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Ferret Going Next To Litter Box

How do you stop a ferret from going next to the litter box instead of in it?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: March 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EST

Q: I have an issue. I have two ferrets. For some reason, one of them has decided to start going potty right next to the litter box. I have cleaned the crate with bleach. I have left some feces in the litter boxes to ensure their scent is still there. I'm at a loss as to why one of them keeps doing it. And I can't catch which one, but I'm pretty sure it's my little girl, Mink. I am a first-time ferret owner, and although I've had them almost three years, I am stumped on this one!
I have already tried the following:
1. Let the ferret choose the location of the box. Watch your ferret to see which corner of the cage it prefers to use as a restroom, and place the box in that corner.
2. Choose a litter box with sides at least 4 inches high to prevent the ferret from dropping its “deposits” over the edge of the box.
3. Use a pelleted litter; clay litters and clumping litters are not recommended.
4. Attach the box firmly to the cage to prevent the ferret from dumping the contents.
5. Keep an open mind and exercise plenty of patience.
A: If this is a sudden behavior change and she (or he) used to use the litter box, something is causing the ferret's behavior to change. There could be a medical reason your ferret isn't able to use the litter box anymore (she could be trying to make it but is unable to make it in time) or the side may be too high as she gets older.

Have your ferrets checked out by your veterinarian and trim the front edge of the litter box to make it easier for your ferrets to enter.

See all Ferret FAQ questions and answers>>

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Ferret Going Next To Litter Box

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Reader Comments
I was over joyed when I saw this topic b/c I was just about to write in about it. Then I realized it was my posting from Facebook. Thank you so much for pulling it!

I will have hubby trim down the box in the front. Medically, everyone is fine. I also have found out since I posted this, that it is Gizmo, my male and not Mink, my female. Now, Gizmo is a stocky boy so I wouldn't doubt the height issue for him at all.
Victoria, Lawrenceville, GA
Posted: 3/12/2011 3:59:59 AM
I have the same problem with my boy and girl. The girl has decided to not use the litter box normally and it's not anything medical, I've had her checked out and she's doing great with the implant to control her Adrenal Disease but still not using the box properly.

I read this column often to keep up to date on new issues but this is not a helpful response at all! I understand that the answer is probably not something you can diagnose remotely but posting the problem without a solution is bordering on rude.
Lina, Seattle, WA
Posted: 3/8/2011 1:21:07 PM
I have noticed that some ferrets will not use a litter box if the entrance is TOO HIGH. They prefer a low opening so they can back into it without having to climb over. Of course you want some kind of lip to keep the contents in, but if high sides don't work, try cutting down the entrance to 1" or maybe 3/4" and see if that works better.
Lonny Eachus, Spokane, WA
Posted: 3/8/2011 12:08:48 PM
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