Ferrets are not as easy to care for as hamsters and mice but they aren’t extraordinarily difficult either. They are related to pole cats and weasels and live for 7 to 8 years. They are a domesticated pet. Wild ferrets should not be kept as pets. The most important thing to remember is that ferrets need plenty of attention and at least 2 hours of play time out of their cage. Ferrets should also always be spayed or neutered unless owned by breeders. Another important thing to keep in mind is that most ferrets will contract diseases late in life such as adrenal disease, insulinoma and many other types of cancer.
A ferret can be kept in a cage of allowed to free roam the house. Ferret cages should be metal with no sharp edges. Wooden cages hold odor and stink up the house and therefore are not recommended. Sheets, hammocks or blankets are the preferred bedding for this pet. If a ferret free roams the house instead of being kept in a cage the room or rooms he/she is allowed to run free in need to be ferret proofed. Anything small enough for them to get in, they will get in. This includes underneath a closed door, behind refrigerators and stoves and any other holes around the house. It is recommended that a cage be kept even for ferrets that are allowed to free run for times that it may need to be put in a cage even if only for a few minutes.
Ferrets are carnivorous. Their food needs to have at least 34 percent protein. A pet food specially designed for ferrets always is sufficient. Purina Kitten Chow also will provide adequate nutrition for a ferret. A ferret vitamin supplement such as Ferretone or Nutrical can be given to a ferret once a week to keep him/her extra healthy. It is best to have a weighted bowl for serving food so that the ferret can’t turn it over and spill the food. A rodent water bottle will usually suffice to provide a ferret with water. However, some ferrets seem to want to drink out of a water bowl instead of a bottle as they get older. The water bowl should be weighted.
A ferret will need a litter box for urinating and defecating. Any plastic container that you can wash when necessary will suffice. It is recommended to not use cat litter because it is messy, sticks to the ferrets feet and is more odorous then the alternatives. Paper pellets, pine pellets or newspaper is best. Do not use pine shavings as they can cause respiratory problems. On average the litter box should be cleaned once a week. Observe how dirty and smelly it gets and adjust the frequency to your ferret’s needs.