Owning ferrets is an ever evolving educational experience. Wow that was a mouthful. What I mean is that even after many years of ownership, there are things you can learn and your fuzzy will love you for it.
Lets take boxes. We all know hammomocks are a necessity to cage life. But how often do you find your fuzzbutt in your drawers curled amoung your clean shirts?
Let us remember that they are ground dwelling animals. Or used to be several thousand years ago.
There are studies showing that ferrets need a total dark environment to achieve full deep sleep. They go only say that this activity lowers the risk of them developing Adrenal Disease.
For whatever reason you choose, we strongly encourage the use of a box in the cage. Nothing fancy. But you will quickly notice how much they love that box.
The boxes we use are about 8 inches tall, 18 inches deep and 9 inches wide. Simply cut a hole on either the end or side, whichever fits your cage best, fill with a shirt or other material and watch how much they love it.
I have found 3 large ferrets stuffed into a box and they all look just as comfortable as little Perry does above.
We also place these boxes throughout the house and that is usually where we find the ferrets come bed time.
So create a box and see how much love your fuzzy has for it.
Often we get in animals with names that we have no attachment to either way.
Take Rafiki and Mufasa. They were obviously from the same "batch" from Marshall farms and previously owned by someone who had kids. Although Rafiki is a male in the Lion King movie, we left it and often call her Fiki.
Then a pair of sables come in, Fievel and Tinkerbell. Didn't quite fit so we went with Zane and Zelda. The ferrets didn't care.
And of course there is the time we get in ferrets such as the new lost ferrets. The finders called them Bonnie and Clyde. Makes sense as they were caught breaking and entering. Problem is that Bonnie is a Clyde and Clyde is a Clyde. After some thought I went with Nate and Elliot - a tribute to the tv show Leverage. Elliot has long dark hair like Christian Kane and Nate is older/wiser like Timothy Hutton and probably helped with the breaking out of their home (the mastermind). Maybe we will find their home but I am not holding my breath. Often animals are left behind to "fend for themselves" <sigh>.
So before you think that animal is stuck with the name you really don't like, just change it. All you have to do is remember if they answered at all to the previous name it may take a bit to get them to answer to the name you find that fits them better.
We humans have the big C (cancer). Ferrets actually have the Big 3 - Adrenal Disease (AD), Lymphoma and Insulinoma. AD is mostly treatable with medications or surgery. Lymphoma and insulinoma are certain death sentances. Sometimes the tumors can be removed and medication can help but they are quick killers.
Hog was a great little ferret with a lot of problems. A Royal Canadian Farms bred ferret who escaped without his medical conditions being caught - yeah for him - sad for his purchaser. He was a runt, had a bad heart (easily heard by his lung and snorting) along with signs of other health problems. He was just about 2.5 years old when we met. Then just last week he collapsed. He has always been unstable on his rear legs (clear sign of insulinoma or lymphoma) but this time he couldn't control his front legs. His huge front paws stayed curled as he tried to walk. His little pig eyes looked at you like - why can't I move? To the vet he goes. We decide to try prednisone just to see if we can get him to be able to move on his own. He was unable to. We had to let him go. To let you know, the final death by either lymphoma or insulinoma is painful to the ferret. At least that is what I have seen. The tumors can suddenly become painful in their growth. We have seen tumors appear overnight. Or grow to the size of a golf ball in just a couple months.
Factory farms have created what I see is the Big L I (lie). They produce hundreds of little sweathearts with short lives. Average lifespan is 8 years old. But by age 5 is where you start seeing the Big 3 come around. Sometimes you will be very lucky and never see these. Sometimes it will just be Adrenal Disease and treatable. Sometimes not.
Just research where your furkids come from. Even with the bad, I love my furkids. They are the only animal I want to own now. Even with the heartbreak.
Normally I don't change ferrets names but Fievel and Tinkerbell just didn't fit. We are Eureka junkies and as a tribute to the last season we choose Zane. But the little girl is not a Josefine/Joe. She is a sweet princess - Princess Zelda. Should probably have been Link and Zelda but we love Zane.
So these two were taken in by a family from someone who moved to where they couldn't keep them. Then the family learned that their cats wanted to kill the ferrets. So they didn't get out of the cage. These are two of the sweetest young ferrets I have meet in a long time. Said to be 1 to 1.5 years old. Zelda maybe the younger one.
Both are a little thin. You see if you leave a ferret in a cage all the time they sleep. So they will rarely eat and get thin with little muscle tone. So now they are on a diet of exercise with their unlimited high protein diet. Now remember that the old food a new ferret used to eat must be made available so the transition to the food you use is accepted.
We will let them play with the more quiet group and gain weight until we look for new homes for them. These will be great first time ferrets.
He came to us because the adoptor of Rice and Einstein had gotten him just the week before from a person who was getting rid of him. The first home was an apartment and they were not allowed there. This next home was going through a divorce and the estranged husband said "I won't visit my son (14yrs old) unless you get rid of those smelly things". So out the door Syd and Rice go. They were able to work a deal to keep Einstein. Rice has severe allergies and will only go out to a very special home.
So the lonely Syd grew into a beautiful 2 year old in our care. Once kind of slender and shallow of coat, he got his "adult" coat and it is plush.
We hope this is it for our boy Syd. But with any of our furkids, they are always welcome back - no restrictions and no surrender fees.
He appears to be a muted cinnamon with mitts. So far the others spook him and we have him in his own cage until he settles down. He will be up for adoption when he settles down and we can fully assess his future.
We are playing around with the name as I don't see him as a Piggy but more of a Peanut. We have Hog who is a true "pig" and this little guy is reminding us of a sweet little man.
We enjoyed the wonderful sun returning to Spokane. It was just awesome.
This week we said so long to Sweetie. She returned to her home. She was missed and she missed them. She came here terrified of ferrets and just the other day was terrorizing our poor Gigi.
Sometimes we wish for the ferrets to return to their owners. Specially if they are used to be a single and just like people so much better. Sweetie was one of those.
This entry will be short and I hope someone will read it. I will work on more entries and try and do this everyday. My apologies in advance for more poor camera skills.
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