Ferret vs Cat: Which Pet Do You Prefer?

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

ferret vs cat

If you have a cat at home and are thinking of getting a ferret, the thought of these two pets not getting along may make you think twice. On top of that, caring for a ferret is different from taking care of a feline.

This fact leads us to the question, “Can ferrets and cats be friends?” If they do not, who would win in a ferret vs. cat fight?

What You Need to Know About Ferrets


A ferret, Flight Rising users discuss, is a small, furry mammal with a cone-shaped face. They have long and slender bodies and furry tails.

These domesticated mammals are related to badgers, weasels, and otters. Although exotic, they are playful and curious animals, which makes people want them as pets.

In the wild, ferrets are skilled hunters that feed on a carnivorous diet. Similar to felines, they have sharp teeth and claws, which they use to catch smaller animals.

These animals are intelligent and social, so you need to give them lots of attention and interaction.

What You Need to Know About Cats

can ferrets kill cats

Cats are popular pets due to their charming and intelligent nature. They are popular for their agility, independence, and their ability to hunt rodents.

Felines come in countless breeds, each having different features and personalities. Some have long furs, while others have short and sleek coats.

People believe that domesticated cats descended from wild cats in the Middle East. While they are social animals, these pets are also independent, so they enjoy some time alone.

Similarities Between Ferrets and Cats

ferret flight rising

Cats are common pets, so people already know how to care for them. Meanwhile, only a few people know how to care for ferrets, so not everyone knows their care requirements.

Fortunately, there are similarities between these animals, which makes taking care of them also similar.

1. Intelligence

Felines are one of the most intelligent animals, whether they are domesticated or in the wild. In captivity, cats can easily learn tricks, making them excellent pets.

The intelligence of ferrets is on par with cats. In fact, some people believe that ferrets are more intelligent than cats due to their problem-solving skills.

The weasel family, where ferrets came from, is famous for their skill of getting into almost anything. So, if you compare a weasel vs. cat or a cat vs. stoat, you’ll find out that they are both smart pets.

2. Personality

Ferrets and cats both have a playful nature. They enjoy interactive activities with their caretakers and play with toys that can stimulate them mentally.

Just like cats, ferrets are playful and inquisitive. For this reason, they can form great bonds with their human companions.

Both pets require plenty of time and attention. They are extremely cuddly, so expect that they will start sitting on your lap once you got their trust.

3. Diet

Ferrets and felines are carnivorous. In the wild, these animals are predators of smaller animals, such as birds and mice.

So, in captivity, they require a meat-based diet to get enough nutrition. If you cannot feed your ferret or cat with raw meat, there are special pellets containing high-meat protein.

You may even feed your ferret with kitten pellets, as they contain the protein they need.

Ferret and Felines: How Do They Differ?





Long and slender body with a cone-shaped snout

Large, has pointed ears, and striking eyes


Demanding of attention

Require attention but can be independent


Require frequent baths, as they produce a musky smell

Require regular baths and frequent coat brushing


5 to 9 years

13 to 17 years

1. Appearance

full grown ferret size

Felines are generally larger than ferrets, although the latter have longer bodies. A full grown ferret size can reach up to 22 inches long and weigh anywhere between 1 to 6 pounds.

Meanwhile, felines can reach up to 16 inches long and weigh 10 to 22 pounds.

Ferrets have long snouts, slender bodies, short legs, and short hair. Cats are elegant-looking creatures with striking eyes and pointed ears.

They also have sharp claws that they can retract when relaxed.

2. Demeanor

different ferrets

As mentioned, ferrets are playful and affectionate. They are interactive and cuddly, so they constantly require attention.

However, these qualities of ferrets can also make them demand attention.

Cats, on the other hand, are more independent. While they also need attention, they can do well on their own from time to time.

3. Grooming

Both animals require regular grooming. However, ferrets produce a musky smell to mark their territories, so they require more frequent baths.

But most ferrets sold in the US are de-scented, so they do not produce odor. If the ferret you are getting had its anal glands surgically removed, they do not need frequent baths.

4. Lifespan

You may be asking, “How long do ferrets live as pets?” The answer is 5 to 9 years.

However, different ferrets mean different lifespans, so your pet may live longer than its average lifespan with proper care.

Felines have a longer lifespan, as they can live for 13 to 17 years, or even more, if taken good care of.

Pros and Cons of Having a Ferret

Like any other pet, caring for ferrets come with advantages and drawbacks.

Advantages Disadvantages
Sociable and loving May bite if not handled gently
Inquisitive and playful Produces pervasive odor, thus requiring frequent cage cleaning
Can form great bonds with their caretakers Territorial around other animals
Can be litter-trained  

Pros and Cons of Having a Cat

Advantages Disadvantages
Affectionate and entertaining They shed, which can trigger allergies to people
Helps control pests like rodents They tend to scratch furniture
Cats are quiet pets Their litter boxes require frequent cleaning
They are long-time companions  

Cost Comparison of Ferrets and Cats

A ferret baby price ranges from $100 to $500, while adult ones can cost around $100 to $300. On the other hand, getting a feline from a reputable breeder can cost $300 to $1000 or more, depending on its breed.

As cats are common pets, you may also try looking for one in adoption centers. In shelters, their price ranges from $15 to $250.

While ferrets are exotic pets, they may also be available in adoption centers, although the chances of getting one are low. But if you are lucky enough, you can get one for around $150 to $200.

Which is the Better Pet?

If you consider how demanding ferrets and felines are, the latter may be a better pet. The reason is that cats are generally more independent than ferrets.

In addition, ferrets don’t do well in being alone. You either have to give them attention all the time or get another ferret that they can live with.

If you only want to care for a single pet, cats’ easier than ferrets to care for.

Which is Right for You?


The answer to which is better between ferrets and felines solely depends on your preferences. What might be a good pet for one can be unsuitable for another, so the decision of which pet to get should solely come from you.

To help you choose which pet to get, ferrets require lots of attention. If you are often at home and need a pet as a companion, then a ferret can be a good choice.

However, those who are often outside may be better off with cats, as these creatures are more independent.

Tips to Help a Ferret and Cat Get Along

ferret baby price

After a successful introduction between your pets, the next thing you need to ensure is they get along inside your home. Here are some tips to prevent your ferret and cat from fighting:

  • Feed them separately to prevent them from sneaking into each other’s food bowls.
  • Provide them with separate toys and climbing spaces
  • Spay and neuter your pets, as this process will reduce aggression.
  • Give your pets separate spaces at home to reduce territorial instincts
  • Avoid unsupervised interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who would win in a fight, ferret or cat?

If you wonder, “Can ferrets kill cats,” the quick answer is yes, although such an instance is rare. Felines are more agile than these mammals, so they have the advantage during a fight.

Tips to protect cats from ferrets and vice versa

The best way to keep these creatures safe from each other is to never let them interact without supervision. Although ferrets and cats can get along, they may still show aggression, especially if their territories are invaded by each other.


Ferret vs. cat – while these animals can socialize with each other quite well, there are instances when they can never get along. Felines have predatory instincts, so they may attack a ferret if provoked.

Fortunately, the musky smell of ferrets prevents them from smelling like prey. So, the chances of your feline friend attacking a ferret are low, especially if they have separate spaces in your home.

If you are thinking of getting a ferret companion for your cat, just ensure that you have enough time to tend to them.

Read more: Cat vs raccoon: who is winner?

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