Posted: April 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EST
Q: Is it easier to litter-train a ferret than a cat?
A: Most people would feel very strongly that it is much easier to litter-train a cat! Cats have a natural instinct to eliminate in dirt or sand and cover their feces. It is a very natural transition then for cats to use a litter box.
Ferrets, on the other hand, are a bit harder to litter-train. While ferrets are inclined to eliminate away from their food or bedding and often back into a corner to eliminate, they go more often than a cat and are not as picky. Additionally, ferrets are naturally diggers, so a litter-box can be easily mistaken for a great new place to dig. Ferrets also seem to eliminate near doors or areas that smell, such as a bathroom or drain. This is probably an innate behavioral response that relates to a need to mark territory with feces.
Ferrets can be litter-trained, but I would never guarantee that it will be easy or completely successful. If the ferret is caged, place a litter box in every cage corner and anywhere there isn’t bedding or food. Secure the litter box to the cage and choose a nondusty litter. When it is time to play outside of the cage, wake up your ferret and place it in the litter box. Don’t allow your ferret out to play until it first uses the litter box. After an hour or so of play, depending on your ferret, return it to the cage to use the litter box, then allow it back out to continue playing. Be sure to place several litter boxes in the room where your ferret plays.