Ferrets are social creatures. They prefer living in groups and they can develop deep bonds with each other. No matter how hard you might try, most of the time is impossible to get your ferret to be more attached to you than its cagemate.
There are cases where you can keep a single ferret without any troubles. But it requires a lot of work on your part and you need to be 100% sure you will never give it up. They live between 5 and 10 years so you need to be ready for a long-time commitment.
Do Ferrets Need To Be In Pairs? Are Companions Recommended?
The only way you will think that ferrets are better alone is if you never had a business (that’s what a pack of ferrets is called), or if you have an extremely aggressive ferret that hates other ferrets. This usually happens when the ferret is kept alone for years and hasn’t seen another ferret since it was very small.
This is why it’s always recommended to get a pair of ferrets from the start. Even if they’re complete strangers at first, they will quickly get attached to one another and will become best friends for life. Ferrets tend to get a bit aggressive with one another but it’s nothing to worry about. This is just their way of establishing who’s the boss.
You might be able to raise a lone ferret and it can live very happy and healthy. But you need to spend as much time with it as possible. This means that if you work from home, you should install its cage in your office, right next to you. More than that, try to bring it along no matter where you go.
But if you work outside the house and there are times where the ferrets will be left alone for hours upon hours, then it’s highly recommended to get a companion.
Once your ferret gets a cagemate you will realize that it will prefer spending more time with the other ferret than with you. It’s perfectly normal as they bond with each other more profoundly than with humans. And you don’t have anything to worry about as they will always crave human interaction as well. They will just have less time turning your house upside down while they’re playing with one another.
How Many Ferrets Should You Keep?
The amount of ferrets you should keep depends on your experience, resources, and time. It’s always recommended to start with a pair and go on from there if you plan on having more. But if you’re already experienced, you can start with a full business right from the start. And the number depends on the space you have.
You can keep anywhere from 1 to 100 ferrets if you can, even more. The problem is getting all of them to like one another and ensure they never fight to the death. Typically, people keep one ferret, two ferrets, or a business of four. But don’t worry, you can keep three or five as well. All that matters is that they bond with each other.
When you want to introduce a new ferret to the business, you need to be very careful about the way you do it. Some ferrets get along from the first hour while others will attempt to kill each other and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Prepare a neutral ground, like a room your other ferrets have never been to, and turn it into a playground. Get another person to help you out and make sure you’re both dressed very well so you won’t get bitten or scratched if things go south. Watch them carefully and if they get too aggressive then use a towel to catch them and place them in a crate for a time-out.
But you should also keep in mind that they typically get aggressive when they first meet as this is how they learn who’s the alpha. If a ferret is scared of the other or has puncture wounds, don’t ever leave them alone until they either get along or separate them for good.
Can Ferrets Die of Loneliness?
As mentioned before, ferrets form strong bonds, especially with other ferrets. This means that if their cagemate dies, they could die within a month as well. They’ll stop eating and will start searching everywhere while sighing. It will easily be one of the saddest things you’ll ever see.
This is why some people think that it’s better to have a lone ferret as they think they’ll never give it up. But if in a few years you change your mind, no matter how good the new owner might be, your ferret could still die. This is an inevitable risk that you’ll have to learn to deal with if you want to keep ferrets.