Ferrets Living Indoors
Mention that you have ferrets as pets, and most people raise their eyebrows, and give you an odd look, usually because, people think that ferrets are relatively unusual as pets, and should just be for working, but this is becoming less the case.
ferrets are like people, they all have different, very engaging personalities, ferrets are very intelligent, curious and adorable, ferrets are also quick to learn, so you can litter train them which is a MUST for indoor ferrets.
We watch our ferrets for hours whilst they play, dance, and chase each other!
Ferrets are extremely sociable and enjoy the company of their own kind, so it’s always best to keep more than one ferret if possible.
As with all pets, give your ferrets the attention, care and love they need and they will reward you with their loving nature.
But Be Warned! ferrets are addictive, and most ferret owners have more than one.......
This isn’t necessarily the case – the smell that people find unpleasant is often due to the influence of sex hormones, by having the ferret neutered is usually enough to stop the pungent odour that many people associate with ferrets.
We personally keep our ferrets indoors during the night, they spend their daytime in purpose built, or modified sheds, our Ferrets have flexible tubing to play in, and all sorts of ferret toys to keep them entertained during the day whilst we are at work.
However once home, we bring the ferrets in the house, we interact with them for a couple of hours and then they either take themselves off to bed or we find them curled up behind the sofa snoozing, so we carry them to their beds for their own safety and comfort.
Housing Ferrets Indoors
Each group of Ferrets has a three tier cage
All areas ideally should be kept seperate!
Sleeping Ferrets, Feeding areas & Toilet areas.
Playtime for the Ferrets
Ferrets will play in any amount of space but the more they have, the better it is.
If you are keeping ferrets, it is important that the cage where your ferrets are to live is big enough for them to play around in, ferrets need stimulation or they will get a little bit cage crazy and in turn could possibly bite!
t any soft bits that can be swallowed, or rough surfaces that can harm or snag their feet.
Our ferrets have flexible piping (blue drainage land pipe from DIY stores) so they can climb through, baby rattles are also good.
We've used old towels before, but find the ferrets tend to get their claws snagged in the fibres.
You don’t have to buy brand new expensive blankets for your ferrets, second hand shops are great for old pillow cases etc.
Make sure that your ferrets have outdoor cage time as well.
If you're going to have ferrets as pets, it is important to interact with them as much as possible, this will keep them friendly and they will bond with you too, talk to your ferrets, they love the sound of your voice and will come to you when you call their name.
We have 21 indoor ferrets which are split into 4 three tier Tommy cages, these are about 5 foot high and about 3 feet wide, they have plastic floors, which are easy to clean.
We tend to clean the ferret cages out first thing in the morning with a mild disinfectant (Making sure it’s a non cloudy type as there is some chemical in these types which are ferret unfriendly), we refresh their litter trays which we place on the bottom tier of the cage, normally on the second floor is their food, again this gets refreshed every morning, along with their water, and normally on the top floor are the ferret hammocks.
When ‘ferret proofing’ your home, you must be as vigilant as possible, just imagine having a bunch of inquisitive, sneaky, destructive, vulnerable, miniature children, and you might get my drift, ferrets can get in the most awkward of places and you do need to be SAS trained to spot a potential hazard to them.
Our ferrets have the run of the kitchen, dining room and the hallway.
We tend to have one room downstairs for people only.
A few of the steps we have taken to ‘ferret proof’ our home, are:
Make sure that the back door is locked at all times, it might sound a bit drastic, but we have wandered in and out of the kitchen only putting the door to, and then come back and realised the door is open, and quite frankly my heart rate went up a notch or two thinking that the ferret had escaped into the back garden, The Ferret had! My husband had to vault over next door’s garden to rescue him as he was just about to stick his head into a dog kennel!
I always make sure there is plenty of water available for the ferrets in the kitchen – if they spill it, or dive into it snorkelling, it isn’t an issue as we just mop it up. I also make sure that the cupboard doors are shut properly as I’ve wandered in many a time to find that the ferrets have raided the kitchen roll stock, which ends up looking like confetti! Also it’s a good idea to keep your cleaning items safely tucked away.
I also ensure if I’m using the oven, there are no ferrets around whilst I’m opening and closing the door, I also drape a tea towel over the rail as the outside of the door can get a little hot.
We keep a litter tray in the kitchen as well!
We have a ferret proof gate on the bottom step of the stairs to discourage the ferrets going upstairs, this is a piece of plywood, with a piece of drainage pipe tacked on the top, with a hook and eye screwed into the bottom banister, before this gate was put up the ferrets used to play in the bathroom, but then one found out he could shimmy up between the sink and the bath and ended up stuck in the bath – thank goodness it wasn’t full! Again lesson learned.
I used to have some long voile curtains up against the door, but had to take them down, as one of our ferrets climbed to the top, then got her claws stuck in and ripped them from top to bottom.
We have carpet protectors at the corners of the doors, as ferrets like to dig, and it seems that carpet seems to set of their basic instinct to tunnel to China!
We have plenty of toys laid out in the hallway to keep them entertained, things like shopping bags, with the handles cut as these can always get wrapped round a ferrets head, we have drainage pipe laid out with flexible pipe, cat trees and empty soft drinks bottles with dried beans in.
We also have rugs laid down in the hall for any accidents that may occur as the ferrets don’t always make it to the litter tray in the corner.
We have an open log fire, not that we use it, but we make sure a fire guard is up against it, again we have carpet protectors in and around the doorway, which sometimes has to be re-enforced with duct tape to keep it down, as the ferrets find this a challenge to dig up.
We haven’t had any problems with the ferrets chewing any cables, but I know friends who keep the TV cables etc bound together with tie wraps.
Outdoor living space for Ferrets
We recommend you buy the biggest cage you can afford for your ferrets
Ferret sheds are ideal with a Ferret Run attached
During the day we have a constant supply of dry ferret kibble available to the ferrets in their respective sheds.
However Ferrets are carnivores and love fresh meat, which we feed at night in their cages, out of experience we’ve found that feeding ferrets meat whilst enjoying the freedom of the house a no no, we’ve followed our noses on a couple of occasions and found a piece of chicken thigh tucked behind a bookcase or behind the TV.
If you have your ferrets living indoors and you let them have the roam of a room or two, once bed time comes and your unable to find a rogue ferret, we’ve found that by ‘clicker’ training your ferrets the problem can be resolved.
We started out by handing the ferret a treat (usually a piece of cat stick from a local supermarket) and using a clicker (bought from a local pet store which is used for dog training), we clicked the clicker every time the ferret got a treat, so the ferret associated the clicker with treat time. Either find your ferret friend or one of them is playing ninja behind the tumble dryer.
Debbie & Andy Thomas
Middlesbrough Branch NPFW