Message Number: YG6330 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Claire Curtis
Date: 2001-08-12 18:14:00 UTC
Subject: Re: kittens and ferrets

Marla Wadsworth wrote --
> .......I think kitties play is a tad rough...the ferrets love to
> tease her and try and engage in rough and tumble but when is it too
> much? I dont want any harm to come to my furrbutts as this kitty thing
> may just be a temp situation...thanks

I really wouldn't worry too much. Watch them, yes; worry, no.

I already had two cats, 9 and 10 years old, when I got my ferrets. My
cats are indoor/outdoor, and reasonable hunters. It was their house, and
no itsy-bitsy ferrety things were going to make them think
differently.... Ha!.

At first the ferrets seemed to show proper respect. Ran when chased. But
darned if they didn't double back to chase the cats! Freak out time.
Cats discovered that jumping up on a table or ceiling beam gave them a
safe vantage point to ponder the situation. One time Max the cat was
fishing under the covers for Frankie the ferret, and gave the oddest
strangled yelp. I think Max had his paw nipped. I checked both ferret
and cat, no broken skin, so I think it was just the surprise.

Anyway, now it's a truce. The ferret cage has become a form of kitty TV,
and the fascination seems mutual - the ferrets love nothing better than
to creep up on the cats, and lie flat, seemingly entranced, with
half-closed eyes.
Sometimes the cat so favored will get unnerved, and swat at the ferret
-- Joy! the ferret loves it -- dashes off two steps, wags his tail
frantically. And then sidles up to the cat to invite another swat or
(heaven!) a chase. But the cats still tend to run away more often than
play; they still get a little freaked when the ferrets chase them.

So yes, supervise them for awhile; make sure they're all playing by the
same rules. Check to make sure neither claws nor teeth are breaking the
skin. But I think your ferrets are more than a match for a cat
youngling, and if the kitten is too rough the ferret will let him know
in no uncertain terms. Might worry more about the kitten, if a ferret
decides to show him who's boss...

-Claire Curtis