Good News (Maybe) for Ferret Owners in New York City

New York pet ferret

 

For 15 years, ferrets in New York City have been living in the shadows, outlawed under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who famously told a ferret fancier that “this excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness”.

 

Now there’s a bit of hope for the slinky creatures. Years of lobbying by ferret owners has finally landed an audience in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, which says it could hold a hearing by the end of the year on a measure to make ferrets legal once again.

“Why would you ban ferrets?” asks Candace Lucas, who has owned ferrets for about 25 years and currently shares her Manhattan apartment with six-year-old Tink. “How is a ferret any different than having a dog or a cat? Why would a ferret be something that would create any kind of problem?”

Ferrets are legal in most of the US but are prohibited in California and Hawaii and in some municipalities, including New York City for the stated health department reason of “vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans”. Backers say ferrets don’t attack unless they have been starved or abused.

Read the full story here.

 

Some Ferret Resources

Panda Ferret PlayingHere are a few ferret resources to help you with both general and specific information, as well as in the case of a ferret emergency.

1. American Ferret Association, Inc

888-FERRET-1

afa@ferret.org

www.ferret.org

2. The Ferret Council Ferret Emergency Response, Rescue & Evaluation Team (FERRET)

EMERGENCIES ONLY: 860-906-8798

info@ferretemergency.org

www.ferretemergency.org.

3. Ferret Health Advancement Department, Michigan State University

ferrethealth.msu.edu

4. International Ferret Congress

ferretcongress@ferrectcongress.org

www.ferretcongress.org.

5. Support our shelters

ferretshelterfund@supportourshelters.org

www.supportourshelters.org.

Also, you might check out our 2 in 1 Ferret Book.

 

New “2 in 1 Ferret Book”

A New Ferret Book that Includes Both Getting Started with Pet Ferrets and Ferret Toys – With Updated Information and New Material

New Ferret BookHere’s a brief description:

So you finally got that pet ferret you’ve been wanting. But now what?

Ferrets do make great pets. They are fun, quirky, lovable, playful, mischievous, and entertaining little critters. But they also require a commitment on your part. You will need to invest time, money, and energy to take care of your woozles properly. Reading our 2 in 1 Ferret Book will aid you in preparing and getting outfitted for your ferret journey – especially the ferret-cage and ferret-readiness checklists.

And then there are the toys – most likely lots of them. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys?

This book contains our two top-selling ferret books with new additional material. 

Our new 2 in 1 Ferret Book will give you the basics of ferret care and the low-down on ferret toys. It’ll also save you some money – always a good thing this time of year.

Happy Holidays!

 

Ferret-Adoption Time – Ferret Shelters Filling Up

This time of year, ferret shelters are filling up, which puts a strain on limited resources. So if you’re thinking about a first or another pet ferret, now is a great time to consider ferret adoption. Below is an excerpt from a news piece that proves the point . . .

As usually happens, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association (GCFA) finds itself with an oversupply of ferrets by November (currently, 93 in a shelter that considers its cages full at 60). This overpopulation of mustelids puts a stress on all the shelter’s resources: volunteers; funds for medical needs, food and litter; and time: time for ferrets to get out for play as well as volunteers to cover giving basic food and cage-cleaning care.

Why the fall surge? Some surrenders come from students going away to school and unable to bring their pets along or people that suffer sudden allergy onset with the closing up of homes in cold weather.

The continued economic downturn, with its job losses, foreclosures, and moves to no-ferret housing account for many others. Sadly, a large number of ferrets come in as “no longer wanted” pets; from people “upgrading” to prettier and younger pets; or as strays, dumps and “trash can ferrets.” Yes, people dump live animals in dumpsters. Sometimes tied in plastic garbage bags!

So, to give the shelter’s ferrets reason to be thankful by the upcoming holidays, GCFA offers a combined membership and adoption incentive this month of November. With the tagline of “Don’t just buy a ferret, adopt some love,” GCFA offers a members-only Free Adoption Event this month.

Read more here.

A Ferret Manual

Here’s an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released little book titled A Ferret Manuel: How to Train and Manage Your Human. It’s a humorous, ferret’s-eye view of the often comical relations between humans and pet ferrets.

So, you’ve finally acquired your very own human, have you? Good. Good for you and congratulations! It sure beats being crowded together with a bunch of total strangers in a tiny cage at the pet store, doesn’t it? But . . . while this is a great accomplishment and a first step toward a happy life in a home of your own, your job is just beginning. You have a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

First of all, humans aren’t really very teachable. But, then, there are very few animals as inquisitive and intelligent as ferrets. That means training your human will require, in varying degrees as your unique situation demands, inventiveness, persistence, consistent application, and time.

Okay, let’s get started.

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Following are the four important truths about or principles of human nature that will form the foundation of our guidelines and rules for training and managing your human. Remember these and adapt your training tactics accordingly, and you should see some success in your human-training efforts.

1. Humans are basically lazy creatures.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

Because they are lazy, then, and slaves to the law of inertia, humans are just downright hard to train. The difficulty lies in getting them to change a behavior. For some bizarre reason, they prefer the familiar and easy to the better course. And never forget that humans just aren’t as smart as ferrets. There’s really nothing you can do about that, though.

For a human, it takes a lot of effort to learn something new and change a thinking pattern and/or a behavior. That’s why they dig in their heels and resist change: because it takes effort. Ironically, though, humans often expend more energy resisting change, owing to their inherent laziness, than they would actually making the change. (But, remember, they’re just not all that bright.) So, one of the keys to successfully training and managing your human will be persistence. You will simply have to work at it assiduously until you’ve achieved the desired results.

Just don’t give up. Success could be right around the corner.

2. Humans are incorrigible creatures of habit.

This truth about human nature is tightly bound up with the first one above. Because humans are lazy, they are also creatures of habit. They tend to keep doing the same thing the same way over and over because – well, because it’s just easier for them that way. It will take a lot of effort on your part to get your human to do something in a new and different way.

But the good news in all this is that once you’ve trained your human to engage in a certain behavior, your work is usually done with respect to that particular thing. Your human will keep doing whatever-it-is out of habit without thinking about it. While this aspect of human nature makes training your human quite a bit of work, it does mean that managing a behavior once inculcated is fairly easy.

Suppose, for example, you don’t like the food that your human has been giving you. You can’t, of course, just tell your human about it – she can’t speak our language. (Again, keep in mind that humans aren’t as clever as we are.) But after you’ve put in the necessary training effort (using some choice training tactics I’ll get to in a little bit), most of your work will be done. When your human learns to buy the kind of food you like best, she will keep doing it simply out of habit, even if she forgets the reason she started doing it in the first place. Once trained, humans are generally pretty easy to manage . . .

And here are links to our other ferret books:

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

“Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale”

 

Welcome to the Family – New Ferrets

On Tuesday, August 14, Rikki and Possum got a new brother and a new sister.

Loki (boy) and Baby (girl) are both black sables. Loki is eight months old, and Baby is fourLoki - New Pet Ferret months old. They are such sweethearts!

I got them from a friend who couldn’t keep them anymore. She approached me about taking Baby (I called her Baby because I hadn’t come up with a name for her yet) because she knew that I have two ferrets already and that I’m a softy when it comes to our little fuzzies. Of course, I couldn’t say no.

When my friend brought Baby, the cage, and all of her paraphernalia to me and we were getting it all out of her car, Loki jumped out of the car. It surprised me that she still had Loki. She informed me that the woman who was going to get Loki couldn’t take him after all. So my friend was going to see if any of the pet stores would take him.

When I found that out, I went and sweet talked my husband so that he would let me take Loki. I had to do a little bit of arguing too. But he finally saw the light and gave in.

Now I have four little fuzzies. And Rikki and Possum just love having two more playmates.Luna - New Pet Ferret, Black Sable

I’m also not calling Baby “Baby” anymore. Her name is now Luna.

I owe a great big Thank You! to one of my  blog readers. She is the one who suggested the name Luna. I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is. So, thank you again for suggesting the name Luna. It fits her perfectly.

Welcome to the family Loki and Luna!

Ferret Proofing Your Home – Keeping Your Pet Ferrets Safe

Okay, so you’ve purchased, adopted, or rescued your first pet ferret(s). You’ve also gathered and/or purchased all the ferret cage(s), supplies, accessories, and ferret toys you think you and your new fuzzy will need. But your job isn’t finished yet.

Ferrets are surprisingly agile and nimble, and they love to burrow and tunnel into everything – Panda Ferret in Laundry Basketyes, everything. They can flatten out and crawl through cracks and into spaces (e.g., under doors, between cushions, around barriers) that seem impossibly narrow. So, if your home isn’t ready, your ferret and your possessions could be at risk.

Here, then, are a few tips to help you prepare a safe haven for your fuzzy.

  • Crawl around your ferret’s space and try your best to get a ferret’s-eye view of your home. What attractive nuisances do you see? Look for holes in the walls and in furniture cushions – a ferret can squeeze into a remarkably small space – tall cabinets from which they could fall, easily opened and entered drawers, electrical cords and drapery pulls that look like tempting chew items, climbable trash cans, and accessible toxic plants. Plug up any holes and cracks you may find, install child-proof latches and outlet covers, and put away delicate knick-knacks – anything you can do to make the place ferret safe.
  • Keep trash cans out of your ferret’s room if at all possible. If you really do need a trash can in the ferret’s space, choose one that can be sealed tightly. Trash cans not only carry germ-laden materials, but they can trap an exploring ferret inside.
  • If you plan to allow your ferret free run of the house (and, of course, you would allow this only when you or a responsible person is present), keep the bathroom door closed. Seal off the bottom as well if your fuzzy could crawl under it. As a precaution, put away all cosmetics, medications, and toiletries. If possible, install a shower door rather than using a shower curtain. Keep the toilet lid down and/or install a child-proof latch.
  • Likewise, seal off your kitchen when your ferrets are loose because they could become trapped in or around appliances or get burned when exploring the stove. As a precaution, put all food items away, including condiments.
  • Do not allow your ferrets on or near upholstered furniture. They could chew on the stuffing and fabric, which could be a choking hazard (in addition to damaging an expensive piece of furniture). They could also become trapped in reclining-chair mechanisms.
  • Also, close off your laundry area. Don’t ever let your ferret take a ride in the laundry basket on your way to doing the wash. Too many ferrets have gone through the washer and dryer cycle, unbeknownst to their owners, with tragic results.
  • Keep all chemicals, fragile items, and valuables out of the reach of your ferrets at all times.

Once your ferret is home, get into the habit of watching out for her. Carefully inspect your couch or recliner before you sit down. Close all doors slowly, including refrigerator and cabinet doors. Check your washer, dryer, and laundry basket before you do a new load. Put away all hazardous chemicals. Avoid carrying large or awkward loads if there’s a chance of stumbling over your ferret.

(N.B.: Sometimes, veterinarians will allow you to quarantine your new ferret in their offices for a week or two. Not only is this an excellent way to be sure your ferret is healthy and disease free, but it also buys you some time to prepare your home.)

For more tips on ferret safety and ferret care, see Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Are You Right for a Pet Ferret?

Friends and acquaintances often ask me about getting a pet ferret. I tell them, of course, that ferrets make great pets – and then I give them my standard caveat. And that is that ferrets are high-maintenance pets and require commitment, both financially and time-wise. But as Pet Ferrets Sleeping in Laundry Basketyou suspect or maybe know already, it’s all worth it.

A prospective or new ferret owner, then, needs to determine whether he or she is the right person to own a ferret? Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to find out whether a ferret is right for you and whether you are right for a ferret.

Can I afford a pet ferret?
Buying or adopting a ferret begins at around $140. Then there is the additional $100-$200 for supplies, another $50 or so for food, and probably $300-$400 in vet bills for the first year alone. (And don’t forget various supplies and accessories like toys, litter pans, water bottles, toys, bedding, vitamins, and, of course, toys.) If you add these numbers up, you’ll see that, as with any other member of your family, there is a definite financial commitment involved.

Do I have the necessary time?
To be and remain healthy and happy, a pet ferret needs to spend a minimum of two hours each day outside the cage. They need some freedom and lots of playtime, as well as some fresh air and sunshine. And because ferrets are notorious for hiding in the most unusual places, it’s better and safer if you spend that free time with them. Also, the whole purpose of having a pet is companionship. Does your schedule permit this kind of time commitment?

Do I have the space?
A quality ferret cage is a necessary ferret accessory. Most ferret cages measure at least 18 inches high by 18 inches wide by 30 inches deep (the absolute minimum amount of space for a single ferret). Do you have a place in your home big enough to hold the cage and other accessories (for example, toys, extra bedding, litter, food, and so on)? Is that space in a separate room that can be closed off when needed (because, as mentioned above, pet ferrets need a safe play area)?

Am I tolerant and willing to adjust?
If you’ve never owned a ferret before, you may be surprised at the number of adjustments you and your family will have to make. For one thing, ferrets are very active. If you aren’t used to the sounds of animals running around like mad at seemingly all hours, your ferret may drive you crazy. Ferrets are also notorious thieves – which means you will need to be prepared to frequently retrieve small items (such as shoes and brushes) from under your bed and/or dresser. For another thing, ferrets have a distinctive musky scent, and although there are quality ferret products that help control this scent, it is still something that may take some getting used to.

Am I diligent and able to commit to a daily care regimen?
Ferrets, like all creatures, need the right kind of care in order to thrive. Otherwise, they can become sick and even die – domesticated ferrets are prone to several health issues that require constant vigilance on you part. Will you be able to keep up with a ferret’s food, water, exercise, cleaning, vitamins, supplements, vaccinations, and veterinarian visits?

Am I willing to adopt more than one ferret?
Ferrets are very social creatures and do not do well alone. That’s why many people who buy or adopt one ferret often wind up bringing in another one soon after. To be truly happy, a pet ferret needs ferret companionship (as well as your companionship, of course). So if you’ve already answered “Yes” to the first five questions, it may be a good idea to multiply those answers by at least two.

Is it legal to own a ferret in my area?
This may seem obvious, but we often forget to check such things beforehand. So keep in mind that a few states and some municipalities have banned ferrets as pets (often as a result of merely being inadequately informed about ferrets). Make sure, then, before you adopt a pet ferret, that it legal for you to do so where you live. You can find a listing of places (both states and cities) where ferrets are illegal here.

So there ya go. Now you know whether you are right for a pet ferret. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t really ever own pet ferrets – you just share your home with them. Just make sure you have plenty of ferret toys on hand to keep them occupied and happy.

Another New Ferret Story

Everyone loves a story with children and animals – especially when it has an ending that New Story for Ferret Loversmakes you smile. And that pretty well describes in broad strokes our new short story titled “Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale.”

Here’s what our blurb says:

Twelve-year-old Danny McGuire loves his pet ferret, Oliver – but Danny’s parents don’t. They also think he should do more of the things “normal boys” do.

Still, Danny manages to remain fairly cheerful and keep his grades up. Oliver consoles him, his mountain-bike rides bring him solace, and his best friend Mike offers some hard-won advice.  It all works out, for the most part, until . . . things go terribly wrong.

But, then, it pays to remember that a rescue ferret can sometimes “rescue” a bad situation.

Strictly speaking “Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale” is a children’s story. But it is also a story that, we think, will please ferret lovers of all ages.