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Ferrets/My ferret, Cloud

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QUESTION: I used to have 2 ferrets who were very close, one named Willow and the other named Cloud. Willow passed away about a year ago. Cloud wasn't very lonely because he liked to play with my dog. My dog passed away 2 months ago and now Cloud doesn't want to play with my anymore. Also, he used to be a bit chubby but now I can feel his ribs and he seems skinny. He sleeps about 22 hours a day which is a lot more than he used to. Even when I bring him out to "play", he just goes to his favorite sleeping spot and falls asleep. I assume he misses playing with Willow and my dog and I've tried to convince my parents to let me get another ferret friend but they won't let me. My dad said he would talk to my mom about getting another one if I get rid of my 40 mice...(It's a long story). I've tried to play with Cloud and make new toys for him but he doesn't seem interested. My mom says that Cloud doesn't want to play just because he's getting older (Cloud is about 5 years old now). Please help me out :)

Thanks,
Anika

ANSWER: Dear Anika,

Yes, Cloud is lonesome.  They love us but when they are used to another animal playmate they do miss them when they're gone.  Of course introducing another ferret does take patients.  So that's something else I can help you with if your Mom changes her mind.

For now, we need to get little Cloud back on track by increasing that body weight.  The best way to do that is to get him excited about eating again.  Get some baby food chicken.  Each morning put about a tablespoon on a plate next to a bowl of his regular ferret food.  He'll chow down on the chicken and then nibble on the regular food.  Don't worry if he looks forward to the chicken each morning.  I have one ferret that has been on this diet for several years.

Make sure Cloud is getting vitamins.  Ferret vitamins contain important nutrients that some of the regular ferret foods do not contain.  And, they also help increase appetite.  Make certain you follow the dosage instructions carefully.  Too much vitamins will cause diarrhea and you certainly do NOT want that.

Let me know how Cloud does.  If you do get another ferret, let me know so I can help you introduce them.  And, Anika, I'm not taking sides, but it's never a good idea to have too many pets at one time.

Fond Regards,
Janet  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Cloud
Cloud  
QUESTION: Thanks! I went out and bought some FerretVite and baby food chicken. I gave some of the FerretVite to Cloud and he loves it! I will try out the baby food tomorrow morning. Also, I didn't mean to end up with 40 mice and I've continuously been trying to sell them but it's slow going.

ANSWER: Dear Anika,

GOOD GIRL!  I know how those little mice can get out of hand, and, aren't they adorable little guys.  But you keep on working on sizing down the brood, Honey.  You can only spread around so much attention.

You're doing a great job with Cloud.  Now, remember, he may want to eat just the chicken at first.  So only put down a tablespoon each morning.  He'll get hungry and then nibble on his ferret food throughout the day.  The FerretVite is great (I use it).  Just remember not to give him too much; a tiny dab is plenty.  It may make him thirsty too, so put down plenty of fresh water.

You keep on, Sweetie.  And, let me know how he does.  I am here if you need any more help.

Fond Regards,
Janet

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: He doesn't seem to like the chicken very much. I put a bit on a spoon and he would sniff it and taste it a bit and then walk away. I couldn't find just chicken flavor at the store so I got the closest thing to it, chicken with broth. Should I go to a different store and look for only chicken flavor, keep trying to feed him the stuff I have, or forget about the baby food?

Also, I forgot to mention something in my first question. Cloud rubs his nose and mouth on the carpet as if it's itchy or something. I checked him out and he has these brown/orange flakes around his nose and mouth.

Sometimes when I wake him up, his eyes are crusted closed with yellow goop. I always wipe it away but it comes back later.

I've always fed Cloud Marshall's premium ferret food; should I switch to a different brand or just encourage him to eat more? I've heard that a raw meat diet is good for them but it's expensive and Cloud is a bit of a picky eater. When I still had Willow, I would feed her fresh, dead, wild mice that we caught in our house. She would eat them but Cloud wouldn't touch it.

I would like to get Cloud the best diet possible but my parents aren't willing to pay too much money. I'm 17 in July and I've been working to get a job so I can pay for Cloud myself.

Thanks for all the help,
Anika

Answer
Dear Anika,

You can try warming the chicken a little, sometimes they like it better warm.  But, be VERY careful to stir it around with your finger real well because it gets hot spots in it.

No wild mice or raw meat!

Cloud could have a cold.  Ferrets catch them easily, especially from people in the house.  Also watch the air conditioning.  I have to say that Cloud needs to see a vet.  A ferret's respiratory system is so tiny that when they get congested it is most often serious.  In addition, an infection can be critical.  It's best to see the vet so medication can be provided.

I wish you and your little fuzzy, Cloud, well.  If I can help further, please let me know.

Warm Regards,
Janet  

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Janet Russek

Expertise

I can answer questions re: Feeding(keeping that body weight up) General Care, Safety, Behavior, Best Cages, Proper Toys, Dangers to Ferrets (ferret proofing your home), Play Area/Room Suggestions.

Experience

I've raised ferrets very successfully for approximately twelve years. I usually kept three at a time. I presently have one. I've tried a variety of cages, habitats, toys, treats.

Education/Credentials
Highschool grad with some college.

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