or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › Cats and Other Animals › Can a cat get along with smaller pets?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Can a cat get along with smaller pets?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Well I hate mice but I want a third pet. Which will be in the far future because I do want kittie to have another cat. I want a maine coon as I admire them a lot. I looked them a lot as far as cats go. I am a small critter fan though. I want something smaller than a cat. I have thought before october to just get a ferrets instead of kittens than my dad got a dog so I got Kittie. Well he got it and gave it to me because I'm a minor and they wouldn't agree to giving it to a minor. Anyway I've always wanted the same type pattern of rat or guinea pig as my last pet rat when I was 5. I considered getting a ferret as a third pet because I don't want 3 cats and I can't have a dog they frighten me ferrets would be the only large pet left but they're too much trouble. So I've narrowed it down to either guinea pig or rat or maybe hamster. But idk will having 2 cats scare them? Idk anyone have a smaller pet and cats? How did it go??


Edited by kittie1 - 2/10/12 at 3:25pm
post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittie1 View Post

Well I hate mice but I want a third pet. Which will be in the far future because I do want kittie to have another cat. I want a maine coon as I admire them a lot. I looked them a lot as far as cats go. I am a small critter far though. I want something smaller than a cat. I have thought before october to just get a ferrets instead of kittens than my dad got a dog so I got Kittie. Well he got it and gave it to me because I'm a minor and they wouldn't agree to giving it to a minor. Anyway I've always wanted the same type pattern of rat or guinea pig as my last pet rat when I was 5. I considered getting a ferret as a third pet because I don't want 3 cats and I can't have a dog they frighten me ferrets would be the only large pet left but they're too much trouble. So I've narrowed it down to either guinea pig or rat or maybe hamster. But idk will having 2 cats scare them? Idk anyone have a smaller pet and cats? How did it go??

rat, guinea pig, hamster = prey = food for a kitty = nono.gif

Ferret is ok..... But the other three would most likely be dinner..... sorry, but true, don't want you to be shocked and disappointed/traumatized by the experience..... This is what cats were made to eat agree.gif
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

aren't ferrets in the wild felis sylvestris's meal too? I've heard ferrets and cats can live together. That's why I thought it was possible. If that can't ever be then what about giving that pet one room like I'm more concerned if a rat or guinea pig have a room of its own will it be comfortable with cats so close? Also I've considered getting a ferret but they're a lot of work I hear idk.

post #4 of 28

Growing up I had a cat that would get in the guinea pig's cage and they would curl up and sleep together. We never had to put a cover on the cage. I have a pic of it that I need to scan, it was awesome. 

 

However, that particular cat, Tigger, was extremely docile. Once, we had a mouse in the house and he wouldn't get off the counter he was so scared. He would sit on the counter and watch it eat out of his food dish. 

 

There are only 2 cats out of my 5 that I would trust with a small prey animal. If your cat is extremely docile and passive, it might work. Otherwise, I would forgo a small animal. Wait until you bring in a kitten and you can raise them together. 

post #5 of 28

In addition to asking the question that you have asked on here, I think you need to really research each of the types of animals that you're thinking about getting at your third pet and what their requirements are, lifespans, etc. 

 

Since you're a minor, something like a ferret, guinea pig, rabbit, etc is most likely going to be with you into your young adult years (depending on how old you are now). What are you going to do if you go to college/university? Are you going to be able to afford everything for them when you live on your own? Just something to think about... when I was in college, and even after, my roommates all had small pets (as did I), but they didn't realize how much things end up costing (bedding, food, cages, vet visits, etc) and it hurt their pets in the end with respiratory infections, sores on their feet, etc. Again, I'm not saying that you're like that, but it's something to consider. 

 

I used to have guinea pigs, I'd love to have them again but I just do not have the time or the finances to do it right now. Mine lived 5 years (female) and 8 years (neutered male). They do much better in pairs or groups than alone, especially if you are gone quite a bit. They are extremely social and surprisingly loud, mine would chirp whenever someone walked by their cage or into the room. One of my cats was fine with them, the other wanted to eat them. I kept them in a room where I could shut the door if I wasn't around, so that the cats wouldn't be able to get to the pigs. 

post #6 of 28
I agree that you need to do a lot of research into the needs of whatever pet you decide on, and think about why you really want another pet. The fact that you don't even know what kind you want makes me think that you just want a small pet for the sake of getting another pet, not because you actually want to enjoy another pet's personality. Anyway, my take on each kind of pet (I have had ferrets, rabbits, mice, a rat, and reptiles at the same time as having cats):

Ferrets are a TON of work. They're like a mix of a puppy and a kitten, and they never grow up! This is a huge commitment, like getting a dog or another cat. They usually get along fine with active young cats but may pick on a shy or older cat. A very predatory cat may view a baby ferret as prey, but once the ferret is old enough, the cat won't think that for long! Ferrets NEED to be spayed/neutered, but most come from the breeder already done. Vet care is expensive, and they do need vaccinations.

Rabbits are usually OK with cats as long as the rabbit is over 4 pounds. A very small dwarf rabbit or a baby bunny will probably be viewed as lunch, but large older rabbits are pretty tough and aren't likely to let a cat get away with much. Rabbits tend to be messy creatures and their urine has a strong odor. They should be spayed/neutered, because female rabbits have a high rate of reproductive disease, and an intact male will spray urine like a tomcat. Vet care can be expensive, and it's kind of hard to find a vet who knows a lot about pet rabbits.

Guinea pigs. . .I've never had one, but a few friends of mine did. As to whether they get along with cats, this depends on the individual cat and the individual cavy. A predatory cat and a timid cavy will probably not be friends, and the cavy could get hurt or killed. But a gentle cat and a tough cavy could be good friends. I wouldn't leave a cat alone with a cavy. As I understand it, males should be neutered, but routine spaying is considered too large of a risk for females. They should be kept in pairs/groups.

Rats are cool. They're like very small dogs, can be taught tricks, and are very personable. I highly recommend rats as pets. A gentle cat might be friends with a confident rat, but I would never never leave them together without supervision. Rats need large enclosures and do better with a rattie friend. If you want to keep mixed genders, you can have the males neutered.

And mice, gerbils,and hamsters should be in a cat-proof cage whenever a cat is around. They're just too lunch-like to a cat, I wouldn't ever trust that a cat could suppress his instincts enough to not kill a small bite-sized critter. A regular Habitrail-type cage is not sturdy enough to be cat-proof. You'd need something tougher than that.
post #7 of 28
It is possible to have a cat and other small animals if you take the necessary precautions. Being a small animal lover myself and having owned them I will tell you rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets are pretty much the same amount (if not more work) than a cat. I would definitely do some research on the type of animal you will want to bring home. Mice, gerbils and hamsters are easy and cheap to care for they also have shorter life spans. You will need to think about the type of cage (something sturdy that the cat can't get in) and where you will put the animal. Some like the guinea pigs and gerbils need to be in pairs. Remember that most rodents are nocturnal or diurnal and will make noise when you are trying to sleep. Also, bothering these animals when they are sleeping/tired will cause stress that can make them aggressive, sick, and even kill them. I agree with all the above advice, just make sure you are getting what you really want and can care for now and in the future. I say you should consider getting another kitty, kittens normally like to have company (of course you need to introduce them properly) and having two kittens isn't normally much more work than having one.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm actually not that young anymore and I'm not a college student I live on my own and am an aspiring entertainer and have a job. I'm fine with taking care of my kitten. I do it comfortably. I was just saying last October...

 

My dad had gerbils believe it or not she said they were miserable. They've never been appealing and mice actually scare me. I think because in my kindergarten I didn't have a mouse just a rat... And I liked her a lot she was my first and favorite pet. I always wanted a guinea pig. But I admit hamsters are cool.

 

I've considered getting a rabbit for the same reason of getting a ferret. But I want to get a second cat for Kittie and another pet. I want the 3rd pet to be a small pet not like a ferret or even a bunny. I wanted ferrets before I had Kittie. That's the only reason I still consider it.

 

If they're nocturnal it's perfect because it's quiet time all the time here anyway because cats are nocturnal anyway

 

So they didn't smell or hear or see the cat and freak? I already planned to give the smaller pets a room.... And would have a secure cage....

post #9 of 28

Maine Coons are wonderful!  I have 2- boy (King Arthur) and a girl (Morgan La Fay) they are siblings.  Such awesome cats!!  They love smaller animals!  Whichever one you decide on, just make sure you take the proper precautions (especially if it's an animal they would normally see as prey) and both you and your Maine Coon can enjoy it together!

 

A helpful hint:  Usually reinforced glass is better.  Wire cages do no good because kitty can get paw in and possibly injure himself trying to get the animal... And frighten the poor little guy inside. But as long as the one inside realizes kitty can't get them... They are comfortable and OK.

post #10 of 28

I have rabbits and a guinea pig, Floss loves them,she always "helps" me clean them out and when the kitties go into the garden in summer and the bunnies are out they all play with them. I would definitely say no to anything smaller.x

post #11 of 28

I have a friend who has a ferret.  That's cute to watch it in it's ball with the cat chasing it!! 

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by P3 and The King View Post

I have a friend who has a ferret.  That's cute to watch it in it's ball with the cat chasing it!! 

Ferrets shouldn't be in a ball. . .it's bad for their backs. They can (and should) just run loose in the house, provided the area is ferret-proofed. Mine like to wrestle with the cats. But I've noticed that most people who have ferrets don't know how to properly care for them at all. I can't believe they even sell exercise balls for ferrets. Ugh.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post


Ferrets shouldn't be in a ball. . .it's bad for their backs. They can (and should) just run loose in the house, provided the area is ferret-proofed. Mine like to wrestle with the cats. But I've noticed that most people who have ferrets don't know how to properly care for them at all. I can't believe they even sell exercise balls for ferrets. Ugh.



It's not my ferret.  They only put it in there when the cats are out too.  Most of the time, if it out of the cage, it is because the cats are sleeping and shut up in another room.  It has a big cage with reinforced glass and the cats and the ferret interact with eachother without fear.  As long as the animal is safe and you take precautions to insure it, your cat should be OK with a smaller animal.

 

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by P3 and The King View Post




It's not my ferret.  They only put it in there when the cats are out too.  Most of the time, if it out of the cage, it is because the cats are sleeping and shut up in another room.  It has a big cage with reinforced glass and the cats and the ferret interact with eachother without fear.  As long as the animal is safe and you take precautions to insure it, your cat should be OK with a smaller animal.

I know it's not your ferret so this is moot. But why do they keep the ferret separate from the cats like that? Ferrets do not need to be protected from cats (unless there's a personality conflict and they dislike each other for some reason, and even then the cats are probably the ones needing protection!). Ferrets are weasels, carnivores, predators, not prey animals at all. Mine even play freely with the dogs, but of course I supervise because a large dog could easily hurt a ferret just by stepping on it. Keeping a ferret separated from cats is like keeping a puppy or kitten separated from the older cats/dogs--sometimes it's necessary but only under special circumstances. And putting a ferret in an exercise ball is like putting a puppy or kitten in an exercise ball. . .
post #15 of 28

No reason to get huffy!  Haha... They are worried that the ferret might bite and hurt the cats they told me once.  But they seem to get along well other than that.  They are just being cautious is all.  If you want, I can ask them to email you and you can let them have it for being terrible ferret owners?  I think it is smart of them to insure the safety of their cats (and the ferret, too, of course.) But if you believe it's wrong, I am not the person to tell it to.  I was just trying to offer her some other perspectives is all.  Have a good day!!

post #16 of 28
I just don't want some random person reading that and thinking that ferrets need to be locked up behind glass to protect them from cats. Hamsters, sure, but not ferrets. I don't think they're bad ferret owners (based on that only anyway. . .I have no idea of their other ferret-keeping skills. Although the exercise ball thing does make me think they're somewhat inexperienced), but I do think it's unnecessary. And the poor weezel is probably lonely because he doesn't get to play with other animals frown.gif.

Anyway, I think ferrets make fine companions for young active cats. However, I don't think most cat owners are prepared to have a ferret. They're high-maintenance, both behaviorally and medically. If you choose to get a ferret, do TONS of research about their proper care and keeping! And have a lot of money socked away for emergencies. . .
post #17 of 28

To be honest, I don't like seeing it in a cage either.  He is a sweet little guy.  They told me that the team member at PetSmart told them that the bite could really harm a cat or dog and they can get infected really easily so it best to keep them separated.  But, they do let them interact through the glass and they do take him out quite a bit for some one on one time with them. 

post #18 of 28
Pet store people are mostly idiots (or at least sorely misinformed). Especially the minimum-wage teenagers at big-box stores. Never believe a word they say about caring for any live animal, unless you can back it up with your own research.
post #19 of 28

I would encourage you not to buy any small pet from a pet store. You want one that was hand raised and typically you can find a breeder that does that. Our guniea pig was rescued from a science lab shortly after she was born. We had to hand feed her and we thought we would lose her for a bit. But, she pulled through and was an awesome pig for over 7 years. She adored my dad and would stand up in her cage squealing every day when he got home from work. He always had a carrot for her and would carry her around in his pocket. We even set up a pen in the backyard and she would bounce around it in the late afternoon. She was very easy to care for. 

 

After she passed we got a pig from the pet store, it was wild and sickly. We never formed a bond with it and it died after about a year. It was really sad and disappointing. 

 

You can find rescue pigs on petfinder and these are typically in foster homes where they get a lot of socialization. I would encourage you to go that route if you decide to do that. 

post #20 of 28

Willowy, I did research it.  The infected part is not true if you tend to it and clean it.   The bite can hurt but no more than any other animal.  I passed this info on to them a while back ago.  But that was before I was in vet school so they took the PetSmart guys word over mine!  smashfreak.gif

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post


I know it's not your ferret so this is moot. But why do they keep the ferret separate from the cats like that? Ferrets do not need to be protected from cats (unless there's a personality conflict and they dislike each other for some reason, and even then the cats are probably the ones needing protection!). Ferrets are weasels, carnivores, predators, not prey animals at all. Mine even play freely with the dogs, but of course I supervise because a large dog could easily hurt a ferret just by stepping on it. Keeping a ferret separated from cats is like keeping a puppy or kitten separated from the older cats/dogs--sometimes it's necessary but only under special circumstances. And putting a ferret in an exercise ball is like putting a puppy or kitten in an exercise ball. . .


I just wanted to point out ferrets may be predators but the wild cat does eat the weasel odd thing is martens can eat cats which is a weasel relative. My dad says they look a little like a wolverine though.
 But yea cats are bigger than ferrets and I guess can kill them. I think the reason cats kill rodents is more of a price to bring to the owner.... I think with ferrets it's not that big of a deal since the cat is fed regularly. Plus the ferret would put up a fight. I don't even know if my kitten would treat it like that matters how they move like she loves attacking bugs bu the dogs she never had an issue with them unless they're in her room. But free range she didn't care... Ferrets are mostly under 4 lbs but if they act like cats or dogs I don't think she'd care. I don't know she'd act towards rodents. Both she and the dog wanted to attack the bug. And the dog is scared of even cats. She's still a kitten anyway. She's barely over 4 lbs herself...

post #22 of 28
I had an indoor/outdoor cat when I was a teenager (at the same time I had 2 ferrets). He was a big, handsome Maine Coon lookalike who was a mighty hunter. He killed and ate mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, gophers, etc. He fought with all the neighbor cats. He was The Scourge of the Neighborhood. And he was terrified of the ferrets, LOL. It was adorable.

Anyway, I have always had many cats of varying backgrounds with free access to the ferrets (who have their own room with a special ferret-proof baby gate that the cats can easily jump over), and the ferrets have never even gotten scratched. I think it depends on the small animal's behavior; if the critter runs and is scared, the cat will behave in a predatory manner. If the small animal runs up to the cat confidently, they won't see it as prey. I also think that carnivores smell different than prey animals and their odor doesn't trigger the predatory response.

And, yeah, wild cats may eat weasels, but if they were hungry enough they'd also eat other cats. But that doesn't mean that you'd have to worry about your kitty eating any new cat you brought home!

I've never heard anything about ferrets having particularly nasty bacteria in their mouths. I know cats do (and cat bites usually get infected) but I didn't think there was anything notable about a ferret bite. They rarely break skin when playing with each other or a cat, no more than cats do when playing anyway. It's weird what pet store employees tell people. But Petsmart doesn't sell ferrets so probably it was the PetCo guy who was Mr. Misinformation wink.gif.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 

 

It's actually apart of the felis sylvestris's diet. Cats don't need it as a meal though. The part I don't get is how come they can kill weasels yet martens can kills them? It makes sense to me why the cat would be scared of them. Because naturally apparently the marten is their predator. It just is odd to me how come they don't eat martens in the wild as well? Or why the weasel won't kill wilcats... Idk...

 

 

 

I find this statement contradicting... And they're less than 3 lbs. Maybe it's least weasels cats eat that would make more sense if so it all makes more sense. But I think usually the distinction is made...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildcat

 

'Wildcats compete with fox, marten, Golden jackal, and jungle cat. Where their ranges overlap in the Caucasus, jungle cats inhabit lowland sections while wildcats reside in beech forests on the mountain slopes; at exact places where one of these two species exists, the other is altogether absent or only a few individuals are found. Martens kill many young wildcats in Central Europe, and forest martens have occasionally killed and eaten adult wildcats.[10]

[edit] Diet

The wildcat is an obligate carnivore; insects and plants are minor parts of its diet. Regardless of subspecies, most of its prey consists of small mammals, mainly rodents and rabbits, with lizards being the third most common prey in Portugal, and birds the least common.[11] Wildcats are, however, opportunistic predators, and have also been observed to eat amphibians, fish, weasels, scorpions, and even young roe deer or antelopes.[5]'

post #24 of 28
Martens/fishers are pretty big, and most weasels are pretty small, and I'm sure it depends how big and how old the wildcats and the weasels are. . .but felis domesticus is not felis sylvestris so I don't know what they have to do with anything dontknow.gif.
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

no domestic cats are actually felis sylvestris catus. They are the ancestor of the cat. And Martens are about 3.5 lbs. Ferrets are 2-4 lbs. They look similar... Yet the wildcat which is at many times hybridized with domestic feral cats eat the weasel. Idk nature is different. Sorry but I find that odd....

post #26 of 28

I've had pet rats, mice, hamsters, a guinea pig, rabbits, a gerbil, and sugar gliders. Oh, also ferrets.

None of them acted afraid of my cats, of course I didn't let them interact too much just to be safe. The rabbits were a little scared of my dogs, they'd thump and scare the dog off if they got too close to the rabbit cage. The other animals pretty much ignored the cats, and likely my dogs. I had a Golden Retriever Ginger who loved other animals and the small animals liked her too for the most part. When I would take my guinea pig out in the yard in his pen, I'd bring Ginger and she'd lay in the pen with him, which seemed to make him feel safer. He would even snuggle up to her between her paws.

 

Ginger and my guinea pig:

 

ginandguinea.jpg

 

post #27 of 28

I've had a lot of rats, I did rescue for a bunch of ratties back when I lived with my mom and our family cats. I've never had a problem. In fact, I would say I'm more concerned for the safety of my cats than the rats. ;) Rats are feisty little creatures. Obviously you would need a very secure cage, and when they were out of the cage, you need to supervise very, very closely but I've never, ever had a problem. I know lots of people who have also had small pets and cats coincide together and had no problem.

I have 2 kitties and I also have 3 ratties in a large cage. If my kitten walks on the cage, the two older rats don't usually care but the younger boy, Milo, will nip at her. She was fascinated by them at first but now doesn't think much of them. My newest addition, a 3 year old cat, has no interest in them whatsoever. Still, I never let them run around without close supervision but that's just common sense.

So, as long as you have a very secure cage and you supervise closely whenever they're out of their cage, I don't think you'll have any problems, I know I haven't. :) If you do get a small pet, especially rats, remember to get them in pairs. They're super social creatures and should always be with at least another ratty.

post #28 of 28

I have 5 cats (counting the 3 kittens my cat had almost 2 weeks ago) & 10 hamsters (NOT counting the 17 babies they have).  They get along just fine.  My cats almost ignore them now.  When we first got the cats ( at different times) they would want to investigate the hamsters but after a few days, they could careless.  A lot of people would tell you to keep them separate as much as possible but in my experience, when you do that, they become more inquisitive and try harder to play/smell with them so I just let me be.  Obviously I keep an eye on them just in case but nothing has ever happened.  Also, I think a hamster is a great alternative to a mouse/rat if the tail is an issue.  I've never had a ferret (they are illegal here) so I wouldn't know  but my fiance says they are almost like cats ... they can be litter box trained, they need their play time, daily feeding, they are curious, etc.  With a hamster, you feed them twice a week, they need play time too as well but not as much and they are nocturnal as of most cats.  I like hamsters ... in case you didn't notice   ;)   I have no experience at all with guinea pigs.  I just know that they can make noises, prefer company, the cage must be a nice size ... I'm not sure I'd count it as a small pet.  Maybe a medium pet ... if there is such a thing!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cats and Other Animals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › Cats and Other Animals › Can a cat get along with smaller pets?