Posted: January 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST
Ferret Resolution No. 5. I resolve to have my veterinarian check my ferret’s teeth yearly. I already brush my ferret’s teeth, which they accept with little argument. However, they still get some minor tartar in some areas hard to hit with a brush. A vet checking the dentition, especially for those with worn or old teeth, can help keep the mouth healthy and the ferret healthier. A healthier ferret is happier and has lower veterinary costs, so we both win.
Ferret Resolution No. 4. I resolve to give more one-on-one time to each ferret. While I give my ferrets a lot of my time, much of it is spent with the group rather than the individual. I want to spend more individual time with each ferret, with no other ferrets vying for attention, to be used for grooming, petting, feeding treats or just wrestling.
I love my ferrets dearly, so what are a few extra minutes? It reduces stress in both of us, and that is a good thing. It is a very good thing.
Ferret Resolution No. 3. Speaking of stress, I resolve to cause less stress to my ferrets. I am very good at reducing their tension, but I forget sometimes that I myself could be a source of stress to my ferrets. I make loud and sudden noises, play music too loud, leave bright lights on and generally disturb my ferrets all the time.
I will be more faithful in using cage blankets to deaden noise and block light, turn down the music and TV a few clicks, and use dimmer or fewer lights. I must try to remember that although it is my room, it is also the ferret’s bedroom. I should either move them to a quieter location, or tone it down a bit.
Ferret Resolution No. 2. I resolve to create a “fun zone” for my ferrets. A fun zone is a location where the ferrets are not normally allowed to roam. This could be a room or an area generally kept ferret-free. Once a day, I will allow my ferrets into the fun zone to explore, run, frolic and wrestle — whatever they desire to do. The strangeness of the room will stimulate them to sniff every crevasse, look in every corner and generally become excited beyond measure. Might be fun to watch!
Ferret Resolution No. 1. I resolve to learn more. Knowledge is a strange thing; it seems the more you learn, the less you know. I’ve been studying ferrets for a long time, but still have a lot to learn. What is the appropriate diet? How should they be housed? How many ferrets are too many? How can I keep them from being bored? I will talk to other ferret owners, read what I can find and keep an open mind.
As with all resolutions, there is little doubt that some will be kept and some will be forgotten. But, that is not the point, is it? The idea is to always strive to make your ferrets happier, healthier and longer-lived.
Ferrets are special little creatures: clowns of the pet world. They can touch your heart in a special way, and so they deserve the best you can do. It is better to resolve and lose than not to resolve at all. Even if you forget or fail, you can be sure of one thing. You are trying, and that — at least for your ferrets — is a very good thing. Resolve that you will make 2010 a better year for your ferrets!
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Bob Church is a former photojournalist and current zooarcheologist with degrees in biology (zoology) and anthropology (archaeology). He resides in Missouri with 19 ferrets that keep his chicken blender overheated and his heart overfull.