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.

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.

Cleaning the Ferret Cage

I recently went back and read through my blog posts and noticed that I have mentionedFerrets in Ferret Cage cleaning my fuzzies’ cage a couple of times. And my husband has written about cleaning the cage with ferret “help.” But I haven’t written about ferret-cage cleaning in any kind of step-by-step detail.

So what I am going to discuss today is exactly how I go about cleaning my ferrets’ cage.

First, I get my fuzzies out of the cage so they can run and play. Then I get their water and food dishes out and wash them with warm soapy water and then rinse them thoroughly. (I clean Rikki’s and Possum’s dishes in my bathroom, never in my kitchen sink.) After cleaning and drying my ferrets’ dishes, I get some dry kibble (which I have previously ground up in a small electric chopper/grinder) and put it in the food dishes and add a little water. (Rikki, my older albino ferret, eats it better this way.)

While the ferret food is soaking, I take out the litter boxes – Rikki and Possum have three litter boxes – and scoop out the nasty litter and poop. About once or twice a week, I wash out their litter boxes with soap and water and then spray them with a bleach solution. I use a spray bottle that holds about 20 oz. (maybe a little more). I put about 2 to 3 oz. of bleach in it and fill it the rest of the way with water. After I rinse the litter boxes, I let them dry.

Next, I proceed to clean out the rest of the cage. I use a shop vac to vacuum up the spilled litter, food, and other unmentionables. After I get the whole cage thoroughly vacuumed, I spray all surfaces with the bleach solution and wipe it down with an old wash cloth. Then, using another spray bottle filled with water only, I spray and wipe the cage again.

I use the bleach solution for ferret-cage cleaning because the same thing is used at many daycares. I figure that if it’s safe enough for infants, it should be safe enough for pet ferrets. Some vets and pet stores also use a similar bleach solution.

I make sure to keep the cage locked up while it is drying. This is to make sure Rikki and Possum don’t sneak in and mess it up.

After the cage has dried, I get the litter boxes (and finish drying them if needed) and put fresh litter in them. Then I put the boxes back in the cage, making sure they are secured to the cage’s sides. If you don’t secure them, you’ll soon have litter all over the bottom of the clean cage – and the litter boxes will be upside down too.

After this, I open up the lower cage door so Rikki and Possum can get back in when they’reHappy Pet Ferrets ready. Then I get their food and add a little more water. (Rikki likes her food a little soupy.) I put the food dishes back in the cage – with my fuzzy kids following closely because they know it’s chow time! I next fill the water bowl, add food to their dry-kibble bowl, and then lock the cage doors. And Rikki and Possum now have a clean home.

I do want to warn you about one thing, though. You will have a lot of “help” cleaning a ferret cage! Just ask my husband about that.

Ferret Preparedness and Precautions in Your Home

Guest Post by Michael Hearing

A June ABC News report has put ferrets and other exotic pets in the spotlight. The story, as I’m sure you recall, involved a ferret and a four-month-old infant in Grain Valley, MO. Not only was this an unfortunate case for the child, but it was also sad for the ferret.Albino Ferret

So does this mean that ferrets are not safe to own? Of course not. According to a subsequent report on the incident, the ferret’s owners did a host of things wrong – including allowing the ferret to roam free in the house, leaving the child unattended and alone, and taking no safety precautions.

It’s important for ferret owners, especially for those who also have children and/or other small pets, to remember that ferrets are carnivores (meat eaters). And that means they have very sharp teeth – suited for hunting and eating small game.

If you are a relatively new ferret owner, here are some of the precautions you should take:

  1. When there are small children or small pets around, keep your ferret sequestered in its cage or in another room. Make sure the cage’s or room’s latches are secure.
  2. If your ferret is loose when a child or small pet is present, carefully monitor them.
    When introducing a child or pet to your ferret, be close at hand. Be prepared to move the ferret or the child or pet away if the ferret nips, if the child doesn’t know how to handle the ferret appropriately, or if the child or the ferret expresses fear or aggression.
  3. Help small children to be gentle around ferrets. Guide them in the correct way to stroke and hold ferrets. Never allow children to jab, poke or tease ferrets or other pets.
  4. Hire a baby and/or pet sitter when necessary. Never leave them alone together unsupervised.
  5. Make sure any baby or pet sitter knows how to supervise and care for your ferret.
  6. Have plenty of ferret food on hand and ensure the food bowl is stocked at all time. Redirect your ferret to the food bowl if it starts to nip or chew something else.
  7. Wash your hands often when handling your ferret.
  8. Make sure your ferret is vaccinated regularly.
  9. Clean and disinfect your ferret’s toys often.
  10. Keep your ferret’s toys and supplies out of your child’s reach.
  11. Check your ferret’s cage regularly. Make sure all latches, locks, and doors are working properly. Fix those that are not.  Check for and repair any new openings that could become an escape route.

Ferret owners should consider themselves good-will ambassadors for their fuzzy friends and strive to dispel misconceptions. Learn everything you can about ferrets and know how to prevent unfortunate incidents like the one that happened in Grain Valley.

Properly handled and supervised, ferrets make great pets. You can find many more tips and a checklist to test your home’s ferret preparedness in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.