I have been a ferret owner for 17 years. In the beginning I was a little naive, but I bought the biggest cage I could find, took my new fuzzy home and decided that she needed a playmate and someone to cuddle with, so the ferret math started right away. In fact, the very next day I brought home my second fuzzy, and the never-ending journey to learn more and get educated began.
I subscribed to ferret magazines, bought books, checked out libraries and, in more recent years, relied on my PC. My ferrets have taught me a lot over the years. I currently have seven. My dining room became my ferret room, containing three very large cages and safety gates to block any nonferret-friendly rooms — the kitchen due to appliances and the living room due to recliners.
Over the years I have learned the countless dangers to ferrets — from intestinal blockage caused by ingestion of various items; to poisons from medications, plants and chemicals; to the strong insistent curiosity that can really cause numerous “accidents.”
Our home was hit by a flood in September 2008, and I had to get out all seven fuzzies, their cages, bedding, food, water bottles and toys in a boat. The water came very fast. There was no time to spare.
Their cages were all on stands, so the water didn’t get the ferrets before I was able to get them into their carriers. I had a few smaller cages for use as hospital cages, and I used those for a couple of days until the water receded and I could retrieve their big cages. The big cages were full of mud and gunk, so they had to be washed and disinfected.
Our temporary living arrangements are not ferret-proof, so for Christmas the ferrets got an 11-panel playpen, with a mat and tote, a Ferret Thru-way, an Octoplay and a Hide-N-Sleep so they can still get out and play in groups of two and three.
Our house has to be raised about 8 or 9 feet. When we rebuild, the house is gutted, I want to get a divided door, so the top can remain open and the bottom closed. Also, I want to put down linoleum flooring instead of hardwood or carpet. I plan to add a large wardrobe for ferret blankets, hammocks and other bedding, a toy chest for the ferrets’ playthings, litter boxes for the corners and, last of all, the three large cages.
With this setup, I will be able to leave the doors open to the cages and provide access ramps. The ferrets can play, sleep, eat or do the doo when they like, and I can check on them just by walking up to the door. When I really want the fun to start, I can go in and join them for some really wild weasel ways. My ferrets will have their own room, but if company comes for overnight, I suppose the next sofa I purchase better have a sleeper.
We lost almost everything in the flood, but I am thankful we had a boat to get the babies to dry land and a truck to take them and their cages to a new temporary home.
Delores Redhage lives in Missouri and counts seven ferrets as part of her family.