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Ferret In Cage Ferret Out of Cage—How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage

Ferrets have a knack for making us feel guilty when we put them in their cage. One of my ferrets, Toby, was always trying to ” break out”. He would climb up to the top door, grab the bars in his paws and push and shake the door, trying to open it.

However, for their protection, ferrets should be kept in a ferret cage, enclosure, ferret-proof room or area when not being supervised. But how much time should a ferret spend in and out of cage?

A ferret’s cage not only acts as their home—a place he should feel comfortable in—it is also a place to keep him safe. There are endless dangers around your home—wires, appliances, cleaning supplies… It’s simply not safe to permit your ferret to roam free without supervision. Even if you think you have ferret-proofed your home, there is no limit to what a ferret can find to get into. For example, one time, two of my ferrets worked as a team to dig a hole in the bottom of my box spring. They decided it was a good place to store their toys. They could have easily got caught in the springs or otherwise trapped in there. When you are away from home or unable to keep an eye on your ferret, keep your ferret in his cage or other designated ferret living space. For information on suitable ferret enclosures, see ferret cages for more info.

A Ferret’s  Living Space

If you have the space and decide to convert a walk-in closet or spare room into a ferret enclosure, make sure that it is just that—a ferret enclosure. It is important that this room has nothing but ferret-safe toys, soft bedding, a litter box, food, water and a cage (if desired). This room needs to be ferret-proofed as well. You need to make sure there are no small openings your ferret can get into and nothing she can chew (such as cords or knobs).  See this article on ferret proofing for more info.

The ferret’s living space should be temperature controlled, with the temperature kept in their comfort range of between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ferrets cannot tolerate temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

Ferrets should never be left alone–whether in a cage or room– for an extended period of time. They are social creatures and need exercise, affection, and human companionship to remain happy and healthy.  Ferrets can easily become bored and even depressed if they don’t have enough interaction. Having 2 or more ferrets helps to keep each other company, but it is no substitution for human interaction and playtime out of the cage.

According to The American Ferret Association, ferrets need a minimum of 4 hours out of their cage, every day. This time does not need to be in a 4 hour block. It is actually better to break up this time into several 1 -2 hour sessions. Not all 4 hours need to be spent with human family members, but at least 2 of the hours should involve one-on-one play, cuddling, petting or other enjoyable activities.

Although ferrets may act like kittens, they are more like dogs when it comes to the need for human companionship. The more time you spend with your ferret, the happier she will be. Plus, chances are you will be happier too. It’s hard not to smile when an adorable little ferret is dancing around you!

Your comments are welcome!

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22 thoughts on “Ferret In Cage Ferret Out of Cage—How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

  1. They are so cute! By the photo I can see how difficult it would be not to take them out of their cage with such a face.
    In the wild, do they live in colonies?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hisbel. Yes, ferrets know how to put on the cute! As to your question, ferrets are domestic pets. They do not and cannot live int the wild. If you want to find out more about ferrets, please see my posts on Ferret Facts and Ferret Myths and any of the other articles that may interest you.

  2. Love this reminder for ALL pet owners. The more time you spend with them, the happier they are! (except certain cats lol). Besides, who wouldn’t want to spend time with something as cute as a ferret?!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Maria. Yes, all pets need to spend quality time with their people. Whether you have a ferret or another pet, we as pet parents are responsible for the health and happiness of our pets.

  3. I absolutely adore ferrets. Years ago I had one named Thomas. He was the most curious little creature. He would get into everything. You are absolutely right about keeping them in their cage when not supervised. Thomas was a natural born thief. He stole my wallet and lots of my wifes jewelry. We found his hiding spot underneath our bed in the box spring. He even managed to hide a deck of playing cards in there too. I miss him. I will definitely get another one after reading your article.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Jack. That is funny about your ferret using the box spring for a treasure chest, too! That’s great to hear that you are thinking of getting another ferret! Check out some of my other posts, you may find some helpful info.

  4. I am glad that you want to know how is the best way to take care of your ferret and how long your ferret should be in a cage. It doesn’t matter what type of pet you own, one should be well versed in the ways to care for their animal.

    1. You are right, Chappy. Whether you have a ferret or any other pet, you need to know how to care for your pet properly. How much time a ferret spends in a cage is a huge consideration.

  5. This reminded me of some of the mischief my pet rat used to get up to – at one stage he dug a hole in the bottom of my couch and loved to play around INSIDE the couch while I was sitting on it. Cute, but not safe. I’m getting a ferret as my next pet, really enjoying all the information on your site. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Hi Shirley,
      I’m so happy you are getting a ferret!There are many similarities to pet rats. Neither can be left unattended. You may want to check out Ferret Proofing before you bring home your ferret. If you are looking to give a homeless ferret a home, please see my article on where to buy a ferret.

  6. Hi Sandra,

    How cute! I never had a ferret before and by what I’ve just learned I would have to remember that ferrets need to be caged and supervised while out of it’s cage. My grandson had asked me about getting one. I’m bookmarking this website for future reference when my grandson actually brings home a ferret.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    1. Hi Rosa,
      Thank you for bookmarking Ferret Lovers–Everything Ferret! Before your grandson brings home a ferret, you may want him to read some of my articles and tips on various aspects of ferret care.

  7. Very interesting that ferrets only need 4 hours outside of their cage. Obviously you will want to interact with them more, and why wouldn’t you?

    You wrote a great article!


    1. I’m glad you like the article on how much time should a ferret spend in and out of the cage. Ferrets would prefer to be out of their cage most of the time, if possible. Four hours is the minimum time and is used as a guideline for people who may not be home a lot or don’t have a lot of time to spend with their ferret some days.

  8. Hey Sandra,

    I laughed out loud @’they worked as a team’ lol…

    Oh my he is sooooo cute!1 If he gave me those eyes I would take him out for sure.

    I don’t have one but I had a huge pitbull dog and yes ….they NEED that human companionship.

    I never thought a ferret would be like a dog!


    1. Happy to entertain!
      Ferrets, like dogs and many other pets, really know how to use their charm to get what they want!

  9. Sandra,
    My cousin had Ferrets. She did not cage them except at night when everyone went to bed. When visiting they would go under the couch and try to bite on the back of my ankles. Other than that they where as you say just like a pet dog. Is there something to do about them playing with the back of my ankle while sitting on the couch, I think they were just playing.

    1. Hi John
      Some ferrets do like to play bite! Biting your ankles is a game for them because they can hide under the couch and do a sneak attack! There are ways to teach ferrets not to bite. Please see my article How to Stop Ferret Biting

  10. Hi Sandra,

    This is a great read on being a responsible pet owner! My sister had a couple of ferrets years ago, and one did escape from the cage. He ended up eating something that caused a blockage in his system. It cost her a lot of money to fix him up! Ferrets are clever, little animals and should be given a lot of attention and monitored free time out of the cage so that they won’t feel the need to escape on their own.

    1. Hi Courtney!
      Thanks for your comment. It is so important to keep a careful watch on a ferret that is out of his cage. Getting into something or eating something that is harmful is all too common.

  11. I left all 3 of my ferrets unsupervised for years, despite my husband having a fit since they poop more than any animal that I have experienced-and every corner of the house was used for this. I’m obviously incredibly lucky that my adopted/rescued ferrets were adults and were not into chewing wires, only stealing our things and attacking our cats lol. But I feel terrible now for doing that so thank you for writing this article, I would not have been able to forgive myself if something happened on account of my ignorance.

    1. Hi Katherine,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Please don’t blame yourself if you were unaware of all the dangers lurking for ferrets. That’s the purpose of this website—to help inform and give tips so our ferrets can have the happiest, healthiest lives!

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