Cats and ferrets can play together and are one of the better companion pairs in the animal world. Even so, animal experts say even those that act as the best of friends should never be left alone.
Do cats and ferrets get along? Yes, cats and ferrets can get along and can even be seen “play fighting” rather than truly being aggressive to each other. You need to understand how both behave so you can properly introduce and supervise them.
Read below to find out how to keep your cat and ferret on friendly terms.
Cats and ferrets get along well primarily because both are hunters, meat-eaters, and tend to sleep during the day and be active at night. Ferrets can be taught to use a litter box like a cat but you will need a separate box for both.
You shouldn’t ever let a grown ferret be alone with a kitten without supervision since ferrets are predatory also.
You should also understand how strong your cat’s predatory instinct is before introducing it to a ferret or any other smaller animal. Animals can’t just be thrown together and expected to do well.
Making Good Friends
How well your cat and ferret get along depends largely on you and your ability to properly guide them in interaction. There are steps and you need to be patient as you complete each step.
Each step will need to be done for a week or more to help both animals feel more comfortable and confident with each other.
First, let your cat see your ferret while the ferret is in the cage. This is an important step and can’t be rushed. Your cat should be able to sniff the ferret’s cage from the outside and the ferret.
Likewise, the ferret can sniff the cat through the cage. You can see if either shows aggression without endangering either. Be sure to scoop up the cat and put it away in a separate cage if either show any sign of aggression.
Repeat this daily until both feel comfortable.
Now, it’s time for each animal to take turns sniffing while you are holding the other animal. You can gently hold the ferret while your cat sniffs it and then it’s the cat’s turn to be held. It’s also good to have someone else in the room who can take the loose animal if either becomes hostile.
This step should be repeated daily until the two animals are either friendly or, at least, nonchalant about the other’s presence.
The next step is interesting because most people don’t realize a ferret can be leashed. Here you should allow the two to interact while leashed. Halter or vest leashes are best in this situation as they completely control the animal and give them a sense of security.
The last step is for both animals to freely interact under strict supervision. Keep these visits short to begin with and make them longer over time. A person should always be close by to intervene if one pet gets aggressive.
You will need to maintain some rules to help your two pets continue to get along including:
- Make sure each animal has their own space the other can’t reach. Cats can go up high and ferrets can go into slender tubes.
- Each animal needs their own food and water bowls and need to be fed separately.
- Each animal should have their own toys not shared by the other pet.
- Introduce them when they both are young so they can grow together.
Is it okay for my ferret and cat to play rough?
It’s fine as long as neither gets hurt. Ferrets and cats tend to play hard and it may look like fighting but it’s not. Watch for any signs of true aggression so you can intervene. Get to know each animal so you know their limits and what they look like when they are stressed, fearful or aggressive.
What can I do to make it safer for my cat to play with my ferret?
After the two are acquainted with each other, one thing you can do is keep all their nails trimmed. That way they don’t accidentally hurt each other in rough play.
Be sure to keep all their food and water separate and feed them separately so there aren’t any food security issues.
How long will it take to get my cat and ferret to be friends?
The time it takes for your two pets to be friends depends on their personalities and the cat breed. However, expect it to take as long as a few months.
You must go slow in allowing these two to get to know each other so neither is stressed or fearful of the other. Even after they become friends, it’s best to always supervise their playtimes.
What if my cat and ferret don’t get along?
This is a dangerous situation so each must be kept completely separate from the other. You will need to figure out logistics because each space needs to be inaccessible to the other.
Ferrets can open doors and latches so you will need safety measures for your cat. Be sure you spend equal time with both.
Will a cat kill a ferret?
Cats typically don’t kill ferrets because ferrets are just as many predators as cats. It is just as likely that a ferret will hurt or kill a cat.
How do ferrets play with cats?
Ferrets who like cats will act like young kittens during play. They “play fight” and that includes biting and nipping. Be careful because ferrets have sharp teeth.
Do cats like companions?
It’s good for cats to have a friend even though most people consider them to be loners. Having a companion stimulates them mentally and allows them to play in a way that you can’t do.
Are cats scared of ferrets?
They can be, depending on the temperament and size of both animals. Ferrets can be aggressive and that may cause a cat to run for safety.