You have seen them in movies and on TV shows, and the local pet store usually has some for sale. They appear to be intelligent and cuddly.
Ferrets live an average of 6-8 years, although some can be as old as 10. They tend to sleep a lot (about 18 hours a day!) , but when they’re awake they’re very playful and fun to watch.
Never take a ferret in the wild to keep as a house pet.
Many people have the misconception that ferrets stink! Though they do have a slightly musky odor, it is not an offensive scent, and occasional bathing helps with this. Most ferrets sold in North America for pets have also been descented and neutered before purchase, and this assists in cutting any odor they might otherwise have.
The name ferret is derived from the latin furonem, which means”thief.” If you’ve ever owned a ferret, as I have, you know the name is well deserved. They’ll steal and hide anything that appeals to them, particularly if it is shiny and easy to carry off.
There are many excellent quality commercial ferret foods available on the market. It was a common misconception that you could feed ferrets a quality cat food, but research has shown that a quality ferret food is recommended. Ferrets need a diet high in protein (34 -36%) and one which contains about 20% fat. The origin of the protein ought to be animal protein. . .vegetable protein is not adequate for a ferret’s metabolism, as it is indigestible to them. . Make certain to read the labels in your pet food supply store to ensure adequate nutrition. You can give your ferret treats like apples, raisins and bananas or there are commercial treats available at your pet food supply store.
A ferret should have a cage that is large enough for them to move around in. They are quite active animals when awake, and it is likely you’ll want to confine them to a cage when you’re not home.
Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box. Here are a few suggestions:
- Generally a ferret will use the box, and can be rewarded with a small treat when they do so.
- After the ferret is used to using the litter box in the cage, you can gradually move the litter box further from the cage if you wish.
- When you ferret is out of the cage, take them to the litter box regularly and reward them when they use the box with a great deal of praise and maybe a small treat.
- Ferrets back up to defecate or urinate, so in case you see your ferret backing into a corner when out of the cage, take them into the litter box.
They will play almost anything, so it is extremely important that the toys they have available to them are secure. Things that are sharp or have small parts which can be swallowed should be avoided. Soft rubber toys are not a good choice as ferrets have sharp teeth and will destroy them fast. Most of what a ferret plays ends up in it’s mouth, so it’s much like”babyproofing” your house. Suggestions for ferret toys:
- hard plastic balls
- hard rubber balls
- Things they could crawl into. . .commercial ferret “tubes”, or a section of PVC pipe at least 3″ in diameter
- Paper bags and cardboard boxes
- small stuffed animals
Remember. . .they will steal anything, so be certain you”ferret proof” your home. Oh…I forgot….When I purchased my first ferret, I was told they do not climb.
After reading all this, if you have decided you still want to own a ferret, Good For You! They are delightful, entertaining pets. I won’t ever regret having a ferret as a FurrKid at one point in my life.