Are you thinking about getting a ferret for a pet? There are many things to consider before you take that last step and get one.
1. Are ferrets legal where you live? In the United States, ferrets are legal in 48 of the 50 states. California and Hawaii do not allow ferrets. California has ferrets classified as a wild animal. Hawaii may have them classified as the same thing but it is more likely that they have imposed the ban on ferrets for the same reason they are illegal in New Zealand.
Trained hunting ferrets were introduced into New Zealand as a control for rabbits. Only there were no natural predators to eliminate the ferret. Flightless bird species fell victim to lost and hungry hunting ferrets.
New York City also has regulations about having a ferret.
2. What kind of household would you be bringing a ferret? Is it full of other pets or small children under five? Do you live in an apartment or a house?
A household that has other pets needs to look at the types of pets and how they would interact with a ferret. Cats for the most part will find higher ground or another place to be when a ferret is out. Some cats like to play with the ferret but supervision of both is needed for the ferret and cat’s sake as one or both could get hurt. Ferrets will go after birds and fish as a tasty snack. Depending on the dog’s breed, you could lose your ferret to prey instinct.
Some apartments don’t allow ferrets because they do dig and will tear up the carpet. There is also the chance of a ferret escaping through a hole or vent and ending up in someone else's apartment. Think how you would feel to wake up to something you have never seen nibbling at your toes?
A house is better in that you can dedicate a single room for your ferret or incorporate one into a room in a way that you are both happy.
3. Do you have time for a ferret? Ferrets require a minimum of 30 minutes a day out of their cage. Ferrets enjoy exploring their surroundings and are happy to be out of their cage. Ferrets love to interact with you and will pout if they feel they are being ignored.
If you are some one who travels a lot or would rather spend time away from home then a ferret is not for you. Ferrets are also a long term commitment as they can live up to 10 years. Ferrets that have a disability need more time to learn things than ferrets without a problem.
4. Can you afford having a ferret? This means above the basics. Food and housing are a given but can you afford vet care if the need arises? Some states require shots every year. There are also times when a ferret will get into trouble and need a doctor’s care. Adrenal surgery can cost up to or above 2,000 dollars.
5. What is the reason you want a ferret? If the only reason is “Because they are cute.” Then you need to reevaluate getting a ferret. Ferrets loose the cuteness as they grow up and become who they are. Gweny is a prime example of not being cute. She has an attitude towards smokers and lets it be known with a hard bite. I wouldn’t trade her for the world but I also make it known to my friends that smoke not to get near her because of her attitude. She is cute to look at but her attitude isn’t. Attitudes and dispositions are not apparent when a ferret is still a baby.
Finally, don’t just go to the local pet store and buy a ferret. See if there is a local ferret rescue near you and visit. Maybe volunteer if you have time. It could be that one of these unwanted creatures might be the one that steals your heart and will give you an idea of why you should really think about the reason for the top five. If there isn’t a local ferret rescue near you. See if the pet store where you are thinking about buying your fuzzy will allow you to interact with the ferret in a playroom.
Not all pet stores will do this.
Note: if you have a cold or the flu don’t go near any ferret. They are highly susceptible and can quickly turn into pneumonia, which can kill a ferret in a matter of hours.
I hope this helps you to decide if a ferret is a good addition to your home.