Posted: August 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: Our ferrets are 3 and 4 years old. Until recently they would use the litter box. Now one of them refuses and messes in the cage. Any suggestions on how to get him to stop and start using the litter box again?
A: Consider the type of litter you use, any recent changes, and which ferret recently stopped using the litter box. If you recently changed the cage layout or added a new ferret, this could cause problems for the ferret that is no longer using the litter box. It is also possible that something as simple as changing litter products can turn a ferret off its litter box.
If your ferret is healthy, able to move without pain and you haven’t changed anything in the cage or in your home, then something else may be causing the change in habits. Watch the ferrets closely for signs of illness or stress. Check out the consistency and color/odor of the feces, as that may indicate a health problem. If nothing seems out of the ordinary, your ferret may be telling you he wants more time out of the cage or it is simply bored and needs some enrichment. Sometimes a bored or under-exercised ferret may become lazy, especially about potty habits.