Adopting A Ferret
Congratulations on deciding to adopt rather than buying a pet! You are saving a life while helping alleviate pet overpopulation. The extra steps you may encounter will pay big dividends in the special love you will find. If you’re asked questions you consider intrusive or there are certain firm restrictions, it is because a responsible shelter is seeking a happy, long term bond for both your and your new pet. They do their best having only their experience and knowledge as a guide. Ferrets are rarely surrendered due to problems with the animal; normally it’s because something in the former owner’s life has changed or they simply lost interest in caring for the animal. Shelters aim to avoid that fate from happening again.
- Anticipate an application and to be interviewed or meet with an adoption counselor. They should spend time verifying your knowledge and discussing food, grooming, daily care and health concerns. Shelter workers are usually very experienced with ferrets and can be a great source of unbiased, honest information. Feel free to ask them for care tips and tricks! Most are happy to teach nail clipping, ear cleaning and dental care.
- Questions may include how your animals are housed or about other household members. The goal is to match you with a suitable pet for your family and circumstances. A a ferret that nips hard, for example, should not be placed in a home with children.
- Some shelters require a vet reference, home visit, or follow up after the adoption to see how things are progressing with your new pet. (If you do not have a current veterinarian, they should have local referrals to those treating ferrets.)
- Adoption fees are nearly always expected and vary depending on the facility. A range or fee estimate is normally available or posted. Bonded pairs or animals with behavior or health issues might be discounted. Understand a worker may be taken aback if your first question is “how much is that ferret?” Unlike a retailer, the adoption fee is only part of the adoption process. Almost all organizations retain the right to refuse an adoption.
- Ferrets should only be adopted out spayed/neutered. Descenting is not necessary; however most ferrets originating from pet stores have already had anal scent glands removed as kits. The shelter may, on humane grounds, refuse to do or allow this to be done to adults.
- Many shelters have guidelines regarding age of children at home. They may also request verification from landlords that ferrets are allowed. Their goal is to find permanent homes for the ferrets in their care and their various experiences will naturally affect their requirements.
- Shelters generally do not allow you to adopt a ferret as a gift. Meeting with the proposed caretaker directly is generally preferred. There is a special bond that draws a person to a particular animal that no one can predict. Honor that and let your recipient choose their pet; you can always make the adoption fee or supplies your gift.
- The shelter should be able to provide you with information about current food preference, vaccination status, and any known health concerns. Ask about any local or state requirements for rabies vaccinations.
- A shelter may or may not be able to have every animal vet-checked prior to adoption. Shelters do not receive free veterinary care, so expect if each ferret has been to the vet that adoption fees will be higher. Understand some animals incur large vet expenses they cannot charge to the adopter, so adoption fees received help care for ALL the shelter animals, including those that will never be rehomed.
- Review the Shelter Research resources, especially the section about visits. Please don’t expect the shelter open on a moment’s notice. Many small shelters operate part-time and juggle work, sheltering, and personal responsibilities; your patience and understanding is much appreciated.
- Ages of ferrets in shelters will normally range from 6 months on up. Ferrets of any age are trainable and bond wonderfully with their new caretaker.