03 Feb General ferret information
Did you know?
Ferrets are relatives of the European polecat and their
technical name is Mustela Putorius Furo. They are
believed to have been domesticated for over 2,000
years and were known to be favored by royalty.
What are they?
A ferret is a mammal, small in size, with an average
weight of 1 – 5 pounds. Their true genetic title is:
Order Carnivora; Genus Mustela; Family Mustelidae.
What do they do?
Ferrets are very intelligent, industrious, inquisitive, and
playful animals that will captivate you with their
‘weasel war dance’, their chatter and, quite frankly,
with all of their own, individual, characteristics.
Where do they live?
Ferrets live in a cage, in homes and apartments
everywhere, sometimes with other house pets. They
should not live out in the elements and should never
be left to roam freely if no one is home! Most ferret
owners have a double or three-tiered cage. A larger
cage allows one level for sleeping, one for eating or
playing, and one for their litter box.
Do they use a litter box?
They sure do! A ferret can be trained to use a litter
box, much like a cat. Ferrets do not like ‘dirty’ boxes,
and, as they do not cover their droppings, a clean box
is a necessity.
Do they make good pets?
You bet! Ferret owners are all ages. There are many
advantages to owning a ferret — just ask a ferret
owner! They are curious, intelligent, cuddly, furry
companions that will win your heart. They bond
quickly with their owner and other house pets.
Where can I learn about them?
The best way to learn about ferrets is from ferret
owners themselves. There are several books written
by ferret owners which give clear, factual information
on such things as handling, grooming, behavior,
litter training, and ‘ferret-proofing,’ your home or
their play area, as well as other useful tips and
information. Reading sources include:
– “The Ferret: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy, Healthy
Pet,” by Mary A. Shefferman;
– “A Practical Guide to Ferret Care,” by Debra Jeans
Another excellent means of information is your
local ferret club, rescue or shelter group. They can
be found locally and, if it’s not convenient to attend
meetings, many offer excellent newsletters with
health tips, medical information, and fun events.
The web is also a great source of ferret information.
We recommend you start at www.totallyferret.com.
Do ferrets stink?
Ferrets have a musk odor that is not unpleasant.
Whole, un-neutered males produce this scent for
two reasons: attracting the opposite sex during
mating and defensive purposes. Pet ferrets are
neutered before you buy them from a pet shop or
breeder, reducing their odor. Feeding foods that
have little to no fish or fishmeal in them will also
serve to reduce body odor. Totally Ferret® is a great
food to feed!
What about other pets?
All pets require supervision during an introductory
period with other pets and with children. Ferrets
are curious by nature and very playful. Just as large
birds could be dangerous to the ferret, small birds
or rodents may not be safe from your ferret.
What about small children?
Children who are not familiar with a pet should not
be left unsupervised. Your ferret will naturally
defend itself if it feels threatened. Poking fingers
and/or objects will frighten any animal. Teach your
children how to hold a ferret, gently, by the scruff of
their neck or cradling the ferret. Limited, supervised,
play periods are important in order to allow
both the ferret and the child to feel comfortable
with each other.
How will I know if a ferret has been
spayed or neutered?
If you purchase your ferret from a pet store you
may see two blue dots on their ear. The first dot
idicates that the ferret has been descented. The
second dot tells you that the ferret has been
spayed/neutered. If you get your ferret from a
reputable breeder or pet store, you can be assured
it has been spayed/neutered. If you get your ferret
from a shelter or rescue, the responsible person
there is educated in providing you with this
information, plus answering many other questions
you may have.
Do ferrets require shots?
Indeed they do! Ferrets require both rabies shots
and distemper shots. As a ferret owner, it is your
responsibility to provide the necessary vaccines
your pet requires. Be wary of anyone that tells you
one shot is good for the life of your ferret! Another
important responsibility is to find a veterinarian
that likes ferrets and has good medical knowledge
regarding their treatment. This alone can give you
peace of mind.
What do ferrets eat?
Ferrets are carnivores, even more so than the cat.
And, as a carnivore, they require meat as their
primary protein source. We recommend a high
protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet like Totally
Ferret®. It contains three high-quality protein
sources and the high level of fat needed to keep
your ferret happy, healthy and alert! Totally Ferret®
is a whole food, complete and balanced to contain
all the necessary vitamins and minerals your ferret
requires. It is considered a low-carb, hypoallergenic
diet and no supplements are advised or recommended.
You can feel safe and content that you are
giving your ferret the very best in nutrition!