I am a sucker for the fuzzies. I wanted ferrets since I was an early teen. However they were illegal in California at the time (still are, but that is another rant) and I don’t think even if they weren’t illegal I could have convinced my parents to have gotten one. When I finally moved out of California to Sin City I was engaged and we had a cat and dog in a moderate sized apartment. We both wanted a ferret, however, and we were now in a state where they are legal. The Plan was to hold off on the ferrets until the other animals had died.
Then Roach happened. Roach was the ferret of our downstairs neighbor. He got out and my wife found him. That day it went from “oh yeah, we really wanted a ferret but not yet” to “how much would it be” to “maybe we can find a cage on eBay or Craigslist cheap” to “lets get one tonight!”
We bought Fex that night and have not regretted one second of it. No lie, not hyperbole. We love this little almost 3lb stink ball about as much as anyone can. Several weeks later we decided to get a playmate or two for Fex and rescued Aesa and Samson from a really bad situation. They were in a huge cage with a single blanket, no food, no water, no litter and their own excrement covering the floor and piled on the first two (of four) levels. For all that they are the most gentle and lovable critters I have ever had bless my life.
So where is the heartbreak?
Aesa and Samson’s situation might not be unique. In fact, I suspect it is fairly common. Ever since we rescued them from neglect I have searched on the word “ferret” on Craigslist every day looking for a better cage. Every few weeks I see the same post from different people. It boils down to these common words:
Ferret for Sale. Great with people. 10 months old. Comes with a nice cage and any left over food/litter/toys.
Sometimes they’re 8 months old. Sometimes they’re a year old. But always somewhere in that 4 month window. And the cage? It’s almost always a Super Pet 3 story cage. The same model of cage we bought when we succumbed to our ferrety madness and bought Fex.
So these are kits that were bought and somehow in the following 4-8 months these people found out that they weren’t willing to for care a ferret. So another ferret for sale on Craigslist (or worse).
I don’t wish any of those ferrets to end up in as bad (or worse) situation that Aesa and Samson were before we came along. But, c’mon, how can someone go from thinking they can take care of a ferret to wanting to give it up far less than a year later? Ferrets are not that hard to take care of. Of course my wife will kill me for saying so since she’s the one that bathes the kids and trims their claws (I’m too much of a wussy daddy to do it, they have me wrapped around their paws). But even so they sleep most of the day away. They only need a few hours of playtime out side their cage every day. And any pet lover with even half an ice cold heart has enough softie in them to give the little monsters all the snuggin’s they need on a daily basis. Scoop ’em regularly and you’re over the hump! How hard is that?
What breaks my heart is I know how quiet ferrets are. They’re not like cats or dogs who can, and will, meow or bark their little tails off to get attention when something is wrong. Ferrets are absolutely silent unless they’re playing. When you have more than one they entertain themselves. So why can’t these people own up and take responsibility for the choice they made 4-8 months ago and just commit the hour or so a day it takes to care for the ferret they purchased. I can understand if they would not want another. Great! But at least own up to the one they’ve got. It’s really not that hard and these critters aren’t as self-sufficient as the more popular cat and dog. They deserve a decent, stable home for all the love and joy they bring. I honestly feel that all but the most incompetent people can take care of a ferret for its lifetime. Only the most selfish and callous would shirk their responsibility after so little a time.