If you’re considering adding a ferret to your family, you may be wondering about how much money you’ll be shelling out for ferret accessories.
First, here’s the bad news. There are a lot of items out there that pet stores and websites will try to convince you are absolutely necessary for your ferret’s health and happiness. They’ll also try to convince you that “you get what you pay for” and that you must spend a lot to get only the best for your ferret. You can quickly be dismayed by how much those costs add up.
Now, here’s the good news. While there are some ferret accessories that are essential, many other certainly are not. Plus, even for the essential items, there are ways to obtain them without breaking the bank.
The essential ferret accessories are:
While it is possible to keep a ferret without spending a lot of money on supplies, remember that your ferret is a member of the family and you have to spend money on your family’s health and well being. It’s worth it to spend a little more now on a high-quality cage and food appropriate for ferrets, in the long run you will save money by avoiding veterinarian bills.
Here are some nonessential items:
- Pet carriers
That’s not to say these items are not nice to have. However, it is usually possible to manage without them.
For the most part the essential and non-essential items will cost a bit of money, but there are low-cost ways to obtain many of them. For example, you could find a cage through Craigslist, garage sales, classified ads etc. A ferret adoption agency or animal rescue organization may have many supplies available or may act as a resource to help you find what you need.
Don’t buy a pig in a poke however. If a cage is second-hand, be sure to find out why the owner is getting rid of it and inspect it thoroughly before you buy. Make sure the doors securely latch and that the cage is reasonably clean and in good repair. (You’ll want to clean it thoroughly before putting your own ferret in it.) Also check online to be sure the item has not been recalled for safety concerns.
In many cases, you can save money by buying accessories that are not made specifically for ferrets. Because a ferret is considered by many to be an exotic pet, some pet supply manufacturers reason that ferret owners are willing to spend more money for their supplies. But why spend more if a ferret toy is identical to a cat toy? Just be sure the item is sturdy enough to withstand a ferret’s sharp teeth.
Before you buy any item, be sure to compare prices. It’s surprising how two different stores can charge wildly different prices for the same item. If you are comparing on-line or catalog retailers, you will want to consider shipping-and-handling charges as they can add a great deal to the final price.
Also, before buying major items, especially cages and playscapes, it is important to read product reviews. One manufacturer touted its ferret cage as being anti-microbial and easy to set up and clean. However, a subsequent reviewer noted his or her ferrets contracted upper respiratory infections from the plastic used in the cage (which incidentally took two hours to set up).
Another way to economize on ferret accessories is to use items you already have around the house. Old towels, shirts and linens make excellent bedding. In fact, ferrets generally prefer these items because they like having your scent around them. They can burrow in them to create hiding places or you can set your ferrets on top of them and drag them around on their very own magic carpet. Or, if you cut some of that fabric up, you up you can make a simple, inexpensive hammock to hang in the cage – your entire business will love it.
Of course PVC piping, paper towel tubes, golf balls, old socks and other miscellaneous items make excellent ferret toys. Use your imagination. Just be sure they are not items that, if chewed, will clog up your ferret’s delicate digestion (such as foam rubber or wool.)
Probably the least essential ferret accessory is clothing. While there is a seemingly endless variety of hats, costumes, sweaters, jackets and shirts just made for ferrets, they are certainly not required. They are undeniably cute but no ferret absolutely needs an $8 sweater-and-hat ensemble, especially as some pets object to wearing them.