Category Archives: Misio

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 /┬á 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 ­čÖé

Have fun!

* Dirtpit – by analogy with a sandpit for children.


Simple exercise

Misio decided to share with you the secret of his great physical and psychological well-being. It is a simple yet efficient exercise in which you must lie flat on the back and be covered with something on your chest – for example a pillow. Place your palms flat on the pillow and imagine it to be all your troubles. At first it may be hard to imagine the pillow is your debts or your nasty boss, but Misio assures that it gets easier with time and the number of repeats. Once its done (pillow loaded with all your life problems) quickly push it away, as you stretch out hour arms. Repeat a couple of times daily to ensure an increase of energy, optimism, and muscle tone up. The bigger the pillow and the more powerful the push, the better the effect.

Below you should be able to see Misio during his daily workout routine, pushing away all redundant grams and worries (if it is not animated – click on the image).

Misio during his daily workout (09/2011)

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┬á 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)

Introducing Misio the Ferret

I just thought it would be a good idea to introduce to you our furry family members. To present Mr. Misio the Ferret first is the only fair decision.

Misio entred into our life in June of 2006. To be honest I must admit that Misio was neither planned, nor (initially) wanted. He was a “gift” of the sort one receives from a reather mean person intending to leave a lasting mark of their existence when they are finally gone. If you have ever received such a gift, you are able to recognize what I am writing about. Anyway, the story behind Misio ending up with us is quite emotional and complicated but the most important thing to remember is that the original intent of the giver turned out a dud. We love Misio dearly and he reminds us only of his furry self.

However, to say we were happy to see Misio eye us up distrustfully from the farthest corner of his carrier would be a lie. Although he looked like any baby ferret would – just sweet – we were quite perplexed, simply because we knew absolutely nothing about upbringing of a baby ferret. We knew nothing at all about ferrets of any ages and backgrounds. But by the time we left the elevator and entered our flat, we fell in love with him, just like that. I cannot see how we could not to.

One of the benefits of early childhood is the ability to sleep anywhere and in all circumstances (06/2006)

Since that times have passed five long years, but they did it so quick we barely noticed. Misio is now a ferret that most vets would classify as a “senior”, which we only accept because not-so-young-anymore ferrets require special attention and care. And we provide it.

Misio turned out to be a rather imperfect specimen. Not as big as a normal male ferret. Not as healthy as an average ferret – to mention only heart and lung problems, or intestinal and spleen issues which brought us to the decision about him undergoing a splenectomy. But he abides and so far has risen after all the crises with the stubbornness and determination of Andy Dufresne wanting to get out of Shawshank Prison.

As an ardent trekker, always ready to go outside regardless of the aura, Misio is the first to run up to the front door in the morning, or anytime he can hear it open. His most favorite outside pastimes are digging up molehills, rolling in fallen leaves, scouting out in wet grass, and – at times – sprinting along a fence or wall. When a walk outside is impossible Misio is most unhappy, but can be somewhat appeased with some treat (like a lick of butter) or arranged amusement (like a box filled with leaves, or just plain gladiator fight with somebody’s hand).

Try to do a minor flat renovation, or just engage in ikea furniture assembling, and you will surely have Misio on your back. No matter he was sound asleep when you checked a minute ago. Now he is all over the place, checking screws, sniffing at the WD-40, stealing any rubbery items, digging in your tool box, and rolling up in plastic wraps just to run away with a fluttering polyethylen cape and climb up on the sofa to dive off with an intention of landing in the middle of the construction site.

Trustful and sweet, with a minor exception of when our vet takes a sample of his blood (then Misio has claws and sharp teeth, and – most importantly – an attitude). A great sleeper with a deep interest in any opportunity to have some decent fun. A traveler and explorer of the wild vicinities of our block of flats (possibly and preferably┬á in his waking time).

An only child by character, now having to share us with two other furry creatures. That is our Misio in brief.

Misio the Ferret (02/2008)

And if you have any fingers free, please keep them crossed for Misio, who will much appreciate it in his struggle to maintain good health!

Ferret Wisdom: The Secret of Good Living

Long before “Eat, Pray, Love” type of messages (including many best-selling guides to well-being and healthy life) they knew it all. Just like that. Is it genes? Animal instincts maybe? Regardless of the reason, ferrets are indeed in possession of The Secret of Good Living in Three Easy Steps.

I can now almost see many of you jump up in your chairs and I can almost hear you say, “This is it, that’s the moment of truth! Come on, tell us! What are those steps?” Calm down. Relax. We do not intend to withhold the Secret from you. We asked our family sage, Misio the Ferret, to share the secret with us, to be able to subsequently share it with all the needy. We have it all in writing and with his signature, to ensure he will not change his mind one day, as to what the steps are. The translation from Ferretish to English, which follows below, was absolutely necessary as hardly anybody can decipher Misio’s pawwriting, let alone grasp the complex grammar, syntax, and metaphors of this ancient language. However, the accuracy of translation is guaranteed, as our Ferretish is near fluent. We have been trained by Misio the Ferret himself for the past five years.

To the point.

Step 1. Getting enough sleep, my friends, is the first step. And we are not speaking of mere seven to eight hours per night here. No! It is some 20 to 22 hours out the available 24 hours. Which means your aboard the bus naps, your falling asleep while listening to boring speakers, and the suchlike, are much welcome. Just assume the most comfortable position in given circumstances (like, no lying flat on your back, if you are attending a staff meeting. On the other hand, a discreet lowering of your lids as you create an impression of writing down questions to ask later, would definitely do) and off you go. The image below exemplifies how one can take advantage of nearly any setting to doze off.

Misio the Ferret sleeping on a drying rack

Step 2. Eating enough, whenever you feel you need to chow down, and (now, how obvious is that one!) according to your very taste. No Great Diet of the Bold and Beautiful of this World comes near to this approach in the results it can bring for y0u. You hungry? “Just go and eat from your bowl.”, teaches Misio, “Go ahead, drag out the best bits and chew on them.” The only rule is that you should never ever eat in a hurry. Contemplate your food, chew well, and remember to wash it down with fresh water.

Misio enjoying his butter licks/kicks.

Step 3. Following your dreams and passions constitutes the final step. If you let others (parents, partners, kids) convince you to give up all that you enjoy in this life, you might just as well be dead. However, it is not at all as simple as it may initially seem. This step, as Misio points out in his teachings, often proves quite tricky, as it requires for you to have the ability to find out where your following your passions stops being you following your passions, and starts being you tormenting others and making them cry. So, just watch out for signs of that as you pursue a dream.

On the bus, with the wind in his hair, traveling into the Unknown (home)

N.B. Below is an example of how your pursuit of your dreams may interfere with the well-being of people around you.

About to cross the thin border of My versus Your well-being

Asked for a final piece of advice within the topic Misio says, “Enjoy the implementation, folks! And remember to adapt, interpret, and improve.”