Ferrets, like most pets, are playful and quite friendly. However, before you go ahead and adopt one, you should be aware that these small creatures are energetic. They might require a lot of exercises and play to burn excess energy. Below, I am going to outline ways of playing with ferrets.
Before I got to bring our ferret home, I visited the store several times to observe and learn more about ferrets. One thing for sure is that ferrets are intelligent and curious. As with most pets with this quality, they tend to get bored quite fast.
It is only fair to play and engage with your ferret. After all, all they do all day is sit and move around their cages. Understand that ferrets need about 2-4 hours of playing outside the cage. However, they are less demanding as you can keep a ferret even when you have a 9-5 kind of job.
During this time, you need to have a plan of how you will be playing with your ferret. I am going to give you a simple guide on how to play with ferrets right away.
What kind of games do ferrets enjoy playing?
While owning a pet is such a great thing, it also gives us the responsibility to look after them. Let me back up a little and say that domestication takes away the natural way of life for our pets. This is not a bad thing as on the other hand, we protect our pets from the harsh living conditions out there.
For this reason, we have to make it as comfortable as possible for them to live with us. Ferrets will enjoy playing with you or with his toys. Given their intelligence and curious nature, there are multiple games that you can enjoy with your ferret.
Without much hesitation, let us discuss 7 types of games that ferrets enjoy playing:
Chase and catch
This is one of the ferrets’ favorite games. He is going to love it when you chase after him and catch him. He will engage in the game by doing the same. Sometimes your ferret will initiate this game by running to you and back, waiting for you to catch him.
Not only is this game fun but also physically stimulating. By running around, back and forth, he will be burning all the excessive energy that he might be having. Besides, is there a better way to bond with your ferret?
Because ferrets can escape while playing, I suggest that you ferret-proof your house. Restrict him from accessing the entire house, and especially where he can destroy your stuff. Set up his playing and exercise area before you let him out of his cage.
Make a maze for your ferret
Earlier on, I mentioned that ferrets are quite intelligent. For this reason, you need mental exercises to keep him stimulated. There is no better way to keep a ferret occupied and entertained than challenging his mental capacity.
A maze toy is going to work wonders to challenge his ability. You can purchase a maze toy for small animals and set it up for him to explore before you head out to work. To make it more fun, I always put in a few treats in the maze. It stimulates our ferret and also keeps him happy.
Alternatively, you can make a maze using cardboard boxes. Make it interesting by increasing the difficulty every time he figures it out.
Buy remote control toys
Ferrets enjoy playing stimulating games. Well, sometimes he needs something different other than you running around with him. It would also make it easy and fun for you to sit and watch him chase a remote control car.
I cannot help but emphasize on how intelligent ferrets are. This makes them curious and they are always looking to learn new things. A remote control toy, such as a car provides a great opportunity to test his intelligence. Also, you can use it for physical exercise.
Once you let your ferret out of his cage, you should start playing around with the toy to get your ferret’s attention. Once he sees the lights and the movements, you will have him engaged, chasing the toy.
If you own multiple ferrets, then playing with a remote control toy is going to be fun for both you and them. It provides both mental and physical stimulation for your ferrets.
Get tunneling toys
Burrowing is just but a natural trait of ferrets. They enjoy digging in their natural habitat. However, there might not be much to dig in a domestic home. Well, if your ferret wants to dig, I suggest you provide a sandbox.
Alternatively, you can purchase tunneling toys for him. There are excellent because you can also engage with him while playing with it. For instance, a tunneling toy provides the perfect opportunity to play peek-a-boo.
When he gets in, peep at him through the tunnels and watch him try to escape. It is actually a very interactive game once you get the hang of it. Providing these toys or a sandbox will need his urge to dig around.
Ferrets enjoy playing hide and seek
Do you want to find out how intelligent ferrets are? Try playing hide and seek with him. You can do this using two ways: you can hide his toys or you can hide and let him find you. Both ways are just as stimulating.
Take your ferret’s favorite toys and hide it somewhere he can reach. And because these creatures are extremely intelligent, they will find it every time. You can challenge him by hiding in new places that he hasn’t explored yet.
Alternatively, you can hide and let him find you instead. Call his name and leave him to find you. You will be surprised at how fast your ferret can find you. It is also a great way to bond with your pet ferret.
Engage in a tug-of-war
This is probably one of the most famous games to play with a ferret. You will need to purchase a rope toy from the pet store. Alternatively, you can use a towel in the place of a rope. Wave the latter in front of your ferret to get his attention.
Once he sees the moving towel or rope, you will have all his attention now. Since he likes to join in on everything you do, he will pull to take it from you. This is exactly what you want him to do. However, be careful not to let him bite so close to your fingers. Of course, you do not want him biting you with his sharp teeth.
Pull gently from him and he will certainly pull back. You can play with him for several minutes as you pull and let him pull back. It is a simple exercise but ferrets love playing this game.
Throw and fetch a ball
As with dogs, a tennis ball can do a lot to play with your ferret. Purchase a tennis ball for your ferret to throw and let him fetch. I must mention that it is not always that your ferret is going to oblige. However, when he does, it can become his favorite game to play.
Be gentle when playing with your ferret. The last thing you want is to hurt him. Throw the ball gently and watch him fetch it and bring it back to you. Reward him every time he gets the ball. Do not punish him when he fails to bring the latter back to you.
Now, besides playing games with your ferret, there are other things that you must do to keep your ferret happy. Understand that if your ferret is unhappy, he will become depressed and sometimes aggressive.
What else can you do to ensure that your ferret is always happy? Below, I am going to outline several tips to keep your ferret happy and healthy.
How to keep my ferret happy
Playing, feeding and living with our pets brings about quite a satisfying feeling. However, in order to live peacefully, we must ensure that this feeling is mutual. Your ferret should be happy and content while living with you.
Below, I am going to give you a few tips that actually work to ensure that your ferret remains happy the whole time.
Provide food and clean water
This goes without saying. To keep your ferret happy, you must provide enough food and water. Unlike dogs or cats, ferrets have rather a quick metabolism rate. It means that he will digest foods a little faster.
For the above-stated reason, you cannot, therefore, feed him less than 8 times in a day. I suggest that you purchase a multi-level ferret cage. This way, you can leave several bowls of food and clean water at your ferret’s disposal.
Clean his cage often
Cleaning your ferret’s cage every week is essential. While these creatures remain adorable, they can get quite messy in the cage, especially with his food. I suggest that you tie his bowl to the cage to keep it from tipping over and spilling foods all over.
Set a schedule and clean his cage at least once a week. Be careful not to use strongly scented detergents that may irritate your ferret. However, you must clean his cage to remove all the dirt and also prevent your ferret from getting ill.
Also, as you think about cleaning the cage, do not forget the litter boxes. You should scoop the litter boxes every day, if not after each use. This will keep you and your ferret comfortable. After all, you do not want your house smelling of ferret poop.
Take him to the vet’s office at least once a month
If you want your ferret happy, you must keep him healthy. Generally speaking, ferrets are absolutely healthy. If kept in a good environment, he will not get sick often. This should not keep you from taking him to the vet for a check-up.
Furthermore, you will catch any diseases early, if your ferret has regular check-ups with the vet. As I mentioned above, once we adopt pets, we assume the responsibility to ensure they are healthy.
Your vet should be able to rule out any medical illnesses and treat your ferret is he is ill.
Get plenty of toys in his cage
While playing with ferrets makes up for the lonely time we leave them alone, it is not enough. Provide as many toys as you can to keep your ferret busy. You will need to keep him occupied during the day when you are away at work.
There is a different type of toys that you can get from the pet store. Your ferret will, of course, choose his favorite toys. However, if you notice that your ferret has started going to bed with his favorite toys, it could be that he is feeling a little anxious or stressed.
Ferrets that are not getting enough play might exhibit this character. It is therefore important that you set aside some time to play and exercise your ferret.
Join in his weasel war-dance
This is one of my favorites! When you come home, your ferret can hear you coming in. He is excited that after a long day you have come home. You will notice him dancing, going around and around with excitement. It is a weasel war-dance.
You can simply join in the celebrations to make him happy. It is a way to show them that you are as happy as they are for seeing you.
Ferrets enjoy playing with their owners. It is the only way that you can connect and bond with your ferret. This is especially if you live alone with him. Remember that he will be at home all day, as you go about your business. When you get home, it is only fair to allow him some time to play and bond with him.
The games you play with your ferret should be engaging and at the same time gentle. Take time to study your ferret and you will realize his favorite games. Above, we have discussed the games to play with your ferret as well as how to keep him happy.
For more mental stimulation, I suggest you start training your ferret. Start with simple training such as how to sit, shake hands or even beg for a treat. However, you must tackle these tricks one by one.
Training a pet will need you to be patient and consistent throughout the entire process. Within a few weeks, your ferret will have learned one or two tricks.