Interspecies Friendships


Interspecies friendships are fascinating.  One of my ferrets, Kaliyah, is good friends with Brigid, my nine month old Siamese mix.  They play together all evening.  When I first brought Brigid home, I was a little concerned about how the furries would get along.  Brigid was 8 weeks old.  At the time, I had four ferrets; Koda Bear, Taliesin, Kaliyah, and Tosca.  Koda and Taliesin sniffed the kitten.  Taliesin evidently recognized her as a baby.  Obviously, said baby did not belong running wild outside the safety of a den.  To care for her, Taliesin attempted regularly to drag her under the couch or chair.  The kitten was not impressed.  Koda groomed her, then ignored her unless she was being fed.  Then he was in the kitchen with her, looking for a treat.  Kaliyah and Tosca both took the “outsider” baby as a threat to their domain.  They bit her on the ears and generally harassed her.  It was pitiful.  Poor Brigid took some knocks.

As Brigid grew, Taliesin stopped trying to protect her.  I assume he decided that she was “old enough” to play outside.  Brigid and he groomed each other regularly.  As Taliesin’s lymphoma became more advanced, I noticed the kitten (now about 4 months old), grooming the oldster more often.  She also cuddled in a nap with him.  Koda continued his attempts to steal food from her but remained uninterested except a ocassional sniff.  Both the boys passed away to Rainbow Bridge.

The real change in the relationships were between the female ferrets and Brigid.  Tosca accepted her into the house and stopped picking on her. This is actually fairly common with female ferrets.  As the baby grows toward adolescence or adulthood, they can become part of the business.  It didn’t work out that way for Kaliyah.  Tosca and Kaliyah are both dominant females.  They will constantly squabble for territory.  However, they seemed to have come to an understanding that they must co-exist somewhat peacefully.  They basically ignore each other unless one gets into the way of the other.  I don’t expect them to share a cage.   Tosca and Brigid play together some.  However, it is mostly a greeting and a friendly acceptance of the other.

Brigid and Kaliyah have become great friends.  They play together every evening.  Kaliyah enjoys a good game of chase.  Brigid enjoys “hunting” her.  She chases Kaliyah throughout the house.  Kaliyah dives under chairs and runs through her tunnels.  It is fun to watch them.  All three animals enjoy “ambushing.”  Tosca sneaks up behind Brigid and gently nips her leg.  The cat jumps, then chases the unrepentant ferret.  I know the nip is gentle.  Brigid doesn’t act like it hurts, just startles her.  And Tosca plays the same trick on me and gets a similar response.   Brigid loves to set an ambush after the ferrets get their NBones.  Kaliyah is not a wild ferret.  She hasn’t figured out that you don’t run the same pattern.  Every time she gets an NBone, she runs to hide under the couch and consume her treat.  Brigid figured it out.  Brigid stands hidden from the ferret view in the kitchen behind the counter.   As Kaliyah runs from kitchen to living room, Brigid pounces high.  She lands squarely on top on the ferret.  Kaliyah squirts out from under and continues her mad dash, with Brigid in pursuit.  If she becomes too excited in the game, Brigid face plants into the couch as the ferret disappears under.

The ferrets and cat aren’t worried that they’re different species.  They don’t look at the appearance of their friend.  Or her color, smell, species.  It’s a shame people can’t be more like “animals.”

This video shows the friendship and play between Kaliyah and Brigid.  I hope you enjoy.

2 responses to “Interspecies Friendships

  1. I love the dynamic of a kitten brought into a home with established ferrets! The ferrets take such good care of the kitten, but I find now that my cat is older, she takes care of the ferrets, instead. I had a similar situation, I had ferrets long before bringing home my cat, Elsabet. Elsie was 2 weeks old when I got her (she was surrendered to the animal hospital I worked at, had been found in a barn with her brother.) While she was still very young, I kept her in the ferret cage with them when I went out. She still goes in and sleeps in their hammocks and beds, at 2.5 years old.

    I love the name Brigid, too! Cats should always have fanciful, elegant names :)

    Like this

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