Before you bring your pet ferret home for the first time, you need to ferret-proof your house thoroughly.
So, how to ferret-proof your house? You need to block your ferret in a particular area at home, keep it away from chemical, electrical, and food hazards and make sure that it can’t escape through any route possible. Also, ensure that it does not roam freely around heavy and fallible objects.
Although ferret proofing a house can be a technical task, this article ensures that your house is totally ferret-friendly.
Ferrets are always up to some mischief. I mean, just look at them! They’ll be all cooped up in a basket of dirty laundry and the next thing you know, you’ve got a ferret spinning in the washing machine among all your clothes.
You have to understand that it is in their nature to be inquisitive. They’re like little detectives who want to know where a drain might lead up to and get their head stuck inside.
You might think that it’s a smart option to keep them in their cage all the time, but ferrets would still need at least 2 hours of play time outside. It is also your responsibility as a loving parent (yes, you become one once you adopt that cutie pie) to ensure that their cage is big enough for them to be able to get some exercise.
During all times that your ferret is roaming freely in the house, it needs to be strictly supervised. Let it have some fun and adventure, but know when to stop and reprimand it as well.
Making sure that your house is a safe place for your ferret is your responsibility and you should take it very seriously. Here are all the points that you need to consider while ferret-proofing your house.
- Buying a cage for your ferret.
- Establishing which areas your ferret has access to.
- Blocking off all exits to your house.
- Locking away chemical hazards.
- Ensuring electrical cords are out of its reach.
- Ensuring that it does not get stuck in the workings of an electrical appliance.
- Keeping valuables off the ground.
- Using safe furniture.
- Making sure the windows are solid.
- Never leave standing water unattended.
- Making sure the cupboards close properly.
- Not allowing it access to the stairs.
- Not providing it access to tables and book or showcases.
- Keeping flammables out of reach.
- Moving heavy items away from its path.
- Making your backyard a safe place for your ferret to play under strict supervision.
- Not throwing garbage in the house.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the details of each step and how to ensure that it is implemented perfectly.
Buy your ferret a proper cage:
Buying a cage for your ferret is a must for anyone who wishes to eliminate the hassle of looking for their ferret every other hour! As a minimum, you would need a cage that is 3-5 feet long, 2-3 feet wide, and 3 feet high. But if you can, I’d advise you to buy a larger one as ferrets would be far happier to have more space to move around and have fun as they are agile creatures. Also, make sure that you invest in a litter box for your ferret and place it in a specific corner of the cage. This will help them know where to do their business. It should also be kept in mind that ferrets need soft bedding in their cage which should be purchased from pet stores.
Block off an area specifically for your ferret to roam in:
Ferrets like to roam around and become detectives of every little thing that they find. It is in their nature to dig, climb, jump, and run. Nothing positive can come out of locking your ferret away just to keep it safe. So, here’s what you need to do.
Make sure that you have a very specific area of access, possibly a room, for your little friend and make it the ultimate safe zone. It isn’t possible to make your complete house a safe place for your ferret, so cordoning off an area would help you ensure your ferret’s safety. Keep the door of this room closed at all times so your ferret does not make a mad dash for freedom if you leave it open. Make sure that it has absolutely no access to unsafe areas like the garage, laundry room, and the kitchen.
Once you have established your ferret’s room, it is advisable to get down on your knees so you can see the room from your ferret’s eye-level. Now look for possible hiding places like holes or cracks and make sure that you get all of this fixed before your friend arrives at its new place.
Closing ALL possible exits to your home:
No matter how smart you think you are, that little guy can fox you easily. You might have thought of the perfect room with minimal risk factors, but your ferret would still find a way out of that room once in a while.
Communicate with your family and room-mates to close all the doors behind them. Ferrets can squeeze past the most unexpected of places so I’d advise you to use a plastic chair mat (the sort people use under office chairs) in front of the door of your ferret’s room. This is to eliminate the possibility of it squeezing from under the door if it has a large gap.
Other possible places of escape include air ducts, so keep them out of reach at all costs. Also, be aware that ferrets can climb on to stuff if they are attracted to a particular place. One gets to hear a lot of stories of their baby ferrets getting themselves into air ducts and then getting stuck inside. If your ferret gets out of its room regularly, then you can place a plexiglass barrier in the living area that humans can easily pass but the ferret can’t.
Tending to chemical hazards for your ferret:
Ferrets can get themselves into trouble if they get their hands on a lot of everyday chemicals that we use at our homes. These chemicals include different types of cleaners that we just leave out in the open. Some other threats to your buddy could be pesticides that you’ve stored at a place where it can reach, your garden fertilizers or a medicine box. These items should be strictly out of your ferret’s access at all times!
Electrical hazards and how to avoid them:
That inquisitive little beast that you’re getting is probably going to chew on all the rubber it can find. This makes electrical cords a great danger for your pet ferret and can also cause a lot of property damage for you. In the long run, this could even lead to a major short circuit at your home due to negligence in this matter!
Make sure that all electrical cords are at least a meter above the ground and out of ferret reach. Also, ferrets hate Apple bitter so you can spray it on the cords that lie lower and hence closer to the ground and they would avoid them at all costs. Remember to use extra protection and utilize some electrical tape on these low-lying wires so it isn’t easy for your ferret to chew through the rubber coating.
Checking your appliances before use and devising a plan:
Your ferret should not have access to areas containing electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, or dishwashers. At times, they like the warm and cordoned-off areas behind appliances and spend their time cooped up in the place. This is dangerous as there are persistent dangers involving electrical shocks and their getting stuck within the workings of the machine. Don’t blame me if someday, you just find your ferret stuck inside the compressor of your refrigerator!
To avoid this, make sure your electrical appliances are totally out of reach for your ferret, or at least pushed well close to the walls so your ferret cannot get behind or inside them. Before you turn on an electrical appliance, double check whether your ferret has made itself comfortable in or around it. Ferrets also like to get themselves cozy in laundry baskets so there is always a danger that you’ll throw them inside the washing machine while listening to your favorite jam.
Keep all valuables off the ground!
If you love a stuffed toy that you bought for your kid or just got yourself a pair of amazing loafers, then I’d advise keeping them off the ground while your ferret is out to play. As mentioned before, ferrets love to chew on stuff and you can’t really blame them for being who they are. You might have a torn stuff toy or a shoe with two holes in the front by the time they are done with their adventure. People who just throw their clothes down on the floor should also refrain from this act for their own betterment.
Using safe furniture:
Pets often ruin cushions, sofas, and other furniture and ferrets are no different. Make sure that you change the fabric on the underside of sofas as it is extremely fragile and can be easily scratched away by your ferret. Use a tough material for the underside of such furniture as it won’t be that easy to tear through. Also, keep in mind not to use reclining chairs as your ferret might be able to get inside them without your knowledge and this could turn into a very ugly and dangerous scenario for the both of you. Rocking chairs are also a big no if you have a ferret roaming around in the house.
It is also important to note that ferrets often chew on cushions and end up eating their fillings. This can lead to a lot of medical problems including intestinal blockages which have to be surgically treated. Before sitting on a pile of cushions, make sure to check whether your cutie pie is taking a nap under them.
Checking the windows:
Windows pose a serious risk as a possibility for your ferret to escape the confines of your home. You need to know that ferrets can climb to certain heights to reach windows so ensure that you eliminate that possibility. To remain on the safe side, make sure that your windows are made of good quality glass as ferrets can bite through a lot of flimsy window screens. They are also notorious for climbing the fly screens that many people have attached with windows and can be confident enough to just jump from the top, hoping to fly away!
Never leave standing water unattended:
Let’s say you’re Jack and Jill and have a bucket full of water that you’ve left unattended! Now, your little buddy is going to come inquiring as to what’s inside and might find it a great day to have a dip! Ferrets are adept swimmers, but I’d advise against ever checking that out. Many a person have also narrated stories of their ferrets taking an unwelcome dive into their toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. So, in easy words, just keep them out of the bathroom!
Ferrets can often get inside cupboards and ruin your valuables. It is also dangerous for your ferret to gain access to a cupboard which contains food items or chemicals. Ensure that you use childproof magnetic locks instead of the plastic ones as the latter tend to leave some space when closed. It might look like a small gap to you, but anything over 1-2 cm can be enough for your ferret to slither past, depending on its size.
Not letting them access to tables and showcases:
So, here’s the deal: ferrets love to climb stuff, but struggle to get back down. A lot of times you’ll find that little brat climbing on top of a table and then getting stuck on top. If it’s bold and considers itself a strong and independent ferret, it might just jump off the top or from table to table! Ferrets don’t have strong visual sense and struggle with depth perception as well. You might get weirded out if it just walks off a table, but that’s only because they aren’t good at perceiving heights. So, keep your ferret safe and on the ground by moving any tables and book or showcases from its room.
Cordoning off the staircase:
As mentioned above, ferrets don’t have a great sense of depth perception, so stairs always pose an imminent risk. Make sure that your ferret has no access to the stairs and cover the open-side with plexiglass or wood which is at least 1 meter high.
Eliminating all access to flammables:
Ever heard of the phrase, “playing with fire”? Well, your ferrets might literally try that out! Always keep them away from the kitchen stove (and the kitchen, in general), heaters, fireplaces, and candles.
Moving away from heavy items:
Do not grant your pet ferret access to places where heavy items are placed, especially ones which can topple over. Your ferret might just bump on them or catch them on its way, potentially causing those items to fall. This also poses a significant risk of injury for your ferret. These items include, but are not limited to, plants, speakers, and desktop fans.
Making your backyard safe for your ferret to play in:
No matter what we do, we cannot provide our pets with their natural environment. That is why it is important to let them out once in a while. If you have a backyard, it instantly becomes a safer option for your ferret to play.
Make sure that your ferret cannot escape the confines of your backyard. To do that, you would need to dig a trench across the border. You might also want to put plexiglass or wooden fence (other fences can be climbed upon) and lay down a cement border all along with it so that your ferret cannot borrow its way out of your backyard.
Don’t throw garbage in your house:
If you’re living through your college phase where your room is just a heap of old burger wraps and pizza boxes, then you’d have to clear all that out before your ferret moves in. If your ferret chews on a plastic bag or some paper, it might lead to intestinal blockage which can be dangerous in many cases.
After you’re done with all these steps, you will have curtailed most of the possible damage that you or your friend could incur. But it’s important to note what your ferret is up to when it is supposedly left unattended. Watch where it likes to go and hide at and devise plans to stop any dangerous activities.
Ferrets are beautiful animals that love to play and you shouldn’t become a hindrance to that. So, just let them have fun as long as it is safe for both of you and enjoy your time together!
Is it safe to let my ferret play with other pets? I would generally advise against this. Ferrets are small mammals which are naturally hunted by a lot of bigger ones. Cats are specifically notorious for hunting ferrets. Also, do not underestimate your ferret’s natural instincts as well since it can hurt other animals with its sharp nails. If you feel that your ferret is getting lonely, buy another one and slowly start exposing them to each other. Never leave two pets unattended.
Is it important to buy a cage for my ferret? Yes, it is. Ferrets should never be let outside of their cage if they are unattended. It is for your ferret’s and your own safety that it remains inside its cage until play time. Also, remember to provide it with soft bedding and place a proper litter tray inside as well. If your ferret does its business elsewhere, place some of it in the tray so it knows where it’s supposed to go.
Do ferrets chew furniture? Ferrets don’t really chew wooden furniture but are notorious for tearing away the fabric on their underside. They are also known for getting themselves into the foamy part of over-stuffed chairs and sofas which poses the threat of their getting stuck inside. This can get them severely injured if someone sits on those sofas or chairs.
Can ferrets climb fences? Ferrets can easily climb fences if they find proper footholds to leverage their body. Avoid placing regular fences or brickwork as it wouldn’t be able to contain them. I would advise using at least 1 meter of plexiglass or metal on the lower part of fences so that it eliminates the risk of your ferret climbing them to escape.
Can ferrets sleep in bed with you? Well, technically they can! But bear in mind that ferrets poop at least once during the night and if they feel a little too comfy to get out of bed, (who can blame them?) then you might be up for an early morning surprise!