Friday, April 9, 2010

Bad Reasons To Get A Ferret

Greetings to all my wonderful, ferret-loving friends. Welcome to yet another edition of ferrety Friday where you’re taught something new about loveable little fuzzies. And the reason I write something about ferrets every week is to help people understand exactly what’s involved with this adorable and unique pet. What I’m hoping to accomplish it to prevent people from bringing one of these animals home on impulse, without understanding what they’re getting themselves into, only to change their mind along the way. That would be very sad for the ferret in question that would inevitably end up being neglected, given away or (worse case scenario) dumped at a shelter.

Ferrets may resemble cats and dogs in certain ways, but they are neither. They are ferrets. With ferrety needs. And together with their ferrety-needing ways, they’re also a long-term commitment (anywhere from 6 to 10 years); therefore they are not pets that should be taken home on impulse. Not that any pet should be taken home on impulse, but I’m only writing about little fuzzies, so you know.


So that’s what today’s post is going to be all about: bad reasons to get a ferret. Impulsive. Rushed. Hasty. Unwise reasons. No matter what word you use, all the reasons below are bad reasons to head home with a fuzzy.


No doubt about it, baby ferrets are absolutely adorable. They’re curious and cuddly and playful and terribly irresistible. And if you make the mistake of picking one up while at the pet shop, you’ll hear yourself saying “Awww...he’s so cute...I should take him home with me” while your heartstrings are being tugged. If you find yourself in this position, hand the cute baby ferret back to the store employee and step away from it. Next, leave the store immediately, go home and do a lot of research on what’s involved in caring for a ferret. If, after you’re properly informed, you determine that this is the right pet for you, by all means, go back and get yourself a little fuzzy. No animal should ever be taken home on impulse, no matter how cute it is.


I don’t think anyone who has raised children has been spared the tremendous amount of pressure children will apply when they are determined to get a specific pet. But no matter how much your kid pesters you for that hamster or kitten or rabbit or puppy or, in this case, ferret, don’t give in. Ever. Not unless you’re willing to attend to all of a fuzzy’s needs when your child is too busy to do it. Or too lazy. Or when she loses interest in her new pet because there’s just too much responsibility involved. And trust me, there is a lot of responsibility surrounding a ferret. If you’re not 100% sure that your child will commit completely to caring for a ferret, and you don’t want to be left holding the bag, be firm and say “no” to a pet ferret.


When I stop by a pet store, I always make it a point of checking to see if there are any baby ferrets available. And whenever there are, I always have this urge to take one (or all of them) home with me; the main reason being that their living arrangements aren’t entirely up to par. There’s poop where there shouldn’t be poop. Things aren’t as clean as they can be. There are too many ferrets in the cage. And most certainly, they’re never taken out to play. Basically, I want them all to have a home where they can be loved and cherished and petted and played with. Thankfully, I don’t act on these feelings or else I’d end up with a dozen ferrets or so. It’s hard to resist taking an animal home that you feel sorry for, but you should never purchase a ferret – or any animal for that matter - out of pity. That pity that you feel at the pet store may revert to resentment when you realize that you don’t like the responsibilities associated with a fuzzy and all its fuzzy needs.


Just because your coworker, neighbour, brother, cousin or best friend is tickled pink about their pet ferret doesn’t mean you will be. You need to consider your own circumstances to determine whether you are able to incorporate a ferret and all its needs into your lifestyle. Do your homework first about these animals, learn everything you can about them and make your decision based on that – not on a recommendation. If you can’t commit the time and effort required to care for this type of pet, it’s not for you; no matter how pleased someone else is with it.


There’s nothing wrong with wanting something different from the standard pets, the cat and dog, as long as you understand completely what’s involved in owning a ferret. And committed to caring for it properly. It’s very selfish to choose an animal simply because you have the desire to try something new and different. Sign up for a class instead, like yoga. Or gourmet cooking. Or whatever.

Well, that’s it for today’s furry post. A ferret is a living, breathing creature that needs love and care, commitment and attention. If you’re not capable of taking care of a fuzzy properly for the rest of its life, don’t take one home. Incidentally, the points above don’t apply only to ferrets; they apply to all pets.

Now let’s wrap up with the tribe:


You bet your fuzzy butt I am.


Of course I do, you little cutie.


We love you too, Nacho. Come here and let me scratch you behind the ears...


  1. People own ferrets? I think I knew this in the back of my mind, but I have never know anyone who did. Now I'm curious. I want to know more about your ferrets! I have seen them at the zoo, and they are very cute. I will have to read your other Ferrety posts to catch up, with no ambition to own one. My dog and my neighbors cat are enough for me!

  2. Thanks for another enlightening post, Martha. You are performing a valuable service with this information---both for ferrets and for people who are considering getting one.

  3. Nothing breaks my heart more than impulsively purchased pets. They are not a toy, fad or item to be stuffed in the closet when you're done. In the best cases they're victims of 'benign neglect' in the worst.. well. Great series, I hope you hit Google no. 1 on ferret care. I'm off on a quick vacation, see you in a week!

  4. Debsgarden, of course people own ferrets. They are very popular pets. Of course, there are a few areas that haven't made it legal to own one, but for the most part you can find them in pet stores. They are really cute; that's good and bad. Good, because people take an interest in them. And bad, because people take them home without realizing what's involved. Then they simply get tired of them. It's rather sad.

    Beth, I certainly hope so. Whenever I do some research on these animals, I end up with so many links to shelters for ferrets. It's really sad. I hope that my contribution makes a difference, no matter how small.

    Tatiana, I agree; it breaks my heart too when animals are bought on impulse, only to be discarded somewhere along the way. It's really sad, and I'm hoping my posts help people make informed decisions. Anyway, have a wonderful vacation!