Ferrets are clean animals and they would prefer having a cage that’s as clean as possible. More than that, their diet always has to include raw meat which can cause various contaminations. This is why it’s highly recommended to regularly clean your ferret’s cage.
If you don’t clean the cage properly you will have to deal with a lot more than a stinky ferret. Your pet could get very sick and it might need an emergency veterinary intervention.
In this article, we’ll talk about how exactly you should clean your ferret’s cage and what cleaning products to use.
Ferret Cage Cleaners – What can I clean my ferret cage with?
The moment you get a ferret you need to start preparing for cleaning. This means making a cleaning kit with everything you will need during the cleaning process. You can opt for eco-friendly materials or regular cleaning items you use for your other pets as well.
You should always start with something that will keep your ferret for a few hours while you’re cleaning the cage. A good option is a playpen that also allows it to exercise and play around. If you have a special room arranged for your ferrets, you can close them in there with water, food, and toys.
If you lack the space and you need something more secure, you can always opt for another cage. A smaller one with everything your ferret needs for a few hours is going to be more than enough.
If you live in a big house and you have a bathroom that you usually use to bathe the dogs or something similar, you only need a small bucket that keeps the cleaning products in one place for you. But if you don’t, a bigger bucket that can be used to store water while you clean is a better idea.
There are various brushes and kits on the market that are used for cleaning purposes. However, these tend to be a bit pricier. If you want something more affordable, opt for a toothbrush. They’re great at cleaning stubborn crevices and similar areas that are hard to reach.
The next thing you need to add to the kit is at least a set of protective gloves. Preferably would be to use cleaning rubber gloves. They’re specifically designed to protect your hands against the cleaning solutions you will use.
When it comes to disinfecting the cage you have two options: you either make your own solution or you buy. Finding cleaning solutions that are safe for ferrets can be a bit difficult in some areas. You can use diluted bleach for deep cleaning and a mix of vinegar and water for regular cleaning.
If you want to speed up the drying process, you can make sure you have some towels around.
When you’re using something for the smell, you should make sure the solution doesn’t contain anything that could irritate the ferret. It’s also recommended to get a solution that actually gets rid of the smell and not just covers it with another odor.
Ferret Cage Cleaner Wipes
A very popular product among ferret owners is the cage-cleaning wipes. And they’re exactly what their name suggests it is. They’re wipes that are drenched in a cleaning solution that can do a great job at preventing the bacteria from building up.
They should be thick and you should always use them with gloves. You don’t have to worry about them being too harsh as they’re made to be safe for such small animals. But sometimes the smell might be hard to wash off.
Good cleaner wipes also contain good odor-control properties, and using them daily on your ferret’s cage might help maintain the musky odor under control. But you should keep in mind that they’re not made for deep cleaning and you will need a better disinfectant once in a while.
How often should you clean a ferret’s cage?
How often you’ll need to clean the cage depends on how many ferrets you have in it. If you have a single ferret, you can get away with light daily cleaning and deep cleaning every two weeks. But you should make sure he’s getting all the attention he needs as ferrets need to stay in pairs or businesses (ferret packs).
If you have two ferrets, you will need to clean the cage very well once a week and never forget to clean the litter at least twice a day. And if you have more than that, you’ll need to spend a lot of time cleaning after them. But after you get the routine down, you will be able to do it in a matter of minutes.
Regardless of how many ferrets you have, you will need to do some daily cleaning. One of the reasons ferrets are compared to cats is because of how clean they like to be. In fact, if their litter is full, they will not keep using it as cats do. Instead, they will find another place in the cage to use, which can turn into a very messy situation.
The very first thing you need to do every morning is wash the water and food bowls into a bucket. Don’t ever use your kitchen sink and only use the bathroom one if you absolutely have no other choice. Ferrets eat raw food and you’ll have to take the proper measures to ensure you won’t have to deal with contamination.
Place the water and food bowls in the bucket and add hot water and a little bit of vinegar. Leave them to soak a few minutes then use a mild dish soap that doesn’t have a fragrance and wash them very well. Rinse them properly and dry them up before placing them back into the cage.
Another thing that you need to do is clean the litter. You can do this while the bowls are soaking in the bucket. You don’t need to change it all if you have one or two ferrets. All you have to do is scoop up the poop. But if you have more than 4 ferrets, you should change the litter every 2 or three days.
It’s highly recommended to get the ferrets out of the cage while you’re cleaning it. And when it’s time to put them back, do their daily grooming routine before getting them inside. This includes ear checking, teeth brushing, nail checking, and maybe brushing. This will ensure that both the ferret and the cage remain clean for longer.
People that only have one ferret can do this step every 2 weeks but if you have more than 1, you will have to do a more serious cleaning process once a week. This will disinfect the cage and ensure the ferrets won’t get any disease caused by bacteria.
You will need to keep the ferrets out for almost the whole day so you will need to get that extra cage or playpen out. Place the ferrets in their temporary home and ensure they have water, food, and litter. Having a few toys will be helpful as well.
After you made the ferrets comfy in another place, it’s time to get everything out of the cage. The hammocks, blankets, t-shirts, and anything that can be machine washed should be brushed of hair and put into the washing machine. Use a fragrance-free washing detergent that is made for sensitive skin.
Ferrets are very sensitive and if their hammocks have strong odors they might get an allergic reaction. If they start sneezing after you put them back it means something is attacking their air and should be removed immediately. If the sneezing persists, you should take the ferret to the vet.
After you took everything out, you need to place the plastic parts, water and food bowls, tubes in a big bucket or bathtub. It’s ideal to not use the same bathtub you use but if you have no other choice, make sure you’re disinfecting it with bleach and water very well after cleaning the cage.
The plastic bits need to be covered in hot water and vinegar and left to soak for at least an hour. The toys should get the same treatment in a different bucket. When it’s time to wash, use a ferret-safe soap or just water and vinegar. For extremely dirty areas use diluted bleach.
Bag all the litter and move the cage from its place. Now it’s time to use either a vacuum or a broom to get all the litter that made its way out of the cage. Apply diluted water and vinegar to the litter trays and wait a few minutes. In the meantime, use a wiper or water and vinegar on a cloth and wash the walls around the cage as well. Test it on a small, secluded area first.
You might need the toothbrush for getting into all the crevices of the litter tray but make sure you’re getting everything out. Wash the litter tray carefully in its place, take it to a bathtub, or out in the garden (only if you don’t grow your own vegetables). A hose would be helpful but you can still get the job done without one.
After washing the litter tray properly, you should use a soft cloth and dry it up. Use the same drying method with the plastic bits, tubes, and waterproof toys as well. And if you don’t have a dryer for the hammocks and blankets, you should use another set. Then put the old ones away for the next time.
After everything is dry you need to put everything back together and place new litter in the cage. Groom your ferret before putting it back into the cage and you can use a mild odor neutralizer that’s safe for ferrets. Apply it on a soft cloth then dab it into the ferret’s fur. This will help with the smell.
You also have to deep clean the cage and everything around the ferret as well. If you have a ferret or two you can do this once a year. But the more you have, you need to decide if you’ll need to do it once every six months (for max 4 ferrets) or once every four months (for more than 4 ferrets).
This includes moving the ferrets away for more than 24 hours. This is where the cage is a better choice than a playpen. You need to take the dirty cage to pieces and throw the litter, extremely dirty or chewed up hammocks, blankets, and toys.
All the cage pieces need to be disinfected very well with a strong but diluted bleach solution and you need to wear gloves and a mask for this. Then they need to be rinsed extremely well then stay in the sun for up to 10 hours and dry 100%.
The hammocks and blankets that are still good need to be washed very well using the same ferret-safe detergent. Leave the toys to soak in hot water and vinegar for up to 2 hours then wash and rinse them very well. Make sure they’re dry before giving them back to the ferrets.
The walls around the cage need to be washed as well and it’s ideal to paint them again. But if you can’t, just make sure you’re washing them properly. Wash the carpet underneath the cage as well. And if you have a room where the ferrets play and sometimes have accidents, wash that carpet as well.
If you don’t have a carpet, just spray the same mix of bleach and water and wash the floor very well. Then go a few more times with nothing but clear water and air the room for around 24 hours.
All the old items that didn’t need to be thrown out yet should be cleaned properly and made sure they don’t have any vinegar or bleach residue on them.
The next day you can set the cage back up again and get the ferrets back into their home. Watch them closely for the next 24 hours to make sure you cleaned everything well and that they don’t have any allergic reactions to anything.
What are ferrets allergic to?
Ferrets have glands behind their ears and will sometimes sneeze to spread their scent. You might see them doing this when they move to a completely new place. But there are also some things that ferrets are allergic to and you need to pay attention when this happens. If it’s often, you should take them to the vet.
Dust, hair, and dirt are some of the main things your ferrets can be allergic to. Especially since their cages are big and they spend a lot of time on the ground. And if you don’t vacuum your home properly, when you let them out they might inhale dust and dirt particles and start sneezing. You should also never use dusty litter.
Ferrets are known to be able to catch human viruses so they might have gotten the cold and flu. If this is the case, then you need to quickly get them to the vet. Don’t spend time with your ferret if you have a cold or if you’ve been a lot around someone who has it.
Other things that might make them sneeze and get an allergic reaction to is fabric conditioners, laundry detergents, and even fabric de-odorizers. It’s ideal to always use unscented products.
How do I stop my ferret cage from smelling?
Daily cleaning and proper ferret grooming are the two best ways to keep your ferret’s cage from smelling. There are odor neutralizer products that are ferret-safe and can be applied on ferrets. But it needs to be done in very small doses and only with the help of a towel or cloth. Pray the product on the towel and then on the ferret’s fur.
The worst smell comes from the litter so make sure you’re always scooping up the poop. And if you have more than two ferrets, replace the litter every two or three days. If you use newspapers, replace them almost daily.