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While reading about things to know when acquiring a ferret, I came across this article that says that ferrets do not get along with other pets:

Most ferrets don't get along with birds, fish, rabbits, rodents, lizards, and the like, though there are some exceptions. For a dog or cat, patience is the most important part of the introduction. Give the new animal a chance to get used to you and your home before introducing it to the other pets one at a time, very slowly.

  • Is it true that ferrets don't get along with other pets?
  • If it is true:
    1. How will bringing in a new pet affect them?
    2. What steps can I take to help them get along with new pets?
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Is it true that ferrets don't get along with other pets?

The answer is a qualified "no".

I had two ferrets. The oldest was always, always happy to make new friends, regardless of the species. He was very excited to play with any new dog or cat he met, and would do the ferret "bounce" that typically indicates play.

My other ferret was more curious than playful when it came to other species, but I wouldn't say she didn't get along with the other animals. It was more that she was simply disinterested in them as play companions (she was very attached to any other ferret she met, though).

However... every cat that saw my ferrets immediately freaked out. The moment they caught scent of the ferrets, they were immediately on the alert, and when they saw my ferrets, the responses were invariably flight, or hunting/stalking/aggression.

My friend's golden retriever was fascinated with the ferrets, and would gently poke at them with his paws, while my one ferret bounced back and forth in play.

Whether the ferrets and the other pets get along is largely a factor of the temperament of each individual animal, as well as the circumstance in which they met.

I do know some people who have had both cats and ferrets living in peace together in a household, so they are certainly capable of learning to like each other. I would suggest that the same steps for introducing new cats to each other be used for introducing ferrets to cats. Go very slow, and take a bit more time with each step than you would with two cats. Be aware, also, that ferret play typically consists of behavior that most cats will initially confuse with aggression: lunging with an open mouth, nipping, and attempting to leap onto the playmate's back for a nip at the scruff of the neck.

The last one is particularly problematic, as ferrets have rather sharp teeth, but very thick, loose skin, so a ferret can grab another ferret by the scruff quite hard without causing serious discomfort, but a cat will most certainly not appreciate it.

I would also be very cautious about introducing a ferret to other species of common pets.

Other "pocket pets" such as mice, hamsters, gerbils, etc., birds, or reptiles may actually trigger hunting instincts in a ferret, and the resulting interaction may result in serious injury or even death for the smaller creatures.

Similarly, kittens or puppies would be at risk from a ferret that doesn't know how delicate they are.

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  • Great answer. Thanks!!!. But your last 2 paragraphs kept me wondering. That means I would have to keep an hamster away from a ferret? – user34 Nov 6 '13 at 15:24
  • Some ferrets might be okay with a hamster, but I'd be very cautious about being sure to supervise them at all times, and to be ready to intervene instantly if the ferret looks to be getting too rough. – Beofett Nov 6 '13 at 15:25
  • I read a book on ferrets back when I had ferrets. The author had ferrets, a cat, a dog and a pet skunk even. They all grew up together and got along well. I introduced my ferret to a puppy once. She had never met any other specie really. She kind of hissed a bit and charged the puppy (which was still a lot bigger than her). She didn't bite or otherwise attack she just seemed to be a bit threatened and decided to be aggressive. There are probably personality factors making some individual ferrets friendlier than others. – Beo Apr 19 '14 at 15:05
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As you probably noticed ferrets are extremely social creatures. If you have ever neglected them and didn't give them attention due to being sick or such you would have noticed that they get angry at you for not giving them enough attention. And when they are angry they might even start biting you(it hurts a lot). Yes they are awake only for 8 hours at most throughout the day, but during those 8 hours they want your undivided attention.

So if you get another pet and give that pet even an ounce of attention while ferret is awake then they will start to hate the other pet and go after it. If you have a child that can play with ferrets during the time they are awake and then spend rest of the time playing with other pet, then ferrets will have no problem. Or if you are a working person and you give ferret attention whenever you are home and they are awake, then again they will get along with another pet. But the very second they notice that they have to compete for your attention then a war will break out.

You can try getting a cat, since cats are not high attention requiring pets, and most of the time they are by themselves, then ferrets will notice that the cat is not trying to get your attention and will not try attacking the cat. Just remember ferrets love to socialize with you as much as possible, and your attention is the most precious thing to them (except if you have female ferret, then they will also love stuffed toys). So as long as they are socializing with you they will be happy.

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  • Wow. so ferrets require undivided attention at least 8 hours a day. What if you travel? – user34 Nov 6 '13 at 15:26
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    I think this varies by individual temperament. As I mentioned in my answer, one of my ferrets was very happy to play with others, and never demonstrated any jealousy towards other animals. – Beofett Nov 6 '13 at 15:27
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    @PreciousTijesunimi they only get angry if you can give them attention and you do not. If you are not home they realize that and are fine with it. So if you travel a lot or work a lot get two ferrets so they can play together while you are gone. However once you are home then that's it, you must play with them. It's very fun to play however. Beofett I do agree with you absolutely. Female ferret loved stuffed toys and hated every other living being except other ferrets and me. The male was more curious about things, but was extremely clingy. Every ferret seems to have very unique character. – Quillion Nov 6 '13 at 15:39
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My ferrets get along great with our 3 cats and dog. With hamsters they go into instant feral mode. I advise early introductions. They do not require constant attention, but daily exercise for at least an hour and a half, and a good diet.

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