Are Ferrets Affectionate and Cuddly?

Getting any other type of pet than a dog or a cat can be a little intimidating as you don’t really know what type of pets they’ll be. Ferrets are some of the most popular pets in the world and they make excellent companions.

Affectionate ferret on owners shoulder
Source: Adobe Stock

Ferrets are incredibly adorable and dorky creatures, while also being highly intelligent and affectionate. You can litter train them, teach them to walk on a leash, walk through tunnels, etc. If you’re having a bad day, a few minutes with your ferret will completely change your state of mind.

Are Ferrets Affectionate and Cuddly? Do They Make For Good Pets?

Whether an animal is affectionate and cuddly or not depends on how it was raised more than anything. Any pet can be a nightmare if it doesn’t have the proper training and socialization from an early age. If you take the time to befriend your ferret, it will make an amazing pet in no time.

Ferrets will naturally get scared of you when you bring them to their new home. It’s a strange place, filled with strange people. You would react the same. This is why the way you treat it will be crucial to your bond in the next few weeks.

If you want your ferret to become very affectionate and cuddly you’ll need to earn its complete trust. They love getting spoiled and even if they have a pair they crave your attention. Once you’ve formed a good bond with them you will fall in love with them and their mischievousness.

Ferrets show their affection by licking you. That’s the only way they know how to express their feelings. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t get attention non-stop as they’re doing the best they can. If they wouldn’t enjoy your company they would run and hide the moment they see you.

But despite your best efforts to befriend them, they all have their own personalities and will react differently to your actions. You might get a ferret that loves cuddling and sleeping next to you. Or you might get one that loves cuddling but would rather sleep on their own.

This doesn’t mean that one loves you more than the other. Some ferrets love sleeping in packs as they feel safer, while others love finding a comfy place and nap there all by themselves. If you decide to own a business (a group of ferrets is called a “business”), you will get all kinds of personalities mixed in there.

Ferret eating from owners hand
Source: Adobe Stock Photos

Ferrets as Pets – What Are Some Downsides?

Despite all their good sides, owning a ferret as a pet is not for everyone. The first thing you need when you get a business, and even more if you get a single ferret, is time. Ferrets are not creatures that can be left alone for hours (like dogs), or even days (like cats).

You’ll need to spend a lot of time befriending them, litter training them, teaching them not to bite, playing with them, etc. And if you only have one ferret, you will need to offer it even more attention as these creatures will get lonely very fast.

Ferrets eat various times a day, small meals between 8 to 10 times. And they poop just as often. Again, this requires time to feed them on schedule and time to clean their litter box as they won’t use it if it’s too dirty.

A ferret’s diet should contain raw meat as they’re obligate carnivores. Cooked meat (without any added flavors) can also be used but it won’t contain all the nutrients your ferret needs. So if you’re a vegan you might have a hard time dealing with a ferret, especially since they also love whole prey.

One of the biggest disadvantages is the fact that their poop stinks very badly, especially if they eat fish. Luckily they don’t really like nor need fish so you can keep the smell under control. Neutered ferrets are also more ideal as they don’t stink as much. They also can’t be bathed, unless you really have to.

If you own smaller animals that ferrets naturally hunt, it might not be the best idea to get a ferret as well. No matter how sweet a ferret is, when they see a rabbit, rat, hamster, etc, its hunting instincts will kick in. Never keep those two animals in the same room, even if they’re caged.

Are ferrets social animals?

Group four ferrets of 5 6 3 and 1 years old
Source: Deposit Photos

Ferrets are social creatures and love living in groups. This is why many ferret owners own a business of at least 4 ferrets. But they can also live happily alone if you give them all the attention they need. This means interacting with them all the time.

You will also appreciate how considerate your ferret is when you notice that they change their sleeping habits after your schedule. They love spending time with you and your family so they would rather sleep when you do as well.

With the proper training, your ferret can grow up to be a real social butterfly. And if it doesn’t have another ferret to play with, it will become best friends with your dogs and always play with them. They might have a harder time winning a cat over as cats tend to hate smelly animals.

Avoid getting a ferret if there’s a chance you’ll have to live it alone in the home the whole day and is not a one-time thing. Even a business needs attention from the owner or they will quickly get depressed. Ferrets thrive in busy homes with lots and lots of family members.

How To Bond With a New Ferret – Becoming Friends

Once you get your little furry pet home, he’ll be very withdrawn and even attempt to bite you if he feels threatened. Leave him be a few days, don’t push your boundaries with him. He needs to get used to his cage before you start doing anything. This will allow him to know exactly where to hide to feel safe.

Then start petting him as lightly as you can, but avoid the head at all costs. Go on his back and even his tummy if you can as ferrets love soft scratches. If he turns his head around don’t take your hand off. If he wants you to stop he will softly bite you and then you’ll need to remove your hand.

But he might also lick you, which means you can continue. You should also always have some delicious treats around for bonding time. Keep up with the treats until he trusts you enough to gently eat from your hand.

If the ferret allows you, take him in your arms and softly press him to your chest. Walking like this around the house will make him trust you more. But the moment he wants to be left alone, get him back to his cage or play space and let him be.

To make a cuddly animal out of your ferret doesn’t take much but time and patience. And make sure you’re up for the commitment as abandoned ferrets can go into a deep period of mourning and might even die of loneliness.