Can Ferrets Catch a Cold from Humans? Learn the Facts Here!

Ferrets’ nasal passages are similar to those of humans, with the nostrils located at the base of the nose. However, ferrets have a more complex nasal structure, which allows them to detect various scents and odors.

Ferret Lungs

Ferrets have relatively large lungs compared to their body size, which allows them to breathe more efficiently. Their respiratory system is also highly sensitive, which can make them vulnerable to respiratory infections.

Can Ferrets Catch a Cold from Humans?

Explanation of the Common Cold

The common cold is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the upper respiratory system. It is caused by a group of viruses known as rhinoviruses, which can survive for several hours on surfaces and in the air.

Transmission of the Common Cold from Humans

The common cold is primarily transmitted through direct contact with infected individuals or objects. When a person with a cold coughs or sneezes, they release tiny droplets of mucus and saliva that contain the virus. These droplets can land on surfaces and objects, where they can survive for several hours. If a person touches these surfaces and then touches their nose or mouth, they can contract the virus.

Ferret Respiratory Vulnerability

Ferrets are highly susceptible to respiratory infections due to their sensitive respiratory system. When exposed to cold viruses, they can develop severe respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia.

Scientific Studies on Cross-Species Cold Transmission

While there is limited research on the transmission of the common cold between humans and ferrets, some studies suggest that it is possible. According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, ferrets can contract human influenza viruses, which are closely related to the viruses that cause the common cold.

Signs and Symptoms of a Ferret Cold

Respiratory Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a ferret cold include sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. Ferrets with respiratory illnesses may also exhibit difficulty breathing or wheezing.

Behavioral Symptoms

Ferrets with respiratory illnesses may appear lethargic or have a decreased appetite. They may also exhibit behavioral changes, such as avoiding interaction with their owners or sleeping more than usual.

Prevention and Management

Minimizing Exposure to Human Cold Viruses

To prevent ferrets from contracting a cold from humans, it’s crucial to minimize their exposure to cold viruses. Ferret owners should avoid close contact with individuals who have a cold and ensure that anyone who interacts with their pets washes their hands thoroughly.

Hygiene Practices for Ferret Owners

Ferret owners should practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. This includes regularly cleaning their pets’ cages and bedding, as well as washing their hands before and after interacting with their pets.

Boosting Ferret Immune System

To help prevent respiratory illnesses in ferrets, it’s essential to keep their immune system healthy. This can be achieved by providing a healthy diet, regular exercise, and ensuring that they are up to date on their vaccinations.

Consulting a Veterinarian

If a ferret exhibits symptoms of a respiratory illness, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Respiratory illnesses in ferrets can be severe and require prompt treatment.


In conclusion, while the research on whether ferrets can catch a cold from humans is limited, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent respiratory illnesses in these animals. Ferret owners should practice good hygiene, avoid exposing their pets to individuals with colds, and monitor their pets’ respiratory health closely. By taking these steps, ferret owners can help ensure that their pets live long and healthy lives.

ThePetFaq Team