or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Pets › Ferrets!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:


post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
So who else owns them?
-- I have three currently although our female is nearing seven years old and we haven't had one live past seven (we've had three who have passed away already.) She's an old sweetie and seems to keep the younger boys in check.

What do you feed them?
-- We feed them ProPlan kitten food. We've tried a slew of ferret foods but this is the only food they all agree on. We feed them homemade "chicken gravy" when they are ill.

Do you vaccinate them?
-- We don't anymore after a bad reaction to a rabies vaccine.

What diseases have they been successfully or unsuccessfully treated for?
-- Wow, been there, done that. Luckily, we live only an hour from one of the nation's best ferret specialists. And he's super affordable. He's been a life-saver, literally. We had a ferret sucumb to a nasty bout of cancer a couple years ago. We treated him for months before we were able to pinpoint the actual problem. Poor thing.

Do your children play with them? Your toddlers?
--Our toddlers get to play with them daily but only under supervision and they aren't allowed to take them out of the cage unless we are right there. One of the ferrets is very fond of ankles

What about your ferrets silly habits?

--Fred has an ankle obsession. Max has very long legs and jumps really high when excited. Bebe hides anything noisy and small she can find. She's also good at finding openings into couches and mattresses.

Do your ferrets have access to the whole house?

--Our don't. It's too dangerous for them. They get to play in one of the bedrooms daily.
post #2 of 20
So who else owns them?

2 currently. Peekaboo and Zamboni. We lost our third (Cataria) last spring at near 7 years.

What do you feed them?
Totally Ferret and Zupreem Ferret food mixed

Do you vaccinate them?
Nope. No vaxs for anyone in the house if we can avoid it- no matter how furry.

What diseases have they been successfully or unsuccessfully treated for?
Zam has an unidentified re-occuring stomach thing. So far he's come through several rounds with some tlc, duk soup and antibiotics twice. Tari was adrenal. Zam maybe getting that way. Our vet pretty much draws the line at 5 years past which he doesn't usually see good reactions to surgery. Tari had about 2-3 good years after she started getting adrenal though, so I'm happy we chose to wait it out. If we'd lost her on the table I'd have always wondered.

Do your children play with them? Your toddlers?
Our dd is almost 12 months and loves them. She sticks her fingers in the cage for kisses. She gets SO excited when they're out. We only let her pet them if we're holding both her and the ferret to protect both of them.

What about your ferrets silly habits?
Boo is a classic theif. Zam loves to kiss foreheads. Tari loved ears.

Do your ferrets have access to the whole house?

No. They don't get nearly enough out time anymore. When we lived in a duplex the whole place was ferretproof and they were out most of the time. The house is too big and has too many un-safe places.

post #3 of 20
[So who else owns them?
-- We currently have two, Amelia and Bomber, both ferret rescue babies that are about 6 and 7 now. I've always kept four at a time, but with a new baby, I haven't added to our business.

What do you feed them?
-- I feed them a mixture of The Ferret Store Premium ferret food and Totally Ferret Senior.

Do you vaccinate them?
-- They were vaccinated before me, but I do not continue it.

What diseases have they been successfully or unsuccessfully treated for?
-- I have had ferrets with insulinoma, adrenal disease,

Do your children play with them? Your toddlers?
--No, Jett is only 7.5 months and I do not trust Amelia with him. She's a bit, shall we say, feisty and mothery.

What about your ferrets silly habits?
--Amelia is just like your Bebe, she "hides anything noisy and small she can find. She's also good at finding openings into couches and mattresses." She is a serious bitch, if you reprimand her, she bides her time and then gives a good retaliatory bite, drive-by style. Bomber is a Waardensburg boy, deaf as a door nail. He's a seriously sweet ferret and not very bright.

Do your ferrets have access to the whole house?
--As soon as we finish renovating...they'll have access to everything but the basement. Right now, they only have access to a well-ferret proofed kitchen.

I still miss my old boys, Kif, Trevor, Mr. Pepper, Fred and Merlin.

Does anybody here subscribe to the ferret mailing list?
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I think my husband subscribes to the ferret list but hasn't actively participated in any of the discussions in a while. We've received WONDERFUL info from it and our awesome vet is on their too - Dr. Murray.
post #5 of 20
I used to read the FML- stopped a few years ago- it seemed there was nothing new anymore.

post #6 of 20
Yeah, I was on the FML from 96 till early 2005. Once I learned "everything" a non-vet could learn, I got really sick of the fighting, whining, petty-ness, etc....sounds kinda like MDC, but there's still so much to learn here...I stay.
post #7 of 20
true true.....
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
DH was just telling me that the reason he stopped reading the fml was because it was so catty. He was sick of the nonsense.
post #9 of 20
A ferret thread and NOBODY PMs me?


Ummm, I have four foozle-kids: Penelope, who's five, Gus, who is six or seven (shelter adoptee), Dinah who is four, and Billy Bob, who is two and a half.

One is sable, one is cinnamon, one is silver, and one is albino. Everybody comments on their diversity, but I didn't really plan it out that way.

They eat Totally Ferret and Mazuri, with banana, Yogies, and the crack cocaine of ferret treats-- FerretTone.

They're all current on vaxes, partly because I'm paranoid about them biting a kid and winding up in a rabies dispute, partly because we've traveled a LOT, and partly because I just never really thought about it till lately.

So far, we've been disease-free, but my old guy Gus is beginning to be a bit too thin. I was telling DH that he needs to go to the vet and see if it's just the summer heat, or whether Gus's seniordom is starting to take its toll. I've been in denial about it...

DS likes to watch them-- he's five months old. But he pulls even my hair, so his contact is quite limited.

They got out time every day until we moved... the new place has plywood subfloor waiting to be covered, paint cans, and other unferret-friendly horrors. Once this place is settled, they'll be free to party once more.

Silly habits-- they managed to dig a hole from the bottom of my couch INSIDE the freakin' upholstery. There is an unbelievable assortment of crap in there-- insoles, plastic bags, headphones, baby toys, Yogies, quilt squares....

Dinah is an ear cleaner. It's her cool party trick. Penelope is a lazy lap ferret. Gus climbs up pant legs to pick the "nits" out of your knee And Billy Bob knows how to open drawers from the inside to access the kitchen counter.
post #10 of 20
Billy Bob knows how to open drawers from the inside to access the kitchen counter.
My Fred used to do that...the first time he did it, we lived in FL, he was about 1.5 yrs old and I came home to him grinning on the coutner top, with rice and cereal spilled everywhere!

Thankfully, I thought to take photos!

Fred's Mess
The grin!

Damn, I miss him.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Those are cute pics! I'll see if I can dig up and of my furts.
post #12 of 20
Find any photos?

I am about to long-term foster a 10 month old fert, Mappy. Her mama had to move in with her parents for a while and can't keep her, but hated to give her up. So, Miss Mappy is going to come live with us until her mama gets back on her feet.
post #13 of 20
I used to have a ferret... she died ten or 11 years ago and then we moved to California a year later, but someday I'd like to get another one. Her name was Maia and she was a rescue. She had been bred too young and so she was always very small, just under a pound. She never had a cage and just slept curled up on the food of my bed, sometimes under the covers if it was cold. She was litterbox trained and would come when called, too.

We had a dog, Mariah, who was a lab/heeler cross, and we had two cats. The ferret got along with all of them; she actually rules the roost. My daughter was about 20 months old when she died, and they got along fine... Maia was too fast for her to catch, really, but Rain would pet gently when I held Maia.

I used to feed her science diet, and I made her some slings to lounge in... she was a fun pet. She knew how to "dance", and we used to make mazes for her to crawl though with cardboard tubes...

She suddenly went limp one night and couldn't be roused, until I finally got something sweet and literally smeared it into her mouth, and she bounced up again in a minute. We went to the all-night vet and they did some tests and diagnosed a probable insulinoma. She was 8 years old at this point, so quite old for a ferret, and because of that and her size the vet didn't see surgery as a viable option, so we had her put to sleep. It was very sad, we both cried...

My mom had 4 ferrets at one point, 2 males and 2 females, along with 4 dogs, a chinchilla, and 2 hedgehogs. They did have cages for the ferrets, though, although they got lots of playtime. One of their dogs (heeler) "adopted" one of the ferrets, and would follow it, lick it, and they would sleep curled up together. It was very funny...

post #14 of 20
I never owned a ferret but read quite a bit about them since I am a petsitter....

They are part of the weasel family. They do have glands that should be removed or they can be odorifous. They can be fed a raw diet and need a little more protein than dogs. They are relatively clean and can be litter trained. They live to be 10-12 years old.

There are health issues such as stomach problems and such. However, if they have a good diet, they are fairly trouble free health wise. They should be vaccinated for rabies.
post #15 of 20
Some of what you read is accurate, some not, Peepsqueak. (btw, I love your username)

Ferrets' latin name is still being argued. Some call them mustela furo and others, mustela putorious furo. (meaning either "small thief" or "small stinky thief") They are part of the weasel family, possibly descended from the European pole cat, although their lineage is not known for sure. They have been domesticated longer than the cat and were probably used in ancient Egypt for rodent control.

Ferrets do very well on a raw foods diet, but they need a vastly different diet from dogs. Dogs are omnivorous. Ferrets, like cats, are obligate carnivores -- meaning they lack the capability to digest plant matter. If fed a kibble diet, ferret chow is mostly closely related to kitten chow, with a nearly identical composition. Ferrets require higher protein/fat and lower fiber than cats, with other vitamin/mineral need differences.

Ferrets are fastidiously clean, but most can only be moderately litter trained, as they have short legs and short attention spans. They generally only poop in corners and in the same few places, so if you put litter boxes where they poop, you have success. It is quite hard to retrain most ferrets to use a new location.

Young ferrets are almost always healthy, however as they age, you are almost guaranteed cancer. It is soooo common in domestic ferrets, albeit only in US and Canada. In countries where ferrets are neutered at a later age, less vaccinated and given a more natural diet and light cycles, they live longer and have fewer problems. Adrenal gland cancer (adrenal disease) and pancreatic cancer (insulinoma) are probably the two most common major ailments, along with self-inflicted intestinal blockages. 10-12 years is the expected life span for a non-north american ferret. In the US/Canada, though, a more accurate life span is sadly 6-9 years.

(Nah, I don't love the little guys!! :LOL)

In the US, ferrets are vaccinated for rabies and canine distemper.
post #16 of 20
None of my family's ferrets were descented or vaccinated. The males had a slight musky odor, but it wasn't unpleasant, and the females didn't smell at all. We did bathe them all regularly, too...

post #17 of 20
errr, I should have written, "In the US, ferrets are reccomended to be vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper."

Also, I knew I was forgetting a topic....descenting. Descenting a ferret is a waste of time sales pitch crapload. When the remove the anal scent glands, the ferret is no longer able to "poof" like a skunk. Great, right? Well, unlike skunks, ferret poof stink only lasts for a few seconds, doesn't gross up stuff and smells just like ferrets do normally, but stronger. It doesn't remove their odor, as they still have plenty of other non-poofing glands left to keep themselves ferrety. Most ferrets rarely ever poof, only if REALLY frightened. A few will poof when really excited or otherwise riled up, but again, it only smells for a moment and isn't a horrendous smell. (...kinda like people farts?)
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know of some people who breed ferrets, therefore none of them have been descented. And you're right, the smell isn't that bad. It's musky but it's not awful. I think hamster cages smell worse actually. Mine were all descented when we got them, and they still do have a musky smell. I think getting descented and spayed/neutered sooo young like Marshall Farms does just messes up their future health. And 6 to 9 years sounds about right for us so far. I had heard of ferrets living longer but not in America.

I don't know how prevalent canine distemper would be without the vaccine but we haven't vaccinated any of our in about two years now. Last time, our old girl Riley got a rabies vax and her hind legs went limp for a couple days. That's when we decided it wasn't worth it. They're kept indoors anyway, and visitors aren't allowed to hold them (as ours can get nippy) so why would they need a rabies vax? And yes, in our experience, cancer is verrrry prevalent. It's horrible and expensive and I think people should only own ferrets if they're willing to pay the huge vet bills for surgery and bloodwork later on. I have a lot to say about surgery right now, as two of ours went in for it last week. I won't ramble on accept to say that one had a HUGE hairball removed from his stomach and the other had her tail removed due to a tumor. But they both did well and are recovering very quickly. Ugh. Ferret surgery.
post #19 of 20
Originally Posted by be11ydancer
And yes, in our experience, cancer is verrrry prevalent. It's horrible and expensive and I think people should only own ferrets if they're willing to pay the huge vet bills for surgery and bloodwork later on.
I've not willing to pay huge vet bills for any of my pets. Keith (dog) had a groth removed from his toe for $200, and Cozy (cat) had a tumor removed, which was somewhere under $300 because my dad is a pathologist and ran the biopsy. That's about my limit, really, for surgery. Keith currently gets a thyroid test every 6 months for $35 and we pay $15 a month for his thyroid meds, and again, that's about my limit for chronic conditions.

We paid around $100 for Maia's treatment (I think just a blood test and exam) and euthanasia, in 1995. I might have gone another $100 if they could have cured her, but that's about it.

I think we have a duty to provide basic care to pets, and to prevent them from experiencing significant pain. I do draw a line, though. I know of people who have kidney transplants done on their pets, and long-term dialysis. We were told to take outr cat to a feline cardiologist and have an EKG done when he was a kitten, because of his class 4 heart murmur. Didn't even go there. My parents' dog had hip problems and the vet recommended a $2000 operation - nope, not happening. I love my pets, but I don't see them as people, and I do draw a line at how much I'll spend.

I have to admit that I probably would have spent a lot more if we could have saved Rain's cat, Pepper... but he was a special case, really. And, of course, he's the one we had no options with at all...

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
The medical expenses are very different depending on the vet. The surgeries came out to about $300 total for both of them so that was a pretty good deal for us. Our first ferret vet would've charged around $500 each or so, and ferrets weren't her specialty. : Then we found Dr. Murray and he's so darned good and affordable and happens to live nearby. He's the best vet ever. EVER! And he loves ferrets. I draw a line now too at how much we'll spend and also consider the animals age and how sick they are. If it's cancer and the ferret is already seven years old, it's not likely they would survive the anesthesia. But if it's cancer and the ferret is only three years old and the vet is optimistic, then we'll do the surgery. I guess there are a lot of factors that would come into play. Now, we're looking at adrenal disease for the ferret who just had the hairball removed and the treatment for that would be removing the affected adrenal gland. Since Max is only three and recovering so well, and the surgery will probably be under $150, we can swing it. Dr. Murray does adrenal surgeries several times a week. But ugh. The vet bills. Even when they're low, they're still too much.

I would never get an EKG, or organ transplants, or $2000 surgery for my pets. Wow. If you can afford that, you have too much money!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pets
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Pets › Ferrets!