Courtesy of Kristen Malloy
Ferrets capture the hearts of many people with their appealing qualities.
A couple of years ago I found myself wanting to get a new pet. I knew it had to be an animal that was quiet enough for apartment living, and it had to be an animal that would get along with the other co-inhabitants of my home — my daughter and my three cats. After searching tirelessly to determine what might be the perfect fit for my family, I came across a member of the weasel family — the ferret. I was instantly drawn in by many of the appealing qualities most people latch onto when first seeing a ferret — their crazy antics and entertaining but loveable personalities. Sure enough, I went out and picked up my newest little friend, Finley, a sable-mask, male ferret who filled my heart and home with more love and joy than I could have ever anticipated.
Whether you’re looking for a new pet or you already have your sights set on a new friend of the slinky variety, it’s important to remember that ferrets have very specific needs, such as a strict diet (they are, after all, obligate carnivores), and require much supervision to prevent chewing on wires and cords around the house. But, for the right person, a ferret could easily be the perfect pet, combining the quiet nature of cats and the loyal, loving personality of dogs. So, why should you get a ferret? There are many good reasons.
Courtesy of Liz Ireland
Thievery is an innate talent of ferrets!
1. Ferrets Are Fun
Ferrets are extremely fun and entertaining. You will never have a dull moment with these little guys, and you can be sure of that. Their playful nature is what drew me in, and to day this reminds me why I made the decision to get a ferret. From the moment I first held Finley and he nibbled on my ear, I knew it was going to be a wild ride. I brought him home and watched him hop about and roll around the floor with joy while exploring his new space. From that moment on, I had a perpetual smile on my face.
Ferrets are best known for one major character trait — thievery — and mischief is the name of the game for these “carpet sharks.” If you’re someone who tends to leave socks lying around, as many of us are (or used to be pre-ferret ownership), you may want to consider breaking that habit. That is, if you ever want to see your socks again!
Ferrets are fearless little creatures, too, and will not hesitate to steal items two to three times their size! Finley has stolen everything from underwear, socks and shoes to onions, giant stuffed animals, and plastic water bottles (his all-time favorite stash item). I have to lift my couch once a week to clean out his stash of household goods. This is usually followed by him tracking down everything over the course of the next couple of days and promptly returning it to the stash.
Courtesy of Natalia Chomut
Ferrets don’t need a lot of space, just a roomy cage and lots of supervised free time outside the cage.
2. Ferrets Fit In
Ferrets are small and quiet pets to keep. I live in an apartment, so for me a quiet pet was a must when choosing a furry friend to share my space. Ferrets don’t bark like dogs, so you don’t have to worry about noise complaints from your neighbors. Finley can run all over the house without making a single peep, with the exception of the occasional item being knocked off a bookshelf. Other than a cage for sleeping, and one that is spacious with enough room for exercise, they won’t take up too much space either. Filling your heart, however, is an entirely different story.
Courtesy of Jerry Ross
“What’s that? Did someone call my name?”
3. Ferrets Can Be Trained
When I first got Finley my main goal was to get him litter trained. Yes, like a cat, your ferret can be trained to use a litter box. With a little persistence and patience, you can have your little guy (or girl) using a toilet to do his (or her) business like a clean champion (at least most of the time).
But that’s not all. You can also train your ferret to do a variety of tricks. You can teach a ferret many of the things you can teach a dog, like coming when called by name or jumping through hoops. With a little treat as an incentive, you can get ferrets to do almost anything — within reason of course! Cleaning your house might not be within their realm of ability, but they’ll be sure to pick up loose items on the floor for you.
Courtesy of Jenni Christiana
Snuggle time? Some ferrets really enjoy it!
4. Ferrets Are Great Companions
One of the things I wanted in a pet was the ability to develop a bond or friendship. You often hear about the connection pet owners have with their dogs, and it’s not too different for ferret owners. Ferrets are intuitive and can sense your feelings and react accordingly. Feeling down about a bad job interview? Some ferret licks (or kisses) are sure to put a smile on your face. They can snuggle on your lap and greet you when you come home from work after a long day. You can even take them outside for walks — well-supervised and with a leash and harness, of course.
Courtesy of Grant Buckman Jr.
Many ferrets enjoy having a ferret companion to play and snuggle with.
5. Ferrets Get Along With Children And Many Other Animals
Of all the things I looked for in a potential new pet, this had to be the most important. Finley fit right in with my rambunctious then 2-year-old and equally energetic cats. My daughter loves a good romp around the house with Finley and gets endless laughs from his playful hopping and lunging. He even likes to snuggle up and have a good nap with my cats from time-to-time.
They especially love socializing with other ferrets, so you may quickly find yourself considering adding another to the family. Finley now has a brother named Cooper whose equally spunky personality makes for hours of fun when I’m not around for playtime. Growing your ferret family is usually referred to as “ferret math.” There’s nothing quite like seeing your ferrets snuggled up in a hammock together in a ball of arms, legs and long torsos that mix together in what resembles a Picasso painting.
If you have the time and resources to dedicate to their care, a ferret could be just the pet for you. Who knows, you could end up becoming a ferret connoisseur like so many of us do and may even get your fuzzy a little friend of his or her own. It all starts with that first ferret connection. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself adding to your ferret clan in a seemingly insatiable desire to fulfill an inexplicable “ferret math” destiny you never knew you had.