Posted: November 13, 2011, 5 a.m. EST
Q: We have two ferrets, one is really laid-back (unless you're trying to hold him), and the other ferret is really high-strung. The high-strung ferret likes to make a general mess of their cage. Recently, he got behind his litter box and dumped it off a shelf, spilling "litter" everywhere. He consistently gets behind every little box he possibly can and makes this mess, so we resorted to clipping the boxes to the cage side, which worked fine for a few weeks. However, this ferret eventually started stealing the clips and resuming his behavior. Do you have any advice or tips on what I can do to stop this? My girlfriend and I are both at wit's end with him, as we're tired of cleaning up the messes that he makes.
A: It sounds like your ferret could be bored or in need of more playtime outside of his cage. There is also the possibility that the cage is not big enough and your ferret resents being cooped up in it.
Two ferrets should have a minimum floor space of 3 square feet. Bigger is even better. This area can be divided between two levels if you don’t have the space for a single-level cage that big.
Try giving your ferret some toys in the cage and hang some tubes in there for him to climb through. This does not, however, replace playtime outside of the cage with his favorite toy — you!
You may need to tie the litter box in place to keep him from dumping it. Punch a couple of holes about an inch from the upper edge of the box and run a piece of wire through the holes and tie the ends outside the cage so your ferret can’t get them loose. You can also run a bungee cord around the sides of the box and hook the ends to the bars of the cage to hold the box in place. If your ferret absolutely cannot move the box, he will get tired of trying and will eventually give up. If he is a young ferret, he will probably outgrow this stage as he matures, too.
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