If you want a ferret — whether it’s your first one or you already have one — you may want to consider adopting it, rather than buying it from a pet store. Adoption has several advantages but also several factors for you to consider carefully before you make the leap.
Adopting a ferret is a great idea if you want to save money. Often ferret shelters and general animal rescue organizations provide ferrets and/or ferret supplies to people who demonstrate they can and will provide a good home. While there will likely be a fee, they are generally lower than pet shop costs and the money is used to pay for the care of the other ferrets in the shelter.
In addition, many ferrets offered for adoption have already been vaccinated and/or spayed/neutered. Many of them have already been litter trained and already have been trained to not bite or nip.
It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re caring for a ferret who may have been in a horrendous situation. The adoption organization will tell you all about the ferret’s background. If it had been abused or neglected, it may “act out” and be skittish or aggressive. It may also have had poor care resulting in medical problems that won’t be discovered until later.
There are many animal adoption organizations, including many that specialize in ferrets. You can easily find them in your local phone directory or on your favorite internet search engine. Choose the one nearest you and contact them with any questions you may have.
Most likely, you will be required to complete an application form. These forms will vary by organization but you will probably be asked about animals you already have, whether you own or rent a home and about your children and/or pets. The organization will also ask what type of ferret you are considering (newborn, older, special needs, etc.).
In addition, you will also be asked several questions about ferret care. For instance, you may be asked whether you have ferret-proofed your home. Your answers will signal to the agency whether you are serious about adopting a ferret and whether you have taken the time to really think about what you are attempting to do. Many people unfortunately get their ferrets on a whim without realizing what a commitment it is. They are often not prepared for the reality. Those ferrets sometimes end up being neglected, abused or abandoned.
A reputable shelter or rescue organization will review the application and try to match you up with the best ferret for your situation. For example, a first-time ferret owner is more likely to get a pet that has already been trained not to nip. A household with several ferrets may get one that is already used to living in a business of ferrets.
The agency may check periodically check on your ferret after you’ve brought it home. After all, they want to ensure it doesn’t suffer any more than it already has. A shelter usually reserves the right to take back a ferret that is not being cared for adequately and may even report the owners for criminal animal neglect or abuse.
Ferret shelters and rescue agencies are excellent for providing resources for new owners. They can link you with veterinarians, pet supply companies, owners groups and other resources. They want to make sure your adoption goes smoothly.
If you find that, unfortunately, the adoption just will not work out, most shelters do offer a refund period. Most are willing to take back the ferret if your life situation changes unexpectedly (job loss, medical problems etc.)
Of course, ferret or animal shelters and rescue organizations are not the only means of adopting a ferret. You may also adopt one from a friend or via a classified ad or by other means. These approaches can be risky. If you are considering such an offer, be sure to get proof that the ferret has been spayed/neutered and vaccinated and that it is in good health. If possible, ask to take the animal for a veterinary exam before committing to the adoption (whether you offer to share the cost of the exam is up to you).
Find out why the owner wants to get rid of the ferret. While there may be perfectly valid reason (such as job loss, medical problems, moving, allergies etc.), if you don’t know the owner well, you won’t necessarily know whether he or she is telling the truth.
No matter what means you use to get your ferret, you will need to have your home ferret-proofed and ready beforehand. The cage must be set up. The food must be purchased. Escape routes must be closed.
Be sure to read everything you can about ferrets and ferret care before committing to the adoption. This is a long-term commitment as ferrets live six to 10 years, on average.
As with any lifestyle change, your household will be undergoing a transition period for quite some time after you adopt a ferret. Allow plenty of time to get used to new ways of doing things.
Adopting a ferret is a great way to enrich your life and help someone in need. It’s worth a serious look.