You've decided to get a ferret. Perhaps a dog was too big for your home, or maybe cats were too antisocial. Whatever the reason, here are some things you should consider before getting a ferret.
Ferrets make great pets. They are small, cuddly, and friendly. However, if you are thinking of getting a pet ferret because they are short-lived, you'd better think again. Ferrets often live for 7 to 10 years, which means you will have that furry critter depending on you for care and attention for quite a long time. Of course, if you were training for the Cruella DeVil award (no, there is no such award), you would not be at PetMD, so we are happy to help you get prepared for your first ferret.
Take some time and conduct some research about the ferret, much like you would with any other animal. Consult your veterinarian and ferret specialists at your local pet store about their needs. And as always, we recommend that you consider getting a ferret from an animal shelter instead of from a breeder or pet shop. You might save an innocent ferret from being euthanized.
Preparing your home for a new pet is vital for its health and, more importantly, for your sanity. Let's begin with the ferret's cage. While you might opt to allow the ferret to roam around the house, a cage is still useful, as it can be a safe place for the ferret to sleep or an enclosure to keep the animal in while you’re away. For bedding, ferrets love something soft and cozy. Old sheets or clothing make great, cheap beds and can easily be washed or replaced.
Ferrets, like cats, also need a litter box to dispose of their urine and feces. Clumping or non-clumping cat litter will work fine for ferrets. Keep one litter box in the cage and one in each room the ferret is given access to. Of course, you’d be wise to put newspaper down around the litter box, as ferrets are known to wipe their bottoms by dragging them on the ground after doing their “business.”
Once you have your ferret's general area set up, you might want to look into a hammock. It might sound crazy, but ferrets love hammocks. You can either make one yourself, or head on down to your local pet store and pick one up.
What about “ferret-proofing” your home? Ferrets possess a toddler's curiosity and worse yet, they can get into surprisingly small spaces. Childproof locks and barriers will help restrict rooms and areas you do not want to give the ferret access to. Remember, ferrets will put anything in their mouths, including poisons and small items that may become choke hazards, so keep any potential dangerous items out of reach.
Now that your house is safe, prepared and clean -- let's make it fun! Ferrets love to play, especially with crinkly sounding cat toys, balls of newspaper, or balled up plastic. Of course, be careful with the plastic, you don’t want your new ferret eating it. There are even play tubes made specifically for ferrets.
Lastly, what's more fun than a playing partner. While one ferret may be enough, you should consider getting a second furry companion. Ferrets are very social and like having friends to play with when you are not around.
Good luck with your new ferret!