Last updated on December 12th, 2021
Cats and ferrets are two similar kinds of pets with very different temperaments and needs. This can make them a great pair, or a nightmarish combination for your home. Ferrets are a lot more curious and they love to play, while cats are more independent and relaxed, they enjoy sitting around and watching the world go by.
While cats and ferrets are both mammals and cute domestic pets, can they get along with each other?
Cats and ferrets do get along with each other and the easiest way to determine if they’re on good terms is to see if your cat doesn’t hiss at the ferret or raise its back, however, there are a few important details you need to keep in mind.
Ferrets have a very different instinctual behavior and can be friendly when treated with care from a young age, however, your cat may not be used to having a wild animal in the house.
You’ll be happy to learn that the two species have similar play styles and napping patterns.
But there are a few things you need to take care of to avoid conflicts. Here’s how to manage this new furry addition to your pet family.
Table of Contents
- Is It a Good Idea to Get a Ferret If You Already Own a Cat?
- How to Introduce Ferrets to Cats
- Additional Tips to Ensure That Ferrets Get Along With Cats
- Do Cats Attack Ferrets?
- Do Cats Need a Companion?
Is It a Good Idea to Get a Ferret If You Already Own a Cat?
The truth is, you can, but it takes a lot of work to make it happen.
If you’re a cat owner who is thinking of getting a ferret or planning to get another cat and are wondering if they’ll get along, read on to learn about what you need to do to introduce the pair and ensure they get along with each other.
Most of the time, ferrets and cats get along quite well and even cuddle each other during naps.
Ferrets find feline pets quite fascinating. Besides, the two animals share similar behavioral habits and playing patterns, which help them build stronger relationships with each other.
However, before you bring a domesticated polecat into your house, you must consider your cat’s temperament.
If your cat has been too aggressive or displays negative behavior, you should consult with an animal behaviorist, however, it wouldn’t be safe to introduce a ferret into the house at this time.
Even if your feline pet is not that aggressive and is rather docile, you must allow enough time for the two pets to get along. So, it’s better to avoid introducing them to one another on the very first day.
Instead, let the process be more gradual and monitor their behavior in the presence of each other.
Train both of your pets to be more respectful of each other, such as by maintaining a positive environment.
Both pets must know that they’re safe with each other.
Ferrets and felines can indeed be good playmates in most cases, but you shouldn’t leave the two unattended without proper supervision.
But don’t be too tensed because many pet owners manage both of these furry animals quite well.
However, the success of their friendship depends on how you manage them in your home environment, and mostly on the temperaments and personalities of the two species.
A little bit of luck may also act here since you never know what’s ahead! You can only try your best to keep both pets safe and healthy.
How to Introduce Ferrets to Cats
It’s a vital part of the process, and you and your family members play a huge role in this regard.
Did you already start worrying about whether you can introduce each other well without any accidents or mishaps?
Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your ferret and kitten are comfortable around each other. Things will be fine, don’t worry!
Let Your Ferret Remain in the Cage While You Are Introducing Your Cat
By using a cat or ferret cage, you allow both pets to remain safe while keeping things less stressful for both of them.
Also, remember that you may need to repeat this process for a couple of days or even weeks before you allow your pets to meet each other without any physical barriers.
Until then, your number one priority is to ensure that they’re comfortable and relaxed in each other’s presence.
By letting the adult ferret and your cat meet each other while one is still in a cage, you’ll get a drill of how they react or behave upon seeing each other.
Always monitor their interactions and check whether they’re happier or displaying aggressive behaviors.
During this stage, you can even let your feline pet sniff at your furry polecat so that they become acquainted with the habitat and scent of one another.
If either your ferret or your cat shows any signs of aggression, you’ll need to keep both pets separate and put the introduction and interaction on hold immediately and let them realize that this behavior is not acceptable.
Allow Both Animals to Interact While the Ferret is on a Leash
This is similar to the above but done in a more free environment.
Let them interact with each other while still controlling their actions by putting your ferret on a leash.
It will prevent one of the animals from inflicting injuries on the other.
Also, let your cat smell the ferret in this position to learn about its habitat and nature better.
Allow this for a couple of days before the two pets can play without any barrier or leash.
You can even conduct several play sessions while keeping your ferret leashed and whenever you see any aggressive behavior, immediately cease the interaction.
Because these animals are quite unpredictable and you won’t even realize when playful behaviors may turn into dangerous acts.
Allow Physical Interaction With No Restrictions
After trying the above steps for the first few days or weeks, let the two animals meet and play with each other comfortably without any human intervention.
However, they should be under constant supervision during these initial interactions.
It’s better to keep these play sessions short at first until they’re comfortable and acquainted with each other.
Later on, if you find the two have got along with each other quite nicely, try longer play sessions. But even then, you should always watch them closely.
Additional Tips to Ensure That Ferrets Get Along With Cats
Even after trying the proper introduction methods above and your pets fail to establish a friendly bond, you can try the following –
Separate Their Feeding Routines:
You can feed your feline and ferret separately to reduce interactions. Also, this step would eliminate or minimize any food-related aggression because these pets naturally have an instinct of protecting their food.
So, seeing another furry animal feeding nearby may immediately trigger or bring out this aggressive nature in either of the animals.
Create Private Spaces for Both of Them:
Ensure that each pet has its own private and individual space at a safe distance away from each other.
Never allow one creature to intrude into the private space of another to avoid conflicts or injuries.
Every animal should feel safe and protected in its own home or living area.
Furthermore, ensure that each of your animals has their toys and never insist on them to share unless you’re trying to mix their scents in between.
Introduce Both Pets When They’re Young:
Think of your school days when friendships didn’t break easily. Most of the school buddies cared for each other selflessly, and we used to get along with the naughtiest classmates. Because back then, we didn’t have what’s called ego.
Similarly, animals get along quite well when they grow up among one another because they don’t learn to differentiate between each other.
Therefore, try adopting both animals at a young age so that they can interact and grow up together.
As they both get older, they’ll be more comfortable and even like each other’s presence.
Introducing the Ferret’s Scent to the Cat
You can also try to introduce your feline to the ferret’s scent by allowing the domesticated polecat to play with its toys and placing it among the feline’s toys.
By doing this, your feline can become familiar with having the ferret around via its scent when playing with its toys.
Do Cats Attack Ferrets?
Cats can attack ferrets if they’re feeling stressed or threatened, however, cats and ferrets aren’t natural enemies and as long as both creatures are socialized and taught how to interact with each other, they can peacefully coexist.
Although cats are larger animals than ferrets, yet the latter never behave like the former’s prey.
Rather both these animals have predatory instincts and can hunt smaller animals. Ferrets, too, can attack an opponent if they feel threatened.
What’s more, ferrets can bite or kill felines just as cats may do. Also, the two animals have similar biting, playing, and hunting habits.
This is why the two of them can get along quite perfectly most of the time.
In general, cats won’t normally hurt ferrets unless they have a sickly body structure or look very weak.
Do Cats Need a Companion?
While it’s true that cats are solitary creatures, they do need companionship. One of their major needs is to be stroked or petted and the quality time you spend with your cat is important for their happiness.
Indeed our feline friends are solitary animals, but they too would like to have a companion. Yes, your kitty already has you as their human companion, but another pet friend would keep their animalistic instinct alive, thus making them happier and gleeful.
Domesticated cats who have been robbed of their wild animal habits like hunting become depressed and sometimes display aggressive tendencies.
To cope with such situations, a ferret can be a purrfect companion for your cat as they have similar hunting and playing habits.
It would also provide both these creatures with some mental stimulation, which will improve their emotional well-being.
Another animal friend would be a good choice if your kitty is being destructive or having litter box or feeding issues.