Do Ferrets Get Along With Cats and Dogs?

When you bring a new pet into your home, you’re probably hoping that everyone becomes one big, happy family. Of course, sometimes the pets have other ideas!

Although some dogs and cats may fight like, well, cats and dogs, there’s no famous saying about how ferrets get along with either type of pet. Before bringing any furry friend into a home with other animals, it’s important to understand how they will interact and what your responsibilities are as a pet owner.

Here’s what you need to know about how ferrets get along with cats and dogs!

Would a Ferret Get Along With Cats?

Cats and ferrets have a lot in common. Clever, carnivorous and oh-so-cute, these creatures share some of the same instincts — like hunting prey and defending themselves against any larger animal. Ferrets can even be trained to use a litter box just like cats and may be able to share food with kittens (not adult cats). But can they become the best of friends too?

That all depends on you!

For the most part, a ferret can get along with one or more cats in your household. However, it’s your job as everyone’s pet parent to make sure your furry friends can play nicely. Here are a few key things to consider:

  • Introductions: First impressions are just as important for a pet as they are for you. When first introducing a new ferret to your cat (or the other way around), make sure to do so in a calm, quiet space. Give each pet a hiding spot so they feel like they can get away from “the stranger” if necessary. Remember to keep a close eye on your cat, who may see your ferret as prey at first.
  • Toys: Although cats and ferrets may be interested in many of the same toys, don’t force them to share. Instead, let each pet have their own toys to avoid jealousy and fighting.
  • Habitats: Keep your ferret’s cage separate from your cat’s bed, litter box and food bowl. This gives each animal a place to get away from the other in case they aren’t getting along. It also keeps your cat from stealing your ferret’s food and vice versa.
  • Aggressive behavior: It’s important to look for signs of aggression in each animal, even if it seems like they’re getting along. An aggressive cat will hiss, flick their tail or try to scratch, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Meanwhile, an aggressive ferret may hiss and puff up its coat.

Would a Ferret Get Along With Dogs?

Although cats and ferrets might have a lot in common, ferrets and dogs aren’t so closely related. That’s especially true if you have a large or giant breed dog whose paws may be the size of your ferret’s whole body!

The good news is that, with a caring pet owner and a lot of patience, these animals can often learn to get along. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Introductions: Pooches are likely to get excited when meeting a ferret for the first time, so make sure to have full control over your dog for the entire “meet and greet” session. Try to limit barking, as this can scare your ferret. Similarly, make sure the ferret doesn’t swat or nip at your dog’s curious nose.
  • Toys: A dog and a ferret may not have many toys in common. Either way, it’s best to keep these toys entirely separate. This helps minimize jealousy, but it also keeps your dog from trying to play rough with your ferret. 
  • Habitats: Make sure your ferret’s enclosure is high enough that your dog can’t sniff or look inside. This keeps your dog from accidentally startling your ferret. Similarly, don’t let your ferret spend too much time on your dog’s bed or near their food and water bowls.
  • Aggressive behavior: Signs of aggressive behavior in dogs usually include growling, barking, nipping or becoming very still, according to the ASPCA. A scared ferret may turn their head away or cower, while an aggressive ferret may snap or hiss at your dog.
  • Monitor interactions: Even if your dog and ferret are the best of friends, it’s important to keep an eye on them when they interact. A dog could hurt a ferret by accident, while a ferret’s fast and playful movements could easily startle a dog.

Tips for Welcoming a Ferret Into Your Furry Family 

If you’re bringing a ferret into a house that already has a cat, a dog or some of both, you need to know how to balance this new fur-family dynamic. Brush up on these tips to get started:

Get Pets Vaccinated

When it comes to pet health, one of the most important things you can do is to get everyone vaccinated. Proper ferret care requires consistent vaccinations, including rabies and canine distemper — that way, both your ferret and your other animals are protected. 

At Pet Supermarket, we offer vet clinics with VIP Petcare. Bring your cats and dogs in for the vaccinations they need before meeting your ferret!

Introduce Pets Slowly

You shouldn’t rush through first impressions. Introduce animals one at a time, and let your new ferret take breaks between meeting their furry siblings. Remember to keep things as calm as possible.

Make Private Spaces

Dogs, cats and ferrets each deserve their own space — something they don’t have to share with other members of the family. This should include beds, toys, food bowls, collars, litter boxes and anything else your pet may see as “theirs” (except you, of course!). Private spaces are especially important if your pets don’t get along; that way, you can control how often they come into contact with one another.

Expect Jealousy

Your pets love you, so it’s natural for them to be jealous of one another. To keep this from becoming a hurdle in their relationship, make sure you spend plenty of quality time with each animal individually and together. This helps your pets understand that you’ll always have time for them, and also that you can all get along.

Pamper All Your Pets at Pet Supermarket

Need to help all your furry friends become one happy family? There’s no better way than by pampering all of them with treats, toys, beds and accessories — and you can find all that and more at Pet Supermarket. Whether you’re welcoming a new cat, dog or ferret, we’re here to help you get all the supplies you need for the whole furry family.

Visit your local Pet Supermarket today to start pampering your pets!

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