A ferret is a domesticated relative of the ferret, specially bred for keeping in an apartment or private house. A small pet with a flexible elongated body and a long tail is famous for its rich fur palette. However, despite the advantages, the animal requires special attention and care, therefore, before taking responsibility for the life of a ferret, you need to carefully prepare.
Frets are very inquisitive, friendly and wayward predators. They get along well with pets, especially large breed dogs. They are not always friendly with cats, but it depends on the nature of the pets. Often, when meeting with fish or rodents, the hunter’s natural instincts make themselves felt.
The ferret is an intelligent animal, therefore it lends itself well to training, but training will be long and difficult. It is quickly accustomed to the toilet and does not require daily walking. It eventually adapts to the pace of life of the owner, and, despite the fact that it is a nocturnal predator, the ferret will not make much noise at night.
A domestic ferret quickly gets used to the owner, but does not intend to show blind devotion to him. He will always, in a playful way, try to win the role of “leader”, thereby saving the household from boredom.
For this breed, castration and sterilization are indicated, after which the animal does not become lazy, it is much more active than before.
Apartment preparation and care
The maintenance of a ferret is possible only if certain conditions are provided for it. Before the ferret arrives in a new home, it must be remembered that this is a burrowing animal and very curious. His body is long and elongated, so even holes and crevices 3-4 cm in diameter are dangerous. Upon arrival in a new apartment, he will climb into all sorts of corners, climb all sorts of places where he can crawl through. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully examine and prepare a new place of residence for a new tenant.
What are the dangers for a pet?
The danger is:
- Electric wires. A ferret can start chewing on them and get an electric shock.
- Open cupboards with chemicals, detergents, first aid kit or other dangerous items. A ferret can swallow them and get poisoned or even die.
- Poisonous houseplants. All plants that the ferret gets to will certainly be dug up and tasted, some can cause poisoning. Digging for a ferret is an instinct, it is useless to fight it, so it is better to completely remove the plants from the room where the ferret will live.
- Open fire.
- Small items – will definitely taste everything he finds on the floor, he can swallow small things, such as a button or a coin
- Rubber products. A separate item needs to highlight the rubber. Ferrets have a special love for rubber things. Remote control buttons, rubberized handles, cleaning gloves, all this will be gnawed, it is very dangerous for the intestines.
- Open windows and unglazed balconies. Since absolutely all ferrets are nearsighted, they do not feel heights, and in combination with the animal’s natural curiosity, open windows can lead to the animal falling out and injuring the animal.
Getting ready to meet a new neighbor
What you need to buy for a ferret:
- First of all, the cell. The size of the cage depends on whether the ferret will be there most of the time or just sleep. In any case, a tray, a hammock and / or a house, a feeder and a drinker should fit in it. The sleeping cage should have dimensions: 60x80x50 cm. Accordingly, if the ferret spends more time in it, then the more, the better. You can install various tunnels in it, a box – a digger with balls, lids or other materials, allocate an area for games.
- Tray. It is better to buy several trays, because when the ferret runs around the apartment, he is unlikely to run into the cage in order to go to the toilet. The tray should be in the cage and in every room where the ferret runs.
- Toilet filler. The filler can be anything: wood, mineral or silica gel, the main thing is that it should be under the net, in order to avoid eating it by animals.
- Drinker and bowl for food. It is better to buy a drinker with a nipple drinker, as the ferret will overturn the bowl. The feeder is best taken from ceramic or iron with a wide stable bottom, or which are attached to the cage.
- Nail cutter. To care for the animal, he needs to cut his claws twice a month.
- Shampoo. Periodically (about once every 3-4 months), the animal needs to be washed, both shampoos for ferrets and cats are suitable.
- Toys. Toys for a ferret must be selected carefully, as it can chew and eat small parts.
- House and hammock. It is simply necessary to install a house in a cage, since the animal needs a closed place where he can hide from everyone. A hammock is optional, but ferrets love them.
With proper preparation of the apartment, the life of the ferret in it will be comfortable and safe.
Ferret nutrition at home
Originally a wild and predatory animal, these days it is easy to tame and treat it like a kitten or a domestic dog. However, the diet of ferrets has its own subtleties, they cannot be fed to everyone in a row, because sometimes you can bring dangerous microorganisms into his body.
Let’s start with the fact that ferrets, like cats, are carnivores. That is, they love meat and cannot survive without it. And yes, this is not a rodent, it is a small but pure kind of predator! So, meat is a loose concept, and predators, in addition to muscles and external tissues, like to feast on entrails, and at the same time bones, but not every food has all this. Our animal must live for more than 10 years, its happiness and general physical condition rests entirely on your hands. Get ready for the hassle, keeping a ferret is somewhat more difficult than keeping a cat or dog, and the joint institution of these species is contraindicated.
The good news is that ferrets are suitable for cat food (it is better to look at premium varieties: Royal Canine, Hill’s Kitten) . Experienced zoologists do not recommend cheap types like Whiskas, there are a lot of chemistry and little useful for the ferret, in the future this can cause digestive disorders and all sorts of health problems. No dog food will do. Pet stores also sell special kits for our predator, but not everyone has the opportunity to purchase them. And the ferret himself has the right to refuse even the most expensive food if he does not like the smell.
To make sure that the pet is full while you are not at home, you should turn to the use of dry food – always leave a third of a cup in the cage (again, you need to buy the best varieties for kittens or lactating cats). Such food does not spoil for a long time and cleans teeth better than soft types. Of course, if you force your pet to eat dry food, then it is worth providing him with water (boiled, in a ratio of 1/3 food / water).
Let’s mention the third possible type of food – home cooking. Very troublesome, but if you love your pet, then the best and most natural type of food. The natural diet of a ferret, it is worth recalling, consists of dead rodents and birds. This is exactly what you can try to reproduce. Buy poultry, beef or lamb (by no means pork), or sea fish. Boil and make minced meat (raw or fried meat is contraindicated for ferrets). Add offal – hearts, liver, kidneys. Supply minced meat with a small amount (1/5) of porridge, eggs and cottage cheese. The result is a perfectly balanced meal.
It is not recommended to pamper these pets with sweets , they will simply get fat, their teeth will deteriorate, and hypoglycemia will begin to develop. Raisins, which many ferrets love so much, can cause diarrhea because they are high in glucose. Milk also contributes to this.
Forbidden fruits for the ferret
Here is a list of treats you can treat your ferret to in moderation:
- meat food for cats (they are very fond of liver);
- banana slices (no more than 1 slice per day);
- raisins (no more than 2-3 pieces per day);
- small amount of milk.
Foods that should definitely not be given to a ferret:
- chips and any fatty foods;
- fruits with a high fiber content;
- bakery products;
- peanuts and their oil;
- ice cream;
- carbonated drinks;
- sugary sweets like marshmallows, caramel and marmalade.
It is worth noting that in different periods of life, the nutrition of a ferret may differ (in terms of consumption volumes). If you are not sure about the correct diet, it is best to contact your veterinarian. And the rest, perhaps, everything.
Don’t forget to buy toys for your ferret and don’t sit on him if he suddenly buries himself in the blanket. Love your pet and he will love you back!