to keep your cat outside of the ferret’s room at all times. However, make sure to let your cat observe your ferret in its cage every few months so the cat doesn’t become stressed from unidentified noises and smells.
Cat Toys Can Be Dangerous to Ferrets
The actual animals aren’t the only danger when keeping these two in the same house. If your cat leaves their toys strewn about, there is a chance your ferret can find it and begin playing with it. It is important to remember that cat toys were not designed to keep up with a ferret. Cats will only ever softly bite on toys. Ferrets on the other hand, chomp, rip, and attempt to eat anything they can fit in their mouths. Never allow your ferret to play with a cat toy unsupervised.
Some people consider their cat or ferret to be very tame and say they “wouldn’t hurt a fly”, but the fact remains that both these carnivorous animals are ferocious hunters and could do deadly damage to the other in an instant. Never allow them to be in the same room when your ferret is not in its cage and keep in mind the mental health of each of your pets, as constantly being hunted will cause both animals to feel deeply stressed.