Ferrets are domestic animals related to the family of weasels, skunks, and minks. Ferret owners describe their pets as being between dogs and cats in treatment and they have become a popular pet. They resemble a “fur covered slinky”.
Why Do Ferrets Make Good Pets?
Ferrets are little clowns. They are very playful, will come when called, travel well, don’t bark or meow, cage easily, and can be litter box trained. They are very inquisitive little critters, which can sometimes get them into trouble.
What’s The Catch?
Like other animals, they require a lot of care and training. They are “higher maintenance” than cats. They love to get into everything and can hurt themselves and your possessions. They love to burrow, chew, and dig, so it is very important to ferret-proof your home.
Most ferrets get along reasonably well with cats and dogs, though you need to watch closely. Likewise, small children and ferrets, both of which are very excitable, can sometimes be a dangerous combination.
Where To Get A Ferret?
What To Look For?
Many pet stores sell ferrets. There is no consistent personality difference between a neutered male and a female. The males are generally larger. Adults may be a bit calmer but may have already acquired bad habits. Kits are very cute but require a little more care and training.
It is best to purchase a ferret which has already been fixed and descented. Breeding is best left to experts. Females which are not fixed can develop a fatal bleeding problem if they go into heat and are not bred.
What Should I Feed My Ferret?
Ferrets are strict carnivores. The key ingredient in the diet is animal protein. Look for chicken or poultry. The food should have at least 32% protein and animal protein should be listed first in the ingredients.
Because of the high protein requirement, ferrets up to three or four years should be fed kitten food or a “growth” food. After that, switch to a regular cat version.
Ferrets are very prone to dental disease, so dry food is best. Unless your pet is overweight, you can keep the bowl full and let him nibble at his leisure.
What Vaccinations Will My Ferret Need?
Canine Distemper This is a 100% fatal disease in ferrets. Kits require three shots – i. e. 6-8 weeks of age, 10-12 weeks of age, and 14-16 weeks of age. A yearly booster is then needed.
Ferrets are required by law to have a yearly rabies vaccination. Kits can receive this vaccine at three months of age.
What Types of Checkups Should My Ferret Have?
Ferrets have a shorter life-span than dogs and cats (average is 5-8 years of age). They should be given a yearly examination until age 4 and then twice yearly examinations are recommended because of the high incidence of metabolic disease and cancer in older animals.
What Will I Need To Care For My Ferret?
Litter Box – Usually at least two small ones.
Cage – Many people keep their ferrets in a cage whenever they can’t be supervised. It is also a help in litter-training. Wire mesh cages work well. Have a small box or basket in the cage for his bed. Other than food, water, a litter pan and a bedding area, what you put in the cage is up to you. Just be sure anything you put in can’t hurt him.
Fresh Food and Water
Love – Ferrets enjoy playing and cuddling so be sure you have plenty of time for them.