When you are introducing your ferret to a multi-species home there are some things you should take into consideration. If you have a breed of dog that hunts by sight and not be smell, you may want to not introduce a ferret into the household. Breeds such as Dachshunds; will naturally be inclined to hunt your ferret as prey. Likewise you will not want to allow your ferret near your gerbils or hamsters; as ferrets were bred to be ratters and will see these rodents as prey.
Most ferrets will get along with cats and certain breeds of dogs. Still, when introducing your ferret to other household pets they need to be closely supervised. There will be lots of sniffing. Even when you descent a ferret they will still have a musky odder. Ferrets are members of the skunk family ‘and while they do not smell like skunks, they do have a slight order about them all of the time. It is wise to put a cat or dog on a leash while the initial smell fest is going on. This way you can gage the interaction of your dog or cat and the ferret.
Even when the ferret and the other pets have gotten to know each other they should be supervised. An excited dog may be paying a game of chase and accidently wound or kill your ferret. When the playing gets too rough it is best to put everyone into a “time” out till they have calmed down. Cat owners will tell you that cats learn ferret games and ferrets are naturals at,”stupid kitty games.” There will be plenty of entertainment when you are supervising your ferret interacting with other household pets.
Do not introduce your ferret to a kitten less than four months of age. While it seems natural that a kit and a kitten would get along; ferrets have been known to kill small kittens. Small kittens squeak too much like the rodent prey that many ferrets are naturally drawn to attack. You should also avoid letting your ferret loose around a nursing dog. Even if the ferret and the nursing dog have been fast friends in the past; she may become aggressive with the ferret if she feels that the ferret is threatening her litter.
Care should be taken when the ferret is around young puppies because many puppies are hyper and could injure the ferret’s spine when trying to play. If your dog is territorial about food dishes or other possessions keep your ferret out of his territory. Many dogs will tolerate ferrets if they are in neutral ground. If your dog is aggressive towards the ferret on more than one occasion then it is a sign that the two should always be limited in their interaction.
Ferrets themselves cannot really be trusted around small animals because they will consider them “prey”. Even if the small animal is very still the ferret will try to provoke a game of chase where the smaller animal may be hurt or killed. Small animals that live in cages need to stay in their cages when the ferret is roaming about.
Most multi species households will do fine with the introduction of the ferret if you use a little patience and common sense. If it turns out after your introduction that ferret can play with the cat ;and not the dog, then simply put the dog out in the yard and keep the two apart. You can always make it up to the dog with an extra walk. If your other household pets get along with the ferret then you can look forward to them learning ‘, stupid ferret games.”