L. Vanessa Gruden
Posted: January 27, 2014 9:20 p.m. EST
Ferret Luna/© Courtesy Alyssa Hornback
Ferrets sometimes have their own ideas about whether or not to use a litter box.
Q: I have two ferrets. They were to be two females but one is a small female the other is a big white male. It is extra hard to change the litter box. We have to tie it in or the male turns it over and they play in it. Or sleep. What litter do you recommend?
A: Try thinking outside the (litter) box! Cats want to dig/hide their scat. A ferret wants to get their business over with and move on to more interesting things. So litter boxes aren’t natural for ferrets and have some disadvantages. Many pet stores cover display floors with shavings, so kits (baby ferrets) may not learn good litter habits. Tying the box in may help, but it does not allow easy changing and sanitizing. It can also be difficult if the cage door is not large enough to take the box in and out easily. If your ferret trains to a box and it works for you, great! But if not, there’s an option.
In our shelter, ferrets live in a room with vinyl flooring. We use newspapers in each corner – two opened sheets folded up against the wall, two overlapping the other direction – and we change them daily. Cover hardwood floors first with clear, sticky shelf-lining, or use a boot tray beneath to protect carpeting. You can use paper in the cage, also. It is easy, cheap and ferrets train to it in a snap. Some folks use puppy piddle pads, which have plastic bottoms to avoid soak-through.
Ferrets prefer to back into a corner and/or hide under something when they eliminate – as a small animal, that’s a vulnerable moment. If they are eliminating someplace inappropriate, block it off or place bedding there to discourage use. Be aware that ferrets nearly always go in front of a closed door. I think it’s a form of protest!
So try some flat paper, folded up a couple inches, on the cage bottom. It might work great for you and your fuzzies.
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