Genets are long, lean carnivores with a tail usually at least as long as their body. Genets resemble elongated cats or ferrets, and can appear catlike, except for their longer faces. They have a long, thin body set on short legs, and their ears are large and rounded. Like cats, genets have semi-retractable claws, and they can erect a crest of hair at the base of their spine when frightened. They are extremely flexible and agile, and can enter very small spaces.
Diet: We feed our adult genets Mazuri Ferret food, mice, cooked chicken, eggs and fruit.
Gestation: About 90-100 days; they can produce 1-5 kittens
Size at Adulthood : 2- 8 pounds and roughly the size of a small house cat or big ferret depending on the sub-species.
Minimum Cage size: Minimum size enclosure is 4’x 8’x6’. If you live in a milder climate you may keep your Genet outdoors all year round providing heat in the winter.
What is a Genet?
The first question I always get when someone sees one of my genets is, What is that?? No, its NOT a cat, OR a ferret, or a combination of either. They are a species related to the civit from Africa. There is no domestic animal that they are related to. Genets are nocturnal animals. They are active from a couple hours after sunset until a couple of hours after midnight. Genets tend to sleep during the day, however in captivity they often will acclimate themselves to semi-daytime hours. Much like the cats, genets are stealth hunters, and kill with a quick bite to the neck. Their sharp claws both allow them to pin prey, and make them excellent climbers. This also means when they wish to perch on your shoulder, they can get there, even if it means climbing up your bare leg. Genets can make a variety of vocalizations, such as mewing, purring, hissing, and spitting.
We raise three subspecies of genets, listed and characterized below.
Small Spotted Genet (Common Genet) Spots are more grainy, and ticked. Overall color is typically grey and slightly rusty. They are the smallest size, weighing in at about 1-2.5 pounds full grown.
Large Spotted Genet (Cape Genet) Spots can be black or dark rust colored and are very pronounced and are defined. Overall color is dark blonde. They are about 3-7 pounds full grown.
Rusty Spotted Genet (Panther Genet) Spots are rosetted and rust colored, and overall color is light blonde. They have a distinct row of black hair down their backs and large white spots under the eye . They are generally larger than the other two sub-species, weighing in at about 4-8 pounds full grown.
Living with a genet: When bottle raised from a young age, they can be affectionate and curious companions. They will bond with the family, and can be let out of their cage for several hours to play. They use litter boxes very regularly and will return to their cage to use it if they are roaming in the house. Genets are very independent and do not like to be restrained. Starting them on a harness early is imperative but later in life the harness still may be fought. Genets will come to you for attention and not many like to be petted or held a lot. Generally all of our genets will hop onto our shoulders and like to play with us while checking out everything from up high. They can be food protective so always feed them alone in their cage to avoid a bite. They can play and interact with dogs and cats that they are familiar with. NO small animals, they are natural hunters and will easily and quickly kill and eat hamsters, birds, hedgehogs, etc.
We no longer reccommend genets as pets for the general public. They are a long-lived animal that is difficult to give the proper care to. They are not your typical pet and will quickly tire of affection and resist most of your advances to interact as they get older.
We WILL NOT sell any genet to an unexperienced exotic owner or unlicensed zoo/breeding facilty. Email me for further details.
Genets as pets- REAL owners perspectives and stories:
Ashley Duncan- Owning genets is NOT for everyone, they can be very independent and scare easily. Our genets are given respect and privacy when they want it. We let them out daily and keep them on a strict feeding schedule. They also have serious issues with scent marking. You CANNOT clean thier entire cage at once, you have to clean one small are at a time and wash only one hammock or fabric at a time, if you clean the whole cage, or wash all the hammocks they will be frightened and will fight you to go back in. This can be time consuming. In my opinion the BEST home for a genet is with responsible adults only who will have them as their one and only companion animal. Not that they dont do well with cats and dogs, they just tend to bond more with animals instead of you. They should be kept as a single genet and they should be spayed/neutered.
Since 2008 we have taken in over 15 unwanted genets who were once considered pets by their families. Some were even hand raised babies we had placed. Genets are NOT good pets. They are elegant and beautiful to look at but they are extremely difficult for an inexperienced owner to provide for.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q:Do they have scent glands or a smell? A: Yes they do have a scent and anal glands that they use to spray and mark, which is not very foul but noticeable.
Q: Do they require any vaccinations? A: No vaccinations are needed however your vet may want to give vaccinations. Rabies and distemper are vaccinations that can be given.
Q: What is their general personality? A: Genets are flighty, fast, and very independant. When raised as infants they can be kitten -like and affectionate but usually revert to wild behavior upon maturity.
Q: How are they with other pets? A: Playful with ferrets and dogs, will get along with most cats. Genets are carnivores so they will get along with like kind if your pet has the right disposition and you introduce with patience. They WILL eat small pets such as sugar gliders, birds, etc.
Q: Will my genet bond to only one person? A: Generally the genet will bond with everyone in the house that handles it regularly. It is mildly agitated by strangers and may go to them freely as long as they are not rambunctious.
Q: Can I let my genet run free in my home? A: Many genet owners do not even have a cage for their genet and let them run around loose like a dog. I would not recommend this unless you have baby proofed your house and are certain they will not get into any harm if they accidentally got into something. However, your genet will enjoy hours of outside the cage time, provided that you are semi-supervising them.
Negative Aspects of Owning a Genet:
Their claws can leave you scratched up.
They can easily jump and climb up to forbidden places.
They are more independant than a cat.
They can be skiddish and frighten easily. When scared, you are better off letting them run in order to avoid accidentally getting scratched or bitten.
They are extremely fast and can get loose easily, even when wearing a harness. It s almost impossible to restrain a genet that does not wish to be restrained.
They need alot of one on one time and attention to remain tame.
Genets are a ONE family pet, there is no such thing as rehoming a pet genet. They will not remain tame with a new family and a new environment. Change in environment and caretakers is very stressful on genets and can also cause self mutilation, cage pacing and behavior changes.
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