Ferrets are friendly and make excellent pets. If you’ve never met one before, the easiest way to think of them is somewhere between cats and dogs in personality, but a lot smaller. Some are cuddly, others more independent; they vary a lot, just like other pets. They are very playful, and they don’t lose much of that playfulness as they get older. They are also very intelligent, inquisitive and remarkably determined, which is part of their charm but can also be a bit of a bother. They do know and love you, though for some of them it can take a few months to bond.
A few things you should look for when chosing your ferret:
Look for healthy, active ferrets in suitable enclosures that are clean and odour free.
Eyes should be bright, clean, even sized, and free from discharge.
They should have long, full whiskers. Short or broken whiskers may indicate poor nutrition or infections.
The coat should be soft, full, and clean.
The kits should have a long, muscular, athletic body. They should also have a large firm belly.
They should be playful, and gentle.
They should also be curious and not fearful of new things.
Companion ferrets do not have to be purchased together. An adult ferret will readily accept another adult or kit. It is not advisable however, to house a male ferret that has not yet been neutered, with other ferrets unless the intention is to breed as they become territorial during the breeding season and may kill the other ferrets
Ferrets are very social animals and prefer the company of people or another ferret rather than being alone. They can share the house with dogs and cats but should be carefully watched when together
Ferrets are very inquisitive and mischievous animals that can squeeze into very small holes. Beware of household objects such as washing machines, recliner chairs, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Ferrets love to crawl into the mechanisms and can be seriously injured as a result.
What you will need for your ferret:
Cage- Many people keep their ferrets in a cage or very well-ferretproofed room whenever they can’t be supervised. This drastically reduces the risks of digestive-tract blockages from swallowing indigestible objects, injury, and escape.
However, even if you plan to let your ferrets have the run of the house at all times, you’ll want a cage at first for litter-training and other kinds of training as well as for temporary use. If you plan to keep your ferret caged whenever you’re not home, and you’ll be gone most of the day, a reasonable cage size is about 2 X 3 feet and 2 feet high (60 X 100 X 60 cm). A second or third ferret could share that size cage. If you’ll only be using the cage temporarily, such as when you’re vacuuming or taking your pet on a weekend trip, 1 X 2 X 1 feet (30 X 60 X 30 cm) is sufficient for one or two ferrets. Of course, the bigger the cage, the better. For trips around town, a shoulder or duffel bag equipped with a litter pan and mesh window works well.
Playpen – Creating a safe place for your ferret to play can include using a commercial playpen or by restricting your ferret to one room that has been ferret-proofed.
Food – Fiesta or Kaytee ferret food is always a good choice.
Food Dish – plastic or ceramic is fine
Water Dish or Bottle – I would suggest a ceramic water bowl so they cant tip it over easily.
Litter Pans – Make sure the sides of the pan are pretty high, since ferrets habitually back into corners to deposit their wastes and you don’t want messes over the sides of the pan. However, one side of the pan should be low enough that your ferret can get in and out easily. You can also use cat litter for ferrets.
Bedding – Ferrets love hammocks and things they can hide in. They make alot of nice things that ferrets enjoy playing with.
Ferret Shampoo – Any ferret shampoo will do. Some ferrets may be frightened the first few times of taking a bath and may nip you.
Nail Clippers – Ferret or cat nail clippers are fine to use.
Toys – A hammock is always a good choice, Plastic balls, with or without bells, hard rubber toys, but be sure they can’t get stuck in your ferret’s mouth, and take them away when they start to crack.
Collar with Bell – This is a good way to know where your ferret is if he has run of the house.
Bitter Apple – A bad-tasting liquid or paste intended to stop pets from chewing things ( This I recommend you have)
How do I ferret proof my home?
You must keep in mind your ferret’s safety at all times. Dangers lurk everywhere in the home for the ferret and are not always obvious. The best way to to see what your ferret can get into is to get down on the floor and see things the way they do. Remember, your ferret will check everything out and can get into places you’d never dream of!Here are some tips to guide you.HOLES & SPACES
Make sure that there are no holes or spaces under cabinets, refrigerators, stoves and other appliances and make sure they are blocked off. Cover any holes in walls or mouldings, around plumbing or window frames. Ferrets have flexible skeletons and can fit into the tiniest of places. If the head fits, the body will follow!
Ferrets love to climb up inside furniture and mattresses. They will scratch up the stuffing and make a nice bed for themselves. (Mine got into my bed box spring!) Cover the bottom of your mattresses and box springs with either heavy fabric or screening, wood or masonite, anything they can not scratch through. (I stapled screening on my box spring.) Always account for your ferrets before sitting in any recliner chair or rocking chair. Look below you before sitting on the couch. Ferrets love to hide in furniture and can be hard to see. Always check first.
ELECTRICAL CORDS & OUTLETS
Some ferrets love to chew on electrical cords. Others like to investigate outlets. Either keep these items out of reach or spray with Bitter Apples to deter chewing. Baby outlet plugs work great too.
Be sure to keep all cleaning supplies up in the higher cabinets out of reach or in cabinets with strong baby latches. Ferrets are very adept at opening cabinets and drawers. Common household cleaning supplies can be deadly for the ferret.
WINDOWS & DOORS
Check all your windows and doors. Are they properly closed and latched? Make sure the window screens are sturdy and intact, with no holes. The ferret can make even the tiniest of holes larger and escape. Once outside survival is unlikely after a couple of days. Ferrets can not survive in the wild and should be prevented from escaping or running free at all times.
VERY IMPORTANT CAUTIONS:
Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent causes of premature ferret death is gastrointestinal blockage. You can protect your ferrets by keeping a close eye on what they like to chew on. Basically, ferrets like any type of foam rubber, soft rubber, couch stuffing, sponge and Styrofoam. Additionally, many ferrets also enjoy chewing on paper, plastic bags, cardboard and fabric. These will all cause gastrointestinal blockages if ingested. Look for signs such as furniture stuffing on the floor, under beds or under other furniture. Make sure your ferrets are not digging holes under the couch and crawling inside.Many house plants are poisonous, and ferrets are very intrigued by them. My ferrets have attempted to chew on the leaves of some of my plants in the past. I would suggest that you put all house plants out of your ferret’s reach.
Ferrets actually enjoy the smell of bleach, bar soap and some other household cleaners. Be careful when you are cleaning the bathroom or kitchen. Always rinse bathtubs very well after cleaning them.
Always keep your ferret out of potentially unsafe rooms such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room.
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