The temperament of a ferret is easily comparable to that of a cat. This is a very intelligent and playful animal: you can easily teach him some tricks. But, as a cat, you can leave home a few days without problem, by providing enough food and water during your absence. It is comfortable to live alone as much as in community, but the cage should be adapted accordingly. It can also learn to live with other animals.
A ferret sleeps on average 20 hours a day and has a life expectancy of 5 to 8 years. Ferrets are a very curious animals, loves to bite and to sneak in little nooks. So it is better to let children handle them under your supervision, and properly secure your home so it’s «ferret’s proof».
Since ferrets are carnivores, commercial food specially formulated for ferrets are recommended. It is also possible to offer a high quality cat food. Please ask us. It is also important that your ferret has access to a bowl of water and his food at all times. Treats should not be given more than twice a week and, in very small quantities.
Ferrets are very agile and strong animals for their size. The cage should be sturdy, specially designed for ferrets: ideally, it will have several floors and is well ventilated. Feel free to install their hammock and give them blankets as enhancements because they love to hide. You can get your ferret to do his business in a non-clumping litter, placed in a corner of his cage. When he wanders the house, put a second litter that may access quickly.
Toys and general care
Get it strong toys that can not be destroyed. Ferrets also like playing with paper bags or cardboard boxes but this activity requires your presence. Do not let your ferret out of its cage unattended and make sure that no object that can be swallowed within its range.
Cut its claws frequently and brush regularly. Also purchase laxative paste against hairballs, sold in veterinary clinic. You should give it especially during the shed (fall and spring) to prevent impaction that may block the intestines.
Ferrets are mustelidaes, a close species to skunks. As so, ferrets secretes a smell coming form their sebaceous glands all over their body. This odor is permanent, even when removal of the the anal sacs is done. The baths help to reduce this odor. These must be made with a shampoo designed for cats or ferrets about once a week or as recommended by your veterinarian.
If you have questions, please contact the Veterinary St. Rose Hospital. A second article will be published in the coming weeks.
Stéphanie Brunelle, Veterinary Technician