Many ferrets wind up in ‘foster care’, or neglected and sad. Many owners fall in love with them at the store (what’s not to love?), but then they find that caring for a ferret is a daily reality/chore.
Are you willing to dedicate several hours a day to a ferret? Really? They need your love, and play time. Ferrets get very attached to their owners, some even to the point of not eating when owners go on vacation. having you get tired of the routine, and giving them up to a ferret shelter doesn’t cut it, and many ferrets simply don’t make the transition to foster care. And neglecting your ferret is a crime, both legally and morally.
Better for you (and the ferret) to not get one,than to get one, and realize you can’t deal with it. You must make a solemn vow to care and love it until it takes its last breath, with you holding it and comforting it as it passes. Ferrets love you dearly, and they deserve nothing less. Owning a ferret is a privilege, not a right!
Are you willing to clean their cage every day? You need to clean their ‘bathroom’ every day, or they poop next to it, and make a mess.
Are you willing to forgive regular times when they couldn’t make it to the potty? Ferrets have ‘accidents’ on a regular basis, as their bodies aren’t made for ‘holding it in’. Ferrets don’t think like dogs or cats. You can’t just ‘rub their noses in it’, and have them understand what you want. Ferrets react to positive re-enforcement. They don’t seem to understand much on the negative re-enforcement side.
Who will look after them when you go on vacation? Your Aunt Mildred may love you like the dickens, but probably won’t relish taking care of your little loved one while you enjoy your umbrella-enhanced drinks on some far off beach. And you can’t just leave a ferret alone for weeks, or even days, while you got off on holiday.
Is there a good vet in your area that even know anything about ferrets? You’d be surprised, but many vets don’t have much experience with ferrets, and finding a good one nearby can be difficult. Ferrets need regular rabies and distemper shots, they need to sometimes ‘go to the dentist’, and they sometimes get into serious emergencies.
Can you afford the vet fees? Don’t kid yourself. Taking a ferret to the vet is expensive. Anything more than a rabies shot, and the bill can top at over $1000.
Is your house ferret proof? You can avoid some emergencies by ferret proofing your home, essentially crawling around on your hands and knees looking at anything they can get into trouble with. If there is a hole, they will find it. If you don’t put latches on your cubbards, they will get into them. If there is a tall shelf in your closet, they will climb up there, and if there is anything up there, valuable or orherwise, they will push it off, usually right before they fall off themselves. They are naturally clumbsy, and you need to make sure they can’t climb up so high that if they fall they get hurt. If you have a second floor, and they could fall off a drop to the floor below, they will. Ferrets dance around crazily, and fall off things without paying any attention to the danger.
Do you have small children, or is there any chance you may in the next 6 or so years? Ferrets and babies don’t mix very well.
Can you remember to not step on them? Ferrets are incredibly fearless, and they trust you to the point of being suicidal. They dart under your feet as you are walking, thinking it’s all fun and games. It never occurs to them that you could easily crush them with a single step. They are quick, silent, and come from nowhere, suddenly in your way. They know somewhere deep down inside that you love them deeply, and would never step on them. Can you remember to keep that kind of faith for them?