Ferret Care Necessities. What You Need
You have already made plans to bring a ferret home, and I guess you are excited about it. However, you must be aware of what you will need to have it smooth with your new friend. I am writing this post to guide you on ferret care necessities from day one onwards.
Ferrets, as we all may know, are small, but very social animals. You are going to have a calm and happy evening playing with your ferret. Now, before you go ahead to bring your ferret home, I would like to outline a list of the necessities to take care of him.
- pet carrier
- Ferret cage
- Food and water bowls
- Litter boxes and litter
- Ferret food
- Hygiene products
- A harness and leash
Ferret Care Necessities
Well, you are going to need a pet carrier to bring your ferret home. Usually, a cat carrier will do well to carry a ferret as well. Well, it would be a driving hazard to have a ferret running and jumping all over in the car.
A pet carrier will keep your pet contained during the trip home. Besides, you will need it later for those regular visits to the vet, or generally traveling with your ferret. However, you must not keep him in the carrier when you get home.
I mean, a carrier is much smaller and made for transporting pets only.
This is one of the most important ferret care necessities. I advise ferret owners to refrain from letting their ferrets run freely in the house. Not only can they damage your items but can sneak out and that will be it. It is difficult to get your ferret back after losing him outdoors.
Furthermore, a ferret will spend most of his life in his cage. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you get a spacious and comfortable cage. Nevertheless, you will need to get your ferret out of the cage for play and exploration each day.
Well, what kind of a cage should you get? This depends on your preference since there are varieties of ferret cages to choose from. For a single ferret, you should get a spacious one. When I talk about spacious cages, I mean it should fit food and water bowls, a litter box and a place to sleep.
If you can, you can also get a multi-level cage. It will allow you to have multiple food stations and extra space for a ferret bed. Also, if you have two ferrets, a multi-level cage is going to be exciting for both of them.
Setting up a ferret cage
Well, you will need to place the cage in the house. Given than ferrets are heavy sleepers, I suggest you look for a quiet area of the house to place his cage. Understand that it is going to be a safe space for your ferret.
It should also be a bit darker than the rest parts of the house. You should not allow direct sunlight to get to the cage, nor the night lights. Too much exposure to light will aid the production of adrenal hormones despite having spayed your fuzzy friend.
For the record, ferrets can get stressed even if they are considered to be non-neurotic. I urge you to place his cage in a low traffic area, especially if there are other people in your household. The ferret cage should feel fun, cozy and safe for your ferret.
Food and water bowls
Now, once you have the ferret cage in place, you should install a feeding station. As I mentioned above, you should have a spacious cage for your ferret. It should fit a food and water bowls. Now, when getting these, I advise you to go for the ceramic made bowls.
The bowls should be heavy to keep your ferret from tipping them over and spilling food. Also, I encourage you to tie the bowls to the walls of the cage. This way, your ferret will not be able to tip the bowl over. Well, these fuzzy creatures can be quite messy with their food.
A water bowl can work but then again, ferrets can swim. You most definitely do not want your ferret in the drinking water bowl. Not only can it lead to contamination but also contribute to the musky ferret smell in the house.
I suggest you go for a water bottle for pets instead. Your ferret will have a constant supply of clean water and will not get a chance to tamper with it.
Litter box and Ferret Litter
A litter box is also an important aspect of caring for ferrets. Well, the good news about owning one of these creatures is that they are extremely intelligent. And thus, you will only spend a few days litter training your ferrets.
Let’s talk about the litter box to get for your ferret. Since ferrets are small with short legs, it is impossible for them to climb into a high litter box. A ferret litter box should, therefore, have an entrance side that is lower. The other side should be higher to avoid accidents in the cage.
I understand that ferrets have a lot in common with cats. However, this does not include litter. In most scenarios, cat litter will be made of clay, which means it can be dusty. Ferrets are prone to developing respiratory issues and clay-based litter will cause problems.
On the other hand, you should purchase a paper-based litter for your ferret. It is dust-free, absorbent and non-clumping. Most paper-based litter will also have odor absorbing properties.
Ferrets will sleep for 18-22 hours a day. This means that they will spend most of their lives asleep. You will, therefore, need to make a comfortable place for him to sleep. There are several types of ferret beddings that you can go for.
Hammocks have worked well for my ferrets. Well, a closed hammock is perfect for a ferret because they can burrow themselves in the dark hammock and sleep it off. A ferret can sleep for 6 hours and wake up to eat and play for an hour before going back to sleep.
Alternatively, you can use blankets or old T-shirts as bedding for your ferret. To make it comfortable, I insist on putting some litter beddings. Well, ferrets lovemaking sleeping nests out of fabrics. Go for a fleece blanket.
The most common question from new ferret owners always has something to do with diet. Ferrets are strictly carnivorous. They eat meat; food high in protein and fats. While it is not always that you will find ferret food in the local pet store, you can always order some online.
Note that ferrets will need to feed more often than most pets. It is not easy to have a feeding schedule in place. In most cases, you will have to leave a lot of food in the bowls, especially if you are going to be away from home.
For this reason, it is safe to say that ferrets are heavy feeders. And the best way to feed a ferret is to free-feed them. Leave enough food for him in his bowl to eat when he is hungry.
Well, let us talk about the natural ferret diet. In the wild, ferrets will hunt small animals for food, including mice, rabbits, rats, and other rodents. Sometimes they eat birds, amphibians and even reptiles.
At home, however, they do not enjoy the privilege of hunting down prey. Therefore, we must talk about the perfect ferret diet.
What do ferrets eat?
As I mentioned above, ferrets are obligate carnivores. You will be able to buy ferret food online to keep you going for a few weeks. Whether dry or canned, ferret food is comprised of chicken or lamb, basically made from meat.
Should you have no access to ferret food immediately, you may go for high-quality cat food. However, I must say that you need to be careful. Read through the ingredient list to ensure that the food does not contain harmful contents such as onions and garlic.
You can also choose to go natural and feed him with raw foods. For instance, you may talk to your local butcher to get you pieces of animal organs. Refrigerate them before feeding them to your ferret. A raw diet is nutritious for ferrets as long as it has no additives or contamination.
Some ferret owners will also feed raw frozen prey such as chicks or mice. It has to be pre-killed prior to giving it to your pet ferret.
While talking about ferret care necessities, we cannot leave out grooming products. You will need to bathe your ferret once a month and clean his ears as well. Purchase a gentle shampoo for bathing him. You can find kitten shampoo and ear cleaner in the local pet store.
You must also purchase a soft brush to groom him occasionally. Also, do not forget to get a nail clipper for your ferret. It is crucial to clip his nails every two weeks to keep him neat and prevent him from damaging items with his powerful claws.
Note that you cannot bathe your ferret too often. It will make him lose his skin oil, leading to his sebaceous glands overworking which can lead to a nasty musky smell in your house. Restrict the number of times to bathe him to once a month. If you are afraid that he is too dirty, you can wipe him with a washcloth without dipping him in the water.
Harness and leash
Earlier, I mentioned that ferrets need some time out of the cage. While ferret proofing your house will do, it is also important to have a leash and harness. This way, you can ensure that your ferret is under supervision during play or when you are washing his cage.
Besides, ferrets also appreciate a few minutes’ walks and exposure to the outside world. A leash will enable you to go for a walk without the fear of losing your ferret.
Ferrets are playful and intelligent. Getting them appropriate toys will keep them occupied and happy at the same time. Some of the toys that ferrets seem to enjoy include tunnels, stuffed animals and maze puzzles.
Ferrets are great pets to keep. However, just as with other pets, you will need to care for your ferrets. The above-discussed items are some of the necessities you will need to purchase to get started.