Author: Pattie Larsen, LVT
With such big personalities, ferrets can be a big responsibility! In support of Adopt a Ferret Month, we’ve created this guide to help prospective ferret parents through the process of pet adoption.
What To Consider Before Adopting A Ferret
Research ferrets before bringing one home. Ferrets are inquisitive, social, and delightfully mischievous pets. They are an utter joy, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with ferret care and ferret personalities. Will you have enough time to provide the interaction and husbandry your ferret will need to thrive?
- Ferret bills can add up. Can you provide the monetary amount needed for ferret care? Ferrets require high-quality food, large living spaces, lots of enrichment, litter and litterboxes, and regular veterinary care. These are often expensive and are ongoing costs that will be needed throughout your ferret’s life.
- Ferrets are a whole family commitment. Children often don’t have the maturity to understand the 7-10 year commitment that a ferret means and may not be able to pick up on the subtle needs your ferret has. A ferret requires daily social interactions, and this should not be a one-person job, rather, they should be a part of the whole family!
- You will need to ferret-proof your home. Ferrets shouldn’t be kept in their enclosures all the time. They need time to explore and socialize. Since they are inquisitive and have little fear, ferrets will get into the smallest spots. It’s important to ferret-proof your home to ensure that your feisty friend will be as safe as possible.
- Ferrets are very social animals. They need daily interaction (or better yet, multiple times a day). It should be part of your daily routine to spend time with your ferret. This should be beyond the time you spend feeding them, changing their water, and scooping out their litterbox.
- Find a local ferret-savvy veterinarian. It’s important to find a vet who has experience working with ferrets that you can trust. It’s also important to do this prior to there being an emergency. Ferrets should also have regular check-ups, just like your dogs and cats.
- If you travel, make sure you have a ferret-savvy friend. Make sure that you anticipate travel arrangements before you leave. Since ferrets are social pets, it’s best for them to know the person watching them and it’s important for your pet-sitter to know all your ferret’s quirks. Local rescues may also provide boarding services.
- Prepare for unseen problems. Lots of things can come up over your ferret’s lifetime. While your brand-new kit may be at the peak of health, you should learn about common illnesses and diseases that might happen as your ferret ages. It is common to see insulinoma and adrenal gland disease as ferrets get older. Educate yourself about common problems and the costs of care so that you can ensure you are prepared for your ferret’s whole life!
Where To Begin Your Search For Your New Ferret Friend
- Google search “ferret rescue near [your town/city].” You can also search “ferret rescue” on various social media platforms to learn more about local ferret rescues in your area.
- Petfinder is a great resource to find potential ferret matches and learn more about rescues in your area. They also often have information about an individual ferret’s personality
- Check your local humane society. While less common than other pets, many humane societies will take in ferrets that are in need of a new home. They also may be able to provide suggestions for other rescues and resources.
- By word of mouth, you may also find that someone in your circle of family or friends may have a ferret that they are looking to rehome.
Questions To Ask Ferret Rescues In Your Area:
- Does this ferret have any special needs or particular health issues? What was their life like before coming to the rescue?
- What are this ferret’s likes, dislikes, and general personality? Are they shy or outgoing and do they like to be handled? Are there any specific behavioral issues that we need to be aware of?
- What vet does this ferret go to for care? Have there been any recent visits and what were they seen for?
- What cage, food, and other products do you recommend? Is this ferret litter trained?
- What food is this ferret currently eating? Can you take some food home so to help with diet transition and prevent stomach upset?
How To Welcome Your New Ferret Home!
- Set up your ferret’s cage before bringing them home. This will allow them to settle in right away. Let them explore and get to know their new home so they start feeling comfortable about their surroundings.
- Be patient and give them space for the first couple of days. It depends on every individual’s personality, but your new ferret may need more time to adjust before they’re okay with being handled. This has been a big change for them and they may be feeling a little shy!
- Regularly set aside a few times a day to spend with your new friend. Let them play while you’re getting ready for work or school in the morning, include them in family movie night, or let them help you make dinner. Get them involved in fun enrichment and begin training to make your interactions extra delightful. Ferrets are guaranteed to keep you laughing!