Despite a few misconceptions, ferrets are one of the most popular pets in the United States-and especially valued in Japan. They¹re well suited to smaller spaces, as they¹re quiet and take up very little room. However they can be very destructive since they love to dig. Contrary to popular belief, ferrets are not wild animals: They don¹t exist anywhere in the wild in the United States, and they¹ve been domesticated for three thousand years-just as long as cats.
Like dogs, ferrets have glands that secrete a scent when they¹re worried, but all ferrets sold in this country have had those glands removed and have been spayed or neutered. And they are not vicious animals prone to biting; more people suffer bites from dogs, cats, and even humans than from ferrets. However, it is still illegal to keep them in California, Hawaii, and a number of cities throughout the country (check to see if your local ordinances prohibit ownership).
If you are able to keep a ferret, you¹ll need a large cage made especially for them. You do not keep a ferrets cage lined with anything shredded. You should cover the wires with linoleum, newspaper or bedding (i.e., sheets, towels, tee shirts, etc.), but you should not use any shredded bedding or shavings. Aspen-wood shavings (shavings of other woods are too dusty and contain phenols, which are harmful to ferrets) and outfitted with a water bottle, food dish, sleeping hammock, and litter box.
Ferrets also love to play and require a few ferret toys. A few Ferrets will use corners as toilets, which is why the litter box will be corner shaped. Most prefer to be able to get their entire body in the pan and the smallest I've been able to use are the small cat pans from Wal-Mart for $1.99.
Feeding a ferret is simple: Dry ferret food is sufficient, and you should keep your pet¹s dish constantly full. The dry food can be supplemented with treats made for ferrets, available at your pet store. Never let your ferret run around unsupervised; keep it in its cage if you can't watch it closely, and never take it outside without a leash and harness.
Remember to trim the ferret¹s nails, clean its ears periodically, and give it a bath twice a year with ferret shampoo. If you follow these guidelines and establish a relationship with a vet familiar with these animals, your ferret can be a longtime household companion with a life span ranging up to ten years.