Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Additions to the Family I'm proud to announce the adoption

Additions to the Family
I'm proud to announce the adoption of two adorable three-year-old ferrets from FerretFirst. Click on any of the photos to see them larger.

This is Buddy:

And this is Sniffles:

They're a bonded pair. We went to the rescue on Saturday and played in a big pen with them as well as Pounce and Skid and another pair whose names I can't remember. I was really attracted to Pounce and Skid, too, but Skid's a very dominant male and he nipped me a couple of times to get attention.

At any rate, we were most attracted to Buddy and Sniffles (who no longer have a PetFinder page because we have them, yay!) and we confirmed that my allergies are very minimal. After 2.5 hours in a basement with forty (!) ferrets, a cat and a dog, my allergies were about the level they'd be with just the cat and dog around.

So once we decided we wanted Buddy and Sniffles, Robin, the rescue owner, made sure we knew what kind of care is involved, and then we looked at cages and supplies. She gave us a whole bunch of things for free, charged a very minimal amount for the cage and a starter kit of supplies, and since we'd managed to forget our checkbook, sent us home with everything without payment for the moment.

This is the cage:

It's very close to their original cage, which is awesome. They love tunnels so much that the shelter volunteers rigged tunnels in their cage there too.

The purple fabric things inside are their fleece bedding. We chose purple to match the cage, and there's another set in progress (in a different fabric) so we can switch the bedding out weekly and wash it. This set has a hammock (hanging from the top), a sleeping bag (on the bottom floor), and a neat little "pod" on the shelf at left. There's also a dark green bag from their shelter cage so they have something familiar-smelling.

On Sunday we met back up with her at the rescue's normal adoption day at Petsmart, and adopted them officially there. (I think the rescue gets goodwill points with Petsmart if they do it that way.) We also picked up the rest of their supplies and food.

Once we got them home we let them explore the cage while we ate lunch. Then I realized we'd left the bedding at Petsmart and had to run back over and get it (plus a stop at the craft store for a big basket to put their supplies in). After I got back, we took them out for a bit to introduce them to the apartment.

Conventional wisdom says that, to keep them using their litterbox, it's best to introduce them to one small part of the room at a time. Since we have the big L-shaped area with the living room and computer desk area, I figured we'd need a way to block parts of it off. We also didn't want them in the bedroom due to my beading area, but that was easy to block off by shutting the door. We figured the kitchen wouldn't be a safe area either, so we decided to block it off too.

The only reasonably-priced thing we could find to block anything was a roll of aluminum mesh at Home Depot. We cut off a piece to block the kitchen door, and used the rest of the roll to block off a small area of the living room.

We're talking about members of the weasel family here, so that didn't work too well. They just went underneath! We finally gave up and let them run around everywhere except the bedroom.

They're tons of fun. They really do hop sideways, and squeak. They love going underneath the entertainment center, and they love the kitchen for obvious reasons. So. much. fun! They wore us out. Best of all, they'll adapt their awake hours (they sleep 20 hours a day) to when we're home, so they'll be ready to play when we are. We'll have to be very careful to keep the floor clean, because they'll be out all evening and we can't watch them every second.

We've had one 'accident' already, but it was my own fault. :P I had put the litter pan in one corner when we were trying out the aluminum barrier, then moved it to a more central location while they were running around half the apartment. One of them went back at some point and very carefully used the original corner. *lol* So we found out that Nature's Miracle works fairly well, and that's been declared the Litterbox Corner from now on.

We're also learning valuable life skills like How to Scoop a Litterbox, How to Fill a Water Bottle and How to Try to Hold a Ferret Still for a Photo. These guys are almost impossible to take photos of, especially in our dark apartment. Buddy's relatively calm; Sniffles never holds still.

More of Buddy:




More of Sniffles:





Buddy asleep in the pod:


And so the hermit crabs don't feel too left out, here's a current photo of their tank: