Digger On Thursday 1/18/07 our beloved Little Buddy Digger passed on to a better place that has no pain. He was just 2 years old. We purchased Digger after playing with our daughter's Ferrets Weasey and George . We were amazed at the personality and the character that these little guys possess. Digger would carry everything he could get his teeth around to the back of the television! When ever you were missing something ,that was always the first place to look. I will miss him hunching his back and hopping around the floor and rolling around the floor when he was playing with his toys. Digger was a talker, he was always making some kind of little noise. Whenever you would pick him up or play with him he would fuss and squeak. He reminded me of the Budweiser Ferret in the commercials on the radio! He had the start of an Ulcer about 4 months prior to his passing .We had him to the vet and got him medication and he seemed to bounce back. But then he started slipping. I started traveling with my work and didn't have as much time to spend with him. My wife would play with him occasionally ,but not as much as he would have liked us to. We had a person watch all 3 ferrets over the Christmas holiday and when we returned from vacation Digger wasn't good. He had lost more weight and was refusing to eat or drink .We got him home and tried our best to reassure him that we loved him and wanted him to get well again. We fed him Baby food and made him drink water with a syringe.
He seemed to perk up and was getting back to normal, but was still very underweight .I had to go for a 2 week business trip to Utah and talking with my wife every day, she said no matter she would do, Digger fought her and didn't want to eat or drink. She would sing to him at night and she said he would fold his little paws over one another as if he was praying. She would pray with him and he seemed to be soothed by it. Every day when I called home ,the news was worse. I was hoping that he would hang on till I got back home, praying actually . My wife would play voice massages for him with my voice on it ,trying to perk him up. The day before he died, as a last resort, she put one on my socks in his bed with him, thinking maybe it would help him hang on. I think he wanted to say goodbye ,but I didn't make it back in time. He curled up in my sock and he died. I blame myself for not being there for him and I hope he'll forgive me when I see him again. I can't think of him without tearing up. He was a joy to experience for the short time we had him. Digger we miss you terribly and hope you understand that we tried everything we could to help you get well and make you happy. Until we meet again. Love and Kisses always, Mom & Dad Amanda & John Weasey & George
Ferrolty and Whitey
We currently are owned by 2 ferrets, Ferrolty female sable and Whitey a female sable & white. When we first bought Ferrolty for my daughter at Christmas 2003, I have to admit we did not do any research at all. My husband had to get the biggest, baddest cage known to ferrets. So by the time we were done, we spent 545.00. I had no idea that they were so high maintenance until I read a "Ferrets for Dummies" book. Now, I can't stand to think what we would do without her. About 3 months after we got Ferrolty, my daughter and I came back from the store and opened the garage door to unload stuff. We then proceded to play soccer out in the driveway with empty pop cartons. She then looks under the van and says,"Ferrolty is under the van!" I told her no way that a cat probably slipped in the garage while we were playing. I told her to go upstairs to check her cage. Right as soon as I saw a ball of fur I heard the scream echo thru the house. Luckily, Ferrolty hates screams so she ducked back under the van. I tried to close the garage door until I realized the back of the van was still open. I couldn't get hold of her. I was terrified she would get past me and get loose. I then started scuffing backwards until she was biting my shoes. We were in the middle of the driveway at this time. I scooped her up and cried. No flat fert. But all I saw when my daughter screamed was Ferrolty's head under the tire of the van! I then see the message on the answering machine from my husband stating he felt sorry for the fuzzy and left her cage open. He didn't realize she could climb the baby gate. I still have bad dreams about that. In April 2005, a friend of mine at work said she found a ferret in her back yard. She gave it to her sister since she already had ferrets. I found myself disapointed that I didn't get dibs first. I mentioned to my husband about 'maybe' finding someone for Ferrolty. We went to the same Petco where we bought Ferrolty and they said they were all out that they had a special on them. Then a girl brought out this little bitty fuzz ball that was very light sable but completly white on the head, paws and tip of tail. They said an owner returned her because he didn't like her color. They said they thought she was 6 weeks old. I almost cried. There wasn't any discussion. We brought her home to be with Ferrolty and kept them separated until we knew Whitey was big enough to get in the highrise. Now, she is so round that she hops not runs around the room, she jumps on Ferrolty and bites and nips. Ferrolty is now the Angel who poohs and everything in the right spot and eats like a lady and Whitey, is just a slob. She lays in the middle of the food, and just poohs where she feels. I love my ferters. Yes they are a responsibility but so is any dog or cat that need loved petted let outside. If I had the room and time I would probably get a couple more just for the entertainment. Thanks for listening! Any suggestions on a fat fert? Becky Wuerfele firstname.lastname@example.org
A California Story
This should be one of those stories that happens to anybody, or it seems to happen to me a lot. You see I am the house that every drops unwanted animals off at. I have had puppies,kittens,raccoons and numerous others just showing up. I had two litters of baby skunks one of which their mother was killed by children that stoned her to death. Her three kits were delivered to me half dead. They survived and were released to live out their lives, the second was a second litter of kits that mysteriously showed up in a bucket. These too were aided and released. According to California law they should have been killed. They were released to live normal lives. Then became the strange critters...I got a call on a weird rat. This turned out to be a little sugar glider, sad he had been thru 5 homes and had been eating cat food to survive, he hated everyone. He would not come out, he hated to be held, and he was in severely poor condition. He lived a year after I got him and due to too many conditions he just could not go on. He did however gain weight and started to play in the cage we had gotten him..
Then I ran into a young girl trying to sell two ferrets....well again I took a look. She said they were sick...Yes sick from being kicked by her boyfriend when they nibbled on his toes, Sick from being in a cage too small..never let out..They never saw outside.She was at her wits end with them. She was going to take them to the dog pound as she could not sell them in California. I offered to take them off her hands. On a cold rainy day, I met these too adorable cuties. They were scared to death, it was cold and rainy ..the boyfriend literally stuffed them into my car. I brought them home to find two little faces looking back at me. Skinny, and they had been bathed so much they had scales on their bodies. We removed them from their tiny cage and let them roam around, the little female was exhausted. The male was so very thin but full of life, he seemed to know what was up and went dancing around the room. I wont go into all the details, because like any rescue story they had ups and downs..but rest assured They are both fat and well adjusted loving and content. They both have their own play toys and rooms and they get to go outside and see the world. They have never once bitten or been mean.They make great messes and are the best critters in the world. I have had them for many years now and they are a source of family for me and my husband. We take them everywhere. And I should say....they lived happily ever after..not like some.
JUBILEE AND ROGUE
Around the first part of March around my birthday I decided to act on something I had thought about for a long time. Finally getting a ferret as a pet. I'd put it off for a long time because of alot of the negative things you hear about them. So I spent a couple of weeks reading up about what people that had them thought of them. Then to actually find some of the little critters and save up enough to get them everything they needed.
Around mid April I finally managed to find some. OF course my original idea of only getting one went out the window when I found out how lonely they can get without a playmate. So I told my boss I was taking off for a couple of hours and left post and headed out as quick as I could to bring home the little critters. I even got a warning ticket from the Highway Patrol en route for going just a little too fast. I guess he thought my reason for speeding was funny since he let me off with a warning.
Anyway after some mulling over I picked out a little sable with a bandit mask and a silver. I actually wanted two sables but the silver was pretty insistent. I loaded them up and mulled over their names for a day or two. The sable seemed at first to be the meaner of the two while the silver was more laid back. I named the sable Rogue for her temperament and the other Jubilee since she seemed so sweet.
Ferrets being what they are once the names were decided on they did a personality switch on me and Rogue became the sweet one while Jubilee started looking at the world as her on personal fight club. Rogue would spend almost all her time playing with her toy balls and batting toys while Jubilee wanted to either play fight with me or Rogue. Which seemed to bug Rogue especially when she was busy with her toys or trying to hide them. Then I caught Rogue several times instigating the fights.
I remember their first bath as well. Not experienced I thought I'd save a little time and try to give the new babies their first bath. Rogue loved it and happily was splashing the water and having a ball while all Jubilee wanted was Out and Out now. Once I finally finished giving the bath during which some how two 6 month old 1 1/2 kits managed to run this 38 year old Army SGT through the ringer and soak. I took them into the living room ot finish drying them off.
Rogue soon had enough of the towel and did the ferret scoot all over the carpet to dry off. Jubilee bounced away while keeping her eye on me and walked to the dead center of the living room turned and faced me and got her thoughts on my nerve giving her a bath by making potty.
Things settled down into a routine every day when I got off work with Rogue running rampant for something to steal. The bigger the better. While Jubilee was content to just fight. Rogue would settle down for a while and want to be held. Jubilee wanted nothing to do with it. I was there as a sparing partner. I tried showing more interest in her and to try and socialize her by holding and petting her.
One day while holding her walking through my bedroom she managed to give me a really good bite after squirming to get down. I instinctively shook my hand to try and dislodge her and she wound up falling onto the couch. I was afraid I hurt her or scared her and reaching out to pick her up. Noticed she had her tail sticking up and was bouncing up and down with what I can only describe as a grin on her face and headed straight for my hands. Picking her up she immediately began squirming so I tried sitting her down on the bed. Right back to my hands she came.
Catching on I picked her up and dropped her from a couple of inches which caused her to dance happily all over the bed and run right back to me. The Great Ferret Toss game had just been born. Which Jubilee to this day still thinks is the greatest game in the world. Anytime I am sitting on the couch now or on the edge of the bed she will worm her way under my hand and nibble my fingers until I get the idea. A short toss across the couch cushion always results in her bouncing in her happy dance and then a run right back to me. Sometimes she gets so excited after a couple of tosses she forgets she is either on the couch or the bed and will bounce backward right off the edge With a thump and then a race back to my feet to let me know she isn't done yet.
I tired seeing if Rogue would like the game as well but it definitely wasn't for her. She much preferred batting at a small ball with a bell in it I had hung happily swatting and jumping at it over and over or chasing strings. Rogues favorite toy was the battery powered rat that would turn and roll off in another direction when it hit something. At least as big and heavy as Rogue she nevertheless never got tired of Chasing it madly through the house catching her prey and scampering off awkwardly with it to her hiding holes. Several times she got severely upset when the rat had the nerve to actually escape her treasure trove which resulted in another chase and taking it to a different one of her stashes of inconceivable wealth.
Up until a month ago every evening after work was laugh after laugh for several hours. Then one afternoon after letting them out neither one responded when I tried to contact them. After a short search I found Jubilee sound asleep but Rogue who usually would be curled up with her. After a search that got more and more frantic I found an access panel in my spare bedroom closet partially pulled away from the wall. After another search I realized that the only place they could be was in this access panel. An outdoor search until well after sunlight was fruitless so I returned to the house sitting down and slowly letting it sink in I had lost both my little girls.
Then Jubilee scampered out from the spare room and up to me. In relief after all the hours of searching I picked her up and gave her a big hug before putting her in her cage Then I placed water and some of their favorite food and snacks near the open panel checking several times a day as well as around the house and the neighborhood. Rogue never returned home. After several weeks I had no choice but to seal the panel back up where I would not have to worry about Jubilee being lost the same way.
Blocking the spare room off for those 3 or 4 weeks where I could still get in and check as well as see in without Jubilee being able to get in. Jubilee from the next day and over the first week or two after Rogue disappeared would frantically race from one end of the house to the other checking each favorite hiding spots before climbing up in my lap between searches. Jubilee also began hunting me out and wanting me to hold her as if wanting to be consoled as well as becoming more interested in playing games with me.
She was still despondent and would sometimes in the middle of playing suddenly stop and begin one of her searches through the house. Often after such a search she would return to her hammock and lay wide awake.
A couple of weeks ago I found another baby ferret even smaller than Jubilee and Rogue when I got them. I was a little leery of them being together But after watching them play for a couple of minutes and reaching to take the baby and put her up Jubilee nipped at my hands and scampered catlike around and around my feet until she made sure the baby was safe. I named the new baby sable Ele short for elektra because of a white blaze on the top of her head that looks like a lightning bolt.
The two now get along pretty well although Ele is quite the rambunctious one and gets Jubilee frustrated occasionally. Just last night Jubilee was wanting to sleep and unable to find a place without Ele scampering up to start playing. Finally she retreated to the walk in closet where her cage is and behind a large suitcase only to be once more attacked. Sitting at my computer and hearing Ele let out her "I give Whimper" I turned to see Jubilee slowly dragging Ele out of the closet.Once she reached the door she let Ele loose and turned back to go to sleep. Ele wasn't having that and immediately pounced. Jubilee finally decided my lap was the safest place.
They get along just about like any older and younger girls would I guess. Jubilee even occasionally will let herself be "surprised" when Ele jumps out at her. Ele being so young usually miscalculates her jump and misses. Jubilee always will roll over and carry on like she has been thoroughly clobbered.
At any rate the time since I got Rogue and Jubilee has been nothing but laughs until I lost Rogue. Everyone of my girls has been the best of pets I could ever wish for. They've pretty much proven all the negative comments I heard prior to getting them wrong.
As far as Ferret's stinking Not really as long as you do your job and clean their litter box and bath them. Most people can smell them but as long as they are taken care of it isn't a really unpleasant odor.
Other people saying they are not friendly animals should watch mine whenever someone new shows up. They come flying from wherever they are to find out if the new human in the house is any good at playing.
Most people either love them or hate them. I do think it somewhat sad to see a fully grown adult shrink from my girls as if they are some fearsome maneater. Most people seem to really like being able to hold and pet them. Most of the soldiers in my unit are constantly asking when I am going to bring in my "Flat Rats" in. Oh and another thing. Ferret's love Army Battle dress uniform cargo pockets.
The Angry Ferret
Back in August 2003, I decided to add just one more ferret to my current household. I already had Zeus and Pandora, but thought, "What's the harm in one more?" Fuzzy math, I know. Anyway, I stopped in to my local pet store one afternoon just "window shopping" and saw 6 fairly large ferrets on sale. Turns out they were older and that was the reason for the good deal since most people want cute little kits and not almost full-grown ferrets. I picked out the biggest one;-over three pounds and asked to hold him. The little, or should I say, big guy, climbed right up on to my shoulder where he proceeded to claw and nip at me. Nonetheless, I thought there was something very unique about him and asked the pet store to hold him for a few days until I got paid. They agreed, and five days later I went back to pick up my new fuzzy. After bringing him home, "Atlas" was pretty much okay with the other two and myself for the first few days; kind of shy but he was in a new place. Unfortunately, after the newness of his situation wore off, Ajax (that name seemed to suit him better) began attacking not only the other ferrets, one of which is 1/3 his size, but me as well. He bit, not nipped, but bit me nearly every day hard enough to leave large bruises and welts. He had to be separated from the other two and put in his own cage. Though he was shown nothing but love and kindness for over six months, Ajax's temperament did not improve; if anything it became progressively worse. After taking the abuse from the little monster and watching my other two ferrets flee in fear from this schoolyard bully, I had all but made my mind up to find him another home or take his mean, fuzzy butt back to the pet store, but then, one night while I was sitting on the floor trying to referee the nightly fights, a random thought occurred to me: possibly Ajax is deaf. After doing a couple of tests with jingly toys and snapping my fingers, I determined over the course of a week or so that this bully was in fact deaf as a post. I began to use hand signals and treats to get his attention. It only took Ajax about a month to learn five commands; Attention, Come, Stand Up, NO, and Good Boy. I am pleased to say that six months after diagnosing his "condition" and one year after bringing him home, Ajax is the sweetest thing. He's very bright and now plays well with both the other ferrets and me. So, if anyone is out there reading this story and has a problem ferret, please remember that ferrets are basically good and sweet-tempered creatures (unless they have been mistreated or abused, of course) and if yours is lashing out, it may be as simple a matter as learning how to speak the same language.
I had been waiting to get a ferret long since i could remember, i tried looking for one at a reasonable price but i couldn't find one. After looking for months i finally found one. I was scrolling down a announce page when i came across Zoe. She is a silver ferret. There was no information on her so we had to call. The guy told us how he had gotten her. His friend was moving to Paris and wanted to bring his ferret with him but after getting all the needles done and getting a microchip pet watch put in her they didn't allow him to aboard her onto the airplane. He then had to ship her all the way to his friends house by taxi. We only found out her age when we seen her date of birth from the pet shop. The guy said he wanted to give her a good home and after traveling 2 hours away and saving up my money, i was happy to bring her home. At first i was regretting ever having her because i have a friend who's ferret is for ever with him, loves him, and is always with him. Zoe on the other hand wanted nothing to do with me.
When i brought her home she was scared and shaking. I let her investigate my room but not yet the house, she seemed fine and went to sleep. The next day i held her for about 2 seconds she didn't want to be held at all. She ran away and hid herself under my bed! She had fun chasing my kitten around my room letting her know she wasn't welcomed at all! I sat there and said to myself saving up for this was a mistake! Then i thought i shouldn't approach her, she should come to me.
Before i got her the guy told me that she loved walks so i decided maybe i should try to bring her. I walked around my front yard and she loved it! Rolling in the grass running after my goose and she got the chickens curious in what she was doing. They followed us everywhere (including my duck) wanting to know what she was. Finally they wondered away and we set out for a walk down the road. We walked very slowly of corse Zoe had to smell everything! pine cones, flowers, pine needles,then roll on the ground a few times. Then once we had traveled far enough i decided to turn around and once we did she ran all the way home! I had to jog to keep up with her she was aiming for one target and that was home! Once we got there i was gonna start studying for a test where it was peace and quiet. I brought her with me to my brother's room and there he has a drum set. The she must have been sooooo pooped from the walk she climbed in the hole of the base drum and fell alseep in seconds. I studied for about and hour and when i awoke her she turned in a circle and grabbed my hand, at that point i felt at if we were starting to bond. So i left her sleep a bit more before i put her back in the cage. That night when i let her out, i fell asleep and decided to leave her free, she had climbed on to my bed and curled up and fell asleep beside me.
The next day my mom and me went for a walk around the block which is very long! it takes an hour. My mom brought her great dane skyla and i brought Zoe with me. The night before we only walked a couple of hundreds of feet and she was pooped so imagine walking an hour! but when i brought her with me she didn't want to walk she let me hold her and bring me for the walk, i wasn't mad since she was starting to like me, she became a shoulder ferret, this i liked. Then when we got back we sat by the fan this she liked. Then i gave her a bath, and i thought she would have hated it but she like it too. That night she had a kick outta fighting with my cat now when she sees my kitten she bites her feet anf hides under my bed. Then she was tired and fell asleep with me on the bed, and i thought to myself it really was worth it, if i just gave it time she would be the best of ferrets! and she really is besides her i want to chew the inside of your mittain to make a bed! But besides that i couldn't ask for a better ferret!
This is the story of how I got my three little babies: Merlin (a Blaze), Gabe (sabel) and Wesley (Dark-eyed white). They were 11 months old at the beginning of this story.
I volunteer at an animal shelter because the pet overpopulation as always been near and dear to my heart. I'm kind of the "ferret expert" there, which doesn't come in handy there considering we only get ferrets two or three times a year. I sadly didn't have any ferrets at the time, I was a junior in highschool (this was a year and a half ago) and my mom said as soon as I moved out, I could get as many ferrets as I wanted if the apartment complex would allow it.
On Sunday morning after I got back from church service there was a message on the answering machine. The head of the animal shelter (Sarah) had called me and told me that someone named "kelly" had e-mailed her and told her that Kelly knew of a neighbor who was mistreating her ferrets and was terrifed of them. Sarah then asked me if I'd be willing to go check it out and see if this person would let me take the ferrets.
When I got to this house 25 minutes later I knocked on the door. A heavily set woman who was middle aged opened the door. I asked her about her ferrets and told her that someone had reported them in. Her eyes got really wide and she took me to the basement.
The basement was unfinished and REALLY cold. She pointed at a small cat carrier where she was housing three ferrets! I couldn't believe this person, my first reaction was to grab a brick and club her (I held the urge in). I bent down to open up the cage door and the lady shrieked and told me not to open it because they were rabid beasts. I told her then she could go upstairs and shut the door to the stairs.
I opened the cat carrier's door and after some cooing, got the ferrets to come out. They were covered in their own feces adding to the musky ferret odor (I love the smell of ferrets hehe). Their water bottle looked as if it hadn't been changed in awhile and I am sure wasn't clean to start with. They had a little food dish inside of the cage, and there was just a little bit of food left. I think it was a true miracle that these ferrets survived. I reached out to pet the sable ferret and he bit me. It hurt really bad but I realized the poor thing has probably got the wrong idea about what humans are. All three of them cowardily backed away whenever I got close. I could feel tears burning in my eyes. They all just kind of walked around, it was like they forgot how to be a ferret. I decided that these ferrets were not going to stay here another minute. I got them back in their little cage (feeling gulity I hadn't brought something better to take them home in) and went up the stairs. I told the lady that she was killing these ferrets and I was taking them. She suddenly seemed unhappy that I was taking them and started crying and saying that "I was taking her babies". Yeah right. In the end, I had to write a check for $400, I have to admit I wasn't thinking clearly at the time, but I got the ferrets out of there.
Sarah told me that I should keep the ferrets instead of bringing them back to the shelter, people really aren't into ferrets where I live so they would just be up for adoption in another lonely cage when they need lots of attention and love.
After a long bath, a new four level cage, clean water, food and love - the ferrets were starting to act like ferrets again in just two weeks. When I first got them, they all bit me reguarly. Now a year and a half later they haven't even nibbled on me for 9 months now. Which all goes to show that banning ferrets because the city/county/state is afraid that they bite and are little meanies is the most stupid thing - EVERY pet can bite (except a goldfish maybe) and show aggression. It all depends on how they are raised and cared for.
My parents were furious that I had just gone out and bought ferrets, but after they heard this story they let me keep them. I ended up having to get two jobs (at Petsmart and Petco) to pay for vet bills, food, toys ect. But in the end, it was all worth it.
Wesley is pawing at my leg, he wants me to come play again and I am telling him that I'm busy but he continues looking up at me and sitting on my foot. He is the most stubborn one. I had better go look for Merlin, He's probably doing something he shouldn't. They all love my new studio (it's a huge studio too) apartment. I have every inched of it ferret proofed to the best I can. Although they hate the futon, they can't dig into the cushions or hiding anything behind it without me seeing it. The studio is nice because I can keep a better eye on them than in my parent's house.
Well to end this story, I have to say that Merlin, Gabe and Wesley are the most loving ferrets I know, cuddling and doing dances of joy when I'm sad or just their antics can cure a tired headache at the end of the day (although there are exceptions to that one). I still get emotional when I think that if "Kelly" hadn't reported her neighbor in, that these ferrets could have died without ever knowing real love. So go tell your ferret you love them right now! I dook you!
Meghan 's Story
It all started when my boyfriend (now my ex) and I moved to New Mexico from California with my mother and our dog, Rebel (a golden retreater.. err.. retriever!). It was a new beginning for all of us, and we were excited. I have always loved animals, and I wanted to introduce a new species into the family. After a lot of research, I decided that a ferret would be the best way to go. My boyfriend at the time was ecstatic about the idea, but I told him there was still a lot of research to do. I don't believe in rushing into the "ownership" of a living, breathing creature.
I began by buying the necessities first - a cage, a water bottle, a good heavy food dish, a litter pan, hammocks, toys, litter, Ferratone, laxatives - everything but the fuzzies and the food. Unfortunately, Goober (the boyfriend's nickname) got tired of waiting and took off to buy a ferret despite what we had discussed. I wanted us to buy two ferrets at the same time, preferably litter mates, because I had read that ferrets do better in pairs or more and I knew that we would not be able to provide constant attention.
Goober rushed out and bought an albino ferret, brought her home and, after an hour of play, decided he didn't like her. She was nervous and he was playing rough -- as a result, he got his finger nipped. He wouldn't listen to anything I said, so finally we returned to the pet store to exchange her. This time, since he refused to leave the store without a ferret, I picked it out. I finally settled on a beautiful cinnamon male, who was bright eyed, attentive and extremely curious. He nipped at our fingers a bit, but so did every other ferret in the cage. This is just a behavior that you have to train the young little fuzzies out of, like sleeping in the litter box and pooping on the blankets. We took the little guy home and the adventure began.
We named him Gib, because ... well, that's what he is. I learned immediately that Goober was not a good ferret person. I was paying rent and Goober was not -- I couldn't yet afford to purchase Gib's playmate. Because I was angry at Goober for jumping the gun, I told him that he would have to do all maintenance of the cage, care of the ferret and training until I got mine. Unfortunately, Goober didn't care about that part. I ended up caring for Gib, litter training him, brushing him, looking after him and ferret-proofing the spare bedroom that became the ferret wonderland in the months to come. Goober only wanted to pull out Gib, play with him until Gib bit, and then scream, stomp, smack the poor guy and shove him in the cage. It got to the point where I wanted to do the same thing to Goober!!!!
I was walking home from work one day and I saw Goober walking towards me. It was August, over 100 degrees out, and I see him holding Gib. Gib was panting heavily and looked like little more than a ragdoll in Goober's hands. I had told Goober I don't know how many times that ferrets were warm blooded creatures who did NOT handle heat over 80 degrees well at all. I carried Gib all the way home and as soon as we got home, I began to cool him down. He drank three capfulls of Gatorade (he really likes Strawberry Kiwi, heh) and I began to rub him down with a cool, damp cloth. He was sick for two days, and I stayed with him every second I wasn't at work. Gib pulled through -- Then, Goober just kind of forgot about him. It was then that Gib became my guy, no matter what Goober said.
Gib had behavioral problems during those first two months. He bit, screamed, and hissed - not to mention pooping everywhere *but* in the litter box. Goober helped in excellerating the problems but did little to work them out. I began spending all of my spare time with Gib, first working on the biting, then the litter box, and finally with playing gentle. It took a month, but by November (he was purchased in July), he was the ideal ferret. Playful, happy, friendly, inquisitive and litter trained. The only problem was that he got lonely when we weren't around - when I walked into the room, he all but tackled me out of excitement. I worked extra hours at Denny's and pulled all the tips together I could manage to keep, excluding ferret food, litter, and rent money, and when I had saved up enough, I bought Gib's new friend - Rocky.
Rocky was a sable with an affinity towards water. He loved to play in puddles, our man-made fish pond, Rebel's drinking bowl - anything but bathtubs. Oddly enough, he hated baths. It took Gib a while to get adjusted to the new guy, but pretty soon they were chumming it up like blood brothers. Rocky had to be trained to stop biting and to use the litter box, but Gib helped a lot -- imagine my surprise! Teach one and they help to train the other. I was definitely impressed.
In December, I finally broke up with Goober (good riddance!). He told me he was taking the ferrets and I refused to let him. I had paid for everything but Gib, and when he argued about that, saying that Gib was his "investment" (He actually called him an INVESTMENT!"), I coldly informed him that Gib may have been purchased by him, but I had put my blood, sweat, tears and cash flow into making sure those ferrets were healthy and happy. He finally admitted that he would not be able to care for the ferrets, and when he moved back to California, the ferrets stayed with me.
In January, I moved into a smaller apartment and had to keep Gib and Rocky in my room. One of my roommates was terrified of them, so I couldn't let them reign the house. Instead, they had to share a room with their mommy and the quarters were getting cramped. The situation with the roommates ended up on a sour note, and I ended up moving in with my current boyfriend in May. His apartment complex did not allow animals, so my fuzzies and dog ended up with my mother.
My mom was scared of the ferrets when we first got them, but after they moved in with her, she began to fall in love. I visited every day and I noticed, little by little, that she interacted with them more. Gib is a cuddler - he will lay draped over your arm like a baby and climb up on your shoulder to give kisses. Rocky was the adventurer - he was a graceless bum who loved to play tricks and was always trying to push up the toilet seat. Rocky's favorite pasttime was to find earrings that my mother would lay aside and hide them in all manner of inaccessible places. She began to play with them more, and then all of a sudden she announced she was going to build them a bigger cage. I paid for the supplies and she built it.
Unfortunately, the cage was not 100% ferret proof. Rocky managed to pull open one of the sides and push out the screen window. He was gone.
I posted flyers and walked the neighborhood door-to-door. No one had seen him. I called the local Safe Haven for Animals Sanctuary (SHAS) and alerted them. I called the animal shelter, friends, businesses in the area. I walked through the park nearby with a can full of treats and shook it. I never found him.
I told my mom several times that I didn't blame her for Rocky's escape. It wasn't her fault - she had built the cage with the best intentions and had truly meant no harm. Still, she felt guilty and I guess it didn't help that I cried for a week straight. What really broke our hearts, though, was Gib. He would just lay in his hammock and stare off at the window; he didn't eat for three days and wouldn't even come out of his cage when we left the doors wide open. He just laid there and barely moved.
I couldn't afford a new ferret at the time, but mom took me to the petstore. I didn't want to go - I didn't want some new ferret, I wanted Rocky. Rocky who used to climb to the top of his old cage and take a flying leap for my bed, only to fall short at the last possible instant and cling desperately at the edge, sliding down the comforter. Rocky who would drive me insane by running circles around my feet, tripping me up all the time. Rocky who got his toenails caught on the ceiling bars of the cage one day and screamed, peed himself and then clung to me like a baby when I got him unstuck. Rocky who would give me kisses when I spared him from danger.
I was against the idea, all except for Gib. Gib needed a playmate, and none of us could bear to see him depressed. So I went with her to the pet store, and half heartedly worked my way through the litter.
I do a few things when I look for a ferret. I lower my hand into the cage and see who scurries over the quickest. Some nip, some try to climb my arm. I pick them up, one by one, and hold them all for a minute or two. I look in their ears, I check their eyes, I make sure their noses aren't runny or bleeding. I see how they react to being handled, and finally I scruff them to see their reaction. Most will yawn and stay still, but I've noticed that there are exceptions to that rule.
I was scruffing the runt of the litter when he stuck out both forearms and began hissing frantically. It was the most hilarious thing I've ever seen. He looked like Frankenstein's monster! It was the first time I'd laughed since Rocky had gotten out. I knew right away that this little guy, whom I named Frankenbob, was the one for me.
I brought Frankenbob to my mother's house, worried that Gib wouldn't accept him. I gave Frakenbob the "welcome home" bath that I gave Gib and Rocky on their first day home, played with him for a few minutes on the bathroom floor, and then brought him to Gib's cage.
It was like a cheesy western movie at first. Gib stared at Frankenbob and Frankenbob stared back. Then Gib ambled over to Frankenbob slowly -- I held my breath.
Instead of biting, pouncing and generally wrestling the smaller ferret into a submissive posture, Gib sniffed him and then laid on top of him. Frank chuckled and the two began to chase eachother around the cage. Later on, when I checked in on them, they were curled up together in one of the hammocks, fast asleep.
I was happy for them, but I cried the hardest for Rocky that night.
Gib is almost two years old now and Frankenbob is the established terror of the family. They get along great and I still visit every day. They love to play with the dogs, Rebel and Azzie (a dog I adopted from SHAS). They especially like to play hide-and-seek and sleep-on-the-people-foot. I love both of my fuzzies, but I still miss Rocky. I cling to hope that someone found him and gave him a good home -- it doesn't matter that he gets home to me as much as it matters that he's alive and well. Still, it's hard to cling to that hope when I know there's a ferret heaven up there, filled with tunnels and carpets he can destroy and earrings to hide and treats to hoarde and no limits on where he can and can't poop.
Rocky, rest in peace.
Gib, you're the apple of my eye.
Frakenbob... stop trying to eat my mother's goldfish!!!!!
I have 2 ferrets and I have got them to do some tricks, but one of them is teaching me some tricks now.
Well I work nights and I try to sleep in the day time but my female ferret Podoe will not let me sleep sometimes. She will chew on the door to the cage to wake me up. Most of the time she wants to play, but If she runs out of food or water when I am sleeping she will not quit until I wake up and fill the food and water. The worst thing about this is she only wanted to see food and water in the cage, because after it is filled she goes to sleep!
It all started many months ago. When my girlfriend and I first started going out and I met her ferrets, I was a little shady about them first. She told me that the chubby female bit, and they like to nip feet. So over time she would let them out, I'd stay out of the room. I got better a custom to them as time went on, and wow I never knew how much of a responsibility they were. I guess that's why I never got a ferret before. In the beginning of 2003 my girlfriend and I got a place in PA together. I was getting to like the ferrets more and more. And didn't mind them coming out and running around. Well to everyone's surprise I actually started cleaning the ferret cage and letting them out when I was home by myself. And the shocking news that I now wanted 1 or 2 more ferrets surprised everyone, even my girlfriend. So a couple weeks ago my girlfriend and I started looking into ferret rescues and at stores who sold them. The reason we were looking into getting another ferret was because I really wanted one that I got to pick out. And because her ferret who bites, used to never bite. The only reason she bites is because her friend Rufie a big fat albino ferret had passed away, and they were best friends. We thought it would be nice to get her a new friend, because the other 2 female ferrets we have, formed a bond together and she felt left out. So we called a couple different rescues. We ended up going to a Ferret rescue in South NJ. As we walked in to see the ferrets for adoption, I fell in Love with a set of 3. The one was huge, like the size of a small cat. The 2nd one, was a little smaller. And the 3rd one was quite skinny. Apparently he had been neglected by his previous owner. So my girlfriend and I talked it over and we adopted all 3 of them. We brought them home, and set up a cage for them and they started to feel comfortable right away. The smallest one who was neglected is doing well, I spoon feed him 1 to 2 jars of Turkey baby food everyday and give him vitamins everyday. I love all 3 of the new boys very much. And I take extra special care of Zorro (the smallest one) because of the bad situation he came from. He is very active, loves to run around, but because he is skinny he runs a little and than falls and every time I see that it hurts me, cause I just want him to be a big guy just like his 2 brothers. But he is getting better and he is gaining weight little by little so hopefully when summer comes he will be big just like his brothers and if we take them places I wont feel like I have to leave him out of the fun. So its amazing how I had a change of heart and I am taking the responsibility of cleaning the cage everyday and letting them run around for a few hours a day. It just makes me feel so good that I could give them a great home and that I can spoil them and make sure they are all happy.
Einstein, Monkey and Zorro
My name is Brittney and I am a first time ferret owner. I've had my baby for little over two years now but during the past summer we had a very close call at losing my ferret. We now believe that his disease was either ECE or a very dangerous viral infection, he was never officially diagnosed. It was the summer time and I didn't have classes so I was able to spend a lot of time with Benjamin. I took him outside a lot and allowed him to play in the leaves and to run around. Well he had been having a type of 'florescent green' stool and I started to be concerned, but I couldn't afford to take him to the vet just yet. My uncle who was staying with us had terminal pancreatic cancer and he was in his last stage of life. The medical bills look a lot out of my parents so there was nothing I could do but pray and ask my vet (and former boss) to help me out free of charge. At first they told me it was just something he ate, so I waited. But one day I came home and Benjamin would not play and he had stopped eating. He soon became very dehydrated and had no energy. He also slept all the time and was very disoriented. He acted like he didn't know who I was, and it just broke my heart. Well I force feed him soft chicken flavored ferret food every two hours and forced some fluids down and he seemed to perk up. But then all of a sudden it got very worse. His weight dropped to about 1.5lbs (keep in mind my ferret was the runt of the litter, his current now is about 2.5-3lbs and he is very healthy!) and just wouldn't move and was having labored breathing. I decided to just take my ferret to the vet myself since no one else would. I went to the vets office and told Dr. Pat that if he treated Benjamin I would work off any and all debt. I guess he was touched by my dedication and decided to treat Ben for free. He said it was most likely a viral infection and gave me a bottle of antibiotic medicine. Within a week he was eating on his own and drinking. Within a month he was completely back to his old self. It was a very close call but he has made it through. I find a lot of people experience different dieses in ferrets and never actually know what it is. I find it funny how there is such little research into ferrets b/c they are becoming more and more, one of America's house hold pets. I don't know what I would do without my little trouble maker.
I have owned a pair of ferrets for almost six months now, and it has been an adventure all the way. I originally started out with three, but one left us to live with a friend of ours. The adventure began when two different pet stores sold me male kits, telling me they were female. When I attempted to address the problem, I was told by one store that it was my problem not theirs. I have had to be very inventive with my boys. Keeping track of the little fuzzies is like finding needles in a hay stack sometimes. Luckily, my guide dog helps me locate them when they run too far astray. You see, my husband and I are blind, but that doesn't keep us from taking care and loving our animals- God bless the inventor of the bell collar! Cleaning up accidents can get a bit messy at times, but never have we had any complaints during apartment inspections or by family members who help out with keeping an eye on things ever so often. They both love to give kisses. They even are shoulder trained. I have heard that nobody can train their ferrets to heel; well, mine do, and we all go visiting together. The labrador guide dog plays chase with them, and she takes the nipping like a good substitute ferret mother. The five month old kitten thinks they are her brothers; she shares their ferret food on occasion, and always tries tours up in the ferret cage when no one is standing guard. We are a very happy family of six, and are hoping to add a larger cage and a few female ferrets soon.
Loving my ferrets truly blindly,
On Dec.3/01 we were informed by our vets about a ferret that needed a home (our vet knew we already had a ferret that was a suckie). So we said that we would look at her and go from there. The phone number that we called was not the person who had the ferret, but she gave us the name and number. We made the call and said we would be there that night to look at her, thank god we went when we did. I have never seen something so terrible in all my life.
The poor ferret was living in it's own waste and had no water, the food looked as if it had been thrown in the cage (cat chow). She came walking out from under a blanket that was full of waste, you could smell it from the door. I looked at my husband and asked him if he could go to the car and get our kennel, that she wasn't staying here. As I opened the cage to get the ferret out the lady that had her ran into the living room, she was so frightened of her. That is how we know the ferret was not watered or fed properly, the women was terrified and couldn't even go near the ferret. You have to ask yourself, WHY? The women should have been charged, but I couldn't leave that poor animal there. When we left with the ferret in our kennel, I started to cry, I could not believe that someone would be so cruel to a small helpless animal.
Today she is content, has been to her doctors for a check up and gives kisses when ever she gets a chance. We have named her Honey and she is just getting to know her sister. After four baths she is starting to turn white again, the colour she should have been. We are happy to announce that Honey is part of our family now and will continue to receive the love and care she so much deserves.
Sincerely yours, Pam and Ron (Honey and Fanny's mom and dad)
Thank you so much Pam and Ron for rescuing poor Honey from that horrible environment- and for giving her a loving home.
The following story consists of two e-mails I received from an individual who purchased a ferret from a pet store. She agreed to let me post the e-mails here to help inform people about the risks that may be involved when purchasing a ferret from the pet store. Always make sure your ferret comes with a health certificate and warranty (I know that may sound cruel, however it is better than taking your new ferret home and having to pay for numerous vet bills). Always ask plenty of questions. If the pet store employees can't answer them, or the ferret seems unhealthy, you may want to consider going somewhere else (unless you have a big heart like the woman below and are willing to give the ferret the proper medical care- this can be very expensive).
This is going to sound a little graphic, but I just bought a ferret, and he has a bloody reddish swollen anal area. I asked the pet store about it and they are calling it a hemorrhoid. I don't believe that is the problem here. I am afraid he is suffering from shock because he has bitten and seems like he is in pain. If you know anyone that can help me, please E-mail ASAP! :)
(I responded to her e-mail)
Well, my ferret had to have emergency surgery. He did have a prolapsed rectum, due to parasites and worms. It cost me a fortune...but, my lil guy is romping around now. I think he's gonna make it. :) Thank you sooo much for your advice and concern. Do you know if they have a law on ferrets, like dogs and cats, where they are supposed to be guaranteed and see a vet. before they are sold? I plan to take action against that pet store.
The answer to her question is that it varies from pet store to pet store. Most pet stores do have a warranty on the pets they sell. Their pets should be in excellent health. There is also usually a warranty from the breeder as well. Be sure to ask for this information before you purchase your ferret (or any other animal).
Callie and Amanda's Story
Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on your new ferret!
Hi, I am Amanda and Callie (my ferret) is helping me write this letter.
I had a friend (Tara) who wanted a ferret but we live in California and is it
a little hard to get one. So I told her I was going to visit my mother in
Mt. Shasta which is not far from Oregon. Well, I got up to Medford OR. and
found several ferrets, but none fitting Tare's specifications (gray, female)-
until I went to the mall and found her. So I bought her and took her back to
mother's house in Mt. Shasta, but I could not stop playing with her -she was too
cute and so playful! So I called my husband and informed him that I had
adopted a daughter and that he will love her.
So needless to say I had to drive back up to Medford Or. to get Tara a new ferret, but none like Callie.
Most were dark brown and male so I bought one and hoped for the best.
When I got back home to Santa Rosa my husband loved her at once. She is now part of
the family. She takes showers with us, she helps me in the garden, she makes
sure I wear socks every day...
So when Tara came over to my house to get her ferret, all was going well and her
children loved it. She was not happy it was a male but it was so cute she
could not say no. However, when she was about to leave, my husband
walked into the room and asked if she had seen our ferret. She was not happy
when she saw that my ferret was gray and a female just like she had wanted. I had
to tell her the story I am telling you now.
So, all is well and my husband just spoke with Tara last week. Her ferret is healthy and happy. Needless to say
our little Callie is happy and healthy as well
P.S. I just like to tell everyone who owns a ferret about Marshall's edible chew
toys. They taste like chicken and are digestible.
Thank you so much for your inspirational story.
We live in a fairly small town. I went down the road to visit a friend of mine one night. While sitting at the dinner table he proceeds to tell me about the ferret he has. I didn't see a cage so I had no idea that there was one around. My friend has two boys (8&10) the kids started yelling out "Stormy" all of a sudden here comes this creamy beige ferret from under the chair in the living room. I immediately called his name, he immediately climbed up my leg and into my lap.
I fell in love. I held him like a baby, rolled him over and held him up in my face to see his feature, rubbed his head and hugged him like a puppy. God was he cute. Well this started my fever, I wanted a ferret. I had so many other animals already (2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 horses, and 55 gal fish tank) and adding one more mouth would drive my husband crazy. But I could not resist. I tried to forget the idea, but the craving would not leave me. So I got on the computer and started researching them.
My friends in my past had them and they were nasty, stinky, and just not the animal I would want to own. The odor they had was unbearable. But Stormy changed my mind. I thought that by researching them it would maybe change my mind. NOT! This only made me want to own one even more. I found out that by feeding them properly and a bath once in awhile would eliminate the odor. Approaching my husband was fairly simple, he said okay, but don't ask him for any more animals. What more would I want?
I called and shopped and shopped and called. I finally found this little one in a pet shop and she and I hit it off immediately. Jill was my valentine's present for '2000 (see Ferret Photo Page! for a picture of Jill).
One day, Stormy's dad came down and told me that Stormy had gotten out and he was gone. I was so sad for him. But something told me that he was still around. Every time I went down there I would search. Two weeks went by. I had ordered a cage (a bigger one). UPS was due to show up any time. When I saw the brown truck at the neighbor's house I started cuttin' up with the UPS guy and he said that he would be there in a sec. When he pulled up he asked me if I wanted another ferret. I immediately said no. Then I asked why, did he own one. He said no but his buddy down the road had one he wanted to get rid of. He told me the guys name and I said, "wait, that ferret aint his to give away." I ran in the house and called my buddy and told him to go two houses down and I bet he will find Stormy.
Sure enough Stormy was found outside their dog pen one night. He kept him for a while but needed to find a home for him. 30 minutes before my friend arrived with a picture of him, he had sent the ferret with his son to Okeechobee. Needless to say they brought Stormy home the very next morning and returned him to my friend. This ferret is one of the sweetest ones I have ever seen. He comes when you call him. He will lay in your arms for as long as you want to hold him. A real snugly. I just hope people won't give up if they ever lose one. Keep searching ask everyone, listen for dogs to raise Cain, and leave a little food out to see, they may very well come home if they are able.
Ferrets who have been mistreated in the past can become wonderful pets when special humans give them attention, love, care, and a place to call home. Thank you for giving a misunderstood ferret a second chance!
(Snowball is in the bottom right corner)
Hi, I am writing to you because I recently lost one of my family members. His name was Snowball. I saved him two years ago from a shelter, and just in the nick of time because he was next on the list to be
put to sleep. See Snowball was an older albino ferret and was very poorly treated by his previous owner. Nobody wanted him because he had some nasty habits, like biting toes so hard that he drew blood, but I was sure that with a lot of love and other ferrets to play with that his life would be happier!
I took him home and introduced him to my other fuzzies and they all were very happy with there new friend. I broke him of his toe biting habit I never caged any of my fuzzies they are all litter box trained and the other ferrets showed Snowball the rules of the house. At first he would spend a lot of time in the cage until he realized that he didn't have to. After a couple of weeks he was playing and he would snuggle up with my Sable fuzzie Pumba. He also loved to play with my female albino Nala, but he really didn't care for my two silvermit fuzzies Tweak and Timon, they are the youngest out of them all and a little to aggressive for Snowballs taste, but sometimes they would all curl up with each other and go to sleep.
But sadly , on the first day of winter Dec. 21,2000 I came home and found Snowball laying in his favorite bag , he was in very bad shape so I took him to his Vet. and they told me to leave him there so they could try to help him, so I did. An hour later I received a phone call and the Vet gave me the bad news. Snowball was going to die, he was an old ferret and it was his time to go. They put him to sleep so he didn't have to suffer any longer.
He was a great ferret and will be missed. I'm glad that the last years of his is life were filled with love and
happiness, my only regret is that I couldn't be there to hold him and tell him
that I loved him as he was passing away. Thank you for listening!
Mandy sent me a few photos of her beautiful ferrets (ferret photo page), along with a story about how she decided to become a ferret owner. Her story reminds us that it is important to do your research before purchasing a ferret and that there are far too many ferrets out there who suffer from abuse.
I would like to tell the story of how I became a ferret owner, if you don't mind that is. Chase and Trouble are my first pair of ferrets. I wanted a pet that's not really common in my area, so I started to do a lot of looking around on the web to see what kind of pets were available. As I was doing this, I was flipping through the channels on my TV where I stopped on the animal planet channel. They were doing a show about a ferret shelter. I began watching it and by the end of the show I was in tears. Some of the things that those poor innocent ferrets went through was just so sad!!
There was a male albino named Casper who had been taken away from his "owner" after he was kicked in the head. The result of that kick was Casper losing the sight in his left eye. Then there were two more ferrets, kits I might add, (I don't remember their names) that were taken in after being found in a duffle bag under a park bench. Both of them were treated for dehydration, but they both made a complete recovery. The last couple of ferrets that they showed were Tish and Sparks. They were found in an all metal cage in direct sunlight with no blankets or any other type of cloth on the bottom. Needless to say these poor ferrets ended up with burnt paws. It was very disturbing to see what they little animals went through.
After the show was done, I went to find any info on ferrets that I could find. I did tons of research to make sure that I completely understood what I would be getting myself into. I wish every one would do research before bringing a ferret home. It would definitely cut down on the sad stories of the shelter ferrets. After about a month or so of research I started to go into pet stores to see if they had ferrets. That's where I met Chase and Trouble. A week later, I spent over $400 and that was the beginning of my life with ferrets. After going through so many different pets including; dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, rats, mice, and chinchillas, I've found that ferrets are the best for me personally. They're so much fun to play with and I just love them dearly. Anyway, that's how I got started with ferrets.
Please visit the link below to read a story about a ferret in the UK named Boe. He accidentally escaped from his house, was found and picked up by the RSPCA, and was killed before his owner could claim him (in a matter of hours). His owner is horrified and very saddened by the ordeal and decided to start a web site dedicated to Boe. He is sharing his story to inform others of the potential dangers that may await a ferret who wanders away from home.
Grizz is a wonderful ferret who recently passed away from an unknown disease or condition (also see Ferret Memorials). At his family's request, I am posting their story - in hopes that someone can possibly give them some answers as to the cause of his sudden illness and passing. His veterinarians were unable to diagnose his condition. Please e-mail Grizz's family at mailto: email@example.com if you can offer any information about the possible cause of his illness. Grizz's family hopes that their story can and will help others who may face a similar situation. Any input from veterinarians, or veterinary technicians would also be greatly appreciated.
The following is an e-mail Grizz's family sent to me. It is a hard story to read, but perhaps it can help other ferret owners in recognizing and possibly diagnosing this horrible condition.
August 26, 2000
Thanks so much for your reply. I apologize for the delay in responding. My little fuzzy has taken a great amount of care and almost daily trips to the vet. Sadly, Grizz left his pain last night. I can't begin to tell you how much I miss him. I will do my best to answer all your questions. Perhaps this experience will save the life of another beloved ferret.
Day 1. Grizz is normally very playful. This day he played only for a few minutes, then wanted to lie still on the floor or be cuddled.
Day 2. Grizz slept on the bottom of his cage. When I took him out to check on him, he was very lethargic. He would push himself around with his hind legs, but the front legs were limp. He was also panting heavily. Breathing from the stomach like he had the hiccups. I rushed him to an emergency vet. She and her staff seemed to know very little about ferrets. One nurse could not even find his heart beat. I had to show her that it was not located in his upper chest. The vet did X-rays and tested his glucose level. X-rays showed no injury, no blockage, but some shadows over the lungs. His glucose level was fine. The Drs. diagnosis was pneumonia. I was sent home with antibiotics. Grizz was hydrated with fluids injected under the skin.
Day 3. By morning, Grizz had no movement in front or back legs. He was very weak. He refused water, and chewing ferret food was exhausting him. We started feeding him "duck soup". This is a recipe for sick ferrets posted on FerretCentral.com. It is a mixture of ensure, Pedialyte, dry food, and Gerber bananas. He ate with gusto. We spoon fed him every 3 to 4 hours. He remained calm if we kept him near and his breathing was less labored.
Day 4 thru 8. We gave Grizz his medicine as directed. Slight movement came back to his hind quarters, but only during a bath. He was incontinent of urine and stool. We kept him clean and dry. I was concerned he would get a urinary infection. By this time my husband had pointed out that Grizz had an odd little blister on one of his toes. (Left hind foot). I didn't give it much thought. It did not appear to be bothering him any. By day 8 the medication was gone and there was no improvement in his breathing. I took him to a regular vet. This vet felt that Grizz had not had pneumonia at all. The previous X-ray concerned him because he felt the sternal lymph node looked enlarged. I was directed to return Grizz the next morning for tests. He hydrated Grizz by injecting fluids into his abdomen.
Day 9. The previous evening, after returning from the vet, Grizz began to moan. I found he was urinating blood. I quickly called the vet. I was assured that a little blood in the urine was normal from the hydration that had been done. He urinated the blood only a few times, then it was all clear urine. I took him back the next morning as instructed. I left the nurse with a good supply of "duck soup" to feed him. I also told the nurse about the blood. My husband was convinced Grizz had been bitten by a spider. We have a problem with those were we live. So, I showed his foot to the nurse and asked her to pass this on to the Dr. Later that day I went to pick him up. The vet had done more X-rays. The still showed no injury, no blockage, normal lymph nodes, and clear lungs. He admitted that he was baffled. He did not see any abnormalities along the spine that would indicate a tumor, clot, or injury. He felt that it was a neuro disorder affection Grizz approximately between the front shoulder blades. He was now able to move his back legs quite a bit, but would not put weight on them. He felt the blister on his foot was insignificant. And the bloody urine was normal after the hydration. He said Grizz had not shown any signs of bleeding during the day. They also had not fed him a drop of food. His last meal had been at 6 am when I fed him before dropping him at the vet office. The Dr. felt Grizz would need a CAT scan, but had no idea who to contact, or how it could be done. He also warned that if it was a tumor, surgery on such small animal would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. I was sent on my way and given an appointment to return in one week.
Day 10. Grizz held his own. He even would play a bit. Nibbling at our fingers, gentle nudges with his head. He was now able to swish his tail. My daughter had called me at work around noon, frantic. Grizz was urinating blood again, and had become lethargic. She said his temperature was only 94. My husband arrived home within an hour. The bleeding had stopped, and his temp was 101.3. He had called the vet and was again told not to worry. Grizz was no longer panting. His breathing was nearly back to normal. He was able to curl into a ball. It took a lot of effort, but he was moving.
Day 11. My daughter called me again around noon. She was practically hysterical. The bleeding was not just tinged urine, but thick clots and Grizz was crying out each time he urinated. My husband came home immediately and rushed him to the vet. He was unable to stay, so I made arrangements to leave a soon as I could. I was over an hour away. When I arrived to pick him up, the vet seemed optimistic. He told me that Grizz did had a urinary infection. He felt it was a complication of the current immobility. He said he had catheterized Grizz to check the potency of his urinary tract and bladder. All looked well. Grizz was given valium for pain, and I was sent home with more antibiotics. He ate hungrily that evening. He was only content if my husband held him. Grizz would nudge at him with his nose, or begin panting if my husband put him down or moved out of the room. It was very late before Grizz finally slept. A few hours later, he was gone. My husband and I are in shock. Rarely have I ever seen my husband cry. This was just too much. I am angry because I have no answers, but at least Grizz is not suffering. Immobility for a ferret must be the worst kind of torture to them. We are planning a proper burial later today so that we can say our goodbyes. I hope that anyone out there with ferrets will treasure each and every day as a gift with their little fuzzies.
Please e-mail Grizz's family if you have any suggestions as to the possible cause of their ferret's illness. You can click this link to send an e-mail mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org or e-mail them at email@example.com.. You can also send me an e-mail at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your response to Grizz's family. Thank you so much for your help.
Tough Lessons to Learn
Ferret ownership has been one of the most rewarding events in my life so far. I purchased my first ferret, Baby about twelve years ago. Believe it or not, the pet store employees actually gave me misinformation about ferret care. They told me to treat her as I would a hamster or a gerbil. They said I should keep her in an aquarium lined with cedar chips and handle her from time to time. They told me ferrets could bite, so I should wear gloves when handling her. I ended up purchasing a rabbit hutch instead of an aquarium for her and purchased regular dust free cat litter instead of cedar chips (lucky for me). I also got some ferret food and an outdated book on ferret care (the book suggested feeding ferrets raw hamburger mixed with evaporated milk, as well as feeding them fresh road kill as a treat-- luckily I disregarded this information!).
After I got Baby home I knew I couldn't keep her locked up in a cage all the time. She was so full of energy! I would let her run around my room for hours at a time. I remember thinking that she was attacking me every time she lunged or jumped towards me. Once, she chased my brother and I around the apartment! We thought she had gone crazy and was trying to hurt us! Eventually, I realized she was just playing and we became fast friends. She was always outsmarting me by hiding my things and crawling into places she shouldn't go. I had to be creative in order to keep her safe.
I ended up purchasing a second ferret, a male named Skipper, a few months later and the three of us had a blast. However, I cringe when I think about the things I let them do. For instance, I used to let them play in those Styrofoam packing peanuts (a big no, no). I now know that ferrets like to eat Styrofoam and they can get serious blockages as a result. Ten years ago, no one warned me about it. Baby ingested some of the Styrofoam, but luckily she passed it. I never let them do that again!
Things started getting bad when Skipper began loosing his fur at about three years of age. I took him to one of the only vets in my area who treated ferrets and he diagnosed him with a skin allergy. He was given a shot of cortisone and we went home. Well, the condition didn't get any better. The vet finally diagnosed him with Cushing's, a condition common in dogs and cats. He medicated Skipper with pills designed for dogs. He did not get any better. There was little information available about ferret diseases at that time, so I trusted the advice of my vet. Eventually, Skipper lost most of his fur. He was still fairly healthy, however he had become more aggressive towards Baby and very irritable. I went to another animal hospital for a second opinion, and the vet agreed with the first vet I saw.
One morning I got up and found Skipper lying in his cage. He had hind leg weakness and seemed disoriented. I rushed him to the animal hospital and my vet told me that he felt Skipper had a neurological disorder (due to the hind leg weakness), probably caused by a brain tumor. He couldn't do an exploratory surgery at his facility and told me the only place I could go was a Medical School located four hours away. Since the facility was so far away and Skipper was so critically ill, he said that the most humane thing I could do was put him to sleep. By that time, Skipper had been sick for about a year and a half and had under gone several different treatments for his hair loss. I didn't want him to suffer anymore, so I allowed them to put Skipper to sleep. I didn't know any better. I thought I did what I could for him. I broke down and sobbed in the vet's office. Skipper had been my buddy for five years. My vet didn't charge me for the procedure.
A few weeks later, Baby began to loose the hair around her tail. I took her to the same vet for help and he got angry with me. He admitted that he didn't know that much about ferrets and he refused to treat Baby. He again suggested that I travel to a different city to find treatment for her. I was shocked. I left his office feeling very sad and confused. Did I make the right decision to put Skipper to sleep? Had this vet really known what was wrong with him?
I got on the phone and began the dismal task of trying to find someone to treat Baby. Finally, I struck gold. A new vet had just started working at one of the animal hospitals in my area and he had extensive experience with ferrets. He took one look at Baby and told me she had an adrenal tumor and needed a fairly simple operation. I told him about Skipper, and he told me that Skipper had probably suffered from the same thing. The weakness in his hind legs could have been due to the adrenal disease or an insulinoma, and probably not a neurological problem. I was devastated and racked with guilt. If my former vet would have just told me he didn't know anything about ferrets, I would have looked harder for someone who did. Skipper could have possibly been saved.
Baby recovered completely from her illness and we adopted a two year old ferret, Luna into our lives. Baby passed away at the ripe old age of eight. Then, about six months ago, at the age of four, Luna got ECE, and it was also discovered that she had the beginning stages of adrenal disease (she had no symptoms at that time) and low blood sugar. My husband and I had moved to a different city, and were lucky enough to find an excellent veterinarian who could help. For months I got no sleep, waking up every three hours or so to hand feed Luna through the night. Surgery removed an adrenal gland and an insulinoma, but the virus had damaged her intestines. However, proper medical care, persistence and lots of love got her through it. I am happy to say that she is better than ever, eating solid food and playing. She now has a new friend, Scooter, and they get into lots of trouble together!
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Skipper. I really feel like I let him down. I know that I did what I thought was right, however I should have done more research before putting him down. I hope my story can help someone else who has had problems finding proper medical care for their ferret. Always get a second opinion if you feel your veterinarian isn't sure about the diagnosis. Before you choose a vet, find out how many ferrets they have treated. Now, there are numerous books and web sites about ferret medical conditions. Take advantage of all the information that is available, and do your research. Your ferret's life could depend on it.