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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Seeking knowledge, advice from a ferret expert - anyone. Preferably

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Seeking knowledge, advice from a ferret expert - anyone. Preferably by chat - Urgent!

DrTaus :

Hi there. I'm a veterinarian who has experience with ferrets. How can I help?


I live in a small stone house in a village in the centre of very rural France. I have several cats. For some time I've thought there was another animal living in the house, or coming and going, but I haven't seen it. I'm now certain, since two days ago a 15-day old kitten, who may have been dieing, was eaten: I found a small part of the head with an eye, the tip of one back paw, and the tail. It had been eaten in a large cardboard box with big cushion, 30cm from my bed, and almost certainly only an hour or two before I found it, and while I was sleeping.


Some years ago an escaped female ferret in her first heat took refuge in my house, and after a while showed herself, became friendly. I returned her to her owners. Her odour then was very strong. The animal in my house has marked everywhere with a similar odour, but not so strong. Here the ferret is solely domestic, none in the wild.


Other suggestions have been rat or beech marten (marten cat) here called "fouine".


I hear only very small slight sounds if I keep still and quiet for a time - they're always the same from the same areas of my house, ground floor or loft. I'm living out of cardboard boxes (renovating the house) but they're not damaged. Only one large bag of cat biscuits was neatly holed at the base, about 2cm radius - rabit flavour. The other bags next to it weren't touched. One night I forgot to cover the half-empty tin of cat food, standing on top of the washing-machine. In the morning I found it on its side neatly cleaned out, nothing touched around it and bits of content around it either. I sometimes give my cats grated cheese which they don't always finish. The other animal doesn't eat it. No attempt has ever been made on the milk carton. No meat in the house (vegetarian). No visible droppings, but the cat litter doesn't seem to have been used either. Most of my cats now refuse to enter the house, and if they do don't want to walk on the floor, tend to look behind them frequently.


What do you think the animal might be?


I've been lent a trap which I'm just going to clean and oil (with sunflower oil) - thought us trying an egg as bait?


Your advice greatly needed - thank you.


I'm Camille, and I’m a moderator for this topic. I sent your requested professional a message to follow up with you here, when they are back online. Unfortunately I do not know when this may be, as the professionals come on line as they are available. You don't have to stand by, you will get an email telling you when you have received a response. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.



I think an escaped domestic ferret is a possibility, as is a marten. Do you have mink in your area, either wild or escaped from a farm? These also can be quite sneaky and have a strong odor.

The trap is a good idea, and egg may work as bait. You might also try a tin of cat food, as it emits a smell that may attract the animal, and the animal has eaten it before.

If you do capture it, be very careful. Ferrets which are not tame/handled, mink, and similar animals can be quite aggressive, and I'd hate for you to get bitten.

I'm so sorry to hear about your little kitten. How sad.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If it's a ferret will it have been harmed by eating cat biscuits for several months?


If it's the domestic ferret which I caught before and gave back to the owners, and since it seems to want to sleep near my bed when I'm in it, seems attached to me (?), would it adapt to yet another owner, home?


No mink here. It must be a light-weight animal because I never hear it crossing the boards in the loft, although I hear my cats walking about.

Ferrets need a high protein diet, similar to cats, and having eaten the cat biscuits will not be harmful. Most tame domestic ferrets are outgoing and friendly, and adapt to new homes well. I don't think it would be harmful to the ferret to adopt it to another home, since it seems to be frightening your cats. Its silent way of moving about your home does suggest a ferret. I would be concerned if it is the same ferret that it is not getting the care it needs at home-- most of my clients' ferrets are more interested in playing with toys and finding a snuggly place to take a nap than they are going out and hunting.

Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your help, will feel better about giving it away if it is the ferret.