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Resolve To Do Better For Ferrets

Bob Church Offers His Top 10 Ferret Resolutions For 2010.

By Bob Church
Posted: January 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST

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ferret with toys
© Isabelle Francais/BowTie Inc.
Getting more toys and toys that stimulate behavior or simulate prey are just part of Bob Church's ferret resolutions for 2010.

OK, it is the beginning of a new year and you — like all ferret owners the world over — want to make 2010 an even better one for your ferrets. I know I do; it doesn’t matter how dedicated I am, there is always some area of ferret care open for improvement.

In all humility, I recognize that I am but a student of ferrets, and so I will always need to learn more. Because of that, I am always yearning to do better. So, these are my Top Ten Ferret Resolutions for 2010.

Ferret Resolution No. 10. I resolve to get better toys for my ferrets. This is not to imply I don’t already have a lot of playthings for the ferrets to hide or destroy, but I think I need toys that tie-in better to the ferret’s natural behaviors.

Small balls are good toys because they simulate prey movement, crocheted eggs seem to stimulate cache behaviors, dark dens are great for sleeping, and tubes of various sorts fill a primal need for exploring tunnels.

That being said, I plan to replace any toy that might hold a ferret’s interest only briefly because it doesn’t tie-in to any specific natural behavior. Ideal toys either simulate prey or stimulate behavior. I’ll stink up a lot of the existing toys with a variety of exotic scents and flavors, hide some and even rub some on the cat for the ferrets to enjoy.

Ferret Resolution No. 9. I resolve to be consistent with annual checkups for my ferrets. The economy has been bad, and I’ve had some healthy ferrets, so I’ve relaxed my vigilance somewhat. The result is that I’ve compressed veterinary procedures into a shorter time span. I now have several major expenses in a much shorter time frame. This makes them harder to afford than if they had been spread out across the year.

Ferret Resolution No. 8. I resolve to be more consistent with nail trimming. If there were one thing I have a bad habit of slacking off on, then that would be nail trimming. I guess I’d rather play than trim.

Trimming nails isn’t something done just to prevent scratching; it is also a time to look at the bottom side of your ferret. I had put off trimming Belle’s nails for about a month, so when I finally got around to it, I was shocked to discover a tumor on her foot! While I was holding and playing with her daily, I never actually looked at the bottom of her foot. I would have caught it earlier had I done a better job at nail trimming.

Ferret Resolution No. 7. I resolve to give more outside time to my ferrets. I travel and am very busy, so I sometimes fail to take the ferrets out on walks as much as I — or they — would like. They simply deserve more outside time, as do I.

Ferret Resolution No. 6. I resolve to toss the towels and buy more sleeping sacks. OK, towels are cheap and they last a long time, but they get tattered and frayed and the loose threads can catch on a ferret’s nails — even if trimmed.

I am going to trade out the tattered towels for new bedding. Even if the warmth difference is minimal, bedding looks so much nicer and a ferret’s nose poking out of a sleep sack is darn cute.

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