Posted: January 1, 2012, 11 a.m. EST
Q: I just got a 10-month-old ferret. He’s really sweet. I got him because I live on a campus where they don’t allow dogs. I recently lost a baby, and I’m wondering if this ferret is too old to get used to me and want to come to me. I need a companion, and it seems like he just wants to do his own thing. I have tried treats to coax him to come to me, and I have tried practicing, but sometimes the treats don’t even work. How can I get him to be attached to me? The pet store I got him from didn’t name him. I’m trying to name him, but he pays no attention. He also sleeps a lot and doesn’t want or care about playtime. I tried taking him outside to get fresh air and to play, but he’s just not into it. What should I do?
A: Ferrets are not like cats or dogs. In fact, the ferret's wild cousins are solitary, so we can't trust that a pet ferret will be as social or as attached to us as we may like. Personality also plays a role in how a ferret interacts with people.
At 10 months old, your ferret should have more energy and "desire" to be out of his cage and enjoying playtime with you, even if he doesn't want to cuddle. It may be worth a visit to the veterinarian for a checkup to make sure all is well with his health.
In order for your ferret to come to his name, you must train that behavior just like you would train a dog. Be patient, it may just take him a wellness vet visit and some time for him (and you) to adjust to each other.
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