The word "ferret" means "little thief" in Latin. This is an omen. Your living quarters are about to be reduced to an endless series of ferret hidey-holes that conceal smuggled goodies like your smelly socks, car keys, pencil erasers, underwear and ferret poop balls. So if your way-too-orderly life needs a giant dose of disorder, then a ferret is the perfect pet for you. Here's how to do it.


First and foremost, a ferret owner needs a sense of humor so that when the little rascal discovers that toilet paper is a great toy, you're more likely to say, "Aw, how cute! He destroyed my bathroom!" than to say, "Die, furball!" So here are a few questions you can ask yourself before bringing the little terror in the pet store window into your home.

  1. Are ferrets legal where I live? Just because your local pet store sells ferrets doesn't mean you're allowed to have one. Some counties allow the sale of ferrets, but not the ownership of one (yes, it's "fuzzy logic" to us too). Look at this list of Ferret Free Zones to see if your county bans ferrets. If it does, write a petition to your local government officials.

  2. Will my ferret be allowed out of the cage for at least four hours a day? Ferrets aren't hamsters; they are extremely active and need lots of time to run free. Your ferret will also need at least a half hour of quality time with you a day. So if you work very late hours or go away on weekends often, get yourself a goldfish instead.

  3. Can I afford the expense of having a ferret? Between the cage and accessories, food, treats, vitamins, litter, and playthings, your ferret's grocery list will cost a huge chunk of change. Plus you'll have to put aside about $100 a year per ferret for an annual checkup and a booster shot at the vet's.

  4. Is my apartment ferret-safe? If you live in a house or apartment with gaping holes in the walls and temperatures above 80 degrees or under 50 degrees, then you live in a dump and should probably move. But even if your house/apartment isn't condemned, you should crawl around on all fours throughout your living quarters, keeping in mind that ferrets can fit into small (2" by 2") holes, get crushed in reclining chairs, and open your lower cabinets with their cute little paws. Duct tape over the holes and Velcro strips on your cabinets should help, but remember that your ferret will show you what you overlooked, so watch him carefully when he first comes home with you.

  5. Will a ferret conflict with my other pets or my children? Children under the age of seven should always be supervised with your ferret to make sure it gets handled properly. Also, ferrets do not get along with small animals like birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, or rabbits. Some dogs get along great with ferrets, while others treat them like chew toys. If your dog likes to chase squirrels, then getting a ferret might not be the best idea. Cats usually display haughty tolerance towards ferrets. They might show some interest in the ferret at first, but generally, your cat will avoid the annoying new addition.

  6. Am I willing to deal with the never-ending search for my missing socks, keys, underwear, sister, etc.? You MUST be patient with a ferret. These animals are delicate creatures that only live 5-10 years, so you can't do a half-assed job. Sorry to sound so preachy, but if you kill a ferret, we'll hate you.