Posted: August 29, 2008, 6 p.m. EDT
Q: We had a small ferretlike animal in our barn. He was jet black and had a very vicious scream when our cat went near him. He had a long tail and a very long slender body. We live in Victoria, BC, Canada. Do you have any idea what this animal is, and would he be a threat to my cat?
A: I would guess you saw a mink. The long and slender body with dark brown or black fur sounds like a mink and they are found in British Columbia. The scream also sounds like a mink, especially if you have a water source nearby. My advice is to steer clear of the mink as they can be quite dangerous. Mink usually stick near water to find food and may only be in the barn for warmth. They are wild animals and could pose a hazard to your cat, but I don’t think the mink would be in the barn for too long. Keep an eye on the cat, and be sure it is up to date on its vaccinations.