“Mom, I wish for a ferret!” Of course, children are also enthusiastic about the little goblins. However, a ferret is definitely not suitable as a birthday present!
The purchase of ferrets requires careful consideration. Under no circumstances should you comply with a spontaneous Christmas or birthday wish. In general, however, children and ferrets usually get along well together. If your child repeatedly expresses the desire for a ferret and shows genuine interest, the first thing to do is call a family meeting. Ferrets are far more expensive to keep and care for than “typical” pets for children, such as guinea pigs and rabbits. They also want to be integrated into the family, so all family members have to agree with and take care of the new housemates. However, you must also be aware that you are always responsible for the animal and never the child. You have to put in the time to keep and care for them appropriately for their species. Your child can only help you with this.
New FriendsOnce the decision has been made to get ferrets, you have to explain to your child how to deal with the animals properly. From around the age of ten, children are old enough to take responsibility. Inform your child about the peculiarities and behavior of the little rascals. Make it clear that the animals have their own character and decide for themselves when they want to play and when they want to be left alone. Let them help set up the cage and take them with you to buy food. In this way, your offspring will learn what the ferret needs and how to take care of it.
Once the ferrets are in the house, your child’s first encounters with your new housemates must be under your supervision. Explain to the child how to approach the ferrets and how to pick them up. If your child is old enough, you should also involve it in caring for the ferrets. Cleaning the litter box, washing out the bowl, and feeding are all tasks your child can do. In this way, it learns to take responsibility for the new friend. Infants and young children should never be allowed near ferrets unsupervised. The smell of babies and grooming creams has a magical attraction for ferrets, and these animals can bite hard.
Toddlers are often overwhelmed by the lively bullies. Your movements are still too uncoordinated. They cannot hold a ferret properly and often squeeze too hard. The animals know how to defend themselves in such moments and are then often labeled as “snappy”. Young people are often able to shoulder a large part of the responsibility. However, they always depend on your support. If your child ever loses interest in the animal, you will need to care for the ferrets and, if necessary, find a new, species-appropriate home for them.