The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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When it comes to owning pets, most people are well aware of the fact that there will be some grievances and troublesome times. After all, animals are their own beings and have minds of their own, meaning that they might begin to do things that you may not want them to do.
Thankfully, most resourceful pet owners will find ways around the problems that their pets might cause. A common example of this is how people will invest in scratching trees and poles for their cats’ innate need to scratch things, or how people will make time for their dogs to go outside to relieve themselves.
But what happens if your pet isn’t one of the more common animals that people know how to deal with, such as a cat or dog? This might mean that you have to do a fair bit more research on your brand-new pet to make sure that you have the resources to handle caring for your new pet.
It is always important to make sure that you have the capability to care for a new pet, especially if it is one you have never owned before, such as a ferret.
For instance, some people aren’t entirely sure how to deal with ferrets and how they relieve themselves, especially considering that ferrets need to spend at least part of their time outside of their enclosures.
If you have a ferret, you might be worried about how it will go to the bathroom and what you have to do to clean up after it. Are they completely incontinent or can you litter-train your ferret with some effort?
The answer to this is that, to the most extent, ferrets will not pee everywhere. Most ferrets, quite like rabbits, will have specific areas where they will prefer to relieve themselves and they can even be litter-trained if you are willing to work with them.
Once your ferret is litter-trained, you should then move on to placing a litter box in every room that your ferret will have access to, and from there, your ferret will be naturally more inclined to use the litter box over urinating elsewhere in the house.
A completely untrained ferret will not necessarily pee everywhere in your house, but it will pee on things that you don’t want it to pee on, and because of this, it is important to train your ferret to be able to use a litter box, or at the worst, place a puppy pad in the preferred corner of your ferret’s spaces so that it has a place that is easier to clean.
If you are looking to train your ferret, you first need to understand their habits and what they have a tendency to do when they are untrained. This will make it immensely easier once you begin the training process.
A Ferret’s Urinary Habits
The first step to understanding how to best help your ferret get accustomed to a litter box is to understand where your ferret is going to be the most comfortable defecating and urinating.
While it might be disgusting to think about, it would be no more disgusting than cleaning out a cat’s litter box or picking up after a dog, and it is simply one of the responsibilities of owning a pet.
Ferrets will typically urinate and defecate in one specific corner of their habitat. There are some ferrets that will prefer to urinate and defecate in the middle of their enclosure, but these are considered the exception to the rule.
Because of this, you will want to take a day or two to observe and see where your ferret’s preferred corner of its enclosure is. This will become the spot where the litter box sits, assuming that there is room for it, and if there isn’t room, you will want to try and make room because for whatever reasons your ferret may have, that corner is considered preferable.
You will want to do the same thing when you let your ferret out of the enclosure to explore the room. You should make sure to do this with every room that you plan on allowing your ferret in, so that you can make sure that your ferret will have access to a good litter box wherever it is.
When ferrets plan on using litter trays, they will usually look around (often urgently) for their preferred corner and back themselves up into it. If you notice your ferret doing this, it is planning on relieving itself so you should generally leave it alone.
Ferrets should have access to at least one litter box per room, potentially more if you have more than a couple ferrets and if the ferrets are a combination of male and female.
This is because male ferrets will usually urinate near the middle of their bodies, and female ferrets urinate closer to the back of their bodies, which creates some disparity between the amount of space used in a litter box.
With all of this in mind, you can begin learning how to properly litter train your ferrets. The truth is that most ferrets are actually very easy to litter train because of their habit of urinating and defecating in one specific corner.
Litter Training Your Ferret
Now that you have a good understanding of what your ferret is doing and what goes through its head when it needs to relieve itself, you will be able to help litter train your ferret much more easily. Once you know where your ferret’s preferred “potty corners” are, all you will need to do is place a litter tray in that area.
Most of the time, you will need a ferret tray that is designed for a corner, though most pet stores will have these as many rodents will also rely on these trays. For your room, you may not want a litter tray that you could easily trip over and spill everywhere, so another consideration would be to use a puppy pad, or another litter box alternative that is easier to clean up.
Most ferrets do not appreciate smelling and stepping on their own urine and feces, so you will need to clean the litter boxes (or puppy pads) on a daily basis.
Because ferrets are small animals, it is generally pretty easy to take care of this, though keep in mind that the more ferrets you have, especially if they are mixed males and females, you may have to clean up after them more often.
You will want to look for ferret-safe litters, as some cat litters are problematic for your ferret. Cats and ferrets share many similarities, but this is not one that you can share between them.
You will also want to make sure to look for potential problems when litter training your ferret. This can include eating litter, sleeping in a litter box, and a ferret deciding that it doesn’t want to use the litter tray that you have put out.
Ferrets will often eat their litter for a number of reasons, but it is a behavior that you will want to stop as ferrets generally cannot eat a lot of litter without problems.
Ferrets will sleep in their litter boxes if they do not have an adequate place to sleep that is cool, covered, and calm, so if this happens, you should try and provide a place to sleep that ferrets appreciate.