Category Archives: Fuku

Crisis tips: Ferret dirtpit

Not only for those of you who – due to the present (still) economic crisis – are not so well off comes this revelation. Ferrets (like many other animals) are not great fans of expensive and superfine ferret toys. If we were to create a list of our Top Three Toys (top being the most frequently used), it would be as follows:

1. Plastic shopping bag. Must be used under your surveillance (suffocation risk), but it is a source of multiple joys for your little ones. They can hop in and be carried around or rocked, they can tangle the handles around their waist and run with the bag filled with air, like a superhero/ine’s cape, or the bag may be filled with air, closed, and dropped to the ground for them to attack /  kill / bite;

2. Flexible pipe (at least 10 centimeters / 4 inches in diameter) that you can arrange below a chair, table or your bed. Our ferrets just love to crawl inside, possibly with some prey (like a smelly sock or the likewise). We use an extensible aluminum pipe often used in chimneys. Just smooth its rim (may be a bit sharp, as it usually stays in a chimney where it can hurt no-one), shape it as needed and offer it to your little ones;

3. Cardboard box. Starting with empty tissue boxes, thru any clean (not used to store chemicals – we exclude boxes after any possibly harmful stuff) container, to larger boxes used to pack books, or home appliances, you name it. Such boxes and containers are great hideouts.

And the last one, combined with our Misio’s passion for walks outside, inspired us to create a home (okay, balcony) ferret dirtpit*. As you may know, ferrets love to dig. They will dig out your precious potted plants, remove trash from trash bin, steal dirty laundry from where you store it, and so on. If they go for walks outside, they usually do less of the walking and more of the digging.

Here are the ingredients:

1. Two empty cardboard boxes, covers are not needed, as you want to be able to see your ferrets play inside the dirtpit. Make sure they are clean and safe for your ferret. No sharp edges, no staples. Cut out two or three round (more or less) entrances / exits, a bit above the ground level to prevent excessive dirt “migration”. One box should be of a larger size – ours is 50 x 70 x 60 cm (60 being its height). The other should be small enough to fit inside the larger one and still leave some 7 – 10 cm of space between the walls of two boxes.

x 2 (larger and smaller)

2. An empty flower-pot. We suggest to take something not too shallow. Our pot’s depth is about 10 cm. Remember to take pots only after plants that are not harmful to ferrets (or just scrub those with soap and hot water before use).

Possibly shatterproof

3. Some dirt (can be sand, or just flower soil). We’d say you need some 2 – 3 kilograms, but that largely depends on the size of your dirtbox and the size and number of your pots.

Best toy ever, but we need to tame it in the box

4. Optional: some dry leaves. That ingredient is now available everywhere around – at least where we live.

Easy to find these days (autumn), but not after the autumn rains start

How to combine those? Just place one box inside the other, positioning their entrances / exits in such a way that it is not a straight way to the center of the dirtpit (adds to the difficulty and fun of the whole business). A TIP: If your boxes have thin walls and the dirt is not too dry, consider lining the bottoms of the boxes with some plastic cover (can be an old doormat). Then place the dirt-filled flower-pot inside the smaller box, add dry leaves here and there.

And – show it to your ferrets. Ours reacted like this:

1. Misio explores the brand new dirtbox which he assumes belongs to him and him only

2. Fuku discovers the dirtpit and wants to join Misio to explore it together

3. However, Misio proposes the dirtpit belongs to him - so GET OUT!

4. Upon such approach Fuku decides to retreat, but ...

5. She comes back after Misio is gone and test drives the dirtpit

And this is just a beta version, just imagine the next generation of dirtpits 🙂

Have fun!

* Dirtpit – by analogy with a sandpit for children.


Need for a proof

A few day’s back Nano remembered about the fact we’d gone to observe the Draconid meteor shower – without her. After a brief chat with Misio she learned that we (humans) cannot be trusted, as we often say one thing and do the other. Or don’t do anything at all despite all the declarations. At least that was Misio’s observation, although he also said he was not sure that such unreliable behavior was guaranteed at all times, because he might have skipped one or two exceptions due to his habit of taking sudden naps. Fuku desperately wanted to add something to the discussion, but realized her experience with humans was still quite limited. She just remained silent, but followed the progress of events.

Was there ANY meteor viewing, huh? (10/2010)

Nano remained doubtful of our adventure (Did they really go there? Or maybe it was just a trick?) and she sat with Misio near the couch to consider the issue. It took quite a while – Misio even dozed off for a moment in the midst of the heated debate – but brought no solution of how to verify our declaration. For a brief moment it seemed they had a breakthrough, as they rushed to the hallway to sniff at our boots, but none was able to recognize whether their smell WAS or WAS NOT a Draconid.

But then Fuku, who had been until then patiently listening to the debate from a pillow on the couch, suggested we should be asked to draw a sketch map of how it was organized, all this suspicious Draconid observation thing. Our animals decided it could constitute a final proof they might accept.

The think tank: Fuku in the foreground, Misio trying to hide behind the pillow (09/2011)

SO, here it is. On their clearly articulated demand comes the following evidence of our actually staying on top of the old limestone quarry, with all the equipment and skills we used to observe the meteors. We solemnly swear that on October 8th, from 7 pm to 11 pm the events were EXACTLY how they got depicted below.

Draconid meteor shower viewing (Kazimierz Dolny, 08/10/2011)

Will you be able to give them a pill?

Many of our vet appointments often end up with the necessity to give our little ones medicines. Some are in the form of injections, some are syrups, while others come in the most dreadful form of the pill. Of course injections are usually not nice, but once you’ve learned how to do these, they’re surprisingly simple. Just grab the patient, hold them tight and do your thing. Sting. But you cannot ask a ferret to take a pill, swallow it, and wash down with water. And for some reason or another the most important pills – those our ferrets have to take no matter what they think about the whole idea – are usually the worst in taste. Bitter, sour, nasty. Usually they’re also rather tiny plus extremely hard to divide into the prescribed one-eighths per day with our kitchen knife. Once you press hard on the blade, they turn into projectiles and disappear without a trace but with a nasty snap. Due to that we have a whole pharmacy stuffed under and behind our kitchen units, so just let us know if you need whatever pill. We probably have it.

However, when our vet asks us (while handing us a prescription on which we can spot “In tabl.” and “1/25 per day”) – ‘Will you mange?’, we jointly reply – ‘Yes, we sure will.’

What is our secret then? A disguise. We just dress up the pill as something totally else. And here’s how we do it.

Stuff used by us to disguise a nasty tasting pill to pass for a treat (10/2011)

Some operations are necessary to be performed with the use of the above shown kitchen utensils and ingredients. These are explained in the following drawing. Do remember to guard the pill with one hand as it is being divided or pulverized. Or just make sure to  clean up the debris from under your cupboards after you’re done with the pill application task. It accumulates as days go by and your little ones might end up eating much more than one-eighth of the pill daily. At least it is one of our great life worries.

Four easy steps to make sure they do not recognize it is the nasty pill (10/2011)

In the case of our pack the effects are as can be seen in the following pictures. They do not notice anything, lick their plates or bowls squeaky clean and even sometimes say ‘Thank you.’ I guess it is a method well-known to many parents all over the world, but it seems to work with animals too (at least with our furry friends), and lets us avoid forcing the pill down the poor things’ throats.

Misio finishing his "treat" (09/2011)

Fuku - done with the bowl, licking the spoon clean (09/2011)

Meet Mamselle Fuku

Fuku is the youngest furry member of our family. She joined it in March of 2011. We would very much like for you to be able to get to know her, but the task is very difficult even for us. You see, Fuku is a very difficult ferret. I do not very much like the sort of easy justifications when it comes to humans, especially adult and supposedly mature ones, but I guess it is acceptable when animals are concerned. Fuku has just had a rather difficult life, for which now we all pay.

She first appeared in our life not long after our another senior ferret, Bubu, passed away after a struggle. Fuku was one of new ferrets in need in a ferret adoption service. We decided to give it a try and take her to live with us. A try, because we were not sure whether we can manage this thus enlarged family. Imagine this: a little flat, one dog, one elderly ferret, and our grieving after Bubu. And then kaboom – Fuku. A near to wild little creature that regards humans as evil and only deserving to be bitten. The adoption service person told us she would not be easy – and so far Fuku definitely has managed to maintain this reputation.

Fred's hand after a much too close encounter with Fuku (03/2011)

What had happened in her life before she set foot in our place? Since we only were told some basic facts about her previous life, we are not sure. At the same time one assumption can be risked here. Fuku was not very much wanted by whoever was her family before. I mean, they probably wanted her when they bought her – Mamselle Fuku is a beautiful ferret and all. What then went wrong?

We reckon that either she must have been extremely difficult from the start – or just too difficult for that person. Whichever it was, the result is that Fuku had not been socialized properly. Of course by “socialization” we do not understand being taught to walk on hind legs or wearing a ribbon around the neck. It is just that she did not know a human hand is something a ferret should not have to fear of. She was not willing to come close, but preferred to hide near walls or under furniture as she was flashing by from one place to another. Taken by surprise, for example upon somebody’s entrance into the room, she would bump into walls or whatever was in her way, in a desperate attempt to escape. There was no trust at all. Plus, on top of that, the poor animal was not fed properly. When it comes to such small creatures of a fast metabolism – a crime.

A safe place under the linen cupboard (04/2011)

Now Fuku’s previous life is what we call a sad for animals consequence of two human-induced factors. One being the general trend to keep ferrets as pets (the ruthless demand and supply mechanism in action), while the other – an individual person’s irresponsibility and lack of consistency, exhibiting itself in (for example) not even trying to learn what ferrets should and should not eat.

What is her present condition? Well, she is doing much better than at first, but a lot of the process of rehabilitation is still ahead of us. We are past the wall-bouncing stage and nearly through the bite’em phase, but still far away from the moment when Fuku will become a lap ferret, an animal which you can easily handle (touch, play with and hold with bare hands, groom, visit the vet with no resulting casualties, and just safely travel with).

Carefully playing in a box of dry leaves (04/2011)

One of my friends, after learning about Fuku’s background and behavior, put it this way: “You now have to take out and deal with what others have placed inside.”

Agreed. There is no other way than to just go ahead and do it. Take it out. Remove junk and replace it with some good stuff. Since Fuku is now about 2 it will definitely take some time and a decent measure of both patience and luck.

Wish us luck then, if possible 🙂