Rikki and Possum – An Update on My Pet Ferrets

I was just looking over my past posts on this blog. It seems I have covered a lot of topics – maintaining good ferret health, ferret odor, ferret toys, vaccines, food, litter, and illnesses.

In going over this list of post topics, it occurred to me that I haven’t written anything aboutRikki, My Female Albino Ferret Rikki and Possum in a while. And they are the main reasons I started this website.

So, here goes . . .

Rikki is still my “ADHD” albino fuzzy. I have had her 2 years now, and she is still going strong.

Possum is my 1-year-old panda woozle. He was my laid-back chubby woozle. He’s still laid back, but he finally lost his baby fat. He isn’t as active as Rikki, but he still plays a lot, especially when he can get Rikki to play in the dig box with him.Possum, My Male Panda Ferret

I think their favorite game to play is tag, especially if I play with them. It seems like I’m the one who is always “IT” because they are a lot faster than I am – and I can’t fit under my bed and dresser. That’s where Rikki and Possum always run to keep me from tagging them.

After a game of tag, which usually lasts 15 to 30 minutes, then it’s dig-box and tube time. And that will last around 2 hours. After that, it’s nap time. By then, I’m ready for a nap too.

So Rikki and Possum are still doing great. And they are as ornery as ever.

Two Pet-Ferret Matters – Climbing on the Cage and Covering the Ferret Cage

I’d like to discuss two matters concerning pet ferrets in this post.

The first is ferrets climbing on their cage. This behavior is perfectly normal for ferrets. Rikki and Possum are constantly climbing on their cage, especially Possum, my male panda ferret.

The cage I have for my two ferrets is a small- to medium-sized three-level cage. To get fromFerret Cage and Pet Ferrets the floor to the first level, my ferrets make use of a tube. Then, to get to the second level, they have to go up a spiral slide. And to get to the third level, they go up a ramp.

When I first got Possum, he refused to use the tube or the slide or the ramp. He would just climb up the side of the cage to get to each level. After a couple of months, he finally started using the tube, slide, and ramp. But even then, when the mood struck him, he would still – and still does – climb up the cage to get to the level he wanted.

Rikki (my older female albino ferret), on the other hand, climbs the cage only when she’s bored and wants out. But this is okay – it’s just the nature of ferrets. They love to climb.

Now, the other thing I’d like to talk about is covering your ferrets’ cage at night.

Covering the ferret cage is actually up to the human parents of the little fuzzies. You can choose whether or not you want to put a cover over your fuzzy babies’ cage at night.

I, personally, don’t cover my ferrets’ cage at night. I don’t have any real reason why I don’t do this – I just don’t.

I you do choose to cover the ferret cage in order to make the cage dark, hoping that your pet ferrets will sleep quietly through the night . . . just be aware that this is not going to happen.

Nope. If your fuzzies want to have a midnight romp, they will do it – whether their cage is covered or not.

That’s why I always try to get mine out their cage for several hours each day. Ferrets play extremely hard for a few hours, and then they sleep the rest of the time. The idea is that they will play and get tired so they’ll sleep longer at night. Sometimes it works – sometimes not.

Covering the ferret cage also depends on where you live and whether your ferrets live outside or inside. My fuzzies are inside pets, and my house is fairly warm in the winter and cool in the summer. So I don’t see a reason to cover up my ferrets’ cage at night.

Ferret BookTo cover or not to cover – it really is up to you.

Pet ferrets, being the ornery, independent little critters they are, will climb on their cages and will sometimes keep you awake at night, covered or not.

Introducing New Pets – Pet Ferrets and a Puppy

Rikki and Possum just got a new baby brother, a seven-week-old puppy. His name isPet Ferret and Puppy Samson.

They weren’t too sure what to make of him when they were first introduced. And Samson sure didn’t know what to think of Rikki and Possum.

At first, they all did the smelling of one another. Then, Rikki decided she wasn’t very interested in Samson and decided to do her own thing and go play.

Samson figured out pretty quickly that Rikki and Possum were just about his size and tried to play with Rikki. His way of playing was to try and get Rikki’s tail. Well, Rikki definitely didn’t go for that. She showed Samson that, although he was a little bigger, she could still whip up on him.

Samson decided he didn’t want what Rikki was dishing out, so he tried to get Possum to play with him. And Possum decided to accommodate him.

(I tried to take pictures to record the introduction of our new puppy and my little fuzzies, but that didn’t work out very well. I was laughing too hard to get any good pictures!)

Possum was jumping at Samson and doing the ferret happy dance. And Samson was trying to jump and do the happy dance too! Because he’s just a baby with not-so-good coordination, Samson kept falling over . . . with Possum then jumping on him.

Finally, Possum decided he didn’t want to play like that anymore and started playing with Rikki in their ferret tube system. And Samson, of course, wanted to play in the tube with them. But that didn’t work out very well because he’s a little too fat for it. So he decided to jump on the tube instead. Rikki and Possum really liked that – and the games began again.

They ran in and out of the tube, and Samson raced after them. When Rikki and PossumFerret Playing with Puppy dashed into the tube, Samson jumped onto the tube and tried to get to them that way. Of course, he was a little too slow for my quick woozles. While he was still looking for them in the tube, they would already be under my dresser with their heads sticking out and watching Samson make a fool of himself. It was great fun watching them.

I made sure to run interference in case Samson caught up with the fuzzies – just to make sure he didn’t get too rough with them. Since he’s just a puppy, he doesn’t realize that he could hurt them.

I do advise that when you introduce new pets to your ferrets, always make sure to supervise and never leave them alone together. If you don’t supervise the introductions, an accident could happen.

Welcome to the family, Samson!

Christmas Ferret Toys

I’ve been getting a lot of enquiries lately about Christmas presents for little fuzzies.Ferret Playing in Box

There are a lot of toys out there (from inexpensive to very expensive) for our ferrets. But there are also a lot of ideas for your fuzzy in your head. All you have to do to come up with some great inexpensive Christmas ferret toys is let those ideas run wild – while using just a little common sense to ensure ferret safety.

Actually, my fuzzy kids have more toys than my human kids did when they were little. Not only do I buy my woozles toys, but I also make them homemade toys.

Fuzzies love boxes and tunnels. What I do is take a box, cut a hole in one end, and then tape up the flaps. Their tunnel systems I bought from Amazon and Doctors Foster and Smith. Rikki and Possum play for hours running in and out of their boxes and in and out and through their ferret tunnels.

And you can’t go wrong with a big box. I know it sounds silly buying a box filled with packing peanuts made out of starch for ferrets. But it is well worth it when you see how much they play in it. You can get these big boxes and starch peanuts from Doctors Foster and Smith.

Rikki and Possum also have many different-sized balls. Most of them are balls made for cats and range in size from ones like soccer balls to those for small kittens. One thing I make sure of is not to get soft rubber balls or balls with strings attached. If bits or pieces were ingested, these could result in choking or blockage in fuzzy kids.

Rikki and Possum also have the kind of cat toys that resemble a stick with a dangly toyFerret Playing with Cat Toy attached to an elastic band. They love these.

The cheapest toys you can give your pet ferrets are SACKS! They will go crazy with them. If you give your ferrets plastic sacks from Wal-Mart or other stores, make sure you supervise your little fuzzies to guard against choking or smothering hazards. Paper sacks are the best!

There are so many things lying around the house that are fun and safe for your ferrets. It doesn’t really take much to entertain your little babies, and it doesn’t have to cost much. To them it’s the thought that counts. 

Get more great ideas for ferret toys and tips on ferret care in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Skinny Ferrets

Do you have a skinny fuzzy? Lately, I’ve been seeing some interest in how to get ferrets toAlbino Ferret Playing gain weight. There could be several reasons why your ferret isn’t gaining weight.

First, it could be that you have an ADHD ferret like I do. I’m talking about Rikki, my albino ferret. She’s not actually ADHD – I just call her that because she’s never still and constantly on the go. And so, whenever she’s not sleeping, she’s always burning a ton of calories.

When I first found Rikki, she was a little on the skinny side, and I was constantly worried about not being able to get her to gain weight. Eventually, I went to the pet store to find out what I could do to help my little ferret gain weight. They recommended Nutri-Cal, a high-calorie dietary supplement.

Giving Rikki Nutri-Cal and soaking her food in water seems to have done the trick. She isn’t so skinny anymore and still just as active. Still, if you have a skinny ferret, I would recommend taking your fuzzy to the vet to make sure your little woozle isn’t sick.

There could be several reasons why your fuzzy isn’t gaining weight. Or it could be that there is nothing really wrong, and you just have a ferret like my little Rikki.

Get more great tips on getting your skinny ferret to gain weight, as well as explanations of some of the possible reasons for your ferret’s inability to gain weight, in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Theft – Is it a Ferret Problem in Your House?

Do you have a problem of thievery in your house? Well, I do! And the little thieves are named Rikki Tikki Tavi and Awesome Possum.

Actually, Rikki is my biggest thief. Possum is my little clown. I actually should say PossumFerret Stealing is my “big” clown. He is at least twice as big as Rikki, both lengthwise and weight-wise.

I’m a barefoot person when I’m in the house. I kick my shoes off in my bedroom and then go do whatever I need to do. When I decide to go outside, I go into my bedroom, and – behold! – my shoes are not where I put them. So the shoe hunt is on! Most of the time, they are under my bed – but not all the time. Then it can take me almost an hour to find them.

Not only do I have to worry about my shoes (and this is embarrassing to tell, but I also haveFerret Looking for Something to Steal to hunt up my bras. Yep. My bras! The little fuzzies get into my dirty-clothes hamper and dig them out, cart them to my closet or stash them under my bed, and then sleep in them. (I told you it was embarrassing. But, I have to admit, it’s also funny.)

I think ferrets must be kin to pack rats. They really aren’t, but they should be because they hide about everything! They even hide their favorite toys.

Rikki has a plastic frog that used to be my grandchildren’s bath toy. (As you can tell, it’s not now though.) Rikki hides that frog so we can’t get it.

Possum’s favorite toy is a cat toy that was given to him and Rikki by a very close friend. Well, Rikki never gets to play with it because Possum hides it from her. And when Rikki finally does find it . . . Possum hides it again in a new hiding spot.

If you don’t want anything of value taken, don’t put it where little thieves can get it. If you ever watched The Beastmaster, then you remember that the little thieves who stole clothes were Podo and Kodo, two ferrets. And in case you didn’t know, the name “ferret” comes from the Latin word “furonem,” which means “thief.”

So, a warning to all ferret owners: we are doomed to suffer thievery!

Cute Ferrets in Their Ferret Costumes for Halloween

I hope all the little fuzzies out there have had a great Halloween!

My ferrets didn’t have anywhere to go, but they dressed up anyway. Rikki was a Lady Bug, and Possum was a Bee.

Of course, as with all children, it was a struggle to get their costumes on them. They were having too much fun hiding my shoes and getting into things they aren’t supposed to get into. But finally – after getting my shoes out from under my bed, picking up my scattered belongings, retrieving Rikki from one of the purses in my closet, and getting Possum out from under my bed – I got them dressed in their ferrety Halloween costumes.

And then, like any proud parent, I got out the camera! Then Rikki and Possum had to put up with being posed for cute pictures – which they didn’t really want to do.

Then, after the picture taking, they had to wait for me to text and send their pictures to everybody I know. I don’t know how many “Oh, how cute!” responses I got. But I do want to brag and say I probably had the cutest Trick or Treaters this year.

So here they are . . .  Rikki the Lady Bug . . .

Albino Ferret in Costume

 

And Possum the Bee . . .

Cute Panda Ferret in Costume

 

Now, I can’t wait till Christmas so I can get them in their Christmas outfits.

My Ferrets Starring in Their First Video

I have a new YouTube channel! I’m really excited. Ferrets make great video stars – they may not be a Kardashian but they are just plain cute. The first video is below, leave me a comment and let me know what you think of my two cuties.

And here’s the link to my brand spanking new YouTube channel – I’ll get more videos of my little furballs up there soon. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFerretZone

Changing the Ferret Food – Moving to a Raw Food and Whole Prey Diet

I am about to make myself a liar – well, a little bit. In a previous post about ferret food, I said that I would probably always use the Marshall ferret food. But, now, I’m about to change my ferrets’ diet.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of research/reading about the best diet for ferrets. The main thing we need to keep in mind is ferrets are very strict carnivores. Their wicked-looking teeth should tell you that! Ferrets’ teeth are made to rip into their prey.

So, during the course of my investigations, I found that most of the most knowledgeable ferretAlbino Ferret Playing experts advise feeding your fuzzies a diet that is as close as possible to what their diet would be in the wild. And that, of course, would be raw meat and whole prey – which includes meat, bones, organs, and the hair. Yuck!

At this point, you’re probably saying: “I am not going to hunt rodents and rabbits for my ferrets to eat!” Well, neither am I.  Pet stores carry the gross stuff, and that’s where I intend to get it. I will also feed my ferrets chicken and tuna and eggs.

My main worry about changing my ferrets’ diet concerns Rikki, my female albino ferret. Since she’s my oldest, getting her to eat different food is going to be a challenge.

I did find some veterinary-suggested steps for transitioning to the new diet at http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/ferret.htm. Susan A. Brown DVM, suggests that the best way to change an older ferret’s diet is to go “cold turkey.” Boy, is Rikki going to get a shock.

Another thing that was stressed in changing diets is NOT to put the ferret’s old food in with her new food. If you do, the ferret will always pick out and eat the food she is used to.

Since Rikki and Possum are the loves of my life, I’m going to have to do it, though. And that means going to whole prey and raw meat. I have a weak, squeamish stomach, so it’s probably going to be harder for me than it will be for my fuzzies.

Ferrets’ olfactory imprint with respect to food begins to be set very early in their lives and is usually fairly well established by the time they are a year old. This means that the older they are, the harder it is to get them to try new food – because the smell isn’t imprinted in their mind. So now you know my dilemma with Rikki and maybe with Possum.

Also, at the back of Ferrets for Dummies, there are several recipes for ferrets (not humans). I think I’ll try some of these in making the transition.

How many more times will I wind up changing my mind? Probably quite a few . . . as I keep learning more and more about my little woozles. You can find out more about what we’ve learned in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Rikki’s Favorite Ferret Litter

I don’t think I’ve ever touched on the subject of what of ferret litter is best for your fuzzy critters.Albino Ferret I’ve tried several litters and finally found one that makes both me and Rikki happy.

First off, if your woozle is anything like my Rikki, then you have a very picky ferret. When I found Rikki, she was already full grown and set in her ways. And one thing she would not give in about was her ferret litter.

I assume the people who had Rikki first used cat litter in her litter box. I tried using the pellets made out of recycled paper, and that was definitely a failure! She refused to use her litter box with those things in it. So I had to go back to using cat litter.

But cat litter, especially the kind that clumps, really is a no-no for ferrets. It makes a lot of dust, which isn’t good for their little lungs and can result in respiratory problems for ferrets. I haven’t found any that is “dust free” – even when that claim is made on the package.

Scoopable cat litter is also a no-no! Scoopable litter is very dusty. It is made up of tiny granules that are easy for ferrets to inhale and/or ingest.

So is there any litter I recommend for ferrets? And remember that I said Rikki is very picky. Well, I have actually found a ferret litter that doesn’t have any health hazards and that she will use.

Critter LitterIt’s called “Critter Litter” Premium Quality Potty Training Pearls. It is also supposed to be 99% dust free. As with cat litter, it isn’t completely dust free, but I find that it’s not nearly as dusty as cat litter. Critter Litter is made from all natural minerals, is non-toxic, and is very absorbent.

The most important thing of all is that Rikki will use her litter box. And if Critter Litter makes her happy . . . then it makes me happy!