Most people end up owning a ferret because they want to interact with one of these amazing creatures. Playing with a ferret is a lot of fun!
Training A Ferret
Like cats, these cute little creatures can be trained to use a litter box. Like any other endeavor, the more time you spend on litter training, the better chances of success. It may take several months to litter box training before your ferret gets the hang of it, so don’t give up too quickly! The more attention you give to this, the more likely your ferret will be litter trained.
Ferrets usually need to use the bathroom within a few minutes of waking up or soon after they eat. When you ferret first wakes up, then is a good time to put it in the litter box. Make sure it stays there until its used the bathroom. Once the ferret has accomplished this task, immediately give it a ferret healthy treat.
The idea is to reward it for going in the ferrets litter box, so it associates the litter box with good things.
Most ferrets end up using the litter box at least 75% of the time, and some always use the ferrets litter box. However, it’s best to be prepared to find the occasional stray stool outside of the litter box.
Do not use physical punishment on your ferret if it doesn’t use the litter box. They will not associate the punishment with the offense, but rather associate the punishment with YOU, and learn to fear you. Since most ferret owners want to be able to play with their ferrets, it makes sense not to do something that will make them fear you.
Try training them to go to the litter box in a small room first, before turning them loose in a bigger room or the house. The bathroom works well since it is usually smaller and easier to clean up messes off the floor. Gradually allow your ferret to roam in bigger spaces as you see it remembers where the litter box is and goes back to use it.
However, remember it’s likely sometimes the ferret just won’t get back to the litter box. If you want the ferret to be able to roam, you’re just going to have to accept that you will occasionally need to do a little cleaning up after them.
Owning A Ferret Means Safety First
Having your ferret litter trained makes it easier to allow it to roam around in the house. However, before you open the cage door and let your ferret free, it’s wise to take a few other precautions.
Presumably your ferret has had time to get acquainted with its new surroundings during the litter training process. They need time in the cage when they first come to live with you, where the ferret can feel safe and protected. One the ferret feels comfortable in that smaller set of surroundings, you can work up to a bigger area like an entire room.
Be sure to ferret proof your home before turning one loose. Like a human baby, a ferret will find the one thing you don’t want them to! They are small and curious creatures and can find their way into small spaces. If their head will fit into a space, the body can follow.
Check every room before allowing your ferret to roam in it. Look around your home for small holes they can wiggle into. Get down on your hands and knees so you can really see what the ferret will see. Can it lift off vent covers? Can it crawl under appliances? Is there something it climb up?
Ferrets are extremely good climbers, and very curious. Keep that in mind. They might crawl under a refrigerator, for example, and get hurt by a fan. They can rip a hole in dryer tubing and use it for a pathway to the outside world. Couches and other furniture often have a thin lining underneath that allows ferrets to easily tear through and get up inside the couch. (So don’t plop down on the couch if you don’t know where your ferret is!)
Roaming around the house can be great exercise for ferrets, but you have to keep safety in mind. Don’t allow them to run free until you’ve checked and made the environment as safe as possible, and don’t allow them to roam outside of their cage unsupervised.
Safe play is the way to go with when owning a ferret!