Q: My daughter just brought home a 4- or 5-year-old ferret that a friend of hers could no longer have. I am really petrified of them. I have heard that ferrets carry disease, and they can turn violent toward people, even their loving human families. Is this true? Do they get along with cats and dogs, both of which we have? Please help. I do not want to break my daughter’s heart or endanger us or our other animal family members.
A: Ferrets are great pets in the right environment. Generally speaking, if a ferret suddenly becomes aggressive you need to get it to a veterinarian and have it checked over, especially for adrenal disease. Ferrets do not carry diseases, but should be vaccinated for distemper and rabies just like any mammal. They can catch an illness, like the flu, from us.
Most ferrets and cats can live in harmony, but I would never recommend that a ferret be left unsupervised with dogs, as the ferret may hurt the dog or the dog may see the ferret as prey.