Friday, January 21, 2011

Responsible Ferret Ownership

     I was sent two links about ferrets as pets on twitter. The first one was about a baby losing seven of his fingers to the family’s pet ferret. The father of the infant killed the ferret by throwing it across the room where it hit a cabinet.

     The second was about how people are calling the Kansas City Ferret Hotline not to ask for help but to give up their pet for fear of it turning into some cannibalistic thing.

     First let me say that the family should have never had a ferret in the house with an infant if they weren’t going to supervise both the ferret and the infant. It also remains to be seen why it took so long for the parents to even realize something was wrong especially since the mother was supposedly on the couch right beside the child.

     Ferret bites hurt and even I scream when one of my boys decide to do the lick, lick, chomp that all ferrets are capable of doing. With that said it must also be said that the parents are under investigation for neglect and the fact they failed to get the necessary exotic license for having a ferret in the first place.

     Second let me tell you what else I have found since starting research on this incident. Two days before this even happened the parents were trying to find a vet to remove all the ferret’s teeth so it couldn’t bite the child. “Angela Simpkins, a metro ferret advocate, says that she offered to take the ferret but was turned down by the family, who had planned to have the ferret's teeth pulled out before the gruesome attack”(1)

     If the parents had just surrendered the ferret at that time both the child and the ferret would have never made the news. Also having a ferret's teeth removed for no other reason that to keep it from biting is barbaric and cruel.

     It is this kind of news story that give ferrets a bad name. It has been my mission for over a year to promote responsible ownership and have said in many of my blog posts that ferrets and babies/small children DO NOT go together.

     Ferrets love anything that makes noise and will try to take the noisemaker to his/her hidey-hole. Babies make all sorts of strange noises that a ferret would want to stash.

     It is also possible that the ferret that lost his life was hungry and the child had something on his fingers that tasted good. It also needs to be said this did not happen in seconds it took time for the ferret to chew off that many fingers.

     Pediatrician think that ferrets are attracted to babies cause of the milk smell which makes they think of suckling prey. I personally believe it is the fact that they squeak and the wild movement they do but that is my personally belief.

     Ferrets have teeth like a cat and those with cats can tell you that it takes a cat a while to eat a small mouse which is equivalent to a minimum of three infant fingers.

     It must also be said that a ferret can be hurt or even killed by a small child loving on it too hard. Like any animal a ferret will bite and scratch anything causing it pain. So if you do have a ferret and children it comes down to common sense. There needs to be supervision of both ferret and child for both of their safety.

     Have a place to keep the ferret contained when you can’t supervise them together. This gives the ferret a safe place to be and allows the child to be a child without you fearing that something bad is going to happen.

     Lastly if you don’t know that much about ferrets and you really want one wait until the child is old enough to understand that ferrets are not dogs or cats and can be hurt by them and do a lot of research before you get one.

     Ferrets can be great pets but they are not for everyone. Ferrets are high maintenance in many of the same ways an infant is dependent on you for the first years of his/her life.

What are your feelings about this whole incident?

Have a chittering good day,



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday…Sort of



Marcuz’s First outing with harness and leash.


Have a Chittering good day


Monday, January 17, 2011

Ferret Vaccinations


     Vaccines are an important part of caring for our beloved animals. Some of our pets need more than others and in rare occasions are not required to have any vaccines because their physiology isn’t know well enough to know how things will work with them.

     We all should be aware of the fact that cats and dogs are required to have the rabies vaccine but what many new ferret owners don’t realize is that they should have their little buddy vaccinated against rabies as the disease is always fatal to the ferret.

     Most states do not put a ferret  into quarantine after it has bitten someone. The ferret is destroyed and studied. The rabies vaccine of choice for most veterinarians is Imrab-3. This is also the same as the rabies vaccine given to both dogs and cats.

     Another vaccine ferrets should have is for distemper. There are two distinct types of distemper, canine and feline. While ferrets are susceptible to canine distemper they don’t seem to catch the feline version.

     Distemper is an RNA virus (1) and is not stable enough to live in the environment very long. This virus is spread from sick animals by sneezing or coughing in the vicinity of a healthy one. The incubation period of distemper is between six to nine days. During the incubation time a ferret may not show any signs of contracting this disease.

     Distemper is often mistaken as the human cold in a ferret because many of the symptoms are very similar. A ferret showing signs of being depressed, develops a skin rash, nasal and eye discharge should be immediately by a ferret knowledgeable vet before the disease’s nerve degeneration begins.

     Distemper is almost always fatal in ferrets because owners may believe their ferret is suffering from just a cold and do not seek medical treatment. There have been a few cases where the ferret was saved from distemper but because of the high fever that accompanies this disease usually around 104 degrees their personality was never the same due to brain damage.

     Distemper is 100% preventable with vaccination. The recommended vaccination schedule is that a ferret be vaccinated with his/her first shot at 6-8 weeks, which is given when baby ferrets are shipped from breeders to the pet stores. The booster shot should be given at 10-12 weeks and then is given yearly. The vaccine that is approved for ferrets is Purevax manufactured by Merial, Inc.

     While there have been reports of ferrets having a severe reaction to the vaccine many ferret knowledgeable vets will be able to talk to you about the chances of your little one having a reaction.

     The best procedure is to stay at the vet’s office for a minimum of thirty minutes after the vaccine is given so that if the need for emergency care is needed you are in the right place.

     Yearly vaccination is recommended but if you are worried that your ferret will have a reaction or are just concerned that he/she really doesn’t need the vaccine there is a test called a serum titer.

     A sample of blood is drawn from the ferret and tested for the antibodies known as titer against the distemper virus. This could be a costly option as it takes a lot of skill to draw blood from a ferret, as their blood vessels are so tiny.

     The dosage of each vaccine is 1 milliliter or approximately 15-20 drops (2). Some vets will give both vaccines at the same time and others rather give one then wait a week before giving the other.

     Depending on where you live the cost can be almost nothing or up to a hundred dollars. For my boys the cost is around $70 but that includes the office visit and wellness certificate that I need to have for them to travel on an airplane.

(1) RNA is one of the 3 major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.

(2) Dosage information and other research from Dr. Hines 

     We would also like to thank Dr. Shawn Finch DVM for clarifying information and answering our many questions. Dr. Finch writes for .


Have a Chittering good day,



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pet Blog challenge

I’ve been seeing a lot about this challenge so I’ve decided to jump on the train even if it is a little late.

1. When did you begin your blog?
A little over a year ago.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
At first it was just a place to put what I learned about ferrets so I had an nice easy place to go but it soon evolved into a place others could go to find out about ferrets that they might not of known.
3. Is your current purpose the same?
Yes it is and I hope it stays the same for a long time.
If not, what’s different?
If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals?
I am still trying to figure out what my exact goals are.
4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
I am trying to have a schedule but it comes down to the amount time needed to do the research and get confirmation of information.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?
No I am not generating an income but I would like too.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular?
Finding out new information that I didn’t know about ferrets.

7. What do you like least?
being unable to verify my information

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2011? I am hoping to see my blog get more readers and helping others learn about the ownership of ferrets.

Have a Chittering good day,


Monday, January 10, 2011



     The International Ferret Congress was founded in 2002 that grew out of an event that hosted 135 ferret lovers of all walks of life. This Non profit organization incorporated in Ohio main goal is to educate those in the ferret community and those that have an interest in ferret ownership or working with fuzzy little clowns.

Past events have included:

2008 International Ferret Symposium®, Pittsburgh, PA

2008 Florida Ferret Forum

2007 International Ferret Symposium®, Portland OR

Derby City Forum 2006, Louisville KY

Forum in the Fort 2005, Fort Collins CO

2005 International Ferret Symposium®, St. Louis MO
2003 International Ferret Symposium®, Atlanta, GA

Forum at the Falls 2002, Niagara Falls, NY

International Ferret Symposium® 2002, Las Vegas, NV

(all references to Ferret Symposium are a registered trademark of IFC)

     This years event will be in Phoenix, AZ from June 3-5 and ends a long hiatus between events.

     I would love to attend this event along with several others in the coming months. Each event offers me an opportunity to learn new things and to teach others what I do know about ferrets.

     What events are you interested in going to this year and your reasons for doing so?

Have a Chittering good day,

Jo and Manny and Marcuz

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Manny’s 1st Birthday

     Manny is a Marshall Ferret and when he came to live in this crazy household he came with a birth certificate stating that his birthday was January 3, 2010. Which makes him a year old today.

     I am not able to spoil my ferrets too often which is a good thing but on special days like this I make a point to do so. So Manny got to have me all to himself today. After his breakfast and my morning coffee I got Manny “Dressed” in his belled collar and red harness. The moment I slipped that collar on he knew we were going out cause that is the only time he has the collar and harness put on him.

     The moment I put him down so I could get the carrier down he was trying to climb up to it and people swear our animals don’t know what is what. I unzipped it and he ran inside and laid down with a look that said “Okay hooman let’s go!”.

    HPIM1662 First stop was our local Agway to pick out a new toy or two and of course some treats. Manny picked out a Skinneeez for cats™ duck from their barnyard series and a shiny green mouse along with some Greenies treats.HPIM1663

     Second stop was the park where Manny insisted that he wanted to walk and explore his surroundings. I would have more pictures but the cold (29 degrees) sucked the batteries and I was only able to get these two. Manny found a patch of ice and had a blast skating on it by using his butt as a rudder until he was finally able to get his claws under him and then he ran all over the ice. HPIM1665HPIM1666HPIM1667

     Finally we came home and Manny and right away took his new duck and hid it in one of his hidey-holes before I could get a picture of his loot. HPIM1669He got a few treats before Marcuz woke up and now he has climbed into his hammock and is sleeping.

Have a Chittering good day,


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years



     I am sure many of us feel or look like this at the moment. For those who were out celebrating I hope you all recover quickly. I have to work today not that I expect to be busy until after 3 when people’s hangovers are diminished. Please if you order pizza delivered think about the fact you can do so and please tip them a buck or two.

     Okay so what is 2011 bringing to Enlightened Ferret? I am not overly sure yet but I do know we will be attending Blog Paws 2011 and Bark World if we have to walk there.

I am working on setting up a small store to sell ferret themed magnets like this guy. HPIM1588 Most are 3x3 inches. I haven’t worked out how much I am going to charge yet.


     I know a lot of people make New Year Resolutions for themselves but for myself I don’t personally have any but for my blog I have one that I have already blogged about and that is getting a 100 followers.  Who knows the 100th follower might get something special.

     I am going to try to do a lot better at posting this year. So what are your goals and wishes for 2011 and what would you like to learn about ferrets this year?

Have a Chittering good first day of the year,