Why Do Ferrets Eat Paper and Cloth?

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Q: Why is my ferret biting and chewing apart his cloth hammock and paper toys?

A: Ferrets bite cloth because they are attracted to the scent of the laundry detergent you use to clean the cloth. Ferrets are not rodents and ingesting cloth could possibly cause health issues like intestinal blockages.

You should only use the hypo-allergenic kind because it has no scent and your ferret may actually have an hypersensitivity to the scented kind. With regard to the bedding, a t-shirt or  fleece blanket are the only safe kind of cloth a ferret can use as bedding.

 How to Stop Ferrets From Chewing on Cloth

I happened to have three that did that. It drove me nuts and I also worried about them getting an intestinal blockage, so I gave them some ferret lax several times per day.

  • If possible, try spraying bitter apple on the things he chews. It’s supposedly really bitter, and ferrets (along with other animals) despise it, but once mine get over the initial bitterness, they actually start licking it!!
  • Mine will typically chew the blankets and other things in their cage, not their hammocks or hanging toys, so I simply got rid of the items they chewed on.
  • If he continues chewing on them, get rid of them again and wait several way more weeks well before putting them back in.

So, yeah, that may or may not work for the ferret.  They DO love to chew and also it is normal (not exactly healthy, but still normal). Just get rid of what he’s chewing on and after a couple weeks try putting them back in the cage.

Like I said, they’ll get the message and stop eating the cloth.

What Cloth Items Should I Give My Ferrets?

Keep them clear of stringy cloth or things like Santa hats. .  On occassion they pull these cloth items apart and swallow a piece of string. This may get caught in their digestive tract and also cause an obstruction that will have to be removed.

I had to actually have surgery on one of my ferrets because he swallowed a piece of string from the ferret Santa hat I bought him. A t-shirt is typically ok because it doesn’t usually get pulled apart or chewed on. The ferret will sleep in a t-shirt of yours if you put it in the crate. Although, there are actually ferret tents and hanging sleep sacks you can buy. Mine liked the shirt. You can try different things depending on what your ferret prefers.

Ferrets love soft cloth to sleep in, so provide large hideouts and hangers for your ferret to have. They also like little dog beds..

Good Bedding Material for Ferrets

Bedding materials (old shirts of flannel or cotton, sweats, tee-shirts and towels work well, although terrycloth should be monitored and removed at any mark of unraveling). “Retired” things from around your house are probably the best bet.

Their bedding should consist of blankets, aged clothes, hammocks, hanging fabric cubes, and different items like that.

You don’t need to cover all areas of the bottom of the cage with wood shavings or even Carefresh. The cheapest bedding materials that I have found are those by SuperPet (though they’re the cheapest, they’re still nice).

If possible, check out the dollar store for baby blankets or use old blankets, sweatshirts, or even different clothing you have around the house.. . I use standard bed sheets for my bedding in the place of disposable bedding (saves you money and is easy to launder).  Try not to use towels or shredded cloth… these are generally a hazard to your ferret.

You should be VERY careful and watchful of any….I repeat….ANY fabric you place in with the ferret.  They do chew…in particular once they get hungry and don’t have any food left in their bowl, and once they are bored (or stir crazy).

Trust me on this one.  If they’re unfortunate enough to chew up the cloth and get a blockage, it will at the very least be an expensive veterinarian bill for the surgical procedure to get rid of the block…..and could possibly result in the death of your ferret!

Can I Use Cloth Hammocks for My Ferret?

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I actually used to use ferret hammocks……not anymore.  My ferrets always chewed on their hammocks.  I observed them.  I didn’t see any problems with it.  They seemed fine.  I’d supplant it with a new hammock.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!  My sweet tiny Chessie chewed on her hammock and it caused a block.  She wound up having surgery to remove it, and luckily it was successful.

Please don’t ever use those hammocks with the fuzzy material for them to sleep on…..it is unneccessary and potentially hazardous!. . Think – does the wild blackfoot ferret sleep in a hammock?  NOPE!  The only reason ferret hammocks are made (IMHO) is for us to enjoy seeing them sleeping in a tiny hammock

Why Do Ferrets Chew Paper? Is Paper Dangerous?

The best ferret toys are Noisy and movable. . . Mine like plastic bags, scrunched balls of papers, boxes with plastic cups in them, pom-poms, and also the paper recycling box. Ferrets love random playthings like paper bags, cat balls, socks, and holee rollers. They love cardboard rolls, ripping up paper towels.

Above all, a ferret owner needs a sense of humor. For example, once the tiny rascal discovers that toilet papers is fun toy, you’re even more likely to say, “Aw, how cute! He destroyed my lavatory!” as compared to to say, “Die, furball!”

Chewed up paper should not bother the Ferret’s digestive system, but make sure that she is not eating paper clips, staples, white out, etc. The paper should go through her with no troubles, but keep watching her to make sure she is eating normally until she passes the paper.

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