Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Traveling with Ferrets


     Traveling with ferrets can be an adventure in its self. I have traveled with my fur kids, all eight at the time, by car. While the trips were not long nor far it proved just how determined these little thieves can be.

Rule one: Ferret proof the car. While you may not think it is important because they will be riding in a carrier or cage. It is better to over prepare than to have one of your fur kids climb up your leg while driving down the highway with no exit or rest stop in sight.

     For this very reason my kid's cat carrier has a small padlock on each of the doors. There is also the issue of where a fur kid could end up.

     Most back seats of newer cars give easy access to the trunk. Think about what is in your trunk. How safe is it? For a pet the trunk is one of the most dangerous places for them to end up.

     Sliding tool boxes can crush a ferret in seconds. Oil, coolant, foam from around speakers or even the back of the seat can cause a slow and painful death. Now there is a new object in trunks. It is the manual release that glows in the dark. How enticing it has to be to a ferret. One quick grab and the trunk flies open while you are going down the highway at 65 mph. If the impact didn't kill your ferret the car behind you will.

Rule Two: Keep the ferret traveling kit ready for trips.

     What to have in your kit.

     First determine what you are going to use to carry everything around in. I use a five gallon tub from Wal*Mart.  Price was around $5.

     In this I put a dish pan, a bag of litter, a box of kitchen garbage bags, a box of 10 gallon garbage bags, a roll of paper towels, 2 food dishes, a container with enough food for three days, a bottle of baby shampoo, Q-tips(r), two bath towels, a wash cloth, 3 harnesses, one leash with a special made lead to hook on to the harnesses, litter scoop, small dustpan and broom, a jar of chicken baby food, duplicates of toys from home, a hammock, and a box of baby wipes. Taped to the lid is the vet's number with a pocket made out of duck tape for a list of vets in the area I am visiting.

     Almost all of this I get from the dollar store and store in the tub. On the top I have it labeled with the words FERRET KIT.

     The dish pan does double duty. It can be a tub for washing ferrets if the needs arises before you get to your final destination. Where it is then converted into a litter pan. Wrap a kitchen bag around the pan and pour in 2-3 inches of litter. Scoop as needed to keep the smell down. When you are ready to leave pull the edges out from under the pan and tie off, place this into one of the 10 gallon garbage bags along with any other trash you have accumulated. If you stay at the same hotels house keeping will love you.

     Dustpan and broom is for the spills in the bathroom. Believe me it isn't just litter that is going to get spilled.

     One dish is for food the other water. I like the sectioned plates that come with lids. Makes it easy to clean up meals. Snap on the lid and away you go. Also gives the fur kids they are getting something special even though it is their own food.

     Towels, wash cloth, and baby shampoo is for giving fur kids a bath. It is better to have your own towel smelling like ferret than the hotel's. They get enough disgusting liens to clean. Besides your ferret will be happier to have something it recognizes as his/her's.

     Q-tips(r) are for cleaning ears after a bath. When a ferret is almost dry take one of the baby wipes and clean around their face and give the tail another scrub. Not only with this keep their faces clean and help keep black heads from forming on their tails it also gives them a nice clean scent.

     Paper towels are for accidents that didn't make it to the litter pan. Too many new places to explore to worry about the litter box.

     The harnesses allow you to walk your fur kid to the vending machine and back leaving your hands free to get a soda or a candy bar.

     The jar of baby food is for emergencies. When a ferret can't or won't eat his normal food you might be able to entice him to lick some of this up giving him nutrition and fluids until you can get him to a vet.

     I hang the hammock up inside the cat carrier so my fur kids have a place to sleep and escape from the strange place they are in.  hanginganferret


     Having familiar toys helps to lessen the stress they maybe feeling.

Rule Three: Ferret proof where you are staying.

     No one will understand your fur kids but you. If you are staying at a friends place ask what room is yours for the duration and ferret proof it being on the side of over caution. Just because you have a sign taped to the door saying don't open doesn't mean they are going to remember why.

     Staying at a hotel has its own set of problems. The first is do they allow pets? Is it an extra cost or just a deposit? The Microtel charges $10 per pet per night. The Super 8 charges a $10 deposit that is refunded after your stay. Comfort Inn also charges $10 that is not refunded after your stay.ani-100_dollar_bill



     Again you have to ferret proof the room but some of the places that you will need to see too may not be an issue at home and can easily be over looked. The first one is the heater/AC unit. Is there an opening a ferret can get into? Most hotel units are 2-4 inches above the floor and have wires coming out of the bottom. My solution is a stretched U-shape board that slides under the unit blocking access from my ferrets and allows me to use the unit.

     Next is the bed. Most hotel beds are on a platform that seems solid all around. It isn't. It is a large U shape that is accessible from the top. Also from the sides between the slates of the box springs.  I will take the bed apart to see what is under it before I let my kids out in the room. This may seem like an extreme measure but I know I have saved my ferret's lives by doing this. I have found latex gloves, used condoms, moldy unidentifiable food, chocolate pieces, and bones. Yes it is disgusting but that extra 20 minutes of taking the bed apart  and cleaning under it gives me peace of mind. I also do it before we check out just to make sure there are no surprises left there.

     Find ways to block access to behind the entertainment center, dresser, refrigerator, microwave. Find ways to keep your ferret from pulling lamps and clocks down by the cords.

     While it may seem like a lot of work to travel with your fur kids it is worth being able to see them romping around the room being happy to be with you. No one knows your fur kid like you do and won't treat them like you do.



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