Keeping a new pet often comes with challenges. Each of them has its unique needs. If you have a ferret or are planning to keep one in your home, then you need to understand their characters.
Generally, ferrets are adorable companions. They are not only curious and playful, but they are also smart and social. That is why they easily get along with their owners and other similar pets. We will discuss more on this in the next sections.
Boredom and Loneliness in Ferrets
Ferrets are smart and active creatures. So, you need to engage them daily with some physical and mental stimulation. This is especially important if you have a single ferret. Without a companion, your ferret will get lonely and bored.
While ferrets spend more of their time sleeping (usually 16 hours), they still need time to play. The best times for exercise and play are around sunset and sunrise. These are the periods that your pets wake up.
But if these times do not fit into your schedule, you don’t have to worry. The good thing is that ferrets can adjust to their owners’ schedules. They are ideal pets for someone with a full-time job.
Single ferrets need more attention than those in pairs. If you have lived with ferrets for a while, then you will agree that they can display a range of emotions that are similar to humans.
Without someone to cheer them up or play with them, ferrets will be emotionally upset. A consistent failure on your part to have these emotions honored may grow into something serious and might even shorten their lifespan.
Is it OK to Have Just One Ferret?
So, can a ferret live alone? Well, the answer is both yes and no. Without any friends, they will definitely require more playtime from their owners. Actually, they need a lot of attention.
With this in mind, one ferret can survive alone as long as it receives enough attention and plays regularly. Otherwise, they will get bored easily. Ferrets that are kept in their gage all the time are usually unhealthy. You should allow them to explore and run around.
Ferrets like chasing. So, a tag can be a perfect game for them. Chase your pet around your home and then gently tap its body or head to tag it. After that, run away from the ferret and let it chase you. You can repeat this game many times until both of you are satisfied.
Can You Leave a Ferret Alone for 8 Hours?
On normal occasions, you can leave your pet for more than 8 hours a day. This might not affect them too much if you sneak out when they are sleeping. As mentioned above, they sleep for up to 16 hours, so you shouldn’t worry about being alone.
With this in mind, you can go to work and still find your pet happy when you come back. Just make sure to engage it when you are present. Also, make sure to leave them with food and plenty of toys to keep them active just in case they wake up when you are away.
Can Ferrets Die of Loneliness?
Typically, ferrets live for about 6 – 10 years. And as you know, ferrets are emotionally sensitive creatures and love companionship. So, if you are living alone and keeping a single ferret, be ready to provide companionship to your pet for that period.
If you leave them alone, they might enter into a state of deep mourning. In some cases, they might even die of loneliness.
If your ferret shows changes in behavior such as being lethargic, refusing to eat, showing disinterest, treating toys like babies, sleeping longer than usual, or being grumpy, then things are really serious.
Some people consider adding another ferret or other pets when they realize that they can’t commit to their pet. If you are planning to do so, make sure to play with both pets during their initial encounter to encourage them to bond.
How Much Time Should You Spend with Your Ferret?
On average, you should allocate a minimum of 1 – 4 hours of playtime. This doesn’t mean that you need 4 consecutive hours playing with the pet. You can spend a couple of minutes with your ferret several times a day.
Keeping One Pet Ferret Happy
To keep your ferret happy, create a stimulating environment. Remove your ferret out of the cage for about 4 hours a day.
Just let it run free in your home, but make sure to remove anything that could harm or destroy your pet. Ferrets that stay in their cage for long hours tend to be overweight, lazy, and dull.
Besides this, you can also keep several toys around your home. Just like cats and dogs, ferrets love playing with toys, too. Your ferret will tug on them. Sometimes, it may chew on them.
So, try to keep sturdy toys like rope toys and rubber balls, among other hard toys. The toys shouldn’t be designed specifically for ferrets. Cats and dogs’ toys can work. Just make sure the toys are firm and small enough for the ferret to move around with.
As said earlier, set some time to play with your ferret. Interesting things to do with your pet include towel games as well as hunting and chasing games. For instance, you can take your old towel and wiggle it around your companion.
Your ferret will get interested and start changing after the towel. You can make this game more interesting with rope tug-of-war styles toys.
Apart from this, you can hide several treats around your home. For instance, you can keep some under the furniture or in corners. When you hide treats, your ferret will develop some hunting behavior.
Your ferret will run around the house looking for these treats. This game is ideal for single ferrets because it stimulates their minds without having to compete for treats.
As you can see, ferrets are active, intelligent, and curious friends. That is why you need to keep them stimulated to stay entertained.
Make sure to dedicate some time to play with your ferret. When your pet is healthy and happy, you will be happy, too.