I thought I would address a couple of issues that were brought up in the
past couple "lists" (whether you all REALLY care or not!)
Litter Boxes: Someone was wondering if they could use a normal kind
of a box (was using one of those with the low side and ramp) and how
to keep the litter from spreading. We have always used a normal (large)
cat litter box that has a snap-on rim designed to keep the litter in the
box when cats dig to cover. We used one without the rim for some time
in one of the rooms and put it in the cage because it took up less
room, but we found that our two lovely ladies (??) thought that the
fresh litter was the neatest thing to dig in and spread all over the floor
of the cage. The box with the rim is considerably larger, but
none of the ferrets has ever had a tough time getting in or out of it.
They do like to cheat however and push the box over to the bottom shelf
of the cage so they can just walk from the shelf to the box without
having to step on the floor of the cage and then over the side of the
box. Lazy? Nah. . . Resourceful.
We also have a couple of boxes (of which we are down to just ONE) that
we have made into litter boxes. These are the clear Rubbermaid containers
that are approximately 10x16. We heated up a knife and cut a half circle
starting about 5 inches off the floor (3.5 inches tall maybe) to make
the door. We fill it with about two inches of litter put the lid on it
and away we go. You have to make sure the knife blade is extremely hot
and cut pretty darn slow. Otherwise, the plastic will crack and then
it looks bad. Anyhow, both types of boxes are used with some regularity
by all of ours without any trouble.
Cages: We got ours after listening to Steve Woodcock talk about the
cage they ended up getting for one of their ferrets that didn't get
along with the other 4. It is a cat cage that we bought from Cherrybrook.
(Much cheaper than getting it from a pet/feed store) I think we
paid a grand total of $125 including shipping. The cage is 2' deep, 3'
wide and 4' tall. We have run through a gamut of things to do with the
shelves, and have just recently come up with what we think might be our
best solution. There is a total of 20' of 1x12 in the cage. These
DON'T come with the cage, but you can get them pretty cheap at any
hardware store. We stained/polyurethaned all of the boards to keep them
from soaking up any of the ferret smell (that light musky odor) and
also any of the water that Snout spills all over the floor when he decides
the water bowl needs to actually be on the other side of the cage because
the water tastes better over there.
We had carpet on them before because we thought it would be more comfortable
for the ferrets, but with the constant water spillage and not being able
to clean them at all, they really smelled, especially now that it is summer
and incredibly humid here. We figured that as much as they liked to sleep
on the book shelves (more 1x12) that it probably didn't matter much if
they had carpet on them or not. They seem to like the cage and they have
a paper box to sleep in that has a couple of towels in it, as
well as a large towel on the 4th, of 5 levels, in the cage where the food
and water is. Their food and water bowls are the "heavyweight" bowls
that are for cat/dog food and they have little rubber feet on them that
actually makes them harder to push around on the wood than they were on
Diagram is kind of as follows (it's pretty rudimentary, I know)
| --------------- |
| | paper/sleep | |
| | box | |
|-------------------------------| 1'x3' shelf
|-------------------------------| 2'x3' shelf with 5"
| ^ ^ | holes where the carats
| | are.
|-------------------------------| 2 2'x1' shelves for the
| / | depth on either end and
| / | 1 1'x3' across them
| / |
|----------- | 2 2'x1' one for the shelf
| litter box | and one for the ramp.
We used popscicle stick as cleats on the ramp (3 high about 3" apart).
What's really nice about it is that it doesn't smell per se. The towels
do get a little fresh after a week or so, but we have so many "ferret"
towels that they are easy to change and wash. . .
Please no lectures on keeping ferrets in cages. We have found that when
we are not home it is safer and cheaper to keep them in the cage than to let
them run free about the house. One destroyed couch and many feet of
ruined carpet in front of closets isn't very neat.
Plus, if left out all the time, after about 2 weeks they forget that
they really ought to use the litter boxes and won't go back to using
them unless they are forced to be in some closer proximity to them. . .
Cheers. Sorry this is sooooo long.
[Posted in FML issue 0263]