How to Build a Ferret Cage Out of a Bookshelf

Updated February 21, 2017

Ferrets need plenty of space to run and play. Ferret-loving homeowners with limited space for cages can build a ferret cage out of a bookshelf. This allows you to customise a cage to your ferret's needs. Large bookshelves work great because ferrets love to play. Remember to designate areas inside the cage for food and water, as well as litter. They are territorial animals, which mean they mark their territory by urinating in the same spot each time.

Measure the depth of the shelves and mark the centre. Cut a four-inch square (based on the centre mark of the shelf) with a jigsaw. In order to use the entire bookcase as a ferret cage, cut holes in every shelf. Cut ramps from 1-by-4-inch lumber to run from one shelf to the hole in the shelf above it.

Put one end of the ramp on the shelf below the hole and secure it with the drywall screws. Drill pilot holes for the screws with a 1/16-inch drill bit to prevent splitting the lumber. Be certain enough of the ramp sticks through the hole in the shelf for the ferret to reach the shelf safely. There is no need for a screw on the top of the ramp.

Cut two pieces of lumber (1-by-12s) to a length that is equal to the space between two shelves. Draw an upside-down "U," resembling the opening to a tunnel, on the two pieces and cut them out with the jigsaw.

Secure one tunnel opening at a desired location between the shelves with the drywall screws. Remember to drill pilot holes first. Place the remaining tunnel opening at a desired distance for the tunnel length. Cover the space between the tunnel openings and the two shelves with a piece of black cloth.

Determine the width and height you need for the cage wire front of the bookshelf ferret cage. Cut a piece that reaches from the outside edges of the sides and top and bottom of the bookshelf. Secure the cage wire to the bookshelf with the appropriate staples and a staple gun. The length of the staple depends on the gauge of the wire.

Remove a section (or two) of the cage wire for doors with wire cutters. Cut the cage wire opening so it is smooth on all four sides. Measure the opening and cut a piece of cage wire two inches larger than the opening. For example, if the opening is 4-by-6-inches, cut a door that is 6-by-8-inches.

Put hog rings on the "hinge" side of the door to fasten it to the front of the cage. Install a ready-made door latch from a pet store (such as those used on rabbit cages).


Use cloth for the ferret's bedding. Remember to use heavy feeding dishes.


Do not put quilted material in the cage to prevent serious injury to the ferret.

Things You'll Need

  • Jigsaw
  • 1-by-4-inch lumber
  • Variable speed drill
  • Philips head screw tip
  • 1 1/2-inch drywall screws
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • 1-by-12-inch lumber
  • Black cloth
  • Cage wire (holes less than 1-by-2-inches)
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Wire cutters
  • Hog rings
  • Door latch
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About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.