Before you add a little fuzzbutt to your family, ask yourself this question: ‘How much do ferrets cost?’
Obviously, you’ll have to pay for your fuzzy (unless you can get one for free from a friend with a litter of kittens). But there’s a lot more to take into account, like housing, health, food, toys,…
Keeping ferrets can be quite expensive. I’ll break it down for you:
How much you pay for your fuzzy can depend greatly on where you live. For most stores and breeders the prices seem to range from $75 to $250. If you adopt a ferret from a shelter it will cost you less than $100, and you’ll be certain you have a healthy ferret. Or at least the people from the shelter will be able to warn you of any ongoing health conditions.
Housing can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. My very first cage was actually a rabbit hutch which I bought as a temporary solution because their ‘good’ cage wasn’t ready yet. Prices range from $60 to $500.
You can build it yourself from scratch or remodel an old closet/cabinet/cupboard into a cage. Depending on the materials you use and having lying around, this is the cheapest solution. The wire will cost you the most money.
You should be able to put something together for less than $50. You can get a second hand ferret cage. Again, depending on what you want, this can be really cheap or still rather expensive.
Ferrets can suffer from a range of health problems. So expect to see a vet. If you’re lucky (like me), vet visits will only be necessary for standard vaccinations. The first vaccinations will cost around $75. When they were 4 years old, I also had my fuzzbutts teeth cleaned by the dentist (about $80/ferret). Apparently biting human skin is not a good alternative to brushing ferret teeth…
Neutering, which is highly recommended to prevent smell and aggression, costs between $46 to $80. Spaying, which is vital if you’re not going te be breeding, costs between $74 to $100. Prices will vary from one vet to another. However, I strongly advice you to choose a vet specialized in ferrets. Fuzzies have special health problems regular vets might not be aware of. It’s also quite tricky to sedate them for an operation. So if you have to pay $10 more for a specialist, please do so.
Set aside $800 to $1000 for emergency vet costs.
Your fuzzies won’t do well on common dog or cat food. Set aside about $250 a year for high quality ferret food.
Finally, good news. Ferrets are happy with really cheap toys. Plastic bags (only under supervision), cardboard boxes, plastic boxes filled with shredded paper/rice/sand, litter boxes (yuk), laundry (always check before putting it in the washer).
Litter will cost you around $200 a year, a litter box $10.
You’ll also need a water bottle, nail clippers, brush, shampoo, hairball remedies and other vitamin supplements. These will cost you around $80 a year.
So how much do ferrets cost? At the very least you’ll pay $800 the first year. Then following years about $500 to $600. Provided they stay healthy. Set aside at least $800 for emergencies.