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Do Ferrets Need a Cage? Can Ferrets Be Cageless?

ferret sitting on the floor

If you want to be a ferret owner, you have to understand ferrets as pets. Ferrets can be cageless, although we strongly recommend using a cage when you can’t supervise them. Ferrets are mischievous animals, so keeping them in a cage is a good way to keep them away from the trouble they usually have an easy time finding. Let’s look a bit closer.

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Do Ferrets Need a Cage?

Ferrets are very curious animals. While they don’t necessarily need a cage, it is recommended for them due to their strong inquisitiveness. Cages are very good for ferret’s safety, as long as you know how to pick them and how to use them.

Keep in mind that you can’t leave a ferret in the cage all day because ferrets need to run around to burn off energy. Keeping a ferret in the cage at all times will result in a frustrated and sometimes even aggressive ferret. You have to let your ferret out of the cage at least twice a day for a minimum of 2 hours each time.

The good thing is that ferrets can adjust their sleeping habits to your obligations. That means they will sleep when you are busy and run around when you are at home so you can spend some time with them playing, or simply supervising their adventures.

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Image Credit: Couperfield, Shutterstock

Why Should You Have a Ferret Cage?

Having a ferret cage offers safety, peace, and a place to call home for your ferret, so it is recommended that you get one. It also helps you control different situations like inviting guests over, cleaning your home, etc.

Ferret Safety

Ferrets love to explore which means crawling into cabinets, under or inside the couch, jumping on the coffee tables, knocking over books from the bookshelf, etc. These adventures are great for their mental and physical stimulation, but they aren’t good for their safety. A ferret can knock a book onto a fellow pet to injure it, get stuck under the couch, or enter a dangerous drawer filled with sharp objects like knives. There have been too many accidents that resulted in a serious injury or even death for a ferret owner to think twice about leaving a ferret unsupervised in their home.

Keeps Your Worries Away

Keeping a ferret in the cage allows you to relax when you have to leave your ferret alone in your home. You won’t have to worry about whether you closed the window, put aside breakfast leftovers or any other small object a ferret can find and eat, risking illness. When you have something to do, you can grab your sleeping ferret and place it in the hammock in the cage. He will continue sleeping and you will go out without a worry in your mind.

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Image Credit: kemll, Pixabay

Ferrets Treat Cages as Their Home

It is nice to have a place to go to sleep without others disturbing you or simply a place to eat or drink. A ferret cage can be that to ferrets. If you don’t own a ferret cage, you will find your ferret sleeping in your sock drawer, in the closet among blankets, or some other quiet and comfy place. That is a place a ferret is looking for and you can easily turn a ferret cage into a wonderful ferret home with lots of hammocks. There are ferret owners who have cages and ferrets go there on their own to eat, drink, and sleep.

Easier Control of Different Situations

There are a couple of situations when it is better for a ferret to be in the cage. Those aren’t everyday situations so we don’t think much about them, but they are there. For example, cleaning our home is much easier when we know that ferrets won’t come near the chemicals we are using when we aren’t looking.

Airing out our homes is an important task we do often. When we want to do it, it is much better to place a ferret in the cage so it won’t come near an open window.

Inviting guests over is another situation where it is better for a ferret to be in the cage. Most people aren’t used to checking where they walk or sit and ferrets love to be around people’s feet which can result in scared guests, injured ferrets, or worse.

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How To Pick a Ferret Cage

A good ferret cage is a big cage with multiple levels, secured doors, metal wires on the walls, and plastic platforms. A cage shouldn’t be smaller than 3 feet in width, 2 feet in height, and 2 feet in depth. These dimensions allow you to organize a ferret living space.

Characteristics of a Good Ferret Cage

Doors on the cage must have a lock because ferrets can open doors from the inside. When it comes to the construction of the cage, the metal wires on the walls should be 1 inch wide at most, otherwise, ferrets can use them as an escape route. Each platform in the cage should be made of solid plastic because wires on the floors can injure the ferret’s paws and nails. Don’t use aquariums or wooden cages because they aren’t good options for ferrets.

ferret in hammock in cage
Image Credit: Barbos2514, Pixabay

How To Organize a Ferret Cage

You can put the litter box on the bottom of the cage because ferrets can be litter trained. The top platform of the cage can be reserved for food and water bowls and other platforms can be filled with hammocks and toys for sleeping and playing. With this organization, you are separating the kitchen from the bathroom, which prevents bacteria from spreading around. Also, while your ferret is in the cage, he has everything he needs: food, water, litter box, hammocks, and toys.

How To Use Ferret Cage

You can keep your ferret in the cage during the day, as long as you let him out in the morning and in the evening, at least two hours each time. You can have a cage door opened all the time and close them only when you are not at home, cleaning, or having guests. No matter which option you choose, you have to keep your ferret supervised and safe every second he spends out of the cage if you want to prevent accidents.

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Can Ferrets Be Free Range?

It is possible to have a free-range ferret in your home, but this requires a lot of work, improvisation, and observation. If you want to provide your ferret a home in which to freely roam, then you have to remove all the safety issues in your home (or rooms reserved for your ferret). This process is called ferret proofing.

What Is Ferret-Proofing?

Ferret-proofing is removing all dangerous items you have in your home with the purpose of providing a safe environment for your ferret. You have to ferret-proof every room your ferret will have access to, so it is up to you to decide the size of the ferret roaming adaptations.

Most ferret-proofing consists of covering small holes between a wall and furniture or appliances, removing items from coffee tables, bookshelves (at least the first two shelves), locking up chemicals and cleaning supplied, closing holes on the bottom of couches, chairs, removing plants, using baby locks on drawers and cabinet doors, etc.

Ferret-proofing is a process. First, do the most common things we mentioned above. Then, observe your ferret and see what he is capable of. Some ferrets jump high, others can climb. By observing your ferret, you will discover more and more things you have to relocate, close, or improve to provide your pet with a safe haven.

Related Read: Are Ferrets Rodents?

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Final Thoughts

Ferrets can be cageless, but we would recommend using a ferret cage, especially for new ferret owners. With time and experience, you will figure out what are dangerous spots in your home so you can secure them. Ferret proofing is very useful for your ferret and your own peace of mind. But, no matter what you do and how good you ferret proof your home, don’t leave your ferrets unsupervised for a longer period because they are very capable pets and will track down trouble quickly.


Featured Image Credit: Fayzulin Serg, Shutterstock

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