Q: Help! My ferrets keep scratching at the bedroom door and are ripping the carpet. My landlord is going to have fits.
A: Here’s an instance where you can see a ferret’s problem-solving skills and elephantlike memory in action. They know that door is holding them back from new places, adventures and lots of fun. They can smell the world on the other side. They’ve seen it open before. So scratching at the bottom to try to open it is very logical. And if they ever managed to pull open an unlatched door, they will never forget that success.
You’re not going to stop ferrets from wanting to get to the other side. It’s a ferret’s nature to explore. Your only recourse is to outwit your pets.
If you put a piece of cardboard beneath the door, they will probably either dislodge it or rip it to shreds. What you need is something not easily moved but that also allows the door to open and close easily. Also, something that won’t trip people!
Try a piece of vinyl carpet protector. You can find these at home improvement stores. While there are self-adhesive protective rolls that are only $10, your ferret may tear through these. A longer-term solution is a ribbed carpet runner. The smallest are 10 feet long and cost about $35, but they have “cleats”’ underneath that sink into the carpet so the runner stays in place. As long as it covers the entire width of the door, you only need to extend it a foot or so into the room. You see, your ferret is bright enough to scratch by the door, but probably not bright enough to scratch a foot back from the door.
In addition to these carpet protection measures, make sure you give your ferrets lots of interactive toys and attention on their side to draw their attention back to where it belongs.