What Are the Top 3 Ferret Toys (According to my Ferrets)?

There is, of course, a dizzying multitude of ferret toys on the market. So trying to find great toys for your fuzzies can be both confusing and overwhelming. And because of that, it’s easy to spend a small fortune trying to find just the right toys for your pet ferrets. But maybe this post will make it a little easier and save you both time and money. Following are the toys my fuzzies have chosen as their top 3 favorites.

Ferret Tunnel System – This consists of a long section (or sections) of pliable, bendable clear-plastic tubing. It’s about 4 to 5 inches in diameter and has enough stiffness to retain its shape while your carpet sharks travel through it. They won’t get stuck because, with a little effort, they can turn around in the tunnel.

You can also purchase various attachments to go on the ends of the tunnel. These make the tunnel play even more fun for them and more enjoyable for you to watch. This tunnel system was my best (and fairly inexpensive) ferret-toy investment. My babies absolutely love scampering through, around, and over their tunnel toys.

Just watch them having a ton of fun in this video:

Ball Pit – This is another simple and inexpensive toy that my ferrets love. It’s basically just a box filled with hard-plastic balls. They jump into the box, burrow in among the balls, and wrestle with one another while in the box. My babies love this toy almost as much as they do their tunnels.

Just make sure that if you do get a ball pit, the balls are large enough that your ferret(s) can’t swallow them. Also, the balls should be made of a hard plastic – NOT rubber – so that your fuzzy family members can’t bite or chew off pieces and ingest them.

Peanuts – Another simple and inexpensive toy, the peanuts were, for a long time my ferrets’ favorite. Again, this is another toy that consists of just a box filled with ferret-fancy-tickling objects.

These objects look just packing peanuts – but they are NOT. Never let your ferret(s) play with Styrofoam objects of any kind. They can bite off small pieces of the Styrofoam and ingest them – which could result in a trip to the et and maybe even surgery for your pet.

The peanuts in this toy, though, are made of a starch that is completely harmless to ferrets if ingested. And, boy, do my guys and gal love to dive into the box full of peanuts and get after it. They burrow, they wrestle, they swim, they leap out and back in, they –

Well, just see for yourself in this video:

 

For more tips and ideas on both commercial and homemade ferret toys, take a look at Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy.

We Finally Got It! – Ferret Nation Ferret Cage

After three years with Rikki and Possum in a cage that I really disliked, I added two more pet ferrets, Loki and Luna. Because I took Loki and Luna from a friend who had to get rid ofNew Ferret Nation Cage them, I also got their ferret cage.

It is a Ferret Nation Cage. I love the size and roominess. It’s definitely big enough for four ferrets.

What I really like about it is the way I can hang so many ferret beds and hammocks in it. I have four beds, three hammocks, and a climbing rope in this Ferret Nation Cage. And there is still plenty of room for my fuzzies to play.

Also, because I have a certain ferret (whose name I won’t mention, but Possum would be a good guess) who likes to fill empty corners with not-so-nice presents, I also have five litter boxes in the cage – four on the very bottom of the cage and one on the top floor.

What I also like about the Ferret Nation cage is that I can close off one section with my ferrets confined there while I clean a section above or below the one closed off. Another plus is the huge doors that make it easy to work in the cage and to take out or put in fuzzies.

This cage has legs with castors. The extra height makes it easy to work in, and the castors make it easy to move around. And the tray below the cage compartments is handy for storing toys and cleaning stuff.

The one thing I don’t like about this ferret cage is the very shallow trays. I wish they were much deeper. I’m always finding litter and poop on my bedroom floor.

You know how ferrets like to back up to walls to use the bathroom. Well, Possum will find a way NOT to use the litter boxes and just back his little booty to the side of the cage and then poop over the edge of the tray and on the floor. And this, of course, means extra cleaning for me! I do wish the trays had been a little better designed.

But other than that, I really like our new Ferret Nation Cage. And Rikki and Possum really like it, too. They’re not stuck in that small cage anymore. They also like the two new playmates that came with their new cage.

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 Odor Revisited

If you’ve owned a pet ferret for any length of time, then you’re no doubt acquainted with your pet’s distinctive, um, ferret odor. A ferret’s unique scent can sometimes be a problem for new owners of pet ferrets. Fortunately, you have a few options if you dislike having a “stinky Ferret Odor Solutionslinky.”

First, keep in mind that a ferret’s scent is simply a natural part of its existence. Ferrets, being related to skunks, have scent glands located near the anus (although a pet ferret doesn’t use her glands for defense the way a skunk does). Usually, these glands are removed when the ferret is quite young (generally at the same time it is being spayed or neutered). And if you got your ferret from a pet store it has most likely been “de-scented.”

But in some countries removing the scent glands is considered to be abusive and therefore not performed. If you are adopting a pet ferret from outside the US, be sure to find out whether the animal has been de-scented.

If your pet has not been de-scented, he may release a distinctive (and pretty strong) musk-like odor when excited, afraid, or angry. But once your ferret has calmed down, the smell usually dissipates fairly quickly.

Removing the scent glands will eliminate most of the musky ferret odor. It may recur, however, if you don’t take care of your ferret properly. And this happens because ferrets have oil glands that also emit a musky odor.

While it may seem counterintuitive, you should NOT bath your ferret frequently to control this ferret odor. Too much bathing will actually make the problem worse because frequent baths will wash away the natural oils that actually help protect your fuzzy’s health. Bathe your ferret no more than about once a month.

(Also be aware that a persistent, strong ferret smell could signal that its teeth and/or ears could use some cleaning.  If the problem persists after you’ve thoroughly cleaned these areas, you should take your pet ferret see her vet.)

Now, while most ferret owners adjust to their fuzzies’ unique “odor,” other members of the family often do not. Family (and friends) may complain about this smell. But not to worry – this ferret odor can be controlled (though not eliminated entirely) quite easily.

You can control pet ferret odor with a product called GoodBye Odor for Ferrets. I use it because it works – and I wouldn’t be without it.

More Famous Ferret Names

In a previous post I wrote about movies with little fuzzy actors in them. I found out thatPanda Ferret Playing most of those ferrets did not have names. In my opinion, that is discrimination against our famous fuzzies.

Most movies that have dogs and cats in them provide the names of the canine and feline actors in the credits. Of course, most people don’t feel toward fuzzies the way we obsessed ferret owners do.

Anyway, here is a very short list of famous ferret names:

  • Podo and Kodo – from the movie Beast Master
  • Pan – from the movie The Golden Compass
  • Rodolfo – from the movie Along Came Polly
  • Jasper – from the movie Jake and Jasper

I also found out the names of Paris Hilton’s ferrets – Dolce and Gabbana. I don’t think she has them anymore, though, because it is illegal to keep pet ferrets in California.

My favorite famous ferret name I saved for last . . . and that is . . . Rikki Tikki Tavi! That is the name of my albino ferret. It is taken from the children’s story “Rikki Tikki Tavi” written by Rudyard Kipling.

Find out much more about adopting and naming pet ferrets here.

Choosing a Vet for the Best Ferret Care

Guest Post by Michael Hearing

Ferrets make great pets, but, as we’ve mentioned before, pet ferrets are fairly high-maintenance critters. Part of that maintenance involves frequent vet visits becauseFerrets Playing ferrets are prone to several health issues. It is very important, then, that you choose a vet who is knowledgeable about, experienced in, and equipped for proper ferret care.

Here, for example, is what happened the first time Karen took her fuzzy kids, Rikki and Possum, to the vet.

We called a trusted vet we had used several times before with our dogs and cats and made an appointment. But when we (and Karen’s woozles) arrived at the vet’s office, we didn’t get to see Dr. M. Instead, we saw a young woman who was just six months out of vet school.

Now, she was friendly, easy to talk to, and generally knowledgeable about veterinarian matters, and she was a pleasure to deal with. But she had very little experience with ferrets – which she was up front about. This brand-new vet couldn’t answer many of our questions about ferret health. So Rikki and Possum got a general exam and their vaccinations and no more. We went home to research answers to our questions on ferret care and ferret health on our own.

In Ferrets for Dummies (which we consult often) Kim Schilling emphasizes the need to ask a lot of questions before you choose a vet – and not to just assume they know about ferret care, as we did. Schilling says: “Questions are your best tools. A good, professional veterinarian and staff will recognize your valid concerns and won’t hesitate to answer your questions as completely as possible.”

Schilling recommends that you ask at least a few basic questions before choosing a vet so that you can find out:

  • How long the vet has been practicing ferret medicine and how many pet ferrets he or she generally treats in typical day, week, or month
  • The vet’s experience with diagnosing and treating common ferret diseases
  • Whether the clinic stocks plenty of ferret vaccinations (e.g., USDA-approved rabies vaccine)
  • Fees for check-ups, examinations, and vaccinations
  • Whether the facility is equipped to house (overnight or even longer) ferrets that may require hospitalization
  • The vet’s level of experience in handling both routine surgeries (such as spaying and neutering) and more involved surgeries (such as tumor removal and adrenal-related surgeries)
  • What kind of continuing education the vet uses to stay abreast of recent developments in ferret medicine and the latest in surgical techniques

So, choose a vet for you fuzzy kids wisely. You wouldn’t take your other children to just any old doctor, would you?

For more information on ferret health and ferret care, see Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Bottom of the Ferret Cage

Do I put anything on the bottom of my ferrets’ (Rikki’s and Possum’s) cage? The onlyFerret in Cage thing I have on the bottom of their ferret cage is their litter boxes.

My little fuzzies are not very clean house keepers. They scatter their food everywhere, and they play in their water bowl, splashing water everywhere.

Rikki and Possum also dig. They like to dig in their litter boxes right after I’ve cleaned them out and put in fresh litter.

And they like to move their furniture around. A lot! I have to make sure everything is tied down – especially their litter pans. If I don’t do this, I’ll find the litter boxes moved and even turned upside down, with ferret litter and my little fuzzies’ unmentionables (like their poop) scattered all over the bottom of their cage.

I also know that if I put newspaper or old rags or old clothes in the bottom of my fuzzy kids’ ferret cage, I would find these things in their beds and in their food and water dishes. I would also find these items on the floor of my bedroom. I know this would happen because I’ve tried it, and Rikki and Possum just stuffed these things through the bars of their cageGreat New Ferret Book and out onto my floor. You think that’s not possible? It absolutely is if the items are small enough for them to push through the spaces between the cage bars. Ferrets are no dummies!

So there’s the answer to the question “Do I put anything on the bottom of my pet ferrets’ cage?” No, I do not. I have a hard enough time keeping it clean as it is.

More and More Ferret Beds – Easy Ferret-Bed Rehabilitation

I am one of those people who think their little fuzzies cannot have enough ferret beds.

Rikki and Possum have seven beds, two sleep sacks, and a hammock (but not all in theirCollapsing Ferret Bed cage at the same time, of course).

Two of these beds I bought from Doctors Foster and Smith – the Fuzz-E-Tree Sleepers set (two pieces). One of the set is a tunnel that resembles a log and hangs in the cage. The other piece is a round house, and it is supposed to resemble a small tree stump. But it doesn’t hang – it just sits on the floor.

I sweet talked my husband into ordering these beds for me. When they finally arrived in the mail, I got so excited, just like a kid at Christmas.

I grabbed up the package and hurried into my bedroom where my fuzzy kids live. I just had to show Rikki and Possum their new beds.

The “log” tunnel they loved – but the “tree house” kept collapsing on them. My pet ferrets didn’t like that, so they soon ignored it and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. It ended up just lying on the floor beside their toy box. (Yes, my fuzzy kids have their own toy box. Actually, it’s a basket that holds their smaller toys.)

I thought about putting this tree-stump bed in the bottom of their cage, thinking maybe they would eventually use it. But I soon scratched that idea because that’s where they have two of their litter boxes. And, besides, it still wouldn’t hold its shape.

So I got to thinking: “Surely there is a way to put straps on that bed and hang it in the cage.” And this is what I came up with.

I went to the Dollar Tree store (a chain in this part of the country that everything is on sale for just a dollar) and purchased a dog leash that matched the bed’s pattern and color scheme. Then, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought four small hooks (or snaps) from the jewelry section.

Having done that, I took a seam ripper and unsewed the top corner seams of the bed. I next cut the leash into four pieces (straps) about eight and a half inched long. Then, I inserted the end of each strap through a snap, doubled over the end of each strap, and sewed the loop shut. (These would be used to hook onto the top of the cage.)

I then turned the bed inside out and pinned the straps onto the corners, making sure that the longest part of each strap was on the inside. That way, when the bed was turned right side out again, the straps would be outside the top of the bed. 

After I got the straps thus pinned, I sewed them into the corner seams using my sewing machine. And then after securing the straps in this manner, I turned the bed right side out again.

I now have another hanging ferret bed for Rikki and Possum – one they actually like.Hanging Ferret Bed

This was a bed that just sat on the floor unused. Previously, they wouldn’t have anything to do with it, but now they love it! This collapsing bed now keeps its shape because it is hanging. So Rikki and Possum have both a “log” and a “tree house” hanging in their cage.

Since I came up with this idea for my pet ferrets’ “tree house” bed, I’ve been wondering what other ideas I can come up with. I don’t think seven ferret beds are enough. They’ve got to have a wide selection, don’t you think?

The Husband’s Top 5 Negative Rules for Owning Pet Ferrets

Guest Post by Michael Hearing

As you know my wife, Karen, has two pet ferrets (or woozles or little fuzzies or fuzzy kids, as she sometimes calls them). I like Rikki and Possum a lot too. I love to watch them play and cut up and do goofy things. But, still, there are drawbacks to wives’ owning pet ferrets – and most of them involve money. That’s why I’ve formulated “The Husband’s TAlbino Ferret Rikkiop 5 Negative Rules for Owning Pet Ferrets.”

Rule 1 – Never let your wife get the mail.
If your wife has pet ferrets, you should never allow her to check the mail box. Why? It’s simple really. Because on any given day – and you can never know for sure when it will happen – a pet-supply or ferret-supply catalogue could arrive. In fact, the Doctor’s Foster and Smith catalogue just came today.

Here’s how it usually goes. I’ve gone to town to run some errand, and my wife checks the mail while I’m gone. So I get home and find her seated at the kitchen table poring over the new catalogue, feverishly marking pages, panting after all the ferret toys and ferret accessories she wants to buy for Rikki and Possum. So, hoping to avoid the inevitable, I go to my desk and pretend to work. But it doesn’t work.

Karen comes skipping in and says, “Oh, Michael, look at this. Rikki would just love one of these.” Or: “Michael, look!” At this point the catalogue is thrust in front of my face. “Possum, really, really, really needs one of these.” And so it goes for awhile.

Eventually, I mutter, “All right, we’ll see. Maybe we’ll get those for Rikki and Possum later.” But I know that, in order to keep a pleasant atmosphere in the house, I’ll soon wind up buying the desired ferret supplies. Last week, it was $33.00 worth of ferret litter. Who knows what it’ll be now that she has the new Doctors Foster and Smith catalogue in her hands.

Fortunately for me, we live in a rural area, and our mail box is about a quarter of a mile from our house

Rule 2 – Never, ever let your wife surf the Internet.
This is related to Rule 1, but the problem becomes hugely magnified, much worse than the mail-box problem. When a ferret-loving wife goes on line, she has scores of ferret catalogues and thousands of ferret accessories available at her fingertips. Seeking out and lusting after new ferret toys for pet ferrets is often called “doing research” around here.

Lately, Karen has been looking at – and making me look at – this Ferret Nation cage. I’m thinking maybe if I buy this ferret cage for her she’ll be satisfied for some time because it’s a large ferret item.  I’m also hoping she’ll be too busy setting up the new cage and watching Rikki and Possum play in it to do much “research” for awhile. We’ll see, I guess.

Rule 3 – Never take your wife to a pet store.
This one should be obvious, but it simply can’t be overemphasized. If you do slip up and take your wife to the pet store, your only recourse is to be as uncommunicative possible and to act as grumpy as possible. The object is to get her angry so she’ll want to go home.

But the best policy is just to never take your wife there in the first place. Not only do pet stores sell ferret toys and ferret cages and ferret clothes and all kinds of other ferret accessories, but they also have . . . ferrets. Baby ferrets. Really cute ones. And this is about as big a danger to a husband’s checkbook as there is. I really do think it was seeing these baby ferrets at our local pet store that made Karen so “persuasive” about getting Rikki a playmate, Possum. At least, I was able to stretch it into a present to cover two gift-giving days. (To do this you need to emphasize both the initial cost AND the ongoing costs.)

Here’s a little trick I’ve learned. If you absolutely can’t avoid going to the pet store with your wife, take her to dinner first. That way she’ll be slightly hesitant about asking you to spend even more money for ferret supplies. Try it – it worked for me last time.

Rule 4 – Never make any promises about purchasing ferret accessories or ferret toys.
There’s a twofold reason for this rule. First wives never forget ANYTHING. Also, if you have a wife you WILL have arguments. And when you have those inevitable arguments, you’ll find out that the wife you’re arguing with has remembered – vividly in every agonizing detail – all the things you promised to do but didn’t – especially the ferret accessories you promised to buy and the ferret toys you promised to make. Count on it.

The simplest solution, of course, is never to make such promises. But that’s not always possible.

When you are deep into that novel you’ve been just dying to read and your wife begins talking about her pet ferrets and all the ferret goodies she wants to get, you really have only one option at that point. If you want to get back to that action-packed scene in your book and continue reading unmolested, the best way out is to promise to buy some of those ferret things she’s going on about. Just remember what you promised, and make sure to do what you promised before much time goes by.  

Rule 5 – Never, under any circumstance whatsoever, allow your wife to come anywhere near a camera.
Cameras and wives with cameras are in most instances good and necessary things. But that’s definitely not the case when ferrets are involved. Here’s why.

When you turn a wife with pet ferrets loose with a digital camera, you’ll never get any peace again. And that’s because she will be constantly taking ferret pictures and “asking” you to look at them. When I’m deep in thought on a project for work, just on the verge a problem whose solution has been eluding me for days, I often hear a call – well, a summons really – from the other room. “Michael. Michael! Come here! I want you to see something.” I don’t answer hoping it will blow over. But the summons comes again, a little louder this time. So I sigh, push away from my desk, and trudge into the other room. Then I sit down and look at about three hundred and seventy-three pictures . . . of ferrets playing and ferrets chasing and ferrets sleeping and ferrets eating and – well, you get the picture. As I said, no peace.

I don’t know about other wives, but my wife can’t keep track of any of her belongings. So when Karen’s pet ferrets are doing something very cute and she begins frantically searching for her camera, I suddenly lose my memory too. She often says, “Oh, Michael, look at Rikki and Possum. Isn’t that cute! I wish I had my camera. Have you seen my camera?” And of course my response is: “Nooo. I have no idea where it is.”

Of course, my delineation of these rules has been done (mostly) tongue in cheek. But there’s no doubt about: any way you cut it, pet ferrets make for an “interesting” household.

 Be sure and check out Karen’s book on all aspects of owning pet ferrets – everything from adopting a ferret to ferret toys to ferret health to ferret nutrition. Kindle users can go here, Nook users here, and you can get a PDF here.

Litter Boxes for Pet Ferrets

What kind of litter boxes should we use in our fuzzies’ cages? Here are a few suggestions –Ferret Litter Pan some things I’ve learned from (sometimes not-so-pleasant) experience.

When nature calls and our little fuzzies have to run to the bathroom, they run to a corner. Then they turn around and back up to the corner where the walls meet and do their business. So my advice is to get a ferret litter box with a fairly high back. Or you will find “surprises” on the floor in the bottom of the cage.

The litter boxes I have for Rikki and Possum are triangle shaped so they will fit nicely into a corner where my fuzzy babies like to do their business. These litter boxes also have high backs (two sides of the triangle) with a much lower front side to allow easy access. They work very nicely in the corner of the cage.

I would also advise getting locking litter pans. If your pet store is out of locking kind or doesn’t carry them, then I would highly recommend that you tie the litter pans down in some way. You can use C-clamps, twist ties, or small bungee cords. Just make sure they are secured in the cage, usually to the bars of the cage wall.

You can also purchase suitable ferret litter boxes from Amazon or form the Marshall site. And you can order them from Doctors Foster and Smith.

I have three litter boxes in Rikki’s and Possum’s cage. They are not the locking kind, so I tieFerret in Litter Box them down with twist ties.

If you don’t use locking litter boxes or if you don’t secure your non-locking litter pans, you will soon find them turned upside down. And you will also find litter and unwanted surprises all over the bottom of the cage.

I have learned through experience to make sure Rikki’s and Possum’s litter boxes are securely tied down. That way, we are all happy.

You can find out how to litter train your ferrets in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.