What Is A Domestic Ferret?
- A small furry mammal of the mustelid (not rodent) family whose size ranges from 1 to 5 pounds.
- An animal derived from the Steppe and European polecats and domesticated over 3000 years ago by the Egyptians, long before the house cat.
- Only distantly related to the endangered American Black Footed Ferret (Mustela Nigripes).
What does my ferret need to take him home?
- A carrier for car travel home and to the veterinarian's office.
- A roomy, well ventilated cage with a solid floor, and with more than one level preferred. (never use an aquarium to house a ferret)
- A litter box with newspaper pellets or wood stove pellets.
- Food in a heavy, non-tip food dish, and water, in a heavy non-tip dish or bottle for the side of the cage.
- Some bedding. For example, a cotton towel, old sweatshirt, or hammock to curl up and sleep in. never use cedar or pine shavings, they can cause respiratory illness.
What should I feed my ferret?
- A dry ferret specialty kibble, or cat/kitten food with at least 20% fat and 32% meat or poultry protein. Popular foods include Totally Ferret, 8-in-1 Ultimate, Wysong, and IAMS Kitten. Make sure there are no peas listed in the ingredients.
- Ferrets need to eat every few hours so food and water should always be available.
What care does my ferret need?
- Introductory canine distemper shots, usually at 6, 8, 12, and 16 weeks; rabies (NEVER a modified live virus vaccine) at 12 weeks; then rabies and distemper annually. Consult your vet for exact schedules for shots.
- Twice monthly nail clipping and ear cleaning, and regular tooth brushing.
- LOTS of 'out of cage' playtime each and every day.
- Weekly treatment to prevent hair balls and pass obstructions.
- If your ferret is unusually inactive or stops eating for more than a day, consult your veterinarian immediately.
How do I protect my ferret?
- Ferrets cannot tolerate temperatures over 80-90F and overheat very quickly. Never leave a ferret alone in a car, even for a moment.
- Ferrets are extremely curious and sometimes will chew or eat things that can cause problems. Be especially careful of pencil erasers, balloons, rubber bands, and Styrofoam.
- Dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators, and other large household appliances can quickly kill a curious ferret who wanders into or under them.
- Ferrets like to explore. Loose window screens and any small opening can easily result in an unwelcome adventure for a ferret and his/her owner who is not watching carefully. 'Ferret proofing' is best carried out by a ferret and owner working as a team to carefully ferret out and seal off these hidden hazards.
Fun things to buy for my ferret:
- Ferretone vitamin supplement for an occasional treat, such as when doing nails. Salmon oil can be used instead of Ferretone.
- A comfy sleeping hammock to hang in his/her cage.
- A ferret tent, or basket to provide some privacy while sleeping.
- A ferret harness (Must be an H-type body harness) and leash for walking in the warmer weather.
- A ferret carry sack to carry your ferret around with you.
- Ferret tubes and tunnels in which to play.
- Another ferret to sleep with and to be a best friend.