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Helping A Blind Ferret

Enrichment is the best way to help a blind ferret.

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: May 30, 2008, 7 p.m. EDT

Q: I have a blind, 5-year-old female ferret. What can I do or not do to help her? She runs into things all the time — the doors, walls, furniture. I hate watching her do that.

A: The best thing to do for a blind ferret is to make its life as interesting as possible without causing stress or pain. Enrichment is very important to every ferret, whether or not it can see.

The first thing to do is to make sure you don’t move things around too much. If you need to clean your ferret’s room or cage, replace all of the toys and furniture in the same place when you are done. She needs to feel comfortable in her own space and that should minimize her bumping into things.

In order to enrich her, focus on her senses of smell and sound. Play music, talk to her, be a little noisy when you are coming to interact with her, and find toys that have bells or some other noisemaker in them. For her sense of smell, hide treats in her cage, give her a stinky shirt to play with, or bring in smells from outside.

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Reader Comments
I have more than 1 blind ferret. 2 are blind totally and 3 are blind in only 1 eye. The 2 that are totally blind are also different ages. One is 7 but still enjoys going around and finding snuggly sleep places. The other one is 3 and you would thing she was still a kit the way she gets around. But they always know when I am close! They are so cute and will come up to me to play or be picked up! The younger one loves to climb up on my head and get tangled in my long hair when I am sitting on the floor with them! Most people don't even realize they are blind. The younger one even bonded with a lady at a Nursing home that is almost blind when we went visiting one day. That ferret is a Certified Therapy Ferret and sat so still for the lady to hold her. It was very touching.
Nancy, Shreveport, LA
Posted: 7/15/2009 10:55:51 AM
I have a blind ferret her name is dora, I also have four other fuzzy buts,Joey(witch is a jill),Nelson (named after my husband),Stephen(I recued ,not to metion thats my bosses name)merlin who is deaf ,what a joker he is!!anyway back to the subject ,having the other ferrets around helps alot .Nelson is the one to help her,alot of times I see him right beside her and guides her around when out in the open until shes by a wall were she can navigate. I don't worry to much about her because I know Nelson watching out for her.
Stacy, Brainerd, MN
Posted: 3/19/2009 10:29:34 AM
Tho I dont have a blind ferret a thought,if they walk into things regularly, pick a sound you can make easily and just before they bump into things make the sound (short and sharp) as the ferret gets used to hearing the sound then going bump it may adjust when it hears the sound. Elevate furniture off the floor so it/they can simply pass underneath, E.G long legs on the bed etc.
Michelle, New Zealand, NE
Posted: 1/17/2009 2:11:56 AM
I have a blind male albino ferret, and he runs around like nothing and even tackles stairs! He is a rescue and a very, very nice ferret. You can hardly tell he is blind except that he bumps into things once in a while....I love ferrets!
Dana, Killingly, CT
Posted: 9/3/2008 10:50:25 AM
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