UNDER ONE ROOF
|Some animals can easily cohabitate with ferrets, while others wish you would evict their fuzzy roommate!||by Erika Matulich, Ph.D. Volume 4, Number 5 September/October 2001|
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|FRIENDLY ROOMIES? Ferrets are highly social creatures who love to play with their buddies and their toys. You, of course, are their best buddy, but what about other critters in your home? Ferrets can play well with some pets (notably cats and dogs), but can be a problem with others (rodents, reptiles, and birds). The key to friendly ferret relationships is constant human supervision, as animal behavior can sometimes be unpredictable! Let’s talk about who to make friends with and who to avoid (See Sidebar). From the Ferret’s Point of View Ferrets view humans, other ferrets, and other animals in a variety of ways. As a fun-loving creature, ferrets would first and foremost love to play with another creature. Ferrets can play very hard, and even with the best of intentions, could harm another pet. Small creatures such as hamsters or canaries are likely to be injured if treated like a ferret toy. Another way ferrets see other animals is as a potential snack. Ferrets are meat-eating predators, and may instinctively hunt and chase anything that is potential prey. Like housecats, ferrets are likely to view birds, small rodents, insects, and reptiles as entertaining treats to eat. Finally, some ferrets might see another household pet (even another ferret) as an enemy. Fearful ferrets will defend themselves if they feel cornered, which could hurt another pet. Alternatively, jealous ferrets might act aggressively to another pet if you aren’t paying enough attention to your ferret! Personal Space To help ease the introduction of any new roommate to the household (human baby, other ferret, or other pet), be sure your ferrets have their own territory. A good cage with the ferrets’ sleepsacks, litterboxes, toys, food, and water makes a safe haven for a ferret to retreat to. A sturdy cage may also prevent other animals from hurting the ferrets inside. Because you want all ferret roommate interactions to be supervised by you, keeping your ferrets safe in their cage when you are not around is the best option. Starting Young One way to foster a lasting friendship between your ferret and your other pet is to start with predators (dogs and cats) and start with young ferrets. Ferret kits grow up best when they start out with kittens or small puppies. Keep in mind, however, that all youngsters may unintentionally hurt each other during play because they cannot yet control their motor skills. Here, Kitty Kitty! Ferrets get along...|