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How to Train Your Ferret

A ferret (Mustela putorius furo).
A ferret (Mustela putorius furo).
Gone Wild/Getty Images

Though not as popular as dogs and cats, ferrets make excellent household pets. Like dogs, they're affectionate and playful animals that enjoy playing games with humans. However, in size and shape, they more closely resemble cats with their small, furry bodies and quiet disposition [source: AFA]. Ferrets are fascinating, intelligent animals that can be trained to perform a number of tasks, including using a litter box. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to train your ferret.

  • Litter Though they may act like cats when using the litter box, ferrets cannot use the same kinds of litter as cats. Line your ferret's litter box with recycled, shredded newspaper or wood litter pellets. Don't line the box with clumping clay litter, wood chips or cedar shavings. These can cause blockages or harm to your ferret's lungs.
  • Introduce the litter pan Start the training process by introducing your ferret to the litter pan in its cage. Fasten the litter pan to the cage and place some of its old excrement inside it. Because ferrets find their litter box through smell, your ferret will understand what it's used for. During the training process, always keep a few pieces of feces inside the litter box to direct your ferret toward it. If it has any accidents, scoop the feces into the box and clean the cage. This will eliminate the odors and redirect your ferret toward the box.
  • Clean the litter box Ferrets have very active digestive systems. Once your ferret has learned to use the litter box, it's recommended that you scoop it out once a day and change the litter once a week. If you have multiple ferrets, clean the litter box more often [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].