Blogue Misc


The ferret is not a rodent but a mustelide. According to several historical documents, it seems that the first ferrets were domesticated in ancient Egypt around 1300 BC. Their function was to eliminate rodents such as rats and mice, even though they were later replaced by cats, which were more heat-tolerant. 

Its scientific name – Mustela putorius furo – is almost intimidating, but in reality it means … stinking thief. In nature, these animals like to hide their prey in their dens, a habit they retain by living with us. They steal everything they find interesting and hide it in a secret place. So watch out for the house keys, erasers and markers, coins and banknotes. There are two varieties of ferrets that are distinguished by the colour of their coat. One is albino with pink eyes and the other is buff with the tip of the snout, feet and black tail. 

Ideal Master
Here are ten questions that any future master should ask themselves before buying a ferret. If the answer is always “yes”, there is no doubt that we will be able to offer her a very beautiful and comfortable life. On the other hand, if there are some “no”, it is better to think about it a little more.

  1. Do we have at least an hour a day to feed him, clean his cage, cuddle him and play with him?
  2. If he stays home alone, the ferret suffers from loneliness. Can we consider buying a “little brother” (or other animal) to keep him company?
  3. Is there a quiet room in which to set up your cage?
  4. Is there a willingness to let him move around the house for a while every day?
  5. Is there a safe room, or is it possible to build one where it won’t put itself in a difficult situation and cause no damage?
  6. Can we avoid getting angry if we find his droppings all over the house?
  7. During the holidays, can we take it where we go or find a suitable accommodation solution?
  8. If there is already an animal at home, will we take care of both to help them get along?
  9. Does the whole family like the idea of having a ferret?
  10. Is it certain that no family member is allergic to hair? 
Male or Female?
Sex is not very important because, from the point of view of character and behaviour, males and females are absolutely identical. The only difference is the size: the male is bigger (it can weigh twice the female) and the shape of the snout (wider in the male, and more pointed in the female). It is therefore likely to cause fewer problems when left at large in the home, as it is more difficult to “lose”. Know that the operation of a female costs more than that of a male. Each ferret has its own personality: some are more affectionate and expansive, others are more reserved and independent. Apart from his character, if he is given the opportunity to spend enough time playing with him and cuddling him, he generally does not need a “companion in captivity”. If not, it may be a good idea to take two: they would not feel alone when the master is not at home and it would be very fun to watch them while they play. Those who have never had ferrets are advised that they should take only one ferret first, so that they have time to practice and limit training problems, and then adopt another after six months. 

The ferret is very playful and gets used very easily to the contact of the man. The ideal age to acquire it is two months. You have to watch him at the beginning of his life, because he is a very curious explorer and can sneak in everywhere. He is easily the victim of electrical wires or other dangers of the house. You have to be careful of sudden movements, because he sometimes retains his hunting instinct which can lead him to bite. In addition, his behaviour with young children is sometimes unpredictable. 

Ferrets are ''pure'' carnivorous  because their bodies need animal foods, especially because they are high in protein. However, this animal is unable to make effective use of the proteins contained in plants. Another characteristic is that it burns food so quickly that it has to eat little and often. The basic diet of your companion will therefore consist of special nuggets for ferrets or an industrial preparation for cats of excellent quality plus, from time to time, the distribution of a canned food with the same characteristics. Ferrets can eat any kind of fruit or vegetable, raw or cooked, that is part of our diet, even if tastes differ from one subject to another. Popular foods include zucchini, green beans, mandarins, melons, bananas, raisins and dates. Ferrets do not digest carbohydrates well, such as bread, pasta, cookies and sweets.

Hide-And-Seek With Food
Keep a close eye on your companion when you give him a perishable food, to see if he consumes it immediately or if he runs to hide it. Ferrets usually lose the habit of hiding their food after a few years.

Treats: In Small Quantities And On An Exceptional Basis
But nothing prevents you from occasionally varying his diet and «spoiling» him by offering him some treats. Among the authorized delicacies are foodstuffs of animal origin (meat cooked without bones, boiled eggs, cheese) as well as vegetable origin, which will however always be proposed exceptionally and in small quantities (no more than one or two teaspoons in total per day). 

Foods Not Recommended with Ferret
  • Dog food of any kind: these foods do not meet the nutritional needs of the ferret and, over time, cause nutritional deficiencies and health problems.
  • Cat food, canned or in the form of croquettes, of poor quality: these foods do not satisfy the nutritional needs of the ferret and, over time, cause nutritional deficiencies and health problems.
  • Bones, chicken and rabbit, for example: Sharp fragments can cause serious injury to the ferret’s digestive tract and the animal’s death.
  • Milk and milk products (ice cream, creams, etc.): lactose is not properly digested and sometimes causes diarrhea.
  • Raw meat: it can be contaminated with bacteria and lead to intestinal infections.
  • Raw eggs: they contain a substance called avidine, which destroys an important vitamin: biotin.
  • Fish: Fish proteins are not properly absorbed and are not suitable for ferrets. Fish can even induce vomiting.
  • Fiber-rich foods: Fiber is not digested and is responsible for intestinal disorders.
  • Chocolate and coffee: they contain substances harmful to the ferret.
  • Salt-rich foods: they can cause health problems.
  • Alcoholic beverages: toxic to the ferret! (or any other animal). 
In general, a ferret does not get sick easily; if he lives in a clean and spacious cage, has the opportunity to run, move and play freely every day, and eats nutritious and adapted food, he will remain healthy until he “ages.” It will then become calmer and sleep more, but in return it will be softer and more tender. 

An Animal Adapted To Living In An Apartment
The ferret is an animal perfectly suited to living in an apartment, silent, easy to raise, intelligent, affectionate and very lively. This animal really has the gift of fun and you can spend hours watching it without getting bored, especially if it has the opportunity to play and interact with another ferret. 

How To Choose Your Ferret
The adoption of a ferret, a responsible act. Like any animal, a ferret should never be bought under impulse or to have something original to show to its friends, but only after mature reflection. It is not a small stuffed animal that you can put aside when you have enough, but a living and sensitive creature that has a daily need for attention and affection.

It should also be noted that ferrets require very high-quality industrial food, annual examinations and vaccinations, as well as sterilization for non-breeding subjects. Not to mention the visits to the vet and the care to provide in case of diseases. A ferret can live from 8 to 10 years or more. Do you feel ready to deal with it properly all this time? 

The Main Criteria For Choosing a Ferret
The main selection criteria are not only appearance, colour, sex and age, but also character and fitness. Their thick skin has nothing to fear, unlike ours. Taking our hands for a playmate, they reserve the same fate for them and we should not consider this attitude as a sign of aggression. Young subjects are used to playing with each other quite vividly, and bites are part of the game. Over time, the little ferret will learn to play with you without inflicting any pain, just like in the case of a puppy or kitten.

In case you are offered a ferret that its previous owner can no longer keep for any reason, try to gather as much information as possible about it:
  • exact age;
  • previous vaccinations (with date of recalls);
  • possible current or past illnesses, as well as current treatments;
  • eating habits;
  • possible behavioural disorders;
  • in the case of a female: has she been sterilized or has she already given birth;
  • Ask for the corresponding health documents.
Transporting The Ferret Home
To bring home the ferret you just bought, get a plastic or metal cat cage. At first, the ferret (especially if he is young) will be rather disoriented: wait a moment before allowing him to move freely in the house and place him immediately in his cage. Give him a little time to acclimatize, often taking him in your hands to play and cuddle him, and let him go only in an extremely limited space. Once they get used to you, allow them to explore their new environment (which you have taken care to make “ferret-proof”). 

Ferret Habitat

The Cage Of The Ferret
Before adopting a ferret, you must have already prepared its cage, an indispensable accessory unless we plan to put an entire piece at its exclusive disposal. Because although the ferret needs to spend a few hours of freedom in your company, it’s better for his safety to keep him locked up when he sleeps or you can’t watch him.

The metal cage is the best solution: robust and easy to clean, it also guarantees good ventilation. Some models consist of two or more floors connected by ramps or tubes, which increase the space offered to the ferret and allow him, above all, to have a lot of fun going up and down from one level to another.

The bars should be close enough to prevent the animal from escaping, and the total absence of sharp elements or sharp edges that could cause injury should be checked. Also, make sure that the locking system is ferret-proof, to avoid finding it wandering around the house. Check that the door is wide enough to allow the litter box to pass without problems.

The mesh bottom is not suitable for ferrets' legs, which can injure themselves. Cover it with rags (old sweaters, towels) or even linoleum. In the case of a solid bottom, do not use wood chips, sawdust or strips of newsprint as a garnish: scattered on all sides and outside the cage, you would have to continually pick them up. 

Cage Layout
Inside, provide a small shelter to sleep in: a wicker nest, cardboard box (easy to replace) or plastic tube with pieces of fabric as a bed. If the animal has a tendency to chew these (as young individuals usually do), do not leave them at its disposal, as they could cause intestinal blockage. Finally, make sure there is always clean water and food in the cage. 

Ferret Litter

The Litter Box
The litter box is another indispensable accessory. Ferrets have an instinct to do their thing in a corner, so they quickly learn to use the litter box, just like cats, even if they don’t cover their droppings. You can choose between regular cat litter trays and any low-brimmed plastic container.

The edge of the litter box should be high enough so that, as ferrets are used to relieving themselves in a corner against the wall, the droppings cannot fall outside. Nevertheless, the animal (especially a young individual) must have easy access to it, so that it is sometimes advisable to lower one of the sides.

When the ferret is released into the house, it is advisable to place several litter bins in strategic places: therefore, get plenty of containers. Also buy a shovel to pick up feces, an operation to be done quite frequently.

Toppings For The Litter Box
  • Sepiolite (cat litter): exclude scented products and those that stick together. To be avoided if the ferret gets into the habit of rolling in, as the dust dries out and soils its coat. Dust can also cause sneezing.
  • Compressed recycled paper: excellent material, very absorbent and not causing intestinal blockage in case of ingestion.
  • Sawdust or wood chips: Avoid pine, cedar and softwood chips in general, which release toxic substances.
  • Crushed corn: very good product, absorbent and not dusty. 
Ferret Accessories

The Layout Of The Ferret Cage
Lively and playful, ferrets often tend to flip their feeders. This is the reason why it is better to choose ceramic bowls, heavier and therefore more stable, or feeders to be fixed on the walls. The water will preferably be distributed with a bottle hung on the bars of the cage. It should be changed every day, without forgetting to clean and disinfect the bottle regularly. You can also install a bathtub: ferrets usually like to play with water. Although it is not really essential, the hammock suspended inside the cage is another accessory particularly appreciated by ferrets, who love to sleep there.

Also, buy a leash and harness if you plan to take your companion outside, as well as a small medal engraved with your address and phone number, in case the ferret gets lost or escapes outside. An ordinary collar with a bell will prove useful at home, to avoid walking on the animal and locate it more easily.

Be very careful in choosing the toys available to ferrets. Unfortunately, these animals tend to eat them, cut them into pieces and swallow any fragments, which can be extremely dangerous. Automatically exclude all soft rubber objects, for which ferrets experience a fatal attraction that causes them to tear them to shreds and ingest the pieces, with the serious consequences that entails. On the other hand, prefer objects made of hard plastic or other material resistant to chewing. Those that contain a bell or squeak when pressed are particularly entertaining. 

Furnish Your Home To Accommodate Your Ferret

Preparing your “ferret-proof” home
Start by removing or making absolutely inaccessible every object, especially of value, which may be broken or damaged. Then pay attention to anything that can be swallowed, such as soft rubber items such as cushion foam padding, gums, kitchen sponges, stereo helmet trim, elastics, shoe laces, children’s pacifiers and teats, etc., or dangerous substances (detergent bottles, soap, bleach, cigarette packages, medicines).

Don’t forget to inspect and plug any openings and any spaces where the ferret could enter without being easy to recover, taking into account its small dimensions and its ability to slip into really tight places. Pay Attention, therefore, to any holes in the walls to allow pipes and to the empty space under the appliances and furniture. Able to open drawers and small cabinets, ferrets can also sneak under the cushions of sofas or mattresses and end up crushed. Block access to windows, balconies and terraces.

Other hazards include electrical wires, toxic plants, rocking seats, and heavy objects that can tip over and crush the ferret. Finally, always check where your little friend is before you turn on the washing machine or dishwasher; if he is around when you open the refrigerator, look carefully before you close it! Ferrets like to dig in flower pots. To avoid damage to the plants in the house, the solution is to place small stones or a metal mesh on the ground.  

Train The Ferret For The Litter Tray
The ferret can learn quite easily to make his needs in the litter box, whether in his cage or in freedom in the house, even if this behavior is not spontaneous as in cats. Training will be much easier if the ferret remains in its cage the first few days after purchase.

It is indeed a clean animal by nature: it does not relieve itself in its den, and even less in the place occupied by the containers of food and water, but reserves for this a small corner of its cage. By putting the nest in one corner, the food and water bowls in two others and a litter box in the last, the ferret will choose this location to do his needs. The edges of the tray must be adapted to the size of the ferret: a subject of a few weeks may have difficulty getting in and out of a tray suitable for an adult or a cat. Care must be taken to keep the bin always clean, otherwise the ferret will refuse to use it, but leaving a trace of its previous use so that the animal does not use it as a playground, to dig and roll in.

When you start to release the ferret in the house, limit its first free runs to a small room, by placing the litter box in a corner. Every time the ferret goes there, reward him immediately afterwards by covering him with praise and caresses and offering him a treat (to be chosen from among those allowed!). Ferrets usually need a few minutes after waking up, so you can wait until they have gone into the litter box before getting them out of their cage. Remember, however, that as they consume many small meals a day, they tend to relieve themselves frequently. 

Ferret Outside
The first time you take your four-legged friend outside, choose a quiet area, without too many people or traffic noises, and watch how he reacts. If he is very frightened, take him home or put him back in his travel cage; try the experience several times, gradually, but if he does not manage to get used to it, give up going outside. Most ferrets, especially those accustomed to it from an early age, will be able to accompany you outside and even on a trip without much difficulty.

However, never leave a ferret alone in the open air for even a minute: he could run away, be attacked by dogs or cats. Or someone could steal it from you. 

Ferret Hygiene

Care Of The Fur Of The Ferret
Ferrets do not require specific care regarding their coat: they know how to keep themselves clean on their own (if you have two or more subjects, you will also see them helping each other by licking each other, as cats do). It is then a question of carefully and often brushing the animal to eliminate the dead hair.

Normally, sterilized ferrets do not need to be washed often; bathing does not change their smell very much (otherwise light) and may instead, when it happens too frequently, make the skin dry and cause itching. The ferret should not be washed more than once a month, unless it has become soiled as a result of some foolishness or for medical reasons.

The claws are cut every two to four weeks, according to your needs: examine from time to time the claws of your companion to be able to intervene before they become too long. The claws of the front legs usually grow faster and should be shortened more often than those of the rear legs. Do not use ordinary little nail scissors, but get a cat-specific claw cutter. 

Social Life Of The Ferret
The chances of seeing a dog and a ferret befriend each other depend very much on the character of the dog. A little patience is usually enough for them to come to an agreement, even if it will always be necessary to avoid leaving them alone without supervision so as not to take the slightest risk. Instinctively, ferrets are not afraid of dogs and could therefore try to play by pulling their ears or biting their paws, under penalty of triggering a violent reaction. Be sure to always feed the two animals separately. As a rule, avoid leaving the dog and ferret together unattended.

Smaller than a dog, a cat represents a minor risk for the ferret, but it is no less dangerous because of the scratches it can inflict. Here too, care must be taken, allowing the two animals to become progressively accustomed to each other. The business becomes much simpler with a kitten, but in this case also we must make sure that the ferret does not hurt him by wanting to play too aggressively.

It is advisable to keep the rabbits away from ferrets, even if with much patience, attention and a ferret of good composition, nothing prevents them from becoming friends. However, it is a dangerous friendship: the ferret could get carried away by his hunting instinct, as the rabbit is one of the natural prey he has been trained for centuries to destroy. 

Ferrets and small rodents (hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils, etc.) are absolutely incompatible. Ferrets have evolved into predators of ferrets, and the instinct to hunt eventually prevails. Not only will you not have to look for a ferret to befriend your hamster, but you will even have to prevent them from sniffing: the little rodent would start to agitate and the ferret would frantically try to catch him to play with him.

Reptiles and ferrets do not go together, and it would be foolish in any case to try to make them friends. If you have a reptile in a terrarium, keep the ferret away. In view of a potential predator, the reptile would become nervous, stressed, refuse to eat and remain hidden permanently, which would have serious consequences for its health.

Fish are a splendid game for ferrets and must be out of their reach. Not only could the ferret try to catch them, but it could drown if it managed to get into a covered aquarium.