Are you planning to adopt a ferret? Planning on buying one for your child?
Then prepare to cater to their highly inquisitive and curious nature after they arrive. You should know that these furballs tend to get into mischief when left to their own devices. That’s why you must ferret proof your house before bringing them home.
We’ve made a list of some safety tips and tricks to help you out. These will protect them from getting into accidents or escaping when you let them out of the cage.
Let’s look at all the ways to ways to ferret proof your house:
1. Identify the Threat
You should survey and inspect every inch of your house before you ferret-proof it. Your goal should be to identify areas of concern and escape routes. Then think up of ways to make those spaces safer for your furry friend.
Here are a few things you should consider:
- Cover live wires and other electrical hazards.
- Don’t leave any breakable objects out in the open.
- Avoid keeping chemicals and toxic solvents like cleaning supplies in plain sight.
Pro tip: Try to think like a ferret when you examine your rooms. That way, you won’t overlook tiny details that seem inconsequential to the human eye.
2. Create Safe Zones
Can’t ferret-proof the entire house?
Most ferret owners prefer to train them before letting them roam freely. They usually keep the ferret in a cage and take them outside during playtime or training.
Another idea is to assign safe rooms to your ferret. For instance, your ferret can play in your room and living area. However, they aren’t allowed to go into the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room as it’s harder to ferret-proof those rooms.
Once you have picked the ‘safe zones’, you should follow the previous step to remove all hazards.
3. Block the Escape Routes
Are you sure that the rooms are completely ferret-proof?
Even though you have assigned a safe zone for your little friend, chances are that it won’t stay there.
Ferrets tend to find escape routes quite easily. Yours will wriggle out of the smallest opening to check out what’s outside. This is why you should make sure to block any possible exit route before letting him play.
Here is what you need to do:
Close the windows and make sure they are impossible to open by a ferret.
Shut all the doors and other entryways inside the room. If you have got another pet, then doggie/kitty doors should be taped off while your ferret is inside the room. Or better yet, try not to choose a safe zone that has those doors. That way, you won’t have to deprive your other pet of its freedom.
3. Structural Damage
Check the room for structural damage (e.g. holes in the wall, loose floorboards, and mold). Repair those issues, so that your ferret doesn’t use its burrowing skills to find an escape.
Pro tip: Safety gates, safety latches, cover for sockets, baby-proofing supplies can come in handy to ferret-proof your home. They are also safer and more secure than any DIY hack you plan to use.
4. Be Wary of Hideaway Places
Ferrets love resting in cozy corners and dark spaces. Most of the time, these spots are places you don’t want your ferret to go to. These include cabinets, vents, closets, space under the furniture, and even inside your appliances.
Due to their size, one might easily miss the ferret that’s hiding in these areas. Consequently, this mistake could lead to accidents.
For instance, your guest might sit on an armchair that already has a ferret hidden beneath the cushions. Or, you may turn on the washer only to find your ferret inside.
Not to forget the fact that ferret can create lots of mess if they find their way into the kitchen cabinets. So always double-check those spaces to make sure your pet is out of danger.
What’s more, keep your pet away from high tables, bookshelves, and tall furniture. It will ensure that they don’t fall off and hurt themselves while attempting to climb on top of the furniture.
5. The Hoarder’s Den
Guess what? Ferrets are hoarders just like their fellow furry friends― squirrels and chipmunks.
Hoarding is a part of their instinct to create nests. It’s why your ferret will most likely take its favorite toys, food, and other items to its cage. Or you will find a little hideout place where all these items stocked up, away from prying eyes.
The problem is that ferrets don’t only take their things when their hoarding supplies. They tend to collect treasures that could belong to you.
Therefore, you should keep important items out of their reach when you ferret-proof your home. Be sure to lock away jewelry, smart devices, and other precious possessions you want to keep safe from the ferret.
Pro tip: Take disciplinary actions like time-outs when you find that your ferret has taken your stuff. It will ensure that they know that hoarding your things will not be rewarded.
6. Minimize Mishaps
Ferrets have a habit of chewing everything they can get their hands on. Oftentimes, they will try to put unusual objects into their mouths solely out of curiosity. This includes stuffing from sofas, power cords, buttons, plastic pieces, toy parts, and leftovers tossed in the bin.
Unsurprisingly, their unattended eating habits often result in health issues like intestinal blockages, choking, and breathing difficulties.
Is there a way to control their chewing?
Careful training and discipline can minimize this misbehavior, though this will take time. For an immediate solution, you should make sure to clear out the room before playtime. Also, keep a watchful eye on your ferret when it is out and about.
Besides this, you can:
- Place protective covering on your cables and cords.
- Don’t let your ferret play with toys that have small construction parts.
- Avoid keeping plants that are poisonous for your little buddy.
- Stop your ferret from tinkering with things that might break apart.
- Lock your medicine cabinets and other storage spaces that contain cleaning supplies (or other chemicals) that your pet may try to drink.
Ways to ferret proof your house
7. Ground Rules on Socializing
Ferrets are super sociable and affectionate creatures. Many pet shops advise you to get more than one ferret so they can keep each other company. Their social skills, however, vary when it comes to other pets.
Numerous factors influence their interactions with other pets. Firstly, their small size may cause them to become prey when they meet a larger pet (e.g. dog or cat). The power play between the pets could cause your ferret to feel distressed.
On the contrary, your ferret’s predator instincts might kick-in if the other animal is smaller. So be wary of rough play between your pets during playtime.
Or better yet, restrict their interactions as much as possible and never keep them in the same room unsupervised. These precautions will ensure that your furry friends don’t end up harming each other when they are alone.
What’s more, if you live in a dorm, stay with your family, or have a live-in partner, then you need to spread the word. Inform them of the changes you have made in the house, things they shouldn’t do, and important ferret facts. Additionally, immediately notify them of your ferret’s whereabouts when you take it out of the cage. It’ll help them stay out of the way if they are not fond of ferrets.
Pro tip: You can share flyers containing the required information to ensure that everyone is aware of the new house rules.
8. Home Base
Lastly, your inquisitive pets are easier to manage if you can restrict their movements. We advise you to set up a home base for your ferret. Make sure to purchase a large cage that allows them to move around when they aren’t resting.
Besides this, you should:
- Create a sleeping station for them by using soft materials for bedding (e.g. newspapers, wooden pellets, recycled paper).
- Give them some ferret-friendly toys to play with.
- Place a litter box or two when you start litter training.
- Maintain a proper temperature inside the cage (50-80ºF).
- Keep a bowl filled with water and some food too.
Apart from this, make sure that the cage is locked to prevent your ferret from escaping.
Let’s Sum It Up…
On the whole, there are many practical ways to ferret-proof your house. You need to figure out which ones work for you. Also, consult a vet or ferret care expert while making these arrangements. They’ll guide you further on how to create a safe and friendly environment for the new arrival.
All the best!