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I want a ferret!


lerenard

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Hi there, pet lovers.

 

I am a huge animal person, I spent my whole childhood surrounded by all kinds of pets and domestic animals - my granny had a farm, and my best childhood friends were cats (I slept with them like a big furry ball, we had 13 of them), dogs (we had one at home and many many more at the farm) goats and sheep (yes, I used to be a little shepherd girl) gini pigs, bunnies, hamsters, rats, fishes....

 

Now, here is a very-very-very sad part - when I was around 12 I started to show some symptoms of allergy. I then went through a series of tests and it was official - I have a pretty big fur allergy, especially with cats (the worst!!!!) and dogs. There are dogs I can actually have, so called Hypoallergenic Dogs but I am living in a one-room apartment now, and dogs are not allowed there anyway. I want to have a cat so-so badly, but I can`t. Even a hairless cat. I can only dream about sleeping with a kitty...

 

I always wanted a ferret, since I saw one. Ferret is so me! But I have a lot of questions before I will commit. Some of my friends had them, but somehow everybody gets rid of them in the end, saying they are little devils and its impossible to have one in your apartment - they stink, they bite, they destroy everything, they need to have very specific food and they just sleep all day and then get noisy at night and so on. I am not being naive about it, thinking they are only cute little things - I know that a pet is someone you should care about, and that's exactly why I want one. I don't need a toy - I need a friend.

 

So enough rambling here - give me your opinion on ferrets, please! If you personally have/had one, if your friends have/had one?

I know there is a TON of info in web, but its always so controversial, so if you have some helpful links with info you agree upon - bring them on!

 

Thank you!

 

 

PS - I will definitely check if I am allergic with ferrets or not before getting one!

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hiya larl ..

 

my friend kept them , she got rescue ferrets , had 18 at one time . Her hubby changed their shed into this palace for them , and yes it stunk to hell haha but then with 18 of then arrghhhhh

 

some where friendly , some just preferred her , some just preferred her hubby ..pretty much like a cat really ..they play like kittens and do interact like all pets given the time and effort .

 

I don't recall hers been alseep all day ..but don't quote me on that .

 

I imagine with just one you can keep the smell under control , but yes they do smell , I would know that ferret smell from a 10 mile radius haha its quite pungent to the old nasal passages .

 

I think they make a lovely pet .

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I've had ferrets.

 

They are adorable, and they're fun.

 

That's the upside.

 

The downsides - they do have a pungent odor. You can control it somewhat with diet, frequent bedding changes, and shampoo (most love to swim) but there's no escaping at least a bit of a ferret-y smell in your place when you have them.

 

They love to run. They can be litter box trained in their enclosures - but it can take some patience, and they're not reliable outside of their pen(s). They can get into small spaces you'd think impossible. They are attracted to shiny things like furry magpies, and anything in reach of their cages (or exercise pens, which I recommend getting) is fair game. They can climb like a monkey, and get out of many pens like houdini.

 

And they're prone to some endocrine disorders, as well as some dietary issues and cancers. They're also very sensitive to pesticides, so they HAVE to be removed before any spraying is done. The fumes just level them.

 

They can be very playful and affectionate - but they're not what I'd consider low maintenance. Between the exercise and social needs (they're very social, and need time out being played with and petted daily) and the care needed to keep down the odor and watch their health, in my experience, they're higher maintenance than a cat, less so than a puppy.

 

If you're up for it, they are a lot of fun, and can be very affectionate if you spend a lot of time with them. If you're out a lot, I'd strongly consider getting two instead of one - it helps satisfy some of their play and social needs if you're gone all day. And I strongly recommend a ferret playpen - they're made to be unclimbable - we had one and a tunnel maze we'd put in it for playtime. Makes it much safer for their "out time" if you don't have to worry about them vanishing or chewing cords, climbing curtains, etc.

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And I thought we were bad - we had four! I can't even imagine 18!

 

I know and then they had to watch all 18 of them pass one by one ...oh she was heartbroken . I don't know the age ferrets get to , but because they where all rescue some of them didn't live for too long , some were young though .

 

Her hubby made this amazing , truly amazing home for them in the shed with heating and bedrooms and play areas ... once they all did start to pass they decided not to get anymore ..it is a tie and a lot to ask someone to watch over them so they could go away , but those 18 ferrets got treat like royalty for the time they had left .

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My good friend started with one rescue...soon it was 4. I spent quite a bit of time with those guys/girls before they passed away. "babysat" sometimes too.

 

They really do need a LOT of socialization and play time. Everything that has been said, I echo. You'll always have stories of the latest thing they dug up or found in your place. When I took care of one for her (only one at a time - because I had a cat of my own and he was the one I felt most comfortable taking care of), he destroyed my bed in short order. We all know how cats can get into your mattress; well I was finding toys in there for a long time! I had to hide all my garbages while he stayed with me to let him out of his cage, because he would dig through the garbages. He would scuttle up my pant legs. He would crawl in my bed.

 

They aren't for people who aren't comfortable with handling behavioral problems and lots of 'in your face' action either. A lot of them come with issues - cause so many haven't been socialized properly or have been bounced from home to home so much. One of hers bit all the time - ears, your mouth, your toes. I have experienced a ferret surprising me with a firm toe bite (and he would lock on) more than once.

 

And when they get sick, they can get sick really super fast. And the vet bills are expensive; you need to find a speciality vet that deals with them.

 

I do find them cute, and they are smart and entertaining. But IMO, when they are out of the cage (which you need to do every single day), they aren't liek a cat or dog in that you can watch tv and cuddle them or interact at your leisure. You need to really be supervising all the time and interacting with the little guys.

 

just my experiences.

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Thank you so much, guys!

I was thinking about getting two, so they can play. One pet is always a bit sad (if its not a cat - cats don't care much haha), so yes - I thought about a couple.

My BF will be away for his basic training soon - so if I decide to get pets - they will have all my free time, believe me) I will be all over them, since I am longing for a pet friend for years now. It hurts)

I was also told that female ferrets don't smell as much. Then again - it is so with any breed, I guess. I had a friend who had ONE bunny in his apartment, and somehow it stink so badly it made me cry each time I visited him...

I also got some info that they adapt to their owners life style and schedule, so that's nice to know.

I am away from 7.30 till 17.10 five days a week, and normally one weekend in month I go to my home town to visit my parents. In that case I will for sure have someone to babysit my little furry friends if I wont take them with me with a carrier. My parents have a cat at home, and its 3 hours away with a bus, so I guess that will be a lot of stress to them, right? Better leave them at a familiar space and just have someone look after them? If there is two of them - can I leave them alone for 30 hours?

 

I am already picking names, crazy me. Dear God, I hope I wont be allergic to ferrets... That will be heartbreaking.

 

By the way, we now have an open balcony (without windows, pigeons used to live there) and I am planning on renovating it and making it then into a small warm living space. It is about 5 square meters I guess, and after installing windows there and insulation and floors it will make a perfect ferret playing space - what do you think? Can it be a good solution for the smell? There will be nothing to worry about, only their cage and their playpen and litter box. Will it be enough space for two ferrets? We can hang things there for them to climb too...

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They aren't for people who aren't comfortable with handling behavioral problems and lots of 'in your face' action either. haha, I am like this with people) No, just joking)

I had 13 years of babysitting with all kinds of kids, and there was A LOT of in your face action))) Still I LOVE kids.

 

Gosh, I remember how ONE of my gini pigs died - I was ready to sell my soul to the devil if he will bring her back to me... And when our dog passed away my mom was keeping it in a secret for weeks, in fear that I will do something with myself when I find out...

 

 

I also need to check for vets where I live, but I think there are some that can take care of a ferret if something ever happens.

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They aren't for people who aren't comfortable with handling behavioral problems and lots of 'in your face' action either. haha, I am like this with people) No, just joking)

I had 13 years of babysitting with all kinds of kids, and there was A LOT of in your face action))) Still I LOVE kids.

 

Gosh, I remember how ONE of my gini pigs died - I was ready to sell my soul to the devil if he will bring her back to me... And when our dog passed away my mom was keeping it in a secret for weeks, in fear that I will do something with myself when I find out...

 

 

I also need to check for vets where I live, but I think there are some that can take care of a ferret if something ever happens.

 

oh larl me too ...

 

when my little kitty rhubarb was killed with anti freeze poisoning last year I nearly went demented , the vet still told me to take her in even though she had passed because I was so upset and kept thinking she would wake up ..it took me months to be able to say rhubarb without booking a therapy session .

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aww, honey, I am so sorry! my parents have a cat now, that we rescued 10 years ago. she was with me through my teenage years, and even though I had allergy I would better pop a pill and spend time with her, than to be away... and now she is getting older and I hope she will stay with us for another 10 years without complications.

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Let me tell you my ferret story... I had a ferret for one week!

 

I thought they were lovely, cute, adorable, fun... then I bought one. Someone had warned me they are a lot more 'wild animal' than you think... they are not nearly as 'domesticated' in temperament and behavior as cats and dogs are.

 

So I got a cage, took the ferret home, and promptly was covered in scratches and bites from the 'playful' ferret. They are NOT all that gentle, and they take their play time VERY seriously, as in practicing to hunt and kill things with an intensity that puts kittens to shame.

 

Then it decided that the best place to spend the majority of time was INSIDE my couch. It gnawed a hole thru the fabric on the bottom, and proceeded to LIVE in the couch (up inside the frame where I couldn't get to) and I couldn't get it back out again. It wanted nothing of its cage, and I couldn't let it out of the cage or it would make straight for the couch and then we'd be back to it living in the couch again. It would drag food in there, poop on one side of the couch and live on the other! They also love to shred and rip things up and hide in holes of any kind they can find, and if when they don't find burrows, they make their own!

 

And they are nocturnal animals... seriously nocturnal where they sleep all day and only start to rouse around 11 pm and you hear scratching and skittering and chirping all night long. Like living with a bat or a raccoon in terms of nocturnal activity levels.

 

So I think if you want a ferret, I would suggest a cat, dog, or bird instead unless you want a LOT of work and destruction... unless you live in a circumstance where you can keep them in situation where you don't 'lose' them in the apartment (i.e, you have a farm and a barn).

 

btw, I love all animals. I've had dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, mice, cows, sheep, horses etc. But a ferret was too much trouble and I couldn't handle it... LOL!!

 

they also had a musty/moldy/skunky smell, even if de-scented, which I found unpleasant.

 

So you are fairly warned!

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lavenderdove your story about that couch made me laugh))) thank you!

 

I do want a more wild animal. If I could - I would have a fox, like seriously! These small fennec foxes that make crazy noises and run around like freaking demons - gosh I love them) But they are not available where I live now, and no matter how much I like them, it hurts me to imagine them in captivity. They are too wild to be pets, IMHO.

 

That is exactly what I meant saying that ferret is so me. I want somebody to play and fool and go crazy with) And I don't care if he will bite me, as long as I don't have allergy.

As I said, IF I will have them, I will give my balcony away to them, so they wont live in the apartment directly, around furniture, cables and instruments (my BF is a guitar player, he will kill ferrets first and then me after them if they ruin his guitar or something haha). And making them a living space there can also save me from the smell, if it will be as bad as I imagine it will be.

And if I commit to it, I will for sure take them young and spend my time training them. I think first week or even first month they will be exactly what you described, but its up to me then to invest my time in them and train them well. Not much can be done in one week, you know...

 

You had a boy or a girl, by the way?

 

As for the cats - I wrote in my first post that I am very very allergic to cats and dogs are not allowed in our building. At least big ones, and I am not a fan of small rat-like dogs that shiver all the time and need to be carried around. Not my cup of tea... I like German Shepherds) I also like birds, but not when they are in cages...

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I think I had a boy ferret... it's been so long ago and I had it for such a short time I can't remember!

 

You might shop around as there are some hypoallergenic dog and cat breeds... I am very allergic to cats, and did find that the ferret made me feel 'stuffy' so I might have been slightly allergic to it too... you might go rub your face in the ferrets at the pet store to see if they bother you.. the oil that makes them musty smelling has a lot of chemicals in it so can trigger allergies.

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As I said, IF I will have them, I will give my balcony away to them, so they wont live in the apartment directly, around furniture, cables and instruments (my BF is a guitar player, he will kill ferrets first and then me after them if they ruin his guitar or something haha). And making them a living space there can also save me from the smell, if it will be as bad as I imagine it will be.

 

You have to be super careful with them if the balcony is outdoors - they can't handle temperature extremes.

 

Even though they're based on wild animals and retain a lot of the behaviors - they don't have the hardiness of their wild cousins. Chill or overheating is really common.

 

If you decide to get two - if you can, get them young. They can be trained to an extent - and keeping their nails trimmed and them washed and groomed really helps.

 

You're better off getting a ferret cage for indoors - and a ferret pen for exercise when you're not actively holding one or the other. I can't say I ever had much issue with the biting - but the scratching, yes. Like kittens, they have fine, sharp claws and can scratch without intent.

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My best friend had a couple ferrets and she loved them. They were incredibly friendly, smart, and playful animals. I loved going over there and cuddling the ferrets. She named them after alcoholic drinks (Mimosa or 'Mimo' for short and Gin and Tonic or 'Gina' for short). They got her through a lot of tough times and lived for a good 10 years or so. Recently they passed away, and she was heartbroken, but they were wonderful pets and very very loving.

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lav, that holing up in your couch is what my friend's ferret did in my bed. I'd leave him to sleep there some of the days he was with me, and find him in my bed and on my neck in the morning.

 

I'm the same as you, Lav. Love animals, but ferrets as a pet are just a bit too 'interactive' all the time for me.

 

I think Lar might be a good candidate for one though!!

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lavenderdove if I will ever take a cat or a dog, they will most probably be rescued ones or the ones from the shelters. I think there is no need in breeding expensive fancy new types when there are hundreds of them homeless. At least in my country... You go to any local forum and there are like 50 new topics every day that someone is giving newborn kittens or puppies away.

 

Gosh, a hypoallergenic cat is like a dream come true, but we don't have them here, where I live. I need to go overseas for that and spend a very big amount of money. I hope with some time when I move and I have enough free money I will surely search for a cat like that. But now we rent, and the apartment is quite small, so no chance. Same with dogs.

 

Mesemene thanks! Yes, if I do that, I will take care that the space is safe enough. I was reading yesterday that ferrets can`t handle heat after like 80 degrees. Our balcony only sees evening sun anyhow, but now, when its open it can get pretty hot in summer. So hopefully when I will renovate it, I can do something about it. When there is a shadow, and the windows are opened - its perfect.

 

I will get two if I get any. And I will get them young, I really want to train them myself!!! That`s so much fun!

 

pl3asehelp yes! I had a rat at some point in my life. I liked rats, actually, but not the albino ones with red eyes. ))) Rats are very slippery, so to say. They always go somewhere, they never stop crawling. )

 

tvnerdgirl aaaaaw, that makes me wanna them even more) But then, even when someone tells me they are horrible - I still want them! My BF thinks I am crazy, and he denies the fact that I am not joking about getting two hairy little thieves and even starting a serious and expensive renovation just so I can have them)

 

itsallgrand I like cats because they can be on their own and then only come when they want, at the same time I long to have a ferret, exactly because they are so crazy and in your face. Cats are very calming, but I had some in my life that were just as crazy as ferrets. One guy friend of mine had a kitten, and that "kitten" is now pretty grown up, but he still behaves like a restless little pal, like he is several months old, always jumping up and down, biting everybody's feet, smashing his head into walls, meowing like he has war flashbacks... I love that cat, and every time I come to visit he calms down for some time and takes a nap on my lap and then he is gone again, destroying stuff. )) Its so magical how animals have characters, often similar to their owners. I guess my ferrets will be very restless one half of the day, and then another half of the day they will sleep like little angels)

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Miss Firecracker funny... I was in an apartment where ferrets live freely and it wasn't as bad as you say) Maybe it depends on something else...and there are particularly smelly ones? That`s why I want to have a special good ventilated space for them, so they live there and not in the apartment itself. I had 8 gini pigs living under my bed - apart from the noise they made it was perfectly fine. But when I enter a barn at my granny's where goats and sheep live now... that's another story. I guess she is just used to it now, but for somebody like me its worse then a vomit smell, seriously. I can`t even breath in properly, my nose blocks it))

Some people have extremely smelly dogs too. I have no idea what is the reason behind that, but some can have like the smallest doggy even in a big enough apartment, but it would smell like they have 10 fat and farting St. Bernards that are constantly wet))

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't help you with the ferrets but if you would really like to get a cat, look into Siberians. I've had several and they are fantastic. They're very affectionate, playful and athletic. They act more like a dog than a typical cat really. A lot of the lines are hypoallergenic. A friend of mine that is highly allergic to cats was never bothered by mine and I did get them as rescues. My friend loves cats but could never have one either. She got a Siberian because of mine and has no problems with her allergies at all.

 

A lot of breeders do DNA testing on their stock to find out which cats have the lowest allergen levels and they'll even send you a hair sample to see if you react to it. A breeder local to me even requires the adopters to come spend an hour with the kitten they want just in case and some will have retired cats that need homes or older kittens that didn't turn out to be quite show quality.

 

I know you're against breeding and buying a cat, but if you would like one, that might be the way to go. For what you'll spend renovating for ferrets and the worries about them destroying your BF's guitars, it might be a good alternative. They're not cheap if you buy one as a kitten, but they're already spayed or neutered, have all their vaccinations and will be litter box trained. Check for a local rescue in your area. I had to wait about 6 months before I found mine there but the wait was well worth it.

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  • 9 months later...

Just wanted to update, because I got a ferret!!! I adopted it on September 14th, his previous owner wanted to get rid of him, and our mutual friends knew I wanted one, so I though long and hard about it and I got him.

 

He is amazing. I am so in love. He is albino, which I never though I would like, but he is SO lovely. He will be 2 years this January, he doesn't stink (well, only if he farts hahaha) and he is so well-behaved! He cuddles with me sometimes, and I feel like he trusts me now, and he got used to me. He isn't caged, never was, so I decided to ferret proof my home and let him be. Till now he hasn't spoiled anything, he does his business mostly in his appropriate places and he never bites hard. He nibbles softy when playing, but I kind of like it. He is not overly cute, he has a bit of wilderness about him, and I just adore that. We called him Frodo, like from Lord of The Rings, but now I look at him and I think we should have called him Noodles or Sausage, because he is long and white))

 

I can`t wait for snow to start, so I can take him outside to play! I already got him a bag full of dry leaves from the park, and he was obsessed with it for days! It is so much fun looking at him play or playing with him. And I don't have allergies which is SO amazing!!! I can finally enjoy furry cuddles without dying, suffocating with snot.

 

Also about stinking. People come to our apartment and they have no idea I have a pet. And we have a small one bedroom apartment, so if he had a pungent odor - people would feel it coming in from the street. He actually smells nice, like fur, like something warm and alive, you know. The only smelly part is when he farts, and he does it sometimes when he is too exited or gets really relaxed and enjoys the situation he is in. The smell stays in your clothes for a couple of hours (not on him) and then you can`t smell in anymore. My friends have the same apartment, and they have a gini pig and a Yorkshire Terrier, and I smell animal and pee when I come in. And when they used to have a rat it was even worse than that.

 

Just my little update on the ferret situation. Maybe it helps someone in the future. He was a little wild when we just got him, but I get it - he was scared and the guy he spent his whole life with got rid of him, so sure he was pissed. And the guy said he never really had time for him, never really cuddled him and so on. I played with him, cuddled him, started giving him real food (meat) and not only kibble, and he seems so happy! He was skinny and he had a rat-tail, now he has grown his winter coat, gained some weight and he looks healthy. So I guess it always depends on a ferret and on the owner too. I am blessed with mine, I look forward going home every day to see him and play with him)

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