28 May 2020

Tales of a Ferret Owner: Addicts

Written by Sarah-Maree

We’ve survived another week! That deserves a reward. This week’s tale covers a little bit about my drug addict ferrets. Enjoy!


Before I jump into my ferrets being drug addicts, I should probably go back and explain a few things. Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but here’s a quick recap: Teeka itched so much that she would go into spasmodic scratching fits. Erin was thought to be the problem, but it couldn’t be proven. Tango ignored them both. 

Okay, okay, so only Teeka had a problem. Well, I felt bad for her. I mean, she couldn’t run from one point to the other without taking a split second stop to scratch and bite every inch of herself and then nip Erin’s face. It was hilarious but sad. 

So, this brings me to my drug addicts. It is well known in the ferret community that there exists a harmless drug known as ferretone (it’s actually a food supplement, but that’s NOT how the ferrets feel about it). I don't know what it is, but I know what it did. Putting a drop on Erin’s belly meant she was 100% angrily (because I often did this as a means of duping her into complacency so I could trim her nails) incapacitated while she licked it off. She would do anything for it. 

Tango... He enjoyed it. He would lick it, but he was too chill to begin with, so it didn’t have the same effect as it did on Erin. Don't get me wrong, even one drop had him licking his fur all over. 

That brings me to Teeka. The little diva didn’t care for it. She ignored the stuff. Nail trimming days for her were a nightmare, until we unintentionally found a different solution. 

If you’ll recall, I said she itched all over. Well, our vet said to try children’s Benadryl. We were given an adorably tiny syringe for sticking in her mouth, but we had to buy the liquid ourselves. 

Spastic Teeka, who was oh so picky, turned into a drug addict. Going anywhere near the bottle brought her to your side. She’d attempt climbing my leg just to reach the shelf the pink liquid was on. Sadly, her itchiness meant she never finished the climb, but she got her daily dosage all the same. Now, the real sad bit is that it didn’t seem to help. 

I know I’m to blame for continuing to give her the medicine even though it wasn’t helping and that I was only enabling her habit, but I held out hope that it did some good. 

Oh, and did I mention that Erin was a little punk and also became addicted to the stuff? That’s right, Erin would stick her mouth into Teeka’s just to get a taste of the medicine. In the end, I had to give them their own doses just to prevent them from biting the other’s face off. I mean, it was ridiculous. I had to hold Erin down just to give Teeka her medicine, and if Erin didn’t get her own share, she’d spend the next five minutes licking Teeka’s mouth, despite Teeka’s obvious and violent protests. Even with their own share of drugs, they’d still fight over the syringe and lick each other’s mouths. They just weren’t as aggressive about it when they had their own. Admittedly, it was messed up. 

True to his nature, Tango didn’t give a f*** about the Benadryl. He’d waddle by, get slapped in the face by Teeka, barreled into by Erin (who was jealous of Tango getting Teeka-attention) and then do a war dance to try and show the girls he wasn’t having it before finally waddling off to find something less violent to hang out with. 

Now, the best part about my little druggies is that I used it against them. They had this nasty habit of trying to sleep under the couch at night. They'd refuse to go to bed, it was like having children! I couldn't risk leaving them to roam the house unsupervised at night. I mean, they'd proven on several occasions that they were often up to no good, and I didn't want to wake up to a mess in the morning, or worse. 

So, anyway, that brings me back to the couch. It was a three-piece set in the shape of an L. They didn’t like sleeping in the two long sections. Noooo, they had to sleep in that corner piece where no human hand could reach them. It. Was. A. Pain. To get them out. 

A sleeping ferret doesn’t see or hear a bottle being opened, particularly when they’re stuffed way under a couch. Seriously not cool. 

My first solution was to use a bamboo pole, which we had as decoration, to poke the...uh...little sweeties, back into consciousness. Well, I started having nightmares that I was going to poke them too hard and pop an eyeball. I couldn’t exactly see too well, and they were awful squishy, so the pole had a lot of give. 

Hello children's Benadryl!

Putting a little drop on the end of the bamboo and then sticking the pole near their noses was the perfect lure! Now, before I get to that, I first need to explain how things went before the Benadryl. 

So, Tango was usually the easiest to get out. I don’t think he really cared for being poked and prodded. Even when I used ferretone to lure him and Erin out, he still had a tendency to leave first. Erin, however, was difficult. Waking her from sleep took a lot of work. Then there was Teeka. If Tango was Easy Difficulty and Erin was Intermediate, then Teeka was Expert. That’s right, she skipped right past Hard Mode and went straight for Expert. 

There was one good thing about targeting Teeka first. As soon as she woke up, everyone woke up. It was like all the itches she’d left unscratched during her slumber had accumulated and demanded relief. So, when she woke up, she was like a mad tornado, and woe to the ferret, which was mostly Erin, that slept too close!

To be clear here, a one-foot radius was too close. Any ferret in that range was fair game for scratching and nibbling on, as far as Teeka was concerned. In hindsight, Teeka probably had some anger issues. She was definitely the most violent of the three, despite her angelic looks. 

Back to the story. Unsurprisingly, Tango didn’t handle the Teeka tornado very well, and he often left the underdark of the couch of his own accord. Erin, however, still needed convincing. I think Teeka’s blows to her head made her a little special. As for Teeka, she hated being poked and would often vindictively look you in the eye before shuffling to a new position that prevented easy poking. Then she’d resume her nap, at least once she had the scratching out of the way. 

Well! That all changed with a little veterinarian prescribed Benadryl on the end of the bamboo pole! A little bit of that as a lure, and boom! Ferret fishing became a regular sport in our house. Neither Erin nor Teeka could resist it. Although Teeka would intentionally sleep with her nose away from where I would poke the stick at so she wouldn’t be roused by the smell, the tricksy tornado. 

And that’s how my ferrets became druggies and how I exploited them for it. Also, no ferrets were injured in our nightly fishing routine. I always checked and never poked too hard, even when it was really really tempting to do a harder poke after a Teeka glare. 

This week’s photo is of Teeka. Doesn’t she just look so sweet and innocent?

May your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!

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