Before you bring your fuzzy home, you’re going to need some ferret supplies.
Plan this in advance. The ferret breeder where I got my fuzzies called me to get them a week earlier than agreed…meaning I had to find a cage, food, litter box head over heels. I ended up buying all the wrong stuff, except for the food. Don’t let this happen to you.
Here’s a list of the ferret supplies you should have before your fuzzy comes home. Click here for a list of things you can buy afterwards.
Ferret cages are available in all shapes, sizes and materials. Go to the next page for advice on choosing a ferret cage.
The food and water bowls should be easy to clean (for obvious reasons). It’s also a good idea to get ones that attach to the cage in one way or another. See, fuzzies like to redecorate their home…some even seem to prefer water bowls that are upside down. So to avoid floods and food all over the cage, attach the bowls to the cage. Instead of a water bowl, you could get one of those rabbit bottles as well (no danger of flooding cages). Not all fuzzies are used to these though, so make sure your fuzzbutt knows how to get water from this type of water dispenser.
Don’t buy any old litter pan for your fuzzball. I got a regular cat litter box first. Which is fine for kits (although mine first used it as a bed…). Once your fuzzies are a little larger though, they start pooping over the side… I recommend you get a large square litter pan with a higher back for males. For females you could try the rectangular type of litter pan (again with a higher back). Some males use the triangular type as well, most seem to think they’re too small (mine certainly refused to use it).
The litter is important to regulate the dampness in the ferret cage. It also controls the smell.
First of all, ferret litter should be dust free. Pellets are a good choice. Secondly, it shouldn’t form clumps. A lot of fuzzies (mine included) like to nose dive into a clean litter box. Clumping litter could potentially form clumps in their little noses, blocking their airways. Don’t use any kind of wood chips or shavings either. Those are a big no-no if you want to keep your fuzzbutt healthy. If it contains pine or cedar it could cause respiratory problems. Pine and cedar can even trigger asthma attack in humans.
After trying about 8 different types of litter, I keep going back to Yesterday’s News. Not cheap, but it seems more economical than cheaper no-name brands I’ve used. It’s easy to clean, ecological (recycled paper) and my ferrets seem to like it.
For bedding, any old sweater, t-shirt, pair of trousers, blanket or towel will do fine. Make sure they can’t get their nails stuck in the material or tears or something like that. Just put it on the floor of the cage, away from the litter box.
Of all those extras, grooming material and vitamin supplements are the most important.
Unless your fuzzy is living on a rough, concrete floor, you will need to clip his nails about every 2 weeks. Vitamin supplements and hairball paste are all necessary to keep your fuzzy in optimum health. And vital if you want to clip his nails without struggling for 2 hours…
Ferret toys can be as simple as a paper or plastic bag. Or you can cough up a lot of money and buy a whole funnel system specifically designed for fuzzballs. Ping pong balls, a box of sand, PVC piping, dryer hose vent are all good and cheap toys. So are backpacks or boxes where they can hide their loot or curl up for a nap. If you give your fuzzball toys made of latex or rubber (or if your fuzzbutt steals them from your dog like Nibbler does) inspect the toys frequently. Ferrets like to bite little pieces out of them which they can accidently (or not so accidently) ingest, causing blockages. Avoid giving these toys if you can. Hard plastic cat toys are great for fuzzballs as well.
When considering ferret treats, don’t forget to read up about ferret food first. Fuzzies don’t do well on human treats, vegetables and fruit. Regardless, a lot of people give their fuzzbutt raisins for example because they love the sugary taste. I wouldn’t recommend it though as they can cause blockages.
Bedding comes in all shapes, sizes and materials. Hammocks are very popular. As are knapsacks and tunnels. Every fuzzy is different, so you’ll have to try out what he likes most. Make sure it’s easy to wash.
A leash is funny and handy if you plan on taking your little speedbump out for walks or to a ferret meeting. It’ll take some training and getting used to though. I tried a few times and made it all the way to end of the street (about 200m)…only took me 30 minutes…and Stitch nearly hanged himself trying to dive into someone’s cellar. Needless to say I gave up after that. Instead I ferret proofed my garden so they can romp around there without a leash.
Personally, I’ve never tried to dress up my fuzzbutts (or my dog for that matter). A lot of people do though, and I have to admit it makes for some hilariously cute ferret pictures. You can get all sorts of different ferret clothes, from hats to antlers, from tuxedos to ballerina dresses,…
Depending on where you live (hot or cold climate), you’ll need some form of climate control as ferrets aren’t very good at controlling their own temperature. Having a ferret cage with wheels also helps, as you can easily move it to another room with a better temperature.
Buy the ferret supplies listed above and you're on the road to having a happy, healthy fuzzball bouncing around your living room.