Ferrets and other pets in your household can get along really well together. It has been said that you shouldn’t have ferrets and dogs like terriers in the same room, because a terrier, with its hunting instinct, might think a ferret is a rat or rabbit and kill it.
Yes, it’s true that some breeds might not get on with ferrets. However please understand that every dog is an individual, just like every ferret (or cat, or any other animal for that matter) is.
I’ve heard of greyhounds, certain terrier breeds and malamutes killing ferrets in the same household. I’ve also heard of a German Shepherd killing a ferret when it came up to the dog’s food dish – and this was a dog who was used to the ferrets.
However we have a German Shepherd and she is gentle and completely tolerant of our ferrets’ ridiculous behavior.
The moment I put food in her dish, a couple of the ferrets think it’s time to play ‘dig and scatter’ with her kibble. The dog stands there quietly until the ferrets get bored and once they go away, she starts eating her dinner. Not once have I seen her bare her teeth or curl her lip in a warning at such childish games!
I’ve also heard of people who’ve introduced a new ferret to their terrier breed, like a Jack Russell, and those two have become fast friends.
I guess it’s how you introduce your dog to your ferret and it’s also important for all the animals in your family to know that you don’t favor one over another.
If the ferret is chasing the cat or dog, you will intervene.
If your cat or dog is hassling your ferret, you will be there to stop it.
That way all the animals feel they are being treated equally and that you’re their champion!
However if you have birds and rodents as pets, you might want to rethink the idea of getting a ferret, as they really aren’t compatible. In fact, the ferret would probably kill either the bird or the rodent if it got the chance!
As I’ve said before, use common sense when introducing a new pet. Until you’re certain that your dog, or cat, or both, are comfortable with the new addition, don’t leave them unsupervised.
Make sure your dog doesn’t get irritated with the new addition and snap. Cats usually jump up out of the way but remember, they have claws … so make sure they don’t slash them in your ferret’s direction!
We have been so lucky when introducing new members of the family and it’s easy to get complacent and that’s something you can’t afford to do with ferrets.
Most of them are ridiculously fearless (Mulder being the exception .. if he had a thumb he would have been sitting there sucking it. He was wonderful, but such a wuss!) and some have no fear of big dogs or puffed-out cats.
In fact, they sometimes think it’s a challenge … as the macho Aussie male says, “You wanna go, mate? You wanna go?” as they thrust their chins out and paw the floor like a bad tempered emu!
For you Americans out there, I guess it would equate to the term “Bring ’em on!”
Anyhoo (as my kids say), when everyone around is full of the milk of human kindness, it’s great to see how they cosy up to and actual enjoy each other’s company!
When we first got Dukey (the kitten), he was so wrapped with the ferrets he thought he was actually one of them! He’d run through their pipes and try to be with them at all time. I guess he sussed out the fact that, despite their ages, ferrets are all kittens at heart!
Here he is enjoying a snooze with Friskie on Philip’s lap.
And Dukey was also very fond of cuddling Jake, who was one of our kits.
… and they remained best of buddies when Mulder grew up too!
Sadly he had to be put down when he was 11 because of bad arthritis. However he did share some tender moments with the ferrets before he got old and decrepit!
I must say we were all terribly upset when Boris had to be put down.
Neither Philip nor I were keen on another dog until Danielle, our youngest daughter, told us that her youth pastor was looking for a home for their 2nd German Shepherd.
You know the story .. “Daddy, I PROMISE I will take the dog out for a walk every single day, honestly! Please can we have another dog, please, please, please?”
We were suckered in good and proper!
Bonnie, the German Shepherd arrived, and once she had chased 2 of our cats up a tree and got a scratched nose from my Abyssinian, Dhabi, it was time to meet … no, not the Fockers, but the Ferrets
Enter CJ .. stage right.
Nose to nose .. who smells worse, I wonder?
Bonnie, Kaos and Snoopy getting to know one another!
“Gnaw gnaw – how can I chew this wretched dog’s foot off, mmmm?”
“C’mon Kaos, think! What trouble can we make for this interloper?”
While Kaos likes to go where cats think they are safe, like on top of the wardrobe. (I never did figure out how she managed that!!)
“Bwahahahahahaha! Got the darned thing from that wussy pooch!”
The following collection of photos show Muis and Bonnie “bonding” and at the end, Muis was so exhausted from all the antics, she fell asleep! Crazy little ferret!
Unfortunately our beautiful German Shepherd, Bonnie, left for the Rainbow Bridge on June 1, 2009 :'(
Philip and I were undecided about getting another dog, as the pain of losing each one of our dogs over the years took its toll. However our kids encouraged us to get a dog from PetRescue.
We looked through the list of dogs and saw a photo of a dog which looked very much like our old Ridgeback!
We applied to have the dog and it was so funny, when the foster family brought the dog to our home, they walked in through the front door and this dog dropped onto its four paws when it smelled the mat in the doorway 😀
Thankfully the foster family agreed that we were the right family for this dog to come and live with us but since the dog was so interested in the smells in the mat, I decided I wouldn’t let the ferrets and the dog meet up right away.
I kept the ferrets in our bedroom all day and let the dog, whom we called Zac, explore the house and smell all the strange smells 😀
I kept them apart for a couple of weeks until Zac was comfortable with all the smells in our house. Then I thought it was time to introduce him to our ferrets!
I brought them out one by one and gave Zac their bottoms to smell. Then I put them away for a day.
The next day I let them out, one by one. Zac smelled them all but then I put them away for the rest of the day.
Then, the following day I let all 6 ferrets out.
Thankfully, because Zac was used to their smells he didn’t freak out with seeing or smelling them and they were fine with him.
It did take longer than usual but I’m happy to say everything went beautifully and he was fine with all of our ferrets and, as of June 2016, he still is 😀
These photos are of Zac with Kimiko, my silvermitt, taken by Houndstooth Studio a couple of years ago.
So as you can see, ferrets can live harmoniously with dogs and cats in the house.
Just be very sensible about introducing a new animal to the older ones, don’t leave them unsupervised, until you know they’re all comfortable with each other, and make sure neither the ferret, nor the dog or cat, are being unfairly “picked on” by the others.