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How Not To Bathe A Ferret

When things go wrong during a ferret’s bath, it’s like trying to catch a greased pig.

By Kathleen Collins
Posted: June 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Click image to enlarge
Fudley the ferret
Fudley the ferret dislikes baths, even though he needs them sometimes.
Fudley the ferret
Photos Courtesy Kathleen Collins
With such a cute face, how could anyone guess Fudley the ferret would be so difficult to catch?

My ferret Fudley, like many other ferrets, does not enjoy being bathed. He is a former biter and still a bit skittish. So when it comes to the inevitable bath time, desperate measures must be taken.

Hair up, smock on, treats out, water warm, shampoo ready, everything at the go — I am always prepared.

On this bath day Fudley and I sat in the bathroom, he had no idea what we were there for. I was all ready for him, or so I thought.

I slowly dunked his furry fanny. No problem. I washed him further, holding him tightly and speaking calmly to him the whole time. Still, no problem. Next I shampooed him. As the lather covered his furry body he behaved like an angel — not a bite, not a peep.

My little Fudley, wet and soapy, held steadfast in the face of this entire bathing trauma. I was so proud. He was soapy and sweet, and I thought perhaps I could loosen my grip on him a bit. So I did.

Sparky the dog
Courtesy Kathleen Collins
Sparky had to investigate the commotion in the bathroom, and he accidentally set Fudley the ferret free.

The next thing I knew, this little white flash went flying out of my hands. Have you ever tried catching a greased pig? Well I imagine this is something like it. Each time I tried to grasp him, he spurted right through my fingers. Like a circus act, Fudley ran around the bathroom with me hollering. In the excitement, my dog Sparky pushed the door open to investigate and out Fudley escaped.

Down the hall we ran. “Fudley, Sparky stay!” I yelled to my ferret and my dog. Fudley was leaving trails of soap and gathering dust bunnies. Sparky was hopping around full of excitement to see what would happen next. And I was running behind them both with my arms waving in the air hollering, “No, no. Come back you two.”

It all ended when Fudley hit the kitchen. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Tile, speed and soap don’t mix. He went careening across the floor and slid to a stop. Dazed and confused, he moved no more. I gathered up my dust bunny baby in my arms, and Sparky slid to a stop right on my tail to help.

I have learned a valuable lesson. Now on bath days, I make sure the door is locked, the dog is outside, and I am wearing a wet suit.

Kathleen Collins is a graphic artist who has been a ferret owner for 15 years. She shares her home with her fiance, future stepson, three ferrets, two cats and two dogs. 

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How Not To Bathe A Ferret

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Reader Comments
I always give my ferrets a shower. I hold them on my shoulder , lather them up one at a time with baby shampoo and then rinse them off. The fun part is when I towel them dry and they go ballastic.
tom, willard, OH
Posted: 6/16/2010 4:58:02 PM
My little girl Star got under the door to the bathroom last week, waited until I got in the shower and had my eyes all soppy then she got int he shower and bit my ankle. I screamed as I did not know what was in the shower with me. I opened my eyes and there she was looking at me all wet and cute and wanting to be picked up. Here I am Mommy. We're taking a shower together. How much fun. What a girl !!!!
Carol, Newhall, CA
Posted: 6/3/2010 10:05:30 PM
I could see that slimy dust bunny sliding across the floor! Thanks for a big hearty laugh!
Renee, Anchorage, AK
Posted: 6/3/2010 5:26:37 PM
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