Many assume that ferrets are outdoor pets, perhaps because they are similar to the weasels and stoats we see in the countryside. However, many ferrets live very happily inside, just like house rabbits. The one area where your ferret may need some help is with using the litter tray. Whilst we train puppies to go outside and kittens tend to instinctively pick up the idea, kits need a little more attention and guidance when it comes to using a litter box.
Which Litter Tray is Best?
Whilst you can use any cat litter tray for your ferret, there are some designed specifically for your pet and these can be best. The triangular type which fit in to corners of the room are fantastic and the ferret ones have a lower side for the entrance so that they don’t have to scramble over the top.
Which Litter is Best?
Steer clear of pine and cedar shavings as they are not food for your ferret’s respiratory system. Some young ferrets also sometimes think that this comfy surface is a good place to snooze! Cat litter also isn’t ideal is it becomes sticky when wet and attached itself to your ferret’s fur which they can sometimes ingest when grooming themselves. This can be deadly. Recycled paper pellets or processed pine pellets are the most popular and safest to use.
Using the Litter Tray
Patience is going to be key when you are teaching your ferret to use their litter tray. Reinforcing positive behaviour will be key in their development. However, there are some popular methods to try:
The Praise Method
When your ferret is out and about, or perhaps they have run of the home on a day to day basis, make sure you have litter trays in most of the rooms they frequent. Every single time your ferret uses the litter box successfully give them lots of praise and a treat. They will soon associate using the litter tray with praise, encouraging them to continue using it.
The Rise and Shine Method
The minute you wake up, take your ferret out of their cage (even if they are sleeping) and place them in their litter tray. Once they have gone to the toilet, reward them immediately. Do this every morning, and during the day if you can. The more you do this, the more they will automatically head to their litter box if they are outside of their cage.
The Vanilla Method
Ferrets love the smell of vanilla and this concept is particularly useful for those who have blind ferrets. Using a sponge, spread a little vanilla extract on the skirting board and sides of the litter tray in the corner of the room. Ferrets will use their sense of smell to find area and, after praising good behaviour, will seek the smell of vanilla for any toilet time.