Ferret In Hand or………….. In Cage or……………………….

There has been a rule at my home for many years. Ferrets in hand or ferrets in cage before any outside door is ever opened.  Never assume your ferret is still asleep under the bed or behind the TV when you open your door to the outside world to bring in the newspaper, put the garbage out…… whatever!!!

We implemented this rule after one of our shelter ferrets did a walk about without our knowledge! In other words he escaped the house!  My hubby Guy had let our 225 pound English Mastiff outside to go potty and right back in. One Eyed Jack was supposedly asleep behind the TV. We had both giggled as he dragged a stuffy with him to sleep with behind the TV.

One Eyed Jack was a stray found by the river and brought to us.  He had tangled with something and his one eyed was beyond saving.  We patched him up and he became part of our shelter family.  Now he had escaped from his original owners so we should have known he had a bit of the wonderlust in him!

So, Ari went potty and came right back in. We all settled down to continue watching TV. Guy heard this scratching sound.  I didn’t hear anything. Ari was doing what mastiffs do best, snoring up a storm. Guy muted the TV and insisted he heard scratching. He got up and went to the front door.(We had not installed a second door – screen door at that time).  He opened it and in waltzes One Eyed Jack!

OMG and other assorted expletives.  It seems One Eyed Jack had snuck out with the dog. He had his little walk about in the back yard, then went under the gate, up the driveway, up the sidewalk, up 4 very high cement steps and was scratching on the door to be let in.  We hadn’t realized he was out. Had he not scratched to be let back in, it would have been at least an hour when our show ended before we would have realized he was missing. If our screen door had been added back then, would Guy have heard the scratching?

We dodged a bullet that day.  Today I dodged another bullet.  I had Zipper, Zora and Tank out playing in the bedroom.  They spent some time playing in the bedroom, then I was giving them a little free range time before I put them to bed. I looked out the living room window to see two crows sizing up my small  birds at the feeder.  Yes the law of nature is eat or be eaten but not on my watch and not today when I was already not having the best of days.  I quickly opened the front door and the screen door, stepped out on to the front steps  and shooed  the crows away.  I closed the screen door; remembered my rule and looked out the screen door window to make sure no ferrets were dancing on the steps. All clear. Good! I closed the screen door and the front door. It’s cold today!

About fifteen minutes later I decided to round up the 3 furries and put them back to bed. Tank was sleeping in the sleep sack back in the bedroom.  Zipper was sleeping in the ladybug back in the bedroom .  I can’t find Zorra in the bedroom sleep areas.  I start with the bedroom and start looking. No Zora. I close the bedroom door and move on to the shelter room.  I checked everywhere in the shelter, no Zora. I then checked their cage. Yes, sometimes, she puts herself back to bed and maybe I am panicking for nothing. Nope, not in the cage.

Oh God, I opened the front door to shoo the crows away. My mind screams no way  she  got out! She is not in the house, so yeah, she has to be outside. Great! 30 minutes head start at least! Where to even start!  I am ferret sitting these three; what will Colleen say when I tell her I’ve lost her little girl!  By now I am in tears and fighting a panic attack.  Find ferret and then have your damn melt down!

With squeak toy in hand I opened my front door.  Did I mention that I have a screen door and then my front door. I look down as I reach for the screen door handle and there she is! Zora was huddled in that small gap between the front door and screen door.

Relief flooded over me. Thank god she was tiny enough that I hadn’t squashed her between the doors.  I guess when I peered through the screen door to see if any ferrets had gotten out on to the steps Zora must have been right at my feet.  I didn’t see ferrets on the front step, so I closed the front door without looking down.

Zora washed my face with kisses and I snuggled her so hard her eyes could have popped.  No bad news to give Colleen.  My world righted itself once again.  Now that the crisis is over, let me share my rule with all you ferret owners who think it can’t happen to me because I’m always careful- yes it can happen to you! I have run the main shelter for 20 years and you’d think I would be smarter!……………………FERRET IN HAND OR FERRET IN CAGE BEFORE OPENING ANY DOORS TO THE OUTSIDE!

By the way, just so you all know, a stray ferret was surrendered to our shelter on Saturday evening. The ferret was found wandering a rural property and has yet to be claimed! Now this is Easter weekend with many family gatherings that started on Good Friday right through to Easter Monday. Lots of get togethers, people coming and going! Somebody out there is bawling their eyes out while searching for their ferret.  I just hope they call.

Deb, shamed ferret mom

 

Garret Looses the “Urge”

I have been running the Main shelter for 18 years and Garret’s medical problem was a first for the MFA!  Garret’s mom and dad were at their wits end when they called me.  Their handsome boy who was a year and a half had become very aggressive with their female ferret Luna and also their cat.  Garret was “mounting” them incessantly. Garret had also become really really stinky! They were trying to juggle 2 separate ferret play times, hide the cat and look after a new baby.  They felt that Garret was not happy and needed a different playmate. Luna and the cat were so stressed out.

Now I love, love, love the way ferrets smell, but Garret was way over the top! He smelled just like a whole male ferret! Actually, it’s a little strong, but, I didn’t mind it! Sidebar, if you don’t change your clothes after handling said ferret, people at the store give you peculiar looks when you walk by them!

Now years ago we had a young dark eyed white male ferret, approximately 2 and 1/2 years old that was surrendered because he was stinky.  A trip to the vet and follow up surgery revealed a huge tumor on his left adrenal gland.

Off to the vet’s we went with Garret.  My guess was adrenal tumor or maybe incomplete neuter.  I have had female ferrets in with incomplete spay but never an incomplete neuter. Dr. Singh was 95% sure that Garret had a undescended testicle.  Dr. Singh had time that very day to do the surgery. So, before I had time to worry about Garret and the anesthetic be was whisked away.

Garret sporting stitches aftr having a testicle removed. Notice how long he is!

Garret sporting stitches after having a testicle removed. Notice how long he is!

Garret was awake and ready to party when I picked him up 4 hours later.  I was told to keep him quiet for a few days-right! Garret did 36 hours in the hospital cage and then made it clear he was going crazy being confined.

 

I want to thank Garret for his donation to our Show and Tell Kit for the Second year students at Red River College.  I have a Cordoma tumor, a spleen and now a testicle!

Garret's testicle

Garret’s testicle

Garret back to his old self

Garret back to his old self

 

Human Proofing!

Tuesdays are litter box cleaning days here at the shelter.  Our garbage is picked up on Wednesday mornings and I like to get the stinky dirty litter gone from my side driveway!

I’m having a slow start this morning. Opened the bedroom drapes to more #$%^$# snow on the ground!  I am so sick of snow! But no, I did not crawl back under the covers.

Got through my breakfast and duck soupies for the old ladies. Made the bed and had my back decide to be a bully today. it sent me a message “You move-I spasm!” More bad words.

I have 18 litter boxes to empty, wash, dry and re-fill.  Doing good considering my sore back.  Going up and down the stairs was getting a bit much.  I am going to cheat and carry up 3 clean litter boxes at one time!  Now a year ago I could carry 4 litter boxes up no problem. But since I put my back out, I can do 3 at a time. This morning I was down to 2 litter boxes at a time, but, this was taking too long! Yeah right!

Coming up the stairs with my 3 clean litter boxes and wham! How the hell do you miss a step going UP!! I did try really hard not to drop the litter boxes! I saved two but the bottom litter box …… well, see for yourself!

This is what happens when you fall UP the stairs with 3 litter boxes in your hands!

This is what happens when you fall UP the stairs with 3 litter boxes in your hands!

the 2 litter boxes at the top of the stairs and the lip of the spilled box 2 steps down!

the 2 litter boxes at the top of the stairs and the lip of the spilled box 2 steps down!

So much for saving time! The good thing (I always try to find a positive) is that this was a clean litter box and all I had to do was put the litter box under each step and with my hands sweep the clean litter back into the litter box.  Did you know Wood pellets scatter real well?!

I am not picking the dog hairs from the steps out of the litter box. I have a miniature Eskimo and Miki is shedding like crazy right now! Whichever  cage gets this litter box, well I’ll tell them there’s a little extra to make their pooping experience softer and more enjoyable!

I’m taking a long coffee break before I continue on!

New Toy – Not!

I am the first to admit that I spoil my ferrets.  I am constantly fussing over the cage set up to make sure it is safe.  I have Adrienne’s beautiful soft split hammocks and lots of towels or blankies to snuggle in.

I am a fixture at the Dollarama, on the look out for new toys for the fuzzies to enjoy. Gosh, I even re-did the rec room floor; tearing out the old stinky carpet and putting in vinyl plank flooring.

I have toy boxes upstairs and downstairs filled with stuffies and jingle balls. What more could a ferret ask for?

I had Zippa and Zorrow out playing in my bedroom. Yes, it is a designated play area during the day.  I have tubes under the bed and dog beds for them to curl up in.  The ensuite bathroom is not a play area and I keep that door closed.

I went to put these two furries to bed and discovered bits of toilet paper at the end of my bed? What the heck? I see the bathroom door ajar. Crap (pun intended) I must not of closed the door properly and they pushed it open.

Just then Zorrow came bouncing out of the bathroom with the unwrapped roll of paper towel firmly clenched in his teeth.  He scooted under the bed before I could blink.

My only word was – oh, oh………………..

ferret toy - NOT!

ferret toy – NOT!

You guessed it, they had pried open the cabinet sink doors. All my supplies were strewn about. Zippa was trying real hard to get a grip on the roll of toilet paper that she had “dug” out of the package. When she saw me she bolted for the bed.  She knew this was NOT a designated ferret toy.

So, I now have a custom roll of toilet paper that I have to figure out how to still use!

Custom detailed roll of toilet paper a la ferret!

Custom detailed roll of toilet paper a la ferret!

I have one other comment.  I am very relieved that Zippa and Zorrow did not decide to stick their heads inside the toilet paper tube.  Years ago a ferret actually suffocated after getting stuck in one.  All my USED toilet paper tubes are automatically torn in half before being placed in the recycle bin.  Thank goodness Zippa hadn’t tried to go through the toilet tube tunnel!

Off to Wal Mart. Time to buy those baby locks for cabinets! I swear, ferret proofing is never over!

 

How to NOT step on your sleeping ferret

The MFA has a handout “Ferret Proofing” your home.   I wish we could also ferret proof our ferrets! Years ago after a “near Squish” scatter rugs were banned from my house and added to the list under Ferret Proofing.

Carpet runners have crept back into my house now that I have vinyl flooring through out. When the ferrets are out playing I will never step on a bunched up carpet runner.  I know that a silly ferret may be hiding under there.

I hang up wet towels after my bath and my clothes go into the hamper immediately.  I do not give the ferrets  the chance to curl up under these things. One moment of inattention and hurry could lead me to stepping on a sleeping ferret. I have a dozen safe sleeping nest boxes all over the house but we know that the ferret will choose the most dangerous place to sleep if they can. If only I could ferret proof the ferret!

One trick I have learnt over the years is to put a ferret blankie down were a ferret insist on pooping and I don’t want him to; such as behind the bedroom door or even in front of the bedroom door when the Plexiglas partition is in place.

I left Rosie and Finnigan out in the ferret room to play as an overnight treat. These two old ladies do tend to go potty where ever they want, not even in corners!  I put a blankie across the front of the shelter room door hoping to discourage a mess at the door.

This morning it was time to put the old girls back in their cage and let another cage out to play.  I lifted the Plexiglas divider and looked down at the flat blankie.  I gently patted the blankie and sure enough even though it looked flat there was a small warm ripple (couldn’t even really call it a bump because it was so small).

"Flat" blankie in doorway

“Flat” blankie in doorway

A tiny little face poked out of the folds!

Finnegan poking her head out from the blankie on the floor

Finnegan poking her head out from the blankie on the floor

Finnegan is half a pound soaking wet, maybe! She is so tiny.  My miniature Eskimo Miki had wanted to dash past me into the ferret room to “clean” any crumbs up.  Miki weighs 30 pounds; she would have caused a fatal squish had I let her bolt past me into the ferret room.  The reason Miki is so overweight is because of all the ferret food she steals. She is very good at it!

Miki cleaning up ferret "crumbs"

Miki cleaning up ferret “crumbs”

I peeled back the blankie and my sweet Finni was not much interested in leaving her current sleeping spot. Finnegan is the same little girl that hid in my grandson’s boot and had me on a worried hunt for over 30 minutes!

Finni and Rosie were put back to bed in their cage. A kiss on the nose, now safe and snug as a bug in the rug! LOL

Finnegan uncovered and not wanting to move from her blankie in the doorway!

Finnegan uncovered and not wanting to move from her blankie in the doorway!

If you have anything on the floor and you know your ferrets are out; enforce the rule “Never step on anything  a ferret can sleep under or in!