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