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A Ferret Is Unused To Cuddling

How can you encourage a ferret to welcome cuddling?

By Mary Van Dahm
Posted: January 13, 2009, 1:30 p.m. EDT

Q: My husband and I love ferrets. We got our first ferret when she was just a baby, and she is just wonderful. A friend down the road had to give away a female ferret, which was about 3 years old. We took her in. She is doing fine, except she does not like to be held or loved on too much. We would love to hold her and love on her like our baby girl. Is there any way to train her to let us do this?

A: Just like people, ferrets each have a different personality. Some are born cuddlers, some are not. Environment can be a strong factor in shaping a ferret’s personality. If your new ferret was not cuddled or held much by her previous owner, then she has learned to be indifferent to this human behavior. Also, remember that she doesn’t really know you yet. You are still the “stranger from up the street,” and she probably wonders where her original owner is. With persistence and time, she may come to like the attention you lavish on her. Offering her a treat initially when you hold her may help convince her that being in your arms is a great place to be. A small lick of Ferretone or Nutrical once in a while can be a great icebreaker. Just don’t overdo it so she doesn’t get overweight or develop other health problems.

See more ferret questions and answers>>

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A Ferret Is Unused To Cuddling

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Reader Comments
My first ferret was an amazing cuddler! He was most happy when he was in someones lap. The next 2 ferrets I had were not cuddlers. They loved to play but drew the line at being picked up and held for more than a minute or so-
I have 5 ferrets now and the only one that will cuddle is Lilly. she is actually more into being scritched than cuddled- but at least I can hold her while scritchn her!
3 ferrets I adopted almost 2 years ago- none are cuddlers- they love to play and they all give me kisses now-it took a full year for the smallest (Baby Slick) to get comfortable with me and give me kisses. Nibbles is the largest of the three and he talks to me by hissing- he invites me to play by going to his favorite spots and staring at me. Pigpen loves to give kisses and sometimes will fall asleep in my nightgown- but no cuddles for any of them.
I just adopted Earl in Dec.09...He is ok with giving kisses but doesnt want to be held at all for now...I figure he will let me know in his own time if I can hold him or not.
All of the ferrets I have had choose their time and place to be affectionate. They follow me around like I am some sort of God which cracks me up! It is hard to accept the aloofness after having my first and most affectionate ferret I expected all ferrets to be like him but yes they are like all of us other animals-each has their own personality and they take their time to get to know you- you just have to bite your lips and hope they will return your love in time. I don't force myself on them- I say their names and touch them but dont detain them if they are moving around. I like to wait untill they settle into bed and then I will spend time petting them and letting them smell my hand and feel my touch. It may not have turned them into cuddlers but it sure lets them know I love em!
mary beth, centennial, CO
Posted: 2/5/2010 10:08:54 AM
I thought ferret's always liked to be cuddled. That was a great article.
Aiyanna, Eugene, OR
Posted: 7/13/2009 10:54:37 AM
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