View Full Version : Ferrets - Thinking about maybe getting one?

01-10-2007, 04:42 PM
Are there any experienced ferret owners here? I handled a few today for the first time and I loved them! I've been doing quite a bit of reading about them online today also! I really want all the advice and knowledge I can get before making a decision on whether or not to get one!


01-10-2007, 04:47 PM
:) Well Kim alot of my friends have ferrets & with their cats && state all does well together.. The ones I have been around were just like cats with needing litter boxs & climbing furniture & toys & of course Love.. I often thought I would like one..

01-10-2007, 04:53 PM
:) Well Kim alot of my friends have ferrets & with their cats && state all does well together.. The ones I have been around were just like cats with needing litter boxs & climbing furniture & toys & of course Love.. I often thought I would like one..

That's what I've pretty much found out too! They seem like they would be like having a playful kitten almost! I think my kitties would love to play with one! I already have a couple of ferret cages, that I used for my rescue kittens. Of course, it could get out and play alot too, but from what I have read, they can get into a lot of mischief! :p

Queen of Poop
01-10-2007, 05:03 PM
Ferrets are wonderful little fur babies. I had 4 of them and don't regret it for a minute. BUT....

You have to be prepared for the many diseases that they get. Their health care is VERY costly.

My experience:

Rascal - needed ear surgery after playing too rough, $200. He was a bad biter and left us with many wounds. He died at 2 years of age from a stomach hemmorhage - no cause found.

Trouble - had 2 ultrasounds at $400 each, determined at the age of 4 that he had adrenal gland disease that was inoperable. Medicated him for 10 months at $70 per month. He had to be put to sleep after the 10 months because his prostate grew so large that he could not potty.

Miko - had $1000 hairball surgery to remove a hairball that was 3 inches long. 6 months after this surgery he had another $1000 surgery because his wee body had blown up like a ballon. They removed 3 cups of blood from his body cavity and took numerous biopsies. He had cancer that made his blood vessels leak blood. He died 10 days after the second surgery. He was 5 years old.

Sebastian - 2 weeks after Trouble died Sebastian was diagnosed with Adrenal gland disease. Imagine my horror. He had $1000 surgery to remove both of his adrenal glands. His recovery did not go well and he had to be put on steriods, he also gave up on his ferret kibble and would only eat chicken soup. He got a bit better, but a year after his surgery he started going bald again. Apparently adrenal tissue can grow back. So we started the lupron shots at $135 a month because he was a large ferret. This went on for 1 year, in that time we also tried him on Melatonin at $70. This did not work either. And this past December I had to make the decision to let him go. I still cry for him and miss him terribly.

I am not trying to convince you to not get a ferret, I'd get one again in a minute but my heart is too broken right now, but this is what I went thru and if I didn't tell you I'd be negligent.

01-10-2007, 06:23 PM
YIKES! I see that one of them lived to be 2 years and one 5 years ... how old were the others before they had these major medical problems? The guy at the pet store said they could live to be 10 years old .... 2 and 5 doesn't sound like a very good record! :(

I appreciate your honesty, that's why I have asked on this thread! I want to know all of the pros and cons and be well-informed before I make this decision! ;)

01-10-2007, 07:44 PM
a few years ago we had a ferret. She was a biter while little but outgrew it with discipline. She played like a kitten and was very affectionate. She was a ball to have and a joy. Unfortunately they are plagued with health problems.

Yes a ferret can live 10 years but it is rare. Ferrets unfortunately are breed on ferret farms. These are like puppy mills. And the health problem come from years of this type of breeding.

Ivory was 4 when she was diagnosed with Lympho-Sarcoma. She spent 5 months on meds and then stopped responding after several increases. We sadly had to let her got at 4 1/2 years old. But like Gayle I too would have another ferret in a heartbeat. They are truly a joy. Wonderful little babies.

critter crazy
01-10-2007, 07:47 PM

Is a ferret right for you?

The decision to add a ferret to your family must never be made on impulse. Prospective owners are encouraged to learn everything they can before deciding to purchase. To many people, ferrets make the perfect pet, but as with cats and dogs and birds and iguanas etc.., ferrets are not for everyone. Please, for the sake of the ferret, consider the following information before you make a decision.

Most unwanted ferrets are bought from pet stores which do not provide their customers with adequate information. This leads new owners to become "disconnected" from their new companion and doomed to failure from the start. These people become frustrated with their ferret and either give it away to someone else who has no knowledge of ferrets or they abandon it to a Humane Society. Even worse, many ferrets are locked in cages for the rest of their lives, completely isolated from human interaction while others are simply dumped outdoors to fend for themselves. Please remember, ferrets cannot survive in the wild and will die within days if not found.

Anyone who sells ferrets should have knowledge and in-depth experience with ferrets of all ages. Only people who have lived with ferrets can offer advice on keeping ferrets. Sales clerks in pet stores who have never lived with a ferret cannot offer personal advice or answer questions regarding ferret behavior.

Ferrets are not a child's pet nor a bedroom pet.

Parents should not consider buying a ferret for a child unless it is a wanted pet by the entire family. Too often ferrets are given away because "the thrill" has worn off for the child and the parents have no interest in the animal. It is our belief that no child is mature enough to care for another creature's daily needs. Sooner or later the child will fail in his or her duties and the parent's threat to get rid of the animal will be carried out. As with all animals, children must be supervised when playing with ferrets.

Are you willing to meet the financial obligations?

As with any animal, the cost of upkeep will far exceed the initial cost. You must be prepared to supply your ferret with premium cat food and a good quality litter. Ferrets require annual trips to the veterinary clinic for a check-up and a distemper shot (canine distemper is 100% fatal in ferrets).

As with all animals, ferrets are susceptible to certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dental disease, pneumonia and colds, to name a few. It is important to take time out each day to observe your pet's physical condition and behavior. Any changes in your ferret's health should be dealt with promptly. Intestinal blockages in ferrets are serious and can lead to death if surgery is not performed. Would you be willing to provide your ferret with the necessary medical care should expensive surgery be required?

Do you have time for a ferret?

Ferrets are delightful, social creatures who crave human attention. They must not be confined to a cage without the opportunity for exercise and interaction with you at least twice a day for several hours. You must be prepared to make adjustments in your daily life to accommodate the needs of your ferret. If you do not allow your ferret the exercise and companionship that it needs on a daily basis, it will become unhappy and stressed and will suffer from physiological and mental problems.

Are you willing to house your ferrets properly?

Ferrets do not mind being housed in a cage as long as they are allowed out for daily regular exercise. A proper cage is a must and should be big enough to hold a large litter box, food and water dishes and plenty of room for bedding. (Rabbit cages are too small for ferrets). On the other hand, an ideal living arrangement for ferrets is to house them in a small ferret-proofed room. This does not mean that they should be confined to the room for their entire existence. Ferrets are people-oriented. They must have human contact every day and become depressed when constantly left alone. They must be allowed to run and romp with you at least twice a day.

All areas where ferrets are allowed to play must be ferret-proofed.

Most ferrets love the company of other ferrets and will spend hours chasing and wrestling each other. Says one ferret owner, "I can't imagine having only one ferret. In fact, even though many sources say that one ferret alone will be very happy if you give it attention, compared to the fun of two (or three) can have, a single ferret owner is missing out big time. In fact the tactics used by ferrets when three of them are playing at the same time are quite amusing. (Probably because of the amount of backstabbing used). " Writes an experienced ferret fancier, "I have maintained for many, many years that the worst number of ferrets one could have in terms of demand on your time and patience is one. "

Although some books indicate that an adult ferret will accept another after a short adjustment period, our experience has shown that this is not always the case. Some ferrets, when introduced to each other, become friends immediately, yet for others it takes weeks and even months of patience on the part of the humans before the ferrets will accept each other. In other cases, some ferrets will simply never learn to accept another. The bottom line is that it is much easier to integrate ferrets when they are younger rather than later after one has established territory.

If you are away from home all day, a pair of ferrets will keep each other company.

General information

Ferrets are part of the Mustelidae family - their relatives include otters, minks, weasels and ermines. Unlike other members of their family, ferrets are not wild animals. In fact, ferrets have been so thoroughly domesticated that their ability to survive in the wild is virtually non-existent. They are intelligent, curious and joyful animals who love to run and romp and play throughout their entire lives. The males generally weigh 3-4 pounds and the females 1-3 pounds. Their average life span is 5-7 years. Ferrets spend 18-20 hours a day sleeping regardless of their age. For this reason they make perfect pets for people who are not home during the day. Many people who are allergic to cats and dogs will find that they are not allergic to ferrets.


Because ferrets have a high metabolic rate and eat 9-10 small meals a day, food and a constant supply of fresh water must be made available at all times. Water is essential as ferrets are prone to dehydration. The bulk of a ferret's diet should include a premium quality low ash dry cat food. Cow's milk should not be given as it will cause diarrhea. (Lactose-reduced milk can be given in small quantities and is especially good for older ferrets). All ferrets love Ferretone but it should be given in moderation, a few drops a day because it is a vitamin supplement. Linatone is not recommended as it contains too much Vitamin A, which is toxic in large doses. Fruits and vegetables (including raisins) should be should be given only as an occasional treat; ferrets are not able to digest fiber. Dog biscuits broken into very small pieces can be given in limited quantities. Sweets and sugar should be avoided. Heavy ceramic dishes make the best containers for food and water as they cannot be easily overturned.

Note: Ferrets do not like pellet shaped 'ferret food' but will eat it if it is the only food made available. They prefer food which is flat-shaped which can be held in their mouths without rolling out giving them time to chew the food.

Neutering and Descenting

Along with the obvious reason to neuter or spay pets (i.e. to control the number of unwanted animals), ferrets require this procedure for health reasons. If females are not spayed they can develop uterine infections or aplastic anemia (caused by constant heats) which is usually lifethreatening. If males are not neutered they can become aggressive and are harder to litter train. Descenting is necessary because ferrets have anal scent glands which give off a strong odor. The odor of a descented ferret comes from oils in the skin. Neutering and descenting should be done at about six months of age.

Medical care

Canine distemper is 100% fatal in ferrets - the only protection is vaccination. Never assume because your ferret never goes outside that it cannot contact canine distemper. You can bring the virus into your home on your clothes, shoes, etc. and not even know it. Your ferret does not need to come in contact with another infected animal to contact the disease (as is the case with rabies). Ferrets should be vaccinated against the disease at 6-8 weeks and again at 10-12 weeks. Booster vaccinations must be given annually. Since your ferret lives indoors with the occasional excursion outdoors on a leash, there is very little chance of it being exposed to rabies. But should your ferret nip someone, its life could be on the line, not because of rabies but due to the overreaction of hysterical humans. The surest protection is a documented history of annual rabies vaccinations. All ferrets should have an annual check-up.


Ferrets should be housed in a ferret-proofed room or a proper sized cage at night or during the day when no one is home. It is of utmost importance to ferret-proof all areas where a ferret will be allowed to play. Ferret cages can be made of 1" welded wire mesh (never soldered) and should be large enough to provide adequate space for a litter box, sleeping area and food and water dishes (2' x 1 1/2'). Two doors are a must - one in the front and one on top to facilitate litter cleaning. The floor must be solid as ferrets' feet are not equipped to walking on a wire bottom. Ferrets love to burrow themselves in layers of soft blankets to sleep in (old sweatshirts are a favorite). Wood chips must never be used as they are hazardous to a ferret's health. It is a good idea to cover the outside of the cage with a large towel or blanket to prevent injuries caused from rough edges and this will also provide privacy. Ferrets do not object to sleeping in a cage as long as they are let out for play and exercise several times a day.

General Care

Ferrets should have their nails clipped about every three to four weeks. Regular nail clippers can be used or you can buy clippers designed for pets. Extreme care must be taken not to cut the veins (the red part). Ears can be cleaned periodically with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil. Ferrets ears are very complex and again care must be taken. Your veterinarian can clean your ferret's ears during its regular annual check-up. A bath is normally not required but should you feel it necessary, two or three times a year is more than enough. One should use ferret shampoo, and not overdo it, as too much bathing will dry out their skin. Ferrets shed only twice a year (in spring and in the fall when their coats change). These are good times to bathe to help prevent hairballs. Prevention is the key thing to dealing with hairballs since ferret do not vomit them up as cats do. Talk to your vet about a hairball remedy during shedding seasons. Brushing your ferret with a soft brush will also help. Hairballs in ferrets can lead to intestinal blockages which can result in life-saving surgery. It is therefore extremely important to make sure the hair your ferret swallows passes safely through the intestinal tract.

Taking ferrets outdoors

Ferrets cannot be permitted outdoors on their own. Because of their natural curiosity they may wander away and not be able to find their way home. Since they are domesticated, they are not equipped to deal with the outdoors. For this reason, they can be allowed outside but only when wearing a harness or leach. When traveling in a car, your ferret should be confined to a pet carrier so it does not distract the driver or end up under the brake pedal.

Ferrets and snow go very well together provided you have climatized them previously by continuing to take them outside as the weather slowly gets colder. The same cannot be said of hot weather, unfortunately in some cases it can kill a ferret. Taking the precautions outline in the below article will help protect your ferret. The frozen bottles of water (such as plastic pop bottles) should always be wrapped in a towel, sweatshirt, etc. to keep the ferret from direct contact.

Hot Ferret by Dick Bossart

With summer and hot, humid weather at hand, I'd like to clear up one misconception about keeping ferrets cool. A fan by itself will not cool a ferret. A fan merely blows air. It feels cool to a human because the air blowing over sweaty skin causes evaporation and evaporation causes cooling. Ferrets don't sweat, therefore blowing air over a ferret will not cool the ferret. There are a couple of things that you might try if you don't like the frozen water bottles. Blowing a fan over a pan of ice can blow the cold air around the ice over the ferret. If you put a bucket of water near the cage and drape a towel over the cage with one end of the towel in the bucket and aim the air from the fan at the wet towel, the moving air will evaporate the water and cool the air (if the air is not too humid). Personally, I like the idea of frozen water bottles - cheap, easy and the ferrets can curl up around them or not, depending on how they feel about it.

Discipline: Nose flicking - A Definite No No!

Several ferret books and many individuals claim that you can discipline a ferret by flicking its nose with your forefinger. I hope that anyone using this method will think twice before using it again. It is not unheard of to be rushing a ferret to the vet because of a nosebleed. Injuries such as this are avoidable.

Safer methods should be employed such as scruffing the ferret for a time-out or squirting it with water from a plant mister (set on stream) and using a forceful "NO". The water startles them and generally they do not like getting wet. Aim for the back of the neck or the hind end near the base of the tail being very careful not to squirt in their eyes or ears. Should the problem persist, try placing the ferret back in its cage for a short time.

Remember that they are ferrets and it is their nature to be inquisitive and get into trouble. Be patient and enjoy them for who they are and not what you want them to be.

Ferret proofing

Ferrets are intensely curious animals. For their protection and your peace of mind, it is important that your home, or where ever you allow your ferrets to play, be ferret-proofed. When looking for potential dangers, remember that ferrets will try and get into everything. The cardinal rule is "if the head fits, the body will follow". Never assume that any hole is too small. Unfortunately, you cannot tell them that some of their explorations will lead to dangers like furnaces, electrical wiring or a crushing mechanism inside a sofa bed. Ferrets also like to hide themselves in hard to reach areas and if injured or in trouble, cannot call out for your help. it is up to you therefore, as a responsible ferret owner, to make your home safe for your ferret.

Reclining Chairs and Sofa Beds

Being crushed in the mechanism of a reclining chair or a sofa bed accounts for 50% of ferret deaths under five years of age. You cannot keep ferrets out from under them, or expect guests or children to remember not to sit in them. If you own a ferret and a reclining chair, the only safe thing to do is to get rid of the chair. Never open or close a sofa bed unless you are absolutely certain where your ferret is.


Ferrets must not be allowed behind or under refrigerators and stoves, where they can be injured by the fan, chew on live wires or choke on insulation. Be very careful when opening or closing refrigerator and freezer doors - your ferret could accidentally be locked inside. Never turn on the dishwasher until you are absolutely sure that it is ferret free. Check your dryer vent installation. Many ferrets have availed themselves of a loose or cracked tube to escape.


Ferrets love to burrow in cushions, rugs, blankets and piles or clothing and laundry left on the floor. Be very careful - a lump under the rug could be a sleeping ferret. Always check your laundry before putting it into the washing machine or dryer. We know of more than one ferret who has died in a washing machine. Ferrets are known to scratch their way through liners on the underside of couches. An easy solution is to staple chicken wire to the bottom of your couch.

Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets

Ferrets are extremely clever in figuring out how to open cupboard doors. Use child-proof latches or magnets (place around the bottom corner of the door if they are not solid wood) to secure cabinets, especially those containing cleaning products.


Ferrets are natural diggers and if plants are accessible, you are asking for trouble. A simple solution is to place large smooth stones on top of the soil. If this does not work, then relocate the plants to a place which is inaccessible to the ferret. Don't blame the ferret if you find a favorite plant dug up, it's only natural.

Electrical Wires

Ferrets rarely chew on wires but if you have one that does, the best way to solve this problem is to pick the ferret up while it is chewing and spray the wire with bitter apple. Return the ferret to the wire and it will not like the taste. You may have to do this several times before it learns to stay away. Never spray bitter apple on your ferret.

Open Doors and Windows

We cannot stress the importance of being very careful when opening and closing doors. A ferret can be outside in a split second with the door closed behind it. Ensure that the door catches work and that the doors are closed properly each time you open them. This is especially important if you have children who are constantly coming and going. One solution might be to put up a barrier at areas of entry leaving enough space for people to enter. Windows should be kept secure and screens checked for holes. Some ferrets will climb up window and door screens and can fall and injure themselves. Some screen doors you can reverse the screen portion and the glass so that the screen is actually on the top. This idea is even good for the small two-legged kids. Remember, if you ferret gets out you may never see it again.

The "Pack-Rat"

Ferrets love to keep souvenirs from their expeditions. They will usually make off with all manner of items such as shoes (they are especially fond of insoles), eyeglass cases, car keys, vinyl cheque books or anything made from vinyl, rubber or soft chewy items such as foam and rubber. Keep erasers, balloons, rubber gloves, sponges, rubber bands, styrofoam, etc. away from ferrets. They love to chew on such things and can ingest them with often fatal consequences. Intestinal blockages are far too often a cause of death. Rubber toys that are suitable for cats and dogs are not suitable for ferrets. Only purchase latex rubber toys.

Note Re: Intestinal Blockages: If your ferret becomes listless, will not eat or drink, tries to vomit repeatedly but cannot and has not had a bowel movement for several hours, you must take it to a vet immediately. It is important that your veterinarian has experience with ferrets. Intestinal blockages are very serious and can lead to death. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry - the longer you wait, the less chance your ferret has of surviving. These symptoms can of course, be indicative of other ailments, but an intestinal blockage should never be ruled out, especially in the case of younger ferrets.

Bedding Materials

Do not keep ferrets in wood chips of any kind. Wood shavings are harmful to ferrets and can cause respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders due to ingestion and eye irritations. Bedding should consist of soft cotton blankets (old sweatshirts are a favorite). Be careful when using towels as they can easily get their nails caught in the loops or fraying.

Ferrets make wonderful pets. If you look at your home from a ferret's prospective, you can easily prevent your ferret from accidentally harming itself. Do not expect your ferret to keep out of things. You must make things and places that your ferret is trying to get into inaccessible, or safe (or just remove the source of temptation). Remember that the curiosity of a ferret's behavior is natural and prepare accordingly. Your ferret will then be a happy, safe and special companion.

Litter training

One of the allures of owning a ferret is that it is comprehended to be a low maintenance pet. This is true ONLY if you do the initial training up front, like teaching the ferret not to nip and use the litter box. The number one mistake most people make are told or assume is that ferrets are like cats and will naturally use the litter box. This is not true. Ferrets are caged and separated from their mothers very early at the ferret farms. Because of this, they miss the important stage of mom teaching them to use the "latrine".

First off, remember, a ferret is NOT a cat. Yes, they can eat dry cat food and can receive a rabies shot, but they do not return to the box every time to relieve themselves. Ferrets have to have several boxes in a confined area and then at best, a 90% hit rate can be achieved. The good news about ferret accidents is that they are small, do not penetrate the carpet or floor, and if left to dry, their stools are odorless and dry in 24 hours. A ferret's philosophy is this, "Oh - I see a litter box, do I have to go potty? Yes, then I will use the box." or "Oh - I need to go potty - I don't see a box. I guess this corner will do just fine." Fortunately, very few ferrets leave presents in the middle of the floor.

Like a small kitten, a ferret needs to get used to a small area and become good at using the box, before expanding their play and roam area.

1. Avoid clumping sand and scented litters until the digging stage is over. Place a little bit of soiled litter back into the clean pan to discourage kits from using the litter box as a sand or play box. DO NOT USE CEDAR OR WOOD SHAVINGS IN A FERRET'S CAGE.

2. Use a litter box in the cage which covers at least two corners, and secure it in place so the ferret can not rearrange its location or tip it over.

3. Make sure the ferrets are using their potty in the cage well before giving them free run of a room. Place litter boxes in their chosen corners or use newspapers in hard to reach or smaller areas.

4. When you get them out to play, wake them up and cuddle them for five minutes, put them BACK into the cage and insist that they use the potty. Watch carefully - sometimes ferrets will go through the motions and not really do anything, in a hurry to get out.

5. Allow free run time to be in two hour stages. Put them back in their cage to rest and use the facilities, then let them out again if you wish.

6. Use a newspaper where the litter boxes wont work (under furniture, beds, behind doors, etc.) Paper training your ferret is a little easier than box training outside the cage, and it is easy to pick up and dispose of in a jiffy.

7. If you have a cat in the house, try paper training outside the cage for the ferrets. Otherwise, the cat will use the ferret boxes and you will have more to clean up in more places. Furthermore, ferrets wont always use a box after a cat has blessed it. Cats wont usually use paper.

8. Clean the litter boxes with detergent - nothing harsh! Always save a little of the old litter to put back in a clean box if the ferret is still in the digging stage.
The diet of a ferret will pass from intake to output in about three to four hours. The higher the meat protein in the ferret's diet, the less waste it will produce. A ferret cannot process vegetable protein, hence feeding low grade foods will just result in larger bowel movements. Suggest to ferret owners that they buy cat diets with chicken as the first ingredient and a minimum of 32% protein. Avoid ferret diets containing fish meal.

Traditional training aids for cats and dogs do not work with ferrets. Rewarding the ferret with some run time or a treat is the best way to reinforce good litter habits.

Intestinal Blockages

The number one cause of premature death in ferrets is intestinal blockages. Ferrets love to chew on rubber and other small objects. This is extremely dangerous because swallowed bits can become lodged in a ferret's intestines. Intestinal blockages are very serious and can lead to death unless surgery is performed to remove the obstruction.

The most commonly ingested items (but not limited to) are:

- latex or rubber pet toys sponges
- erasers
- foam rubber insoles of shoes
- rubber bath or sink plugs
- refrigerator insulation
- rubber bands
- styrofoam or packing material
- vinyl cheque books
- rubber gloves
- fabric
- doll hands and feet
- anything made from vinyl, rubber or plastic

A blockage can occur in several ways. In some cases an item will float in the ferret's stomach and will lodge and dislodge at the opening of the intestine. This will cause serious illness and eventually the ferret will die. Other items will become totally dislodged in the intestine and although the ferret may still have a bowel movement, the excrement will simply be that which is after the blockage, further down the intestinal track.

Because a blockage is often caused by soft material, it cannot always be defected with an x-ray. Often a series of barium tests are performed to confirm the presence of a foreign object. However in most cases, especially in younger ferrets, the best course of action is to have surgery performed immediately. The longer you wait, the less chance your ferret has of surviving.

Warning signs of a possible blockage:

loss of appetite
will not drink
ferret goes in the litter box often but does not have a bowel movement vomits after eating
vomits after drinking
pawing at mouth (can be a sign of nausea)
drooling (can be a sign of nausea)

If your ferret has any or all of these symptoms, you must take it to a veterinarian immediately.

Note: If your ferret vomits once, it may have eaten too quickly. However, a ferret who vomits should be put in a cage and watched closely. Measure the amount of water you put in the bowl and count out a certain number of pieces of food. If the ferret eats and drinks and passes a stool, then it probably does not have an intestinal blockage. If the ferret vomits repeatedly, a trip to the vet is strongly recommended.

Note: These symptoms can be indicative of many other ailments, but an intestinal blockage must never be ruled out. It is important to ensure that your vet has a lot of experience treating ferrets.

Here is the website where i got the info- http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-ferret.htm

01-10-2007, 08:58 PM
8 years is about the average lifespan of a ferret. Much too short! :(

Both of mine lived to be around that age, I believe. :)

01-11-2007, 08:11 AM
YIKES! I see that one of them lived to be 2 years and one 5 years ... how old were the others before they had these major medical problems? The guy at the pet store said they could live to be 10 years old .... 2 and 5 doesn't sound like a very good record! :(

I appreciate your honesty, that's why I have asked on this thread! I want to know all of the pros and cons and be well-informed before I make this decision! ;)
I had two ferrets- one lived to 8 the other one almost 9. I loved them, and they are great little ones- even descented, the males still can have a pretty strong odor.
As far as a concern for you to consider- please keep in mind- as part of the wessel family,they can give a nasty bite- and its not from being handled roughly- . They can get pretty silly, and love bite- well- we do not have fur, and it hurts. I still have a tiny scare on my left hand. Gorgeious didnt mean to bite that hard.. And with Jenna around, maybe you might want to wait until she is older.
As far as disease- they do need a rabies shot and distemper. I have forgotten the interval now- but need one. Also- although I never found anything at the time about catching peoples colds, my vet told me they could- just like a guinea pig.
As far as cats and ferrets- I will tell you my maine coons were the most laid back cats I ever saw in my life- but still watched the ferrets with too much intensity.
I know you will make a good decission. You seem like a very level headed woman, and I am sure your decission will be a good one.

01-11-2007, 09:14 AM
We had dogs cats ferrets snakes ...everything growing up.Our house was a zoo :D
A ferret is a very sensitive animal.Just like a cat only misunderstood as less sensitive or smart.Their very smart and are great beings.If you get one...there are a lot of people who gave good advice on them,on how to care for them.
I think they are wonderful.Ours was so sweet it slept in ANYONE'S bed that would let them.Some are more wild than others.Just like all of us...they all have different personalities.
If you get one I think you should get 2 to keep the other company. :D
I accually forget on the care for them because it was about 35 years ago when we had one.I do remember him being lonely though.So two would be good.
I'm so happy things are better now at home.You do so much for the cat world.if it wasn't for you...so many cats would be living a horrific life.

Queen of Poop
01-11-2007, 09:37 AM
YIKES! I see that one of them lived to be 2 years and one 5 years ... how old were the others before they had these major medical problems? The guy at the pet store said they could live to be 10 years old .... 2 and 5 doesn't sound like a very good record! :(

I appreciate your honesty, that's why I have asked on this thread! I want to know all of the pros and cons and be well-informed before I make this decision! ;)

Rascal lived to be 2
Trouble lived to be 4
Miko lived to be 5
Sebastian lived to be 6
Unfortunately none of my boys made it to "old age".
Which is why I am taking a break from them for a while. My heart has been broken, I did all I could medically for them and I still couldn't save them. I loved them all so much.

Queen of Poop
01-11-2007, 09:47 AM
Ok, now that I've talked about the bad stuff, lets talk about some of the funny things they do.

Rascal had a funny relationship with my dog Sasha. She'd bump up against the cage and he'd give her a scratch. Yet if he was out of the cage she'd run like the wind.

Trouble liked to get into the dirt in the potted plants. You'd go to pick him up out of the pot and he'd let lose with his arms and you'd have dirt everywhere. He also loved to hide toys under our bed. His favourite toy was a fleece ball with a jingle bell inside.

Miko loved his squeeky soccer ball. To see this little white ferret running with a black and white ball in his mouth was to die for. He also hid toys under our bed and behind the TV. He would steal white socks too and hide them behind the dresser. When I'd take the toys from under the bed and put them out on the floor he'd look at me with disgust and set to putting them all back under the bed.

Sebastian loved dog food. He'd take a few kibbles and hide them behind the couch or behind the tv. I still have some to clean up but can't bring myself to do it quite yet.

Ferrets are amazingly wonderful loving critters. I am so upset that none of mine lived very long. I miss them soooooooo much.

01-11-2007, 10:31 AM
I appreciate all of the nice comments and helpful information! It does sound like they require quite a bit of maintenance and close attention. Having no prior experience with ferrets, that is exactly why I asked about them, and I am glad I did! ;) I will keep them in mind for later down the road when I feel that I have more free time to devote to their needs. Also, I will consider getting two at one time to be sure they have a playmate.


01-11-2007, 11:00 AM
Hi Kim,
My kids were having this very same conversation last night with their friend - he also wants a ferret.

I think you're being very smart about asking these questions. I know nothing about the care and maintainence of ferrets, but I have heard lots about them from people who don't like them, "Oooo... they're smelly!" Ah, but you're more than capable of taking care of household smells! You handled nearly 30 cats without cirsis! ;)

All kidding aside, doing research is very smart. I know there's a very active ferret rescue around here because people get one and don't realize the time and money involved. I know you are capable to put in the time and care, and without a doubt you'd come up with the financial aspect of his/her care. Have you thought of perhaps conacting your local ferret rescue to see if you could foster one first just to see if they're a good critter for you?

01-11-2007, 11:40 AM
Thanks Catnapper! I don't know that we have a local ferret rescue per say, but I could certainly check in to that! I do know one thing though, I refuse to start ferret-rescuing now that I've retired from cat rescue! :p ;)

Queen of Poop
01-11-2007, 12:08 PM
Kim, if you decide to foster or get a ferret or two (or 4), cause like cats, you can never have too many ferrets, please know that I will be here to be a resource to you for whatever help you might need.

01-11-2007, 12:17 PM
Kim, if you decide to foster or get a ferret or two (or 4), cause like cats, you can never have too many ferrets, please know that I will be here to be a resource to you for whatever help you might need.

I appreciate your offer! I'll most likely give it more time and more serious thought before doing anything. Right now I will continue to enjoy learning more about them! :)

01-11-2007, 12:59 PM
I have owned ferrets off and on for all my life. My first one lived until 7, died of old age.

It was many many years until I decided to get another. I adopted Napster from a local lady who didn't want to deal with him anymore. When I got him he was malnourished and very very thin. She had been keeping him outdoors in the backyard, and fed him canned Friskies cat food. He got no attention but somehow still managed to stay a sweet well adjusted boy. He had great health up until he developed a blood clot which claimed his life in a matter of about an hour. It was in his heart and he passed away in my arms on the vet to the hospital. Necropsy confirmed it. I was greatful I was able to be by his side while he passed. I can't imagine him being alone for something like that. He was such a sweet laid back boy and loved to play with everyone, especially my rats.

Then came Rusty and Bear. They were adopted by my old roomate and he just decided he didn't want to deal with them anymore. Their old owners didn't take very good care of them and my old roomate took even worse care of them. When they came to me they were in a small cage full of feces! I kid you not, there was at least 2 inches of feces in the cage. Rusty was healthy but Bear was not. He was very very thin and you could see all his ribs. He had major diarrhea and would not eat. He was hypoglycemic and also had a huge cyst at the end of his tail. I took him to work the next day where he was given some syrup, iv fluids and started on antibiotics. They both had ear mites and ended up spreading it to Napster and all my cats. It cost me $550 dollars to treat all my animals for the mites. He also had giardia. He got a little better but would relapse every so often. Despite blood work sent out to Antech about one a month we never could find the exactly cause of his illness. Unfortunately, only after having him a few months I made the decision to end his suffering. He was only 4 years old.

Then it was only Napster and Rusty. Poor poor Rusty. Napster passed away shortly after Bear died, and he was never the same since. He was so sad all the time. He would just look up at me and stare for minutes. He no longer wanted to play. He was depressed. :( I decided to re-home him with a girl I work with who had a female ferret who was going through the same thing. It was a match made in heaven! They couldn't have been happier. Unfortunately only a month after I gave him away to her she brought him into work because he mad a mass in his abdomen and bloody urine. He had a uti and upon inspection of his x-rays we discovered his whole belly was full of tumors. :( He was euthanized one month lady due to his masses growing larger. He just wasn't comfortable anymore and there was no cure, even with surgery. He was only 2 years old.

Owning ferrets has been a very depressing experience for me, but even having to deal with all the bad I would get another again. These ferrets gave so much back to me. They were the sweetest, more gentle creatures and I miss them all terribly.

critter crazy
01-11-2007, 01:01 PM
here is a website, that lists ferret rescues around the country.


01-11-2007, 01:02 PM
Sorry about all the typos, but I'm doing about 5 different things at once. :rolleyes:

Also, Critter Crazy, if you take information off the internet to post here please include the source information. Thanks!

critter crazy
01-11-2007, 01:04 PM
Sorry about all the typos, but I'm doing about 5 different things at once. :rolleyes:

Also, Critter Crazy, if you take information off the internet to post here please include the source information. Thanks!


01-11-2007, 01:26 PM

I don't think you did. I mean it is just a link to find a ferret rescue. I wouldn't think you would need to say I googled ferret rescue in the United States and I found this. I don't think you need to say what search engine you used. But maybe Cass meant something else altogether. :confused:

01-11-2007, 01:40 PM
Thank you for sharing your story, Cass. I'm sorry that so many of you here have had heartache with your ferrets. I guess that is to be expected to some degree with all animals, and smaller species even more so. I imagine that alot of vets aren't very experienced in their care either. I'm not sure if mine is or not? That is another thing I would need to check in to.

Thanks for the link ... I did find one list and there were a couple of rescues in TN, but none real close to me. Only one of them had their own website to visit. I'll check more later! ;)

01-11-2007, 03:40 PM

Are there any experienced ferret owners here? I handled a few today for the first time and I loved them! I've been doing quite a bit of reading about them online today also! I really want all the advice and knowledge I can get before making a decision on whether or not to get one

Kim asked for advice on having a ferret, their care and upkeep, not opinions on her reasons for rehoming her cats. For whatever reason she DID rehome her cats, it's HER business, not yours.

I rehomed my cats, yet adopted a rat, yet nothing was said about it?


I don't have alot of experience with ferrets except for when I worked at Petco. They can be great pets. They do tend to nibble and some, if not socialized, can really do a number when biting.

I think Critter Crazy and Cass gave you the best advice. You're right for doing your homework on these guys. The more you know about them, their personalities and their upkeep, the better the bond you'll have.

Good luck in whatever you do!!

01-11-2007, 04:06 PM
Thank you for the support, Donna! I truly do want to make the best decision not only for myself, but also my other pets and potential new ferret baby. ;)


01-11-2007, 04:22 PM
:) Might I state Kim that I Just Love Your New Aviator & Siggy of your Sweet Jenna.. Adorable.. ;)

01-11-2007, 04:51 PM
:) Might I state Kim that I Just Love Your New Aviator & Siggy of your Sweet Jenna.. Adorable.. ;)

Oh, why thank you! ;)

01-11-2007, 05:31 PM
Hi Kim, Ferrets can be lots of fun, but they're lots of hard work too! I use to have a little girl one named, Meca. She was the runt in the litter. I use to hold her and cradle her in my arms and she would fall asleep. She would sleep in my bed with me too. I use to let her run around in the house and have fun. She would stay close by most of the time... Once she got under the house! Someone left the door opened! It took several hours of searching for her in the dark! but we finally found her! :)

I only had her less than a yr (9-10 months I think) and I had her out letting her run around on the floor (like always) I got to doing something, but then I noticed I hadn't seen Meca in about 10 minutes or so...so I began looking for her. I was so shocked when I went into the bathroom to find that she had jumped in the bathtub in some water that some one had left... She drowned that day and I felt so terrible...I still feel bad and it happened about 10 years ago. I really miss her. So, that's all the experience I've had with ferrets. They are tons of fun, at least my little girl was. I really miss her.

Just make sure you read about them! I've thought about getting lots of animlas, but decided not to once I read about them ;)

Good Luck! I hope you find the perfect one if/when you decide to get one!


01-11-2007, 05:50 PM
I would say that the only pain with having a ferret is taking apart the cages for cleaning! :D

My parents had two connecting ferret cages so there was one huge one. Altogether, there were five levels, tons of tubes, ladders, blankies, hammocks, etc. We cleaned the cage itself about once a week (personal preference) but the tray was cleaned more often. The litterbox was completely changed every other day. It's not that much! :D

My ferrets, honestly, did not smell. They were descented but had no more of a scent than any other critter or person I've seen (of course there are the normal skin oil and blah blah) :). They did have stinky potty breaks so we kept one of those "poofing" air fresheners. Plus, they got baths. :)

01-11-2007, 10:37 PM
I don't think you did. I mean it is just a link to find a ferret rescue. I wouldn't think you would need to say I googled ferret rescue in the United States and I found this. I don't think you need to say what search engine you used. But maybe Cass meant something else altogether. :confused:

I wasn't talking about the link. I was talking about the information she posted on the first page. When you take something off the internet (a ferret website in this case) you need to link a source to it. Unless she wrote that whole article herself credit should be given to the author. It's just basic internet etiquette (sp?) is all.

She already edited it to include the link where she got the information from, so no worries. :) That's all I was talking about. Not to be nitpicky. :o

01-13-2007, 12:55 PM
how far in the future are you looking at? glad you have begun to research. :) you'll never stop learning. And just as good, you have plunty of time to save all of the money you'll need.

medical websites

*people in the ferret community


litter training (http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=11&cat=1280&articleid=553)
first exams & Vaccine schedule (http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=11&cat=1298&articleid=579)
Parasites (http://www.peteducation.com/category_summary.cfm?cat=1290)
Ferret proofing - list (http://www..com/ferret_proofing.htm)
ferret proofing - pics (http://www..com/right.html#proofing)

Happy learning!

01-13-2007, 01:05 PM
Now stop teasing me with those INCREDIBLY adorable pictures!!! Your two are absolutely adorable!!! I really love the markings of the one on the left! :D

Thank you for all the great information. I am already familiar with the ferret depot as I purchased a few of their cages for kittens when I was rescuing litters! ;) I do think I am going to wait for a while on getting a ferret, but it is fun to learn more about them and see ADORABLE pics like yours now! :D

01-13-2007, 01:18 PM
:p I see ferret math in the future.

I have a third but shes not as cute. lol