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About Ferrets

TOP TEN THINGS FERRET OWNERS SHOULD KNOW
#9: DECIDING IF YOU SHOULD GIVE YOUR FERRET UP

It may seem odd to find on a page about ferret ownership information to help you decide if you should give your ferret up. However, in this business I have seen so many examples of people who own ferrets but probably shouldn't. Many times, the people don't even realize that they are not good ferret owners. Additionally, many ferret owners find this site while trying to make this decision, and we offer this section for that reason.

My name is Butter! Every home is different, and in this space I can't cover every sign that ferret ownership isn't for you. But the following is a very general list of things that ferrret owners should not do; if you are guilty of even one of the following items, you either need to change your behavior or consider giving up your ferret.

  • If it would cost you serious financial strain if tomorrow your ferret became ill and needed a $300-$400 surgery, plus follow-up treatment. Ferrets can and do suddenly have medical emergencies that can't wait until the end of the month for you to scrape up some extra cash.
  • If you do not have time in your day, every day, to spend interactive time with your ferret for at least a few hours. This can be as simple as letting your ferret out while you watch TV, do chores, etc. (provided you can supervise your ferret at the same time). You should still play with your ferret, cuddle him or her, and generally let your ferret know you still love him/her. If your ferret has ample run time daily, but doesn't get much interactive time with you, you may want to consider getting a second ferret. Ferrets MUST have love and attention given to them regularly. It really doesn't matter if this attention is provided by a human or another ferret, but be warned that if you have only one ferret, and he is generally affectionate and loving to you, if you get a second ferret it is likely that he will transfer those feelings to the new ferret and become more distanced to you. However, ferrets that are not shown some form of daily attention and love from some source will become "lovesick" and their health is likely to decline; the lifespan of ferrets that are not bonded to a human or another ferret tend to be much shorter than those that are shown love.
  • If there are young children in your home that tend to "manhandle" your ferret too much or who do not understand the proper way to treat a ferret. The PFRA took possession of a ferret from a home where little adult supervision was provided to the children in the home that played with the ferret. There were reports from the neighbors of this family that the children would take the ferret outside and swing him by his tail or neck. They would occasionally throw the ferret into the air, terrorizing the poor animal, and sometimes they did not catch him when he fell. When the mother was confronted about this behavior she denied it, but after investigating the PFRA saw the behavior firsthand. If you have children who are capable of this behavior, perhaps you should wait a few years before getting another ferret.
  • If you are expecting a baby and do not have any way of ensuring that the ferret and the baby will be separated. Do not alter your ferret's lifestyle by decreasing his or her runtime or interactive time. The only truly safe way to have a baby and a ferret at the same time it to have a designated "ferret room" where your ferrets can run freely but not have access to your baby. You will still need to have interactive time with your ferret daily, perhaps while your baby naps. NOTE: this is not only the case with ferrets; no pets should be allowed access to a baby except under the strictest of supervision!
  • If you do not believe that ferrets need, or are unwilling to provide, annual distemper vaccinations or annual vet checkups.
  • If you cannot properly ferretproof your home to the dangers that ferrets may be exposed to. If you regularly find your ferret in a potentially dangerous location, and for any reason you cannot prevent your ferret from having access to this place, don't endanger your ferret.
  • If the natural mischevious behavior of ferrets causes you to become frustrated or angry with your ferret. If you constantly feel as though all you do is follow your ferret around and keep him from getting into things, and this causes you to feel stressed. Ferret ownership should be fun and enjoyable; pets are supposed to help us relieve the daily stresses of life. If your ferret causes you stress, you cannot properly provide love and warmth to your pet.
  • If you travel very frequently and cannot or do not take your ferret with you.

Again, these are only a few danger signs that perhaps it is time to surrender your ferret to a better home, or make changes in your home and lifestyle. If you find that you are guilty of any of the above, but still wish to keep your ferret, please contact us, and we will offer suggestions how you are able to better take care of your ferret. If you decide that you can no longer keep your ferrets, please contact your local ferret shelter; they will be able to properly care for your ferret until an excellent home is found.

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