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The Evolution Of Ferret Cages

Today's ferret cages evolved from outdoor hutches into ferret homes.

By Marylou Zarbock
Posted: April 27, 2009. 6:30 p.m. EDT

Page 2 of 2

For safety and security, the main concerns are safe ramps, minimizing the risk of high falls in the cage and preventing escape from the cage. Escapes usually occur via a door that the ferret is able to manipulate or a door opening that it can squeeze through, even when latched.

Safety is the most important ferret cage feature to Sherry Stone of Alberta, Canada. “Doors lock securely, no places for pinching toes, ramps attach securely, etc.”

For ramps, the concern isn’t just that ramps attach securely. Drakiotes believes all ramps should be a wire grid with small openings to prevent a ferret from falling through, like it could with a ladder-type ramp.

And that’s not all. “Shelves need to be easy to remove, and move around,” said Stacey Merrill Lamb of Missouri. “Ramps not too steep. Fewer levels, only one or two are needed.”

Fear of their ferrets falling from a height in the cage is on the minds of other ferret owners. “As ferrets age, I have wished and wished for a cage that featured safer ways for them to get from floor to floor; specifically enclosed ramps for those who are not as steady on their feet,” said Katrina Sword of Oregon.

Although she has a multi-level ferret cage featuring enclosed tunnels for access between levels, which prevents ferrets from falling, Risa DiVincenzo of Massachusetts has another concern. “As our crew ages, I do worry about it getting harder for them to get up and down the levels.”

Sukie Crandall of New Jersey is still hoping for good ramps. “No one seems to get ramps right, and I'd love ones that lifted easily and did not fall halfway off when shifted by the ferrets or by us, and did not have the risk of catching legs.” She offered some possible solutions. “Maybe solid-metal hinged [ramps] in a set location that flips up, with speed bumps on them so that ferrets could climb them easily. A textured hard plastic with ramps done that way might work too.”

Ease of moving the cage was another feature ferret owners mentioned, so having properly sized-casters for the cage is a plus. But easy moving usually ranked after cleaning and safety in importance.

Ferret Cage Manufacturers Welcome Feedback
Every ferret cage manufacturer interviewed for this article cited customer feedback as one of the factors for design change of their cages. They welcome such feedback and some work with ferret shelters or rescues to get input on cage design. Ware Manufacturing gets feedback from a focus group, in addition to customer feedback. Another source of feedback is retailers.

“Retailers are in touch with consumers every day,” Hitsman said. He added that most successful products on the market address a specific need. “Ideas come from everywhere and usually address a behavioral need.”

Vair noted that additional factors affecting cage design change include animal safety, the number of ferrets housed in one cage, material cost and availability, and trends in home design.

Vair also said design changes that make ferret ownership easier mean more to ferret owners. “Latches that work well are more impressive than having a new powder-coat finish, for example.”

Ferret Cages Of Tomorrow
The future could bring more changes to ferret cages. “We are always open for new ideas, as well as ways to improve our current cages,” Linda R. said, “Customer feedback is the best way to accomplish both. We love to hear from our customers.”

Vair believes the future of ferret cages will include exploration of new materials and new efficient designs. “As people are trending toward staying home more and traveling less, what is in their homes becomes even more important.”

Fritz believes the future will see a trend toward more custom-built ferret cages.

Hitsman sees future ferret cages focusing on fun and fashion, matching people’s homes better and having more accessories.

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Reader Comments
My ferrets live in a modified SuperPet cage. They have six levels, four complete floors that go full side to side and end to end, one 2/3 floor, one 1/3 shelf. There are three bedroom floors, one dining and entry floor, one full potty room floor which is the plastic tub bottom and one papered shelf level to climb onto from the potty tub.

The bedroom levels use large carpet samples, from my pet shop for $1 to $4, wall to wall. Carpet samples have sewn border edges. a These act as mattresses and insulation from below. The dining / entry level has a small carpet sample in the middle, front to back. Each bedroom has a 54" x 60" acrylic, no-pill stadium blanket, from a drugstore at $5, folded into thirds then in half filling the area; in addition old folded T-shirts make pillows or lightweight blankets. They have a seldom used hammock on the top level -their choice. They love to make tunnels and sleeping chambers. They can sleep in piles or individually as they wish. The greatest fall distance in their house is 13 inches, and then usually with a soft landing.

The potty room uses newspapers spread across the whole area. These are laid out so I can start rolling/folding at one end with one hand and get a roll out with no mess or fuss in a few seconds.

My complaints are the small doorways, the floor panels with spill troughs around the edges and the ramps that they can't get a grab onto. The ferrets seldom make a mess and don't claw carpets. Carpets are washed on "Delicate" washer setting and air dried on a line. Paper backing comes off and some carpet glue at first. Cheaper carpet ravels most do well.

I think cages should be like this. I've used this for 4-1/2 years for four ferrets. The Ferret Nation cage is probably best but the floors and ramps still need modifications for convenience. You hardly touched on this one or the SuperPet one. Most of the cages you discussed I wouldn't have.

Dennis, Wadsworth, OH
Posted: 5/30/2009 10:03:31 AM
Great article but disappointed that there wasn't more on one of the most popular cages in the last 1 1/2 years- the Ferret Nation 141,142 & 143. A past problem with shelf design is being re-manufactured as we speak and i believe it is a solid piece-eliminating any toe/foot catching danger. In the meantime LFFR Bedding makes covers & bedding for better protection. It is the easiest cage so far in our history of 11 years with ferrets to clean, dress & move around. We have replaced all other cages now with 142 models.
Rose, Plympton, MA
Posted: 5/5/2009 8:32:57 AM
When I first brought my little Vivi home, she was always in her cage until she discovered how to open the cage door during the night when everyone was sleeping. After many attempts to have her sleep in her cage, Vivi had won her freedom from her caged and she hasn't been back there in years. I happy for the other ferret owners that their ferrets sleep in their cages!!!
Diana, Chicago, IL
Posted: 4/27/2009 7:49:08 PM
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