Ferrets belong to the weasel family. Part of their species name, “mustela putorius furo” comes from the Latin word “furonem,” which translates to the English word “thief.” Ferrets are intelligent, inquisitive and can make good family pets if given the care and attention they require. Although you can purchase a cage for your ferret at a pet store, you could consider do-it-yourself ferret cages not only as way to save money, but also as a way to customise the animal's environment and provide options for making changes to keep your ferret interested and active.
Although ferrets do sleep an average of 15 to 18 hours per day, they are quite social when awake and require a stimulating environment and plenty of “play time” to keep them happy and well adjusted. When deciding on a design for your ferret cage, keep the following requirements in mind. The minimum cage size for one ferret should be is 3 feet wide by 2 feet high. Ferrets are sneaky and can be masters at the art of escape, so a secure cage lock is essential. Ensure the cage has a sleeping zone, an eating zone, a playing zone and a bathroom zone. The cage must also have proper ventilation to keep it, and your ferret, from developing a smell. The play zone can be as elaborate as you want and include multiple levels with ramps for running, places to “hide” treats and toys and tunnels for burrowing.
Some ferret owners like to vary the location of the cage to provide a more engaging atmosphere. Consider a collapsible design if you will be moving your ferret cage on a regular basis. Start with the basic dimensions for your ferret cage. Remember that you will need easy access to the inside of the cage for cleaning or rearranging interiors. Access through the top of the cage is fine for a single level, but for taller cages, hinging the entire front or back of the cage would allow for access to all levels. Consider the placement of required zones and think about how you will incorporate these into the design of the cage. Perhaps your ferret would be happier with a multilevel “high-rise” design. One idea for a cage like this would be to place the zone on different levels within the cage and connect them with ramps and tunnelling tubes. Draw out your design on paper and then start thinking about construction techniques.
First, consider the base of the cage. Build a tray large enough to set the cage within and provide a solid base. Plywood is a good choice for a solid base, but because the bathroom zone and litter box will most likely be in this area, you need to coat the plywood to prevent it from absorbing animal waste. Paint the wood base with a waterproof, lacquer finish, wrap it in plastic sheeting, or cover it with clear tape. Do the same for any wood platforms you place in the cage.
The body of the cage should be wire. Chicken wire or garden fencing is the usual choice, but if you choose something different, make sure your ferret cannot squeeze through wire openings. Cut wire to size using a wire cutter and connect permanently attached sections by soldering. Use plastic tubing, such as PVC, to cover sharp corner edges. For the doorway, add three hinges to the section (front or back) you will be using and attach to the cage.
Connect platforms and ramps to the cage by drilling access holes and then securing with cable ties or binding wire. Secure the cage with more than one lock. You can purchase sets of three or more small key or combination locks at your local hardware store.