We just found out that a hooman has a new ferret in their life and is brand new to the world of ferrets. So we thought we would go through the list of being the best ferrent they can be.
1. Make sure we can’t get into things we shouldn’t like the medicine cabinet. Our hooman says to first child proof, then baby proof, then pet proof, and then get on all four and look at things from that angle and proof places that you see. Lastly lay on your belly and look at the rooms and see what we see. Ferret proofing never ends. Fact: If our heads fit our bodies will follow and we love to explore.
2. Not all food is created equally. Some of us ferrets are raw fed, others are on special diets called soupies but those are for ferrets that don’t want to eat. Most are on commercially prepared diets. Be sure to do research on the food you want to feed us. Never give us dairy even though we will beg for it. You don’t want liquid squirts to clean up. We also need fresh water daily. Some of us like to drink from a bowl but make sure it is heavy enough that we can’t over turn it. Fact: We don’t have a cecum like dogs and cats so we can’t process fruits and veggies. read more here.
3. We do need to see the V.E.T at least once a year until we are three then we should see one every six months if there are no problems. We are prone to cancers called Adrenal disease, Insulinoma, and Lymphoma.We need to be vaccinated for Rabies and Distemper as both are fatal for us. If you live in a high heartworm area we need to be tested and put on a preventative. It only takes one heart worm to kill us. Fact: Not all vets treat ferrets you need to ask and look for one that treats exotics. Ask how long they have treated ferrets. This is our awesome V.E.T Dr. DoverSpike.
4. We can be trained to walk with a harness and leash. The first time we are in the harness we will act like there is a rabid ant on our backs. There are also different types of harnesses. Our size can dictate which one is best. Our hooman prefers the H-style harness.
5. We need to have a dedicated place to sleep. For us that is a large dog crate only because hooman lets us free roam the rest of the day. We have several options for sleeping which include a hanging cuddle cup, a blanket, and for Marcuz a single ferret cuddle cup that sits on the floor. Our sleeping area also includes a litter pan, water, and food dish. She also has a sheet that covers the whole thing. That way it is dark and we can feel like we are in a burrow. You can find some great bedding and help a shelter by going to the Ferret Fabulous Finds Auction Facebook page. Fact: Ferrets sleep anywhere from 14 – 18 hours a day and are nocturnal by nature but will adjust to our schedules.
6. Hooman describes us as two year olds and kittens rolled into one and we never grow up. That means we love to play. You can take us for rides on towels or blankets around the room. Or play peek a boo with said towel or blanket. Tubes are fun as well as many other toys that are meant for dogs, cats, and children. Note that those toys for children should be ones that are rated for infants. We also shouldn’t have rubber or latex toys as we tend to chew them to bits and could easily swallow pieces that can cause an internal blockage. Fact: Ferrets aren’t affected by catnip.
7. We need our teeth brushed if not daily at least once a week. The helps prevent periodontal disease and let you see what our mouths look like. Hooman has made a video on how to brush our teeth here. Fact: A baby ferret called a kit has 30 teeth and a adult ferret has 34.
8. We can be litter box trained and we have 95% accuracy rate. But don’t use clumping litter as many of us like to play in the box and can get it up our noses where the moisture makes the litter swell causing blockages. Clay litter will dry our skin and is often very dusty and we can inhale the dust. We are proud to be puppy pad trained and know where they are at all times. Be sure to put either the box or pad where there is a corner as we back up to potty. Become poo knowledgeable. It is one of the best ways to see if we are feeling okay. Fact: That belly button isn’t a belly button it is a boy part. Girl’s equipment are completely at the rear.
9. We need a minimum of 4 hours out of the cage for socialization and play time. We aren’t cage animals and easily get bored. Let us out in a safe area and watch us go. We will jump, twist, and act all crazy. If just one ferret in your life you have to be their playmate and you can make up all sorts of games. Fact: More than 2 ferrets is called a business.
10. We have an odor called musk which is why we are in the Mustelidea family which includes otters, weasels, and minks. For unaltered ferrets it can be extremely strong during breeding season. For altered ferrets it isn’t as noticeable to most hoomans. What many hoomans don’t realize is bathing us frequently just makes us produce more of the smelly oil to protect our coats and skin. We shouldn’t get a bath more that once a month unless we have gotten ourselves into a mess. Bathing us can be a challenge. Some love taking baths and others prefer showers. We are in the later group. Make sure the water is warm but not hot if you wouldn’t bath a baby in it then it’s too hot for us. There are many pet shampoos on the market but you need to be knowledgeable about them as well. Our hooman stays away from any that has Tree Tea Oil in it due to the toxicity it has with cats. She prefers to bath us with baby shampoo. Make sure to rinse us off well and expect your bathroom to take a bath as well. You will need a minimum of three large bath towels while we do the snake dance to dry off. Some of us like the hair dryer but be sure it is on the lowest setting. Fact: The ferret’s Latin name Mustela putorius furo means stinky little thief. An unaltered girl ferret is called a Jill and an unaltered boy is called a Hob. An altered girl is called a Sprite and an altered boy is called a Gib.
We hope this starter list is helpful to the new ferrent and we hope you will visit often.
Have a Chittering Good Day,
Manny, Marcuz, and Marylin.