We just adopted a 3 year old ferret and really need some help with him.
He has been kept in a mouse/hamster cage for his entire life... yes i'm talking about a 1 foot by 8 inch cage....
Since we got him a couple of days ago, he's been loose in a bedroom, don't worry, I emptied it out, there is ABSOLUTLY nothing in there except for a tunnel for him to play in, a nice blanket he's tunneled in, some safe cat toys and a litter box which he is not at all interested in... and of course his food and water.
He seems a little nervous, but it's understandable, other then that very friendly and fun. He seems to be learning how to play, which is REALLY cute.
I work in a pet FOOD and ACCESSORY store, a woman brought him in because she thought we sold pets and thought she could get money for him if we could sell him. He was bought for her kids who of course didnt take care of him and she was "grossed out" by him because "he looks like a weasle" ....duh....
Anyway, I need to know a couple of things about ferrets. I've done a TON of reading online but alot of things contradict each other.
First of all, can i feed him cat food, if it is a high quality, grain free formula? I looked through the ingredient list, it's very similar to ferret food.(42% protein, 18% fat) I know ferrets are carnivors and cats are aswell sooo.... ? just asking =P
I'm going to build him a cage tomorrow.... I'm doing the "blue prints" if you will, i've added a den for him because i know they "tunnel", i have a maze type area (he seems to be pretty smart), carpeted areas and areas i will cover in astroturf. also I've added a ton of things for him to climb on.....Please let me know if any of this sounds like a bad idea.
Ok, another thing, he has wicked little teeth. He's not aggressive but during play he's a little rough. A little rough as in.. he's broken my skin a few times. For the life of me I can't find anything on training an older ferret. Any tips on how to discourage bitting... or at least bitting that hard?
I brought him to the vet, everything looks fine. They gave me a de-wormer for dogs... that doesn't seem right to me. I couldn't gather a fecal sample so we don't know if he has worms... but i'm hesitant to give him the pills... any thought on it? The vet doesn't seem well versed in exotique pets. He's been eating dog food on an off.... should i be worried about this? I know dog food is NOT good for ferrets because they are not made to process the fruits and vegetable and grain.... I realize he probably won't have a great life expectancy because of his tiny cage and poor quality food, but from now if there anything i can do to reverse anything?
Last thing is; I need to fatten him up a bit, he looks pretty pathetic right now.... I've read I can give him cooked or raw meat... I don't think i'll give him raw... But is it OK to give him cooked meat? steak, chicken, pork??? one better then the other? I read that they may become a bit more agressive once they've had meat... My dogs and cats have meat all the time and it hasn't altered their behavior??
I'l just add quickly, I'm 99% sure he's a marshall farms ferret, he's tattooed on the ear... which would mean he's "deglander" and fixed... the vet wouldn't tell me either... but judging by my rats you can tell if they aren't fixed... although he does smell... if i put a small tub in his cage do they like that or will it be dangerous?
Sorry for the length of the post.... I just want to do whatever is best for this little guy! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!