Quite often when you tell someone that you have a ferret, they shy away from you and say something like, “They stink.” Well, yes they do, but as an owner you do get used to it.
For several years a very dear friend had a ferret or two, and I used to get a kick out of watching their antics, but I never thought about getting one. That is until I started working part time at a pet store in my town where ferrets are sold. I spent a bit of time playing with them at the store each day. Pretty soon I had a birthday coming up, and my wife thought I should have one. Well, so did I!
We bought Grace and all the necessary ferret gear and played with her about an hour in the morning and another hour or more at night. We felt this was a bit much, so we decided she needed a ferret playmate to keep her company.
Enter ferret number two. While talking to the store manager about buying another ferret, the pet groomer in our store said that she would give me hers because she didn’t have the time to take care of her. Now we had two little furballs. Bossy was number two’s name, but we had planned on getting a male that was at the store, and his name was to be George so we would have George and Grace (Grace was named thus because she was far from being graceful). So, Bossy became Georgie.
Enter ferret number three! She was brought into the store about two months after we started our ferret collection and was about a year old and quite small, smaller than our baby. It only took about an hour, and the three of them were chasing each other around the ferret room like they had been lifelong friends. Her name is Chewy, and the only way we can tell her from Grace when the chase is on is that Chewy has white feet.
When we first got ferret number two, she was overweight and didn’t have a playful bone in her body. She was about 2 years old. Grace, our 4-month-old ferret, chased her all over and bit on her to no end. Things changed after about three weeks.
You know how your children, the two-legged kind, always seemed to like to play with the box that the toys came in? Our ferrets are the same way. They love to play in plastic bags and be swung in them, then set on the floor. They take off like a rocket out of the bag. Sometimes we put two ferrets in the bag at the same time and have the video camera rolling when they come storming out. We never leave the ferrets alone in the bag or tie the bag closed due to the danger of suffocation.
Another toy our ferrets like is a shoe box that has a small hole cut in one end. We place the box upside-down on a ferret, and it’s camera time again as our ferret pushes the box along the floor and bumps into the nearest chair leg.
Grace really enjoys small stuffed animal toys, especially the ones that squeak. She hides them under the bed as soon as she gets a new one. Her favorite is Garfield, and we have two of those. Both toys are hidden under the bed. Quite often, the stuffed animal is nearly the same size as Grace! Another camera moment is when Grace tries to get a stuffed animal toy into a tunnel or other small hiding place.
A ferret is the only creature that I have ever seen that can go as fast in reverse and sideways as it can go forward. Ferrets also can hit more chairs, tables and walls, and still walk away to do it again … and again! And how do they turn around inside a little tunnel? How can something so small jump so high?
But, ferret owners know all about this!
Gracie and Chewy are still with us, but Georgie has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She didn’t know that she was ill and just kept playing as though she were still a little kid right to the end.
Little did we know what we were getting into when Gracie came into our lives. We now have 15 of the carpet sharks and have had four others that we have found homes for. So much for having one ferret to keep the other one company. We now watch the ferrets romp for about two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening!
Ron Morse and his wife, Tillie, live in southwest Missouri and have been owned by ferrets for about three years. Before moving to Missouri in 2003, they lived in Southern California where ferrets are illegal to own. “We didn’t know how much fun they can be,” Morse said. “because of that we could never move back there — not that we would anyway!”