Posted: May 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I have a ferret that chews on its cage, and the cage paint is coming off. I don't know if this will hurt him. The cage is also turning rusty. What can I do? No one seems to know what paint I can use or how to get Lucky to stop. I don’t want to have to buy a new cage.
A: My first concern is addressing the reason your ferret is chewing on the cage. One of the most common reasons ferrets chew is out of boredom. Make sure you find ways to enrich your ferret by playing with him, interacting with him, giving him toys to play with, and having problems or puzzles for him to solve. Look for information on ferret enrichment on this website or elsewhere.
Cage bar chewing can also be a sign of stress or illness. Spend some time evaluating the cage environment, location and the daily routines to see if you can reduce your ferret’s stress. I also suggest that you take your ferret to the veterinarian for a checkup, both because he is eating paint and for a possible medical cause of the chewing.
I am uncertain if eating the paint is a problem. Contact the cage manufacturer to find out. You can also speak to your veterinarian regarding your ferret ingesting rust. While you may not want to get a new cage, it may be the only safe thing to do. With a new cage, you can start over and fill it with fun things for your ferret to do.
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