IS IT ILLEGAL TO OWN A FERRET?
It is in human nature to have friends and, more so, best friends. This makes life interesting and easy. Sometimes we find this companionship and friendship from owning pets. Ferrets are sociable, entertaining, playful, cuddly and fun to own if you consider owning a pet. However, if you are in some states, such as California, Hawaii, Washington D.C., and New York City, it is illegal to own a ferret as a pet. It is, therefore, important to seek information that is up to date from the local government before settling on owning a ferret.
Ferrets have a life span of about 10 years, with studies showing that the oldest ferret has a lifespan of 14 years. This gives us the average estimate of a ferret’s lifespan between 6 to 8 years, making them one of the long-term commitment pets to own. Therefore, you should be well equipped with information before owning a ferret as a pet. You will need to know some useful information before owning a ferret.
1. MAINTENANCE OF A FERRET.
Owning a ferret can literally be compared to having a toddler. Ferrets are pets that are of high maintenance and need more care than most other pets. It is highly advised that you take your ferret to the veterinarian once a year for its annual checkups. Any ferret that is below 3 years needs blood tests run to ensure that its blood sugars, blood pressure are normal and to ensure that the liver of the ferret is functioning normally.
After 5 years, your ferret is supposed to have at least two checkups a year. These checkups are done in order to ensure that your ferret has not developed any disease since ferrets are prone and highly susceptible to diseases such as insulinoma, epizootic catarrhal, and heart disease, among others.
You should also make sure you trim the nails of your ferret frequently since they tend to grow sharp and long and this may cause injury. Having a regular ear cleaning schedule for your ferret is very crucial since they tend to get severely waxy.
Ferrets love napping, studies show that ferrets sleep for about 20 hours in a day, but they are also very active and playful when awake. If you are a fan of physical exercise, this is the go-to pet. In between its naps, the ferret is playful and it enjoys running. They also love playing with toys and skidding on the floor. You should have a routine that allows your ferret outside the cage because if they are enclosed on most days, they tend to overeat. This then causes obesity in the ferret which makes it highly susceptible to diseases. The playful and curious nature of ferrets makes them easy to exercise.
If you are considering owning a ferret, most veterinaries advise getting two ferrets. Studies show that ferrets crave companionship and friendship because of their social behavior. However, if you get two ferrets at once, you need to study how compatible they are with each other before leaving them alone. Since they may tend to compete and fight for resources, it is highly advised that you ensure they have an equal amount of food, toys, and space. They are, however, better if you own them in pairs rather than owning one. To prevent the mating of the ferrets you own, you should desex them. This helps in sexual cohesion between them.
In most cases, ferrets are confined in a cage. Ferrets are caged because of their curious and inquisitive nature. They should not be uncaged when unsupervised since they tend to wander into random places as they try to explore and chew on objects they come across. The cage restricts their movement. The cage of a ferret should be well ventilated and it should have enough room for the ferret to stretch, play and walk in when it is not napping. You should consider the playful trait of a ferret when modeling the cage and you should therefore consider installing tunnels, clothes dryer hoses and cardboard boxes. This caters for their love for crawling and also teaches them how to play nib instead of playing rough.
Ferrets are easy to toilet train. If you want to own a ferret, I know you would not be glad to collect litter after it every time you let it out of the cage. This would be tiresome and make the thought of owning a pet one you would not entertain. However, the ferret is intelligent and you can easily teach them how to use the toilet or a litter box. They also enjoy playing games that involve solving puzzles; therefore, you should highly consider training them and providing them with puzzle games.
Despite being domesticated for over 2500 years, ferrets are considered half-wild. Wild ferrets survive by hunting for rats and other rodents in the wild. Therefore, ferrets are considered carnivores. A meal you give your ferret should contain high amounts of protein, low amounts of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of fats. These nutrients are easily found in cat feeds since cats feed from an almost similar diet composition to ferrets. They need the best quality nutrients since they have a simple gut bacterium and a short GI tract. Some ignorant breeders may advice you to feed your ferret with raw meat but you should avoid this because raw meat contains salmonella bacteria which may lead to vomiting, and diarrhea and even result in death of your ferret. You should avoid feeding your ferret with plant material since ferrets, like cats, are referred to as obligate carnivores. You should also make sure that you provide your ferret with fresh water, supposedly in heavy troughs, to avoid accidental spill of the water by the ferret as it is running around in the cage. This water should be changed frequently.
7. MUSKY ODOUR
Do you want to own a ferret, but you hate odor? Ferrets have a mild, musky odor. This odor originates from the oil in their skin. The scent is from the scent glands which each ferret has at the base of the tail, this is also common in pets such as dogs and cats. Most breeders have these glands surgically removed to be able to, market them however, they still have a musky smell. If you are sensitive to smell, you should consider this before owning a ferret.
8. LEGAL ISSUES
Ferrets are considered half-wild despite having been domesticated over 2500 years ago. Ferrets are cute and adorable but they are also very aggressive and cunning. They tend to bite as their form of defending themselves. In some states, such as California, Hawaii, Washington D.C. and New York City, ferrets are illegal. If you had, however, owned a ferret while living in other states where ferrets are legal, veterinary services can be provided, but it is hard to find a ferret veterinarian since there are no licenses for ferrets in these states. Ferrets were legally banned from these states since it is believed that once they run away, they can only survive for a maximum of three days since they cannot fend for themselves, thus starving and posing a danger to other wild animals because of their colonizing nature.
Most breeders vote for inbreeding since most of the desirable traits of the ferrets are passed on to the next family lineage. However, ferrets are highly susceptible to diseases, and inbreeding of ferrets may be a key factor that would lead to the development of diseases in the ferrets. These diseases include insulinoma, which is a pancreatic tumor that may affect ferrets below 1 year old. When choosing the facility from which you will get your ferret, you should highly consider the facilities that don’t inbreed. However, most breeders and veterinaries advise aspiring and potential ferret owners to set aside finances for cancer and heart diseases since ferrets are prone to cancer and heart diseases.
Ferrets are just like cats. They tend to shed a lot of their fur. They tend to ingest this fur as they are glooming. You should brush your ferret frequently to prevent it from ingesting its fur.
In conclusion, pets should be small, easy to handle, playful, easy to feed, and trainable. Ferrets are all of these qualities and more. Despite them being considered illegal in some states, they are legal in most states. Who wants a pet that cannot be caged and needs to be under supervision 24 hours a day? No one. A ferret can be caged; you only need to supervise it when you have uncaged for playtime. All you need to do is ensure that your ferret is well-fed and it has its toys in its cage. Can it really get better? If the question you have is, is owning a ferret legal? The answer is yes, it is legal in most states.