Are you a proud new ferret owner? If so, congratulations: with their cute looks and playful nature, ferrets make for great small pets!
As for how to make your ferret happy, it all starts with their cage. Since ferrets are active creatures, they need a safe and spacious home. At the same time, you need to organize the cage so that cleaning it isn’t a bother.
Need some help with setting up your ferret cage just right? Read on for a list of essential ferret cage tips you need to know!
Pick the Right Ferret Cage
Your first step is to buy a cage your ferret can be comfortable in. This includes factors like construction, size, floor type, and more.
When choosing your ferret cage, avoid glass and fiberglass. These cages offer no ventilation, which makes them a poor fit for any furry pets. Ferrets are also prone to heat stroke, so glass is a particular no-no for them.
A wooden cage is also a bad choice for a ferret. If a ferret is stubborn enough to keep trying to get out, they could destroy a wooden cage. Even if the wood holds up, the ferret could hurt its paws trying to dig through it.
The ideal cage for a ferret is one made of plastic and wires. These cages are durable, easy to clean, and give plenty of ventilation in the summer.
The minimum cage size for ferrets is 3 x 2 x 2 feet (or 90 x 60 x 60 cm). This is big enough to house one ferret. For every additional ferret you want to keep, add six inches (15 cm) to all dimensions.
Most cages of this size are multi-level cages, which are perfect for ferrets. A multi-level cage offers more space and allows you to create different “rooms.” You don’t want your pet sleeping in the ferret bathroom area!
For best results, get a cage with at least two or three levels. All levels should have one or more ramps that allow the ferret to run from level to level.
Make sure the bar spacing in the cage is a good fit for ferrets. These animals are nimble and able to get through narrow holes. To prevent daring escapes, there should be no more than one inch (2,5 cm) between bars.
Floors, Platforms, and Ramps
The floors, platforms, and ramps in the cage should be plastic. A wire floor isn’t comfortable to walk on for a ferret. They’re also more likely to get stuck in the mesh, leading to panic attacks and potential injuries.
With plastic floors and ramps, this is not a concern. Plus, plastic is simple to clean; all you need to do is wipe it with a safe cleaning solution. Some cages come with removable floors, making cleanup even easier.
Doors and Locks
Speaking of ferret dangers to avoid, escaping through the door is near the top of the list. To prevent that, get a cage with sturdy door locks. Without a strong latching mechanism, the ferret may push or pull the door open.
Of course, no latch will help if you don’t secure it in place. Remember to lock the door every time you close it! For extra security, you may want to put a binder clip over the door and nearby wires.
The doors should be big enough to make cleanup easy. If you can’t reach every corner of the cage without issue, look for a better cage.
Choose a Good Location
Before you move on to setting up a ferret cage, you’ll need to put it in the right place. Here are the main factors you’ll need to keep in mind.
The best place for a cage is a semi-active location in your home. Ferrets like attention, so you don’t want to throw them in the back room. That said, they also sleep 12-16 hours a day, so a very loud area won’t do either.
In general, a home office or living room is a good place for a ferret to live in. Once you find a good spot, measure it to ensure the cage will fit. Put it away from walls and furniture to prevent your pet from climbing.
Since ferrets sleep so often, the cage shouldn’t be in direct sunlight. They don’t need to be in complete darkness, but don’t put them right in the path of light. The same applies to artificial light sources like desk lamps.
For best results, keep most sides of the cage covered with a blanket. This will make your ferret more comfortable and won’t disturb its sleep cycles.
Temperature and Ventilation
Whatever spot you choose for your cage, it will need plenty of ventilation. The more fresh air the cage gets, the better. Depending on the weather, you may be able to crack open a window while keeping the cage covered.
Ideally, the cage temperature should stay between 60 and 80 °F (15-27 °C) at all times. If necessary, use an HVAC unit for supplemental cooling. This is a big deal, as ferrets are sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures.
Accessorize the Cage
Now that you’ve picked a cage and the location for it, it’s time to look at ferret cage decor. Here are the main things a ferret cage needs to have.
In a multi-level cage, the best place for a litter box is at the bottom. If the ferret is out of the cage, they can easily come back to do their business. Of course, this requires some potty training.
Make sure your litter box comes with a hook or another latching mechanism. Otherwise, your ferret will move it around, eventually turning it over.
If you have more than one ferret, each one should have its own litter box. Ferrets are territorial, so it’s important to keep the boxes in the same place. Ideally, you’d put each box in the opposite corners of the cage.
As for the contents of the box, it’s best to use paper- or wood-based litter. Cat litter isn’t a good choice, as it can be a choking hazard or cause breathing issues. The same applies to other clumping litter.
Food and Water
The food bowl should be as far away from litter as possible. The top platform is usually a good choice for a feeding area. Again, get a bowl with a locking mechanism to prevent your ferret from knocking it over.
For a ferret, fresh water is even more important than food. They need a constant supply of it, as they spend a lot of energy running around. As such, you may want to invest in water bottles you can attach to the bars.
If you get more than one bottle, place them on different levels. For example, you can put one near the food bowl and another one on the middle platform.
Hammock and Bedding
With hammocks, there’s not much room for error. You can put them in any corner of the cage and add as many as you want. The only area you should avoid is the bottom floor or wherever you’ve put the litter box.
Some ferrets may not be fans of blankets. In this case, you can create a bed out of an old T-shirt for them instead. When it gets chilly, you can switch out the T-shirt for sweatshirt scraps or a fleece blanket.
To keep your ferret occupied, add some toys to the cage as well. It’s best to opt for sturdy plastic toys, as your ferret won’t chew them apart. If you want to hone their chewing instincts, get some non-toxic rubber chew toys.
One toy ferrets can’t get enough of is a plastic tunnel. These come in many types and sizes, and your ferret will likely love them all! In fact, even a shoebox with big enough holes may be enough to keep them happy.
Keep in mind that toys aren’t a substitute for spending time with your ferret. In general, you should spend at least two hours engaging with them.
Cage liners are pieces of fabric you can put on platforms or ramps in the cage. They’re not a must-have, but they can make cleanup simpler. If you use liners, all you need to do is take them out and replace them.
If your cage has wires on its ramps or platforms, it’s a good idea to put thick liners on them. Alternatively, you can cover the mesh with a plastic board.
Give These Ferret Cage Tips a Try!
As far as ferret cage tips go, the above list is a solid start. As long as you keep the cage organized, both you and your new ferret will be happy with it.
One last tip to keep in mind: your ferret shouldn’t spend all day in the cage. No matter how well you set it up, a cage is too small for such an active creature. Make sure to let your ferret out for at least four hours a day!
Want to know more about how to keep your ferret happy? Our PetMarvelous articles can help! For starters, check out this article to figure out what your ferret is trying to tell you.