If you’re a new ferret owner, you may think that all ferret beds are just about the same. But what you use as a ferret bed and where you put it will make a difference in your pet ferret’s wellbeing.
First, the sleeping area in the ferret cage should be roomy enough for your ferret to stretch out in and sleep. But also keep in mind that your fuzzy kids will also need room to burrow, dig, and create “nests” for themselves. These are instinctive behaviors in ferrets, and you need to provide for them.
Ferret bedding materials can be something as simple as an old T-shirt loosely draped in a corner of the cage. Others like to use old comforters, blankets, rugs, sweatshirts, towels, etc. Anything of that nature can be used to make a secure, dark, comfy sleeping space and would make a great ferret bed. (Just one caveat though: Do not use items that have stuffing or fibers that your ferret could chew up. They could become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract and create health problems down the road.)
If you’ve spent any amount of time researching ferret supplies, chances are you’ve fallen in love with the many cute ferret hammocks, sleep sacks, and other similar items available online or in many pet stores and magazines. They are undeniably fun to have, and ferrets love to curl up (or, in the case of many ferrets, pile up) in them. Before you buy, make sure they are made of machine-washable fabric and that they can be adapted to your cage. The cutest hammock won’t do any good if you don’t have a place to hang it.
If you’re on a budget, you may find it less expensive to make your own ferret bed. There are many patterns available online that will show you how to make your own sleep sacks and hammocks. Making your own ferret beds will allow you to personalize them somewhat. For example, you can use fabric from your children’s outgrown clothes. Or you can go to a fabric store and select materials that would go with your home’s décor.
Whatever you use, make sure that it will withstand ferret wear and tear and (especially in the case of used items) that it doesn’t have any buttons or other things that your ferret could chew off and choke on. When you do create the item, be careful to make all seams secure. You’d hate for your fuzzies’ hammock to suddenly collapse with the whole gang inside it.
Once you have your ferret bed completed, you need to place it correctly. It’s best to put it as far as possible from your pet’s food, water, and litter box. Not only will this make it easier for you to clean, but ferrets tend to avoid sleeping near their toileting areas.
Most ferret experts advise letting a ferret explore his cage. That way, you can see where it chooses to toilet. Place the litter box there and then choose another spot for the ferret bed. Some savvy ferret owners will place the litter box and food/water bowls on the lowest level of a cage and reserve all the upper levels for sleeping/nesting/play areas. Such an arrangement confines the greatest possible ferret mess to the lower level, making it easier to refill the bowls, empty the litter pans, and so on.
A multi-level or multi-compartment ferret bed also allows your ferrets a chance to get away from one another for privacy. While ferrets are social by nature, they also need a chance to be alone. If you have more than one ferret, you may need more than one bed/nesting area.
A ferret bed is a perfect example of “doing unto others as you would have done unto you.” You yourself probably love a bed that is comfy, soft, warm, and that provides a certain amount of privacy. Provide those same qualities in your ferret bed, and you’ll have healthy, happy pets.
For more information on ferret beds and ferret care, take a look at Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.