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How to Set up a Ferret's Cage

A ferret's cage is his home, and it needs to be both functional and stimulating for your ferret so he can be healthy and happy. How can you create a cage that will satisfy his basic needs and also entertain him when he wants to play?

The first considerations when setting up any cage should be for the ferret's basic needs of food, water, bedding and litter. Food needs to be easily accessible to your ferret, but not so easy so that he can dump or tip the bowl over. For that reason, heavy ceramic crocks or bowls that securely fasten to the sides of the cage are usually the best bet for ferrets.

Water containers should be chosen with the same thought in mind - easy to reach, but hard to tip over. Also remember that some ferrets like to "snorkel" in their water, and for those types, a side-mount water bottle (like the ones used for rabbits) may be best if they are willing to use it. Otherwise, the same style of heavy crocks or clip-on bowls used for food can also be used for water.

Bedding might be the most important thing to your ferret. Since they like to nestle and burrow, both in play and sleep, it is vital to your ferret's mental well-being to have a satisfactory "bedroom". Ferrets that do not have a place to hide and call their own have been known to suffer from extreme cases of "cage stress". There are many sleep areas commercially available - sleep sacks, tunnels, cups and hammocks, but you might find that your ferret will be just as happy, or happier, with one of your old T-shirts. Either way, make sure that your ferret's sleep and burrowing needs are met.

Litter needs to be chosen with 2 things in mind: safety for the ferret and odor control. While there are litters designed for cats, these are not always the best options for a ferret. Clay, when wet, gets thick and cement-like, and will stick to your ferret's paws, nose and eyes when they are trying to find the best place to "go". They can also potentially cause a fatal blockage if some of it should be ingested, and it's also dusty and hard on a ferret's sensitive respiratory system. Wood shavings are not a safe choice because they contain essential oils that vaporize and are harmful to ferrets' lungs. Therefore, newspaper, recycled paper, corn cob, or wood pellet bedding are the best options for ferret litter boxes. Recycled paper and wood pellets are the most absorbent, which means they have the best odor control.

Lastly, a ferret needs to be provided with safe and entertaining toys to play with when you're not available. Be careful not to leave them with something that they could shred and ingest. There are many toys available in pet stores made especially with the needs of a ferret in mind. By getting a few of these to entertain your pet, you will know that he is safe and happy.

In keeping the above suggestions in mind when setting up your ferret's cage, you can be sure that he will have the best cage possible!

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