Learn More About Ferrets
Thinking of buying a ferret? Think again... and again... and again...
Ferrets are not the right pet for everyone. No pet is right for everyone.
Ferrets require more care than many other household pets. Like other pets they must have yearly vet visits and vaccinations. They also need a minimum of two hours supervised interactive playtime and exercise outside of their cages every day. This cannot be stressed enough (so we'll repeat it again!) Ferrets need a minimum of two hours supervised interactive playtime and exercise outside of their cages every day, without exception! Healthy ferrets live for 10 years. Can you commit to 2 hours a day every single day for the next 10 years? What about vacations? It's not easy to find a pet sitter for a ferret. What if you move? Travel abroad? What if your ferret needs surgery or other medical care? You need to know the answers to these questions before you bring your new pet home.
Ferrets may not cost much to buy or adopt, but veterinary costs for ferrets can be expensive.
Certain cancers are common in ferrets around the ages of 3-6 years old. The medicine and surgery needed to care for and sometimes cure your ferret of cancer during this time can be very costly. Don't assume your ferret won't ever get ill. Assume it will!
Regular vet visits for a ferret vet in NYC cost around $60 or more. Vaccinations will run about another $20-$40 each! Your ferret will need 4 of these their first year and two every year after -whether or not your ferret ever goes outside. Surgery for your ferret (for blockages, hairballs, or cancer) will cost around $1000 in NYC. You can count on your ferret requiring at least one surgery in its lifetime.
It's very important to your ferret's health that it receive its yearly vaccinations and yearly checkups. Every new pet (not just ferrets) should be taken to the vet within the first 48 hours of your bringing it home -no matter how young or healthy it looks or what the previous owner/shelter/store tells you. Don't wait until your ferret is ill to take it to a good ferret vet in your area. Take care of your pet properly from the start and develop a good working relationship with a ferret specialist that you trust.
Getting a ferret as a pet "for your child"
Although ferrets are great pets for children, the daily attention, 10 year commitment and veterinary costs that ferrets require are more than any child can reasonably manage. You may have a very responsible teenager who can make that kind of commitment, but what happens when that teenager turns 18 and moves away or goes to college?
Ferrets are highly intelligent animals that form strong emotional bonds to their owners and to each other. Separating a ferret from its long time owner or cagemate often results in a stress/depression response in the ferret. Without a quick reunion and/or appropriate medical care, the ferret may become depressed, stop eating and die.
Make no mistake, if you are an adult buying a ferret as your "child's pet", it's going to be YOUR pet. Make sure you can make the commitment to properly care for your ferret throughout its entire life before you bring one home.
To be or not to be.... a criminal
If you live in New York City's five boroughs, think very carefully before bringing home a ferret. If your ferret is discovered it may be confiscated and killed or shipped out of state where you'll never see it again and never know how it's doing. Your energies would be better put towards learning more about ferrets and working to legalize ferrets in NYC to create a safe environment for your new pet when the time is finally right to bring it home.
If you live in NYC's five boroughs and you decide to have a pet ferret, do not neglect its medical needs. The veterinarians in NYC's five boroughs who treat ferrets are on OUR side. Not one ferret vet in New York City's five boroughs has spoken against ferrets at any public hearings.
Do your homework BEFORE you bring home a ferret!
Don't bring a ferret home unless
Do NOT get a ferret as a pet if you do not have the time or money care for it properly for all 10 years of its life.
If you're not able to commit to and properly care for a ferret for the full 10 years of its life and afford yearly veterinary and emergency or long term medical care for your ferret, please do not get a ferret as a pet. If you think they look cute in the pet store, play with them IN the pet store! Or better yet, volunteer at a ferret shelter! That's a great way to get a "ferret fix!" You might even decide to ultimately get a ferret or two from there.
Reputable ferret shelters are great places to get pets
Most ferrets in shelters are there because people didn't do their research before buying their ferret, or because, like other baby animals, the "cuteness factor" wore off once the ferret was full grown. It's amazing how many ferrets in shelters are perfectly healthy and under a year or two old. Shelter ferrets are often housebroken for you and nip trained (All baby animals are nippy when they're young. Even dogs and cats).
Thinking of getting rid of your ferret?
If you buy any pet (not just a ferret) and find that you're in over your head, or if you find yourself neglecting its daily exercise needs or emotional needs or medical needs and care, don't let your pet suffer and waste away. It never asked to be put in that situation. Find someone who will take care of it properly and give it the attention and care that it needs.
Some final thoughts
If you feel you need to give up your pet ferret (or any other pet) please don't get another one to replace it because you think a new one will be easier! Not all pets are right for everyone. If you take the time to research your pet before you buy it, both you and your pet -any pet- will be better for it.