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Ferret Equipment How-To Photos

Everyone does things a little differently, but here are some ideas to get you started. More information on how to set up a cage can be found in the Ferret FAQ.

Main cage

[PHOTO] [38k] This is Pixxel and Rusty's main cage. When they lived in this several hours a day, it had another level and various toys in it. Now it's just a handy place to keep their food dish, where spills stay reasonably contained and the cats can't get to it. This cage, for two ferrets, measures 2 X 2 X 3 feet (60 X 60 X 90 cm). The cage is made of quarter- and half-inch hardware cloth and 1 X 2's, and the base is plywood and 1 X 3's covered with linoleum squares. I don't recommend quarter-inch hardware cloth any more, since Pixxel once dislocated her toe by getting it stuck in one of the little squares. The hammock is a piece of denim from an old pair of jeans; we put metal eyelets on the corners and attached it to the top of the cage with shower curtain hooks. We've poked holes in the side of the litter pan, and it's attached to the cage with wire or twist-ties. The sliding door is held on by narrow plastic pipes which slide on coat-hanger runners, and it locks with a tiny padlock whose key is tied onto the door.

Bookcase-like main cage

[DIAGRAM] [15k] This main cage design sits against a wall and has lots of shelves, like a bookcase. The design and diagram come from Bob Gruen, who was looking for a roomy cage which was easy to clean and didn't take up a lot of floor space. It's built from 1 X 12 lumber, mainly, though a similar cage could be devised from a ready-made bookcase or cabinet. It measures 3' wide by 6' high by 1' deep, and contains 5 shelves. All are connected by 4" holes; the little shelves at the sides make it easier for them to get from shelf to shelf. To get to the top shelf, the ferret has to get on one end of a narrow shelf and squeeze along the width of the shelf, from left to right, to get to the access hole. The front is mostly covered by mesh doors, which open wide for cleaning, but one of the lower shelves has a wooden front panel for privacy. The shelves and back are coated in several coats of polyurethane, and they're exactly the width of a Chicago Tribune, which can be handy if your ferrets don't like to trek down to the litter pan on the bottom. Food goes on the second shelf up, safe from cats and dogs, and a water bottle is attached to the mesh door.

Travel cage

[PHOTO] [21k] This "car cage" is meant for short vacations. It's the most recent cage we've built, and it shows some distinct improvements over the first one, mainly its collapsibility. More detailed instructions for building this kind of cage are available. It measures roughly 18 X 24 X 20 inches (45 X 60 X 50 cm), and it's made of 1 X 2-inch fencing which we bought at an Agway farm/garden store. (Be warned that a kit or a small female might be able to get through that size opening.) The front comes off, the sides fold in, the top folds back, and the whole thing tucks into its own base. When it's unfolded, the front and top are held on by those small black triangular binder clips, and the wire part is held to the base by strings under the base which tie to the front and back of the wire. I just set this up to take a picture, so it's missing the food dish, water bottle, and bedding it would normally have for a trip in the car.

Shoulder bag

[PHOTO] [29k] Here's the travel bag we use for trips to the pet store or the vet. It's just a sports duffel with one of the mesh pockets cut out to make a window. It's about 10 X 10 X 18 inches (25 X 25 X 45 cm). A frame inside, made of wooden dowels, helps it keep its shape, and a Rubbermaid plastic storage container is wired to one end for a litter pan. End pockets hold any food, toys, water, and so forth that we want to bring. Safety pins across the top zippers keep ferret noses from pushing them open.

"Bedroom" basket

[PHOTO] [26k] Most ferrets prefer to sleep in some sort of small box or basket. This plastic basket, lined with an old towel, has been our ferrets' favorite bed for some time, and unlike the cardboard box they liked before, it's easily washable.

Collars, tags and bells

[PHOTO] [10k] Here are our ferrets' collars, complete with tags and reflective bells. Pixxel's, on the left, is a nylon kitten collar. Rusty scratched at his nylon collar, which pulled the threads and tightened it around his neck, so we got him a small leather puppy collar. Collars, tags and bells are a good idea for all ferrets.

Door barrier

[PHOTO] [19k] This is the barrier we have in the door to the "ferret room", a well-ferretproofed room where our ferrets spend their time when we're not home. Two 1 X 2's on each side make a narrow groove, into which we slide a piece of reasonably thick plexiglas, supported by wood on the top and bottom. A cardboard tube which we slid over the wood at the top stops Pixxel, our jumper, from catching her front paws on the edge and hauling herself over.


[No photo available] This idea comes from Rick May, whose female Mia Ferret hasn't been able to escape from it even once. (Males might need a pen with higher sides.) Buy two sheets of the cheapest indoor paneling available; have the store cut them in half lengthwise. Screw small wood screws most of the way in (so that the head sticks out) near each of the four corners on the finished side of the resulting four pieces. (The finished side will go on the outside of the pen--the grooves would provide clawholds for climbing.) Stand the four pieces on edge to form a box (screws on the outside), and use large rubber bands to snub the corners together. Result: an 8-foot-square playpen that can be quickly disassembled and stacked against the wall (8 feet is pretty big; I ended up cutting mine down to 6 feet square). I use a 9-by-12 washable cotton painter's tarp for a floor to protect my carpet from attempted digging and the occasional accident (it's washable). Don't put the cage inside the pen, or at least keep it far enough away from the walls to discourage escape attempts by leaping. Ditto any large toys that could give the critter a boost -- keep them away from the wall.
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Copyright© 1995-1998, 2000 by Pamela Greene <pamg@alumni.rice.edu>
I am not a ferret expert and cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.
Last modified: 17 Jan 2000