Is a Ferret Right for Me?


Information obtained and adapted form the Ferret Information Rescue Shelter & Trust Society; Vancouver, Canada.

The third most common uncaged pet in the United States, after dogs and cats, is the ferret.  If you are considering adopting a ferret, here is some information that could help you in making the right decision.

The average life span of a ferret, without accidents or serious illness, is about eight (8) years.  Adult females weigh in at about 2 lbs. while males are larger, sometimes doubling the weight of the female.  It is very important to spay and neuter ferrets before they reach sexual maturity.  De-scenting is also recommended.  Altering and de-scenting will give you a healthier pet with a longer life and increases its suitability to become a better companion.

Ferrets use a litter box and they need to be fed a high quality dry ferret or kitten diet.  However, ferrets are not “just like cats.”  They have special needs and a very distinctive personality.  They are very demanding in terms of interaction and cannot be ignored.  They are very intelligent, playful and inquisitive.  Ferrets should not be kept in small cages all the time and without anything to play or to stimulate their minds.  They can be left to roam free around the house, but this is when you need to be aware of the possibility of injuries or accidents.  Remember, they are extremely curious and will investigate anything and everything.

Many ferrets are abandoned by their owners within 6 months due to the high energy and metabolism, long lifespan and strong personality of these very interesting creatures.  Before you adopt a ferret, consider your lifestyle.  If you are seldom home or have a busy lifestyle that would prevent you from giving them the time and education they need, then they may not be right for you.  Ferrets also require semi-annual check-ups and vaccinations.  Make sure you have the support of a knowledgeable veterinarian.  You also need to know who to call or where to go in case of an emergency.  When ferrets are seriously sick or injured, most of the time, they do not have the luxury of waiting until the next morning for the veterinarian’s office to open.  

If you decide to adopt a ferret, we recommend getting one that is already spayed or neutered, vaccinated and accustomed to being handled by humans.  If you are able to provide the proper care for your ferret, you will have a wonderful and loving companion that will help you enjoy your life even more!