First off I am by no means trying to discourage anyone from ferret ownership, but to help those considering ferret ownership make an educated decision. There are far too many ferrets in shelters across Canada & the United States and beyond.
If you do feel you are ready to be owned by a ferret you should always consider adopting a ferret from a shelter rather than purchasing one from a pet store.
For those considering a Ferret;
1. Are ferrets legal in your city, province/state, or country? (see Do your laws allow ferrets?)
Some states may not have specific laws against ferret ownership, however the counties within the state may. Please refer to the section “Do your Laws allow them”.
2. Will you be able to afford to pay for high quality food, supplies and with $1000.00 or more for medical bills?
Ferrets are very expensive to own, this is one common reason ferrets are surrendered to our shelter, owners cannot afford the medical bills.
Ferrets can suffer from a variety of health conditions (cancer, ECE, adrenal disease, respiratory infections, injuries, gastrointestinal blockages, etc)
3. Are you a patient person?
If you are someone with a short fuse and little patience, ferret ownership is probably not for you, owning a ferret can be like having a two year old child. Ferrets are very intelligent, persistent, & curious animals who will try to get into everything, especially things they are not supposed to.
4. Do you have at least 3 hours per day free for supervised out of the cage ‘ferret play time’ and additional time for going on walks, grooming, and cage cleaning?
If a ferret is left alone for long periods of time, or is never let out of the cage it will become depressed, stressed or ill. If you are someone who is out of the home a lot or one who travels for work often a ferret may not be the right pet for you. Ferrets are very social animals and need at least three hours of “out of cage” play time each day.
5. Will you be able to provide constant supervision for your ferret as well as if you have young children ? Will you be able to help with the care of the ferret ?
Children, especially very young ones, have difficulty understanding how to properly treat animals. Small children have a tendency to pull, grab, squeeze and drop small animals without realizing they can hurt them. This can lead to injuries to the ferret, or the ferret may possibly nip the child out of fear.
6. Will it bother you or would you want want to get rid of the ferret if he/she gets into everything, damages a carpet by scratching, or goes to the bathroom on your carpet or on the floor ? (if the answer is YES, DO NOT get a ferret)
Ferrets like to hide things. If you leave items around such as the tv remote, shoes, socks, keys, kitchen items, etc where ferrets can reach them, the items will usually end up in their favourite hiding place. Be prepared for litter box accidents, drinks getting knocked over, potted plants being dug into, toys and other objects showing up under the couch or bed.
If a ferret with intact anal scent glands is very frightened, it can release a foul odor. However, unlike a skunk, the odor does not linger as long and it does not smell as bad.
7. Are you willing to make changes to your home to protect your ferret and your belongings ?
Ferret proofing your home is a must as there are many dangers that can be found within the home. Later we will post steps to ferret proofing your home.
8. Do you have other pets at home that your ferret may not get along with or that may be dangerous to them?
Ferrets can get along with some other domesticated pets, mainly cats and some breeds of dogs. It usually works best when they have been raised together. Please use extreme caution and constant supervision when introducing a ferret to another pet.
NEVER leave your ferret alone with birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, chinchillas or reptiles. Ferrets will usually consider them food.
The decision to adopt or purchase a ferret (or any other pet for that matter) should be a careful one. Ferrets do bond with their owners and become stressed when separated from them.
Always consider adopting a ferret from a ferret shelter.
Older ferrets are a good choice for first time ferret owners, as they are less hyperactive and may already be trained. Baby ferrets (kits) require a lot of training, patience and time from their owners. It’s best to think of it as a 6 to 10 year commitment. Don’t act impulsively.