Last week, I house sat for my brother and sister-in-law. The bulk of the work involved taking care of two mischievous ferrets, who sleep for 18 hours like cats but spend the other 6 hours wreaking havoc like Tasmanian devils. Why would anyone want ferrets as pets? Well, because they are possibly THE most adorable creatures I’ve ever interacted with. Despite the challenges, those two ferrets made the week delightfully entertaining.
Ferrets As Pets: Ferret Care
If you’re a ferret owner, this account of ferret-wrangling will probably hit home. If you’re curious about owning a ferret, use the following tips to decide if these furry rascals are a good match for you and your family.
Whether you’re babysitting a ferret or adopting a ferret as a pet, here’s what you need to know about ferrets:
- Ferrets are highly intelligent. They can and will find all weaknesses in a room. And they can and will exploit them. Ferrets should have a spacious cage to sleep and eat in, with a larger room or space to explore for a couple hours a day at least. So make sure to ferret-proof any space they will be set loose in. My brother uses a baby gate to partition off a space for his two ferrets, Pabu and Momo. They sleep in the cage at night and play in the larger space during the day. Momo has escaped twice by climbing on a chair and jumping over the gate, so now we keep that chair far away from the gate. If a ferret does escape and get lost in your house, check dark warm spaces. And don’t be alarmed if your ferret is sleeping like the dead. When exhausted, ferrets can go into a “dead sleep” where they become completely limp. Just give them some time to wake up!
- Ferrets are playful. Pabu and Momo have all sorts of toys to play with – from my brother’s old boots and a tie, to plastic jingle bells and a cat tower. Ferrets love climbing into things, so make sure to keep purses and bags out of their reach unless you want to find a furry critter curled up inside when you go back to pick it up! They like to push things around, so you may have to secure their litter box or food dish in place. If you’re thinking about adopting a ferret, make sure you have a little time each day to play with him or her. The more access they have to playthings, the less trouble they’ll get into. Ferrets can live from 6-10 years, so make sure you’re committed to taking care of these little guys before adopting.
- Ferrets have specific needs. A ferret requires special ferret food, clean water, a litter box, and sleeping hammocks or pouches. If you need to take your ferret to the vet, try to find one that specializes in ferrets. Sometimes they will need a little extra care. Momo gets itchy from allergies sometimes. To keep her happy and healthy, we give her a couple drops of Benadryl from a syringe or eye dropper when she’s having an itchy day.
- Ferrets are fabulous friends. As long as you take good care of them, ferrets will be sweet and hilarious furry friends. They’ll sleep in ridiculous positions, rub their little wet noses on your feet, ride around on your shoulder, and fall asleep in your lap. They’ll latch onto a blanket you dangle in front of them and hold on for dear life as you swing it around the room. If you’re willing to give them the space and activity opportunities they need, ferrets may just be the perfect friends for you.
I hope this answers all your questions about ferrets as pets. It is really important to know about proper ferret care and what is involved before you select a new pet for your family. If you want to know about ferret feeding, there is a ton of info here. Do you have a ferret? Are you going to get one?