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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ferrets and Rehoming

I like getting up in the morning and drink coffee while perusing Craigslist. Lately I’ve been drawn to the pet section of the web site. Partly because I enjoy reading what kinds of animals are being re-homed and partly because I’m half heartedly searching for a ferret to be a bedmate to my four year old ferret whose bedmate died late last year.

I’m specifically looking for an older ferret who’s more the age of Ponc. If I get a younger one then I’ll be in the same situation when four year old Ponc dies that I’m in now; looking for a bedmate for the ferret left behind. They live to be - on average - eight years old. Pogo, Ponc’s former bedmate, died almost exactly at eight years of age.

But I haven’t found an older ferret being re-homed. The ones listed are anywhere from ten weeks to one and a half years. This has really begun eating at me. Why, I have asked myself, are only young ones being re-homed while middle-aged ones aren’t? Most of the listings indicating they have no more time and their little friend isn’t being let out to exercise enough concern the ones ranging in age from one to one and a half. I can certainly understand taking on extra work or taking the opportunity to work full time considering today's economy. These people have had their ferret since it was a baby and hate giving it up but know that it's for the ferret they do this. But what about the little bitty guys - the babies - who are being re-homed? Well, I’ve come up with my own theory regarding people rehoming them.

I believe those people who are listing their young ferrets on Craigslist purchased a ferret before researching and learning about them. This is an absolute no-no when buying any pet. You must research in order to make sure you will be happy with your choice prior to buying. Why? Well, if you’re wanting a dog do you want one that needs a lot of exercise because you enjoy either walking or running? What if it’s a barker; barks at a fly in the house or a leaf falling from a tree? Or would you rather have one that enjoys quiet time and is content simply laying at your feet? Size is important. How much food can you afford? Is your house large or small? There are so many important factors to consider before purchasing any pet. Period.

Ferrets are naturally curious creatures. They enjoy slipping through cracks and holes, love burrowing, and want to investigate every part of the room in which they are exercised. They will not hesitate climbing into and tipping a waste basket. They’ll force their heads into holes in bass speakers. They will crawl in between the cushions and get into the inside of your couch or recliner. Some enjoy digging at rugs or carpets creating holes while others don’t. They can open cabinet doors on entertainment centers, climb up onto shelves if there’s a way up and knock everything off the shelf.

One of Ponc’s (my four year old ferret) favorite activities is opening the door on the little cabinet sitting on the floor and that houses all of my Cds and DVDs. He enjoys pulling out all of the cases or climbing in behind them and shoving them out onto the floor. I let him because it doesn’t hurt anything, I don’t mind picking up after him and I know he occasionally gets bored.

Sometimes he gets it into his head that he simply can’t live unless he has done a couch dive (my term for squeezing past the cushions into the interior of the couch). I might have to get up twenty times to retrieve him. If he does manage to get in there and falls asleep inside the arm of the couch I will play hell trying to wake and bribe him out.

He’s not a digger, thank goodness but he does love pooping and/or peeing in one corner of the room. Some ferrets can be litter trained; others can’t. I live during his play time to wipe pee and pick up his poop. This reminds me, they must have time out of their beds/cages to exercise otherwise you’ll have one very unhappy and untamed ferret on your hands. They must be let out at least twice a day for an hour.

To keep Ponc from roaming the rest of the house and possibly climbing into the back of the refrigerator or finding a hole to climb into within this sixty-year-old house, I have put up a baby gate onto which I stapled cardboard. The gate is too high for him to reach the top if he stands on his hind legs and the cardboard too slippery for him to claw up. He is confined to one play room in which I spread his boxes, plastic bags, old jeans and old throw blanket. Periodically, he gets a new paper bag or a suitcase I don’t care about to play in.

I adore the little guy. He’s fun and comical but I’m telling you there are times he’s a pain in the ass and I could just shake him silly after I’ve gotten up out of my chair for the twentieth time to retrieve him from the sofa.

So honestly, if you can’t put in the time to watch him while he‘s playing, have no patience for curiosity, or don’t have a way to keep a ferret from climbing into the walls of your house, into the back of your refrigerator or squeeze beneath a stove, please I beg you not to purchase a ferret.

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