Saturday

jingle the ferret

Growing up, my parents let us have just about any pet we wanted. We had rats, hamsters, bunnies, horses, pigs, cows, dogs, cats, and the occasional baby squirrel or owl.

I've had the same philosophy with my kids and we've had lots of pets. I did dog rescue for several years, so we had lots of puppies and young dogs going through the house. I had three large parrots at one time, but had to find new homes for them when I got divorced. We've also had bunnies and goldfish and hamsters and rats. Rats are AWESOME pets, by the way.

Right now we have two dogs, two cats and Bob the python.

I had never really known anyone with a ferret until I met "Weasel," my friend SPK's ferret. Weasel was adorable and hilarious, but I still didn't really know much about having ferrets as pets. They seemed pretty high maintenance.

When Jane mentioned she either wanted a ferret or kitten for Christmas, I mentioned it to Jon, expecting him to say hell no to a weasel in the house. To my surprise, he said he looooves ferrets, having done some ferret-sitting for a friend in years past.

So Santa brought Jane a baby ferret, whom she has named "Jingle."

DSC02589

Jingle has now lived with us for a few days and I have to say that he is awesome. He's certainly the most entertaining critter I've ever had living in the house. I can't tell you how funny it is to watch a ferret hop and shimmy around the room. He's just hilarious. He's obsessed with Christmas ornaments and feet. You really have to watch your toes or he will "attack" them.

He's very gentle and never bites. And he's extremely outgoing.

As it turns out, ferrets are not that high maintenance. They do need a big cage and plenty of play time out of the cage, but they also sleep a whole lot. They are quiet and exceptionally clean. Jingle is already totally litter trained. The litter box is in his cage and he never goes anywhere else. You just clean his litter box once a day, like with a cat. No biggie. He's already neutered, but we need to take him to get his shots in the next few weeks.

I don't thnk a ferret would be a great pet for a very small child, because they aren't inclined to quietly snuggle in your lap. They want to play all over your body instead. But for older kids, or people wanting a pet that's something like a cross between a dog and a cat, ferrets seems a great choice.

4 comments:

dedanaan said...

I'm so glad to hear you say nice things about having pet rats. They've gotten a bad rap over the years. I have three, and I just love them. They more fun and a lot less grumpy and bitey than hamsters.

Anonymous said...

Be careful though--there was just an incident (in the UK?) where a ferrett bit off 4 of a baby's toes. However, I believe it was due to neglectful parents as well.

Anonymous said...

and you will need to be VERY careful with your ferret if you wind up having this new baby. The ferret will need to stay in its cage ALL the time. It only takes a second. I know several people who have worked as vet techs and in pet shops and when I was contemplating a ferret they ALL said to never ever have one in a house with a baby or toddler and they all had a different tale to tell about the ferret attacking a baby in the face or otherwise harming them. Given that the animal welfare folks completely sell you on the fact that these guys need out of cage time for hours on end, when baby comes, you will have to either get rid of the ferret or keep it under lock and key. Or maybe it can run around when you are out publicly nursing at the local starbucks. but then if it escapes and is running around loose in your house...

Anonymous said...

while you are at it, a python is also dangerous in a house with a newborn. I know quite a bit about snakes because my six yr old desperately wants one. I have been told by multiple sources that except for small things like garter snakes, that 12 or so is the minimal age for a larger snake. Elliot is WAY too young..he was what...six when he got the python? Thats just too young to know the proper safety precautions and implement them with an animal capable of choking you to death. And lets not talk about what the thing could do to a baby. and dont say the snake wont escape because everyone I know with a snake has a "time the snake escaped and we found it under the sofa when grandma was visiting" story.
I would never let my kids have "any pet they wanted". There is a capacity (just like with kids) of how many one can reasonably care for and give attention to. There are limits too on what I would find acceptable. I am thankful everyday that monkeys are illegal in most states because my kids want one.
my husband detests cats so guess what: it doesnt matter how much kids want a kitty...they dont get one. besides, its nice not to be sniffing cat pee in my house.
and my son with the snake? they totally creep out my husband so its possible he wont get a snake till he is out of the house..and unlike some other people I dont believe in working the husband till he says yes. I believe in respecting his opinion.
lest you think my kids are deprived, we have a dog that is way too spoiled, my son has a hamster, my daughter had a chinchilla until it died, and they won some fish at a harvest festival and I went out and bought a nifty little tank that sits on my counter with said fish. we have had times where we had multiple dogs and it was too chaotic. my kids every so often ask if we can get another dog. there is always another animal around the corner that they would "love" to have even if they get this one. I dont feel that I am damaging them for life by saying, no we already have a dog or we have enough pets and the answer is no. It teaches kids boundaries. it teaches them that you have to choose what you want the most rather than just getting everything you want.