Happy Friday Ferret Lovers! Today we’ll go over all of the things you need to get for your ferret before you bring him/her home.
Let’s start with a cage. You may decide to let your ferret be what I like to call a “free range ferret,” meaning you don’t cage it, but let it run around the house free. This is what I do with my ferret, Alfie, but you may want to get a cage to start with as you adjust to life with a ferret. If you do let your ferret go free, make sure you ferret-proof every inch of your home! Starting your ferret out in a cage is a good idea for litter box training purposes. You’ll want to get a cage that is large enough for your ferret to move around and sleep in, plus hold your ferret’s litter box, food dish, and water bottle. A good size is 2 x 3 feet and 2 feet high. Metal mesh cages are the best (aquarium-type enclosures do not provide proper ventilation).
A multi-level cage is a good choice because it gives your ferret lots of room to move around and climb. A hammock hanging from the top of the cage will give your ferret a place to sleep without taking up room on the floor of the cage. For an example, click here to see the cage that I have for my Alfie. The bottom of your ferret’s cage should be covered with an old towel or blanket, not litter or sawdust. Any sawdust or wood shavings containing pine are bad for a ferret’s respiratory system and should never be used as litter or bedding. Ferrets are completely litter box trainable, so they do not need to have bedding covering the bottom of the cage, but it is okay to use. When my Alfie was caged, I found that he liked old towels because he could burrow and sleep in them, and they were nice because I could just switch them out and throw them in the washing machine when they got dirty.
Once you get a cage set up, you’ll need to get your ferret’s water bottle and food set up. While ferrets can drink from a bowl like cats, they often have more fun playing with and tipping over water bowls. I recommend a water bottle that hangs from the metal wire of the cage. Make sure you place it low enough so that your ferret can reach it comfortably. In the same corner as the water bottle, put your ferret’s food dish. You can use pretty much any basic food dish you find at pet stores. I use a heavy ceramic bowl because it’s too heavy for Alfie to spill. The corner of the cage containing the food and water is your ferret’s designated eating area. Always place food and water in the same corner.
In another corner of the cage (I recommend the opposite corner of where the food and water are), place your ferret’s litter box. I recommend the large high-back corner litter pan (click here for an example). The smaller corner litter pans are too small, and your ferret will outgrow them quickly. If your cage is big enough, or if you’re going to have your ferret run free in your home, I highly recommend the large square litter box. This litter box is very large and, even though it’s a little more expensive, it will still be big enough for your ferret even after he’s full grown. Make sure you always keep the litter box in the same corner of the cage to make training easier.
You will also need to buy some litter and a litter box scoop. You can get these in either the ferret section or the cat section of pet stores. There is litter made specifically for ferrets, but you can buy cat litter instead (it’s usually cheaper). I use Yesterday’s News cat litter (fragrance-free). Remember to avoid litter with pine wood shavings.
Lastly, you will want to get your ferret a blanket and some toys. You can use an old blanket, or buy one made specifically for ferrets. I have this tic-tac-toe blanket that Alfie absolutely loves because he can actually get inside the blanket. There are tons of toys you can buy in the ferret section of your local pet store. These are a few that Alfie seems to enjoy, and this is his favorite toy (he has the ladybug) that he carts around everywhere.
You will, of course, want to buy food as well, which can be found in the ferret section of any pet store (I recommend 8-in-1 Ultimate Ferret Crunchy Diet). I will discuss different kinds of ferret food in a future post. Next week, we’ll discuss ferret-proofing your home.