How to Litter Box Train a Ferret

Girl and pet ferret
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Your pet ferret can be litter box trained. With patience and consistency, you can get your ferret to use a litter box and reduce messes during play time. It's easier than you think.

Litter for Ferrets

The litter box or pan must be big enough for the ferret, but it can be shallow. Ferrets don't bury their feces, so you only need a thin layer of litter. Ferrets tend to dig around in their litter, so it is best to select litter that is unscented and dust free so they don't end up with irritated respiratory systems. They also rub up against the litter before exiting the litter box, so you don't want to use clumping litter or clay litter that can get stuck in the anus as well as get tracked through your house. The best choice is a pellet litter made of recycled newspaper pellets, denatured hardwood pellets, or alfalfa pellet litter.

Steps to Litter Train Your Ferret

  1. Place a litter box in your ferret's cage and keep your ferret confined there.
  2. Check to see if your ferret is using the litter box. If the ferret is urinating or defecating in another spot in the cage, move the box there.
  3. After your ferret is using the litter box reliably, you can begin to let it out into a small space where you provide another litter box. Do this only when you are able to watch your ferret, such as at play time.
  4. When you take your ferret out of the cage to for playtime, place the ferret in the new litter box. During playtime, take the ferret to the litter box frequently
  5. One sign your ferret is about to urinate or defecate is that it will back into a corner. If you see this behavior or your ferret urinating or defecating outside of the box, gently pick up your pet and place it in the litter box. This must be done immediately.
  6. Praise your ferret when it uses the litter box and give it a treat. Use only positive reinforcement and never use punishment for making a mistake.
  7. You can expand your ferret's permitted space once it is consistently using the litter box outside of the cage. As you expand its range, add more litter boxes so your ferret can easily find one when needed.
  1. Place a litter box in each location your ferret decides is its toilet. Corner boxes, small cat litter boxes, and various plastic containers can be utilized to find something that fits your ferret's favorite location. If the location is not desirable, put a box there and then slowly move it over the course of a few days to a better location.
  2. You may have to repeat the stages if your ferret begins to ignore its litter boxes and have accidents around your house.

Tips

  1. Leave some feces in the litter box so your ferret knows that is its purpose
  2. Separate the litter box in the cage as much as possible from the sleeping area.
  3. In the early stages, will need to provide constant and consistent supervision for your ferret when it is out of the cage.
  4. Litter-trained ferrets often continue to have a few accidents, so don't consider this to be a complete failure. Simply be prepared to clean them up.