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Old 12-10-2005, 02:09 PM
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Default What's the 3rd most popular pet?

Naming the two most popular pets in the United States should be easy for most people. Dogs and cats are obvious answers. If a person can name the third most popular pet, they know a thing or two about ferrets. Advertisement

That's right, ferrets. According to online information giant Wikipedia, ferrets are the third most popular pet in the country.

“Ferrets are cute, friendly and affectionate animals,” said Leah, a ferret owner for nearly eight years. “Ferrets love life and play hard. Many ferret owners love their ferrets so much that they choose to have more than one.”

Leah is proof of that statement as she has a number of ferrets in her home in La Crosse.

“It's not uncommon for a person to have five ferrets,” said Lee, manager of the small animal dept at Pets Warehouse. “They are really fun to play with. Ferrets are very, very social animals. They need a lot of interaction. They definitely need supervision.”

“Ferrets are often sold in pet stores in the U.S.,” Lee said. “However, since their increased popularity in recent years, many ferrets are in ferret-specific shelters in need of homes. This is mainly due to lack of education, as many times ferrets are purchased on impulse and people do not realize how much time, money and effort is involved in their care.”

Adopting involves passing an application process and paying an adoption fee, just as a person would do when adopting a pet from the Humane Society, Lee said. Many ferret rescues list their adoptable animals through Web sites such as Petfinder.com.

Lee said that buying a ferret is a $200 to $400 commitment.

“They take one of the largest cages of any small animal,” Lee said.

Lee said that cages cost about $200 and the ferret itself costs about $100. Since ferrets are carnivores, they require ferret food. Dog and cat food does not have the nutrients ferrets need. Lee guessed that a year of ferret food would cost about $75.

“A lot of people make the mistake of feeding cheap cat food or a cheap brand of ferret food, which can cause more health problems in the long run,” said Lee.

Lee said that she knows there are at least six different brands of ferret food.

“They all have their own tastes, just like we do,” Lee said. “They love desserts. They have a big sweet tooth. Strawberry Pop Tarts are a favorite of ferrets, but only in moderation.”

Lee said ferrets need regular veterinary care, just as a dog or cat does.

“Ferrets are a Med-maintenance pet and require a little more work than a cat or a dog,” Lee said. “It is a common misconception that ferrets can be caged as one would a small rodent such as a hamster.

“In reality, ferrets require a lot of exercise, which means they need several hours of playtime outside of their cages every day,” she continued. “In addition, they enjoy the company of people, so interaction between ferrets and their owners is important for their mental wellbeing.”

Once a person makes the decision to bring a ferret into their home, precautions must be taken.

“You have to ferret proof your home, because they are very curious,” Lee said. “They just love to go down tunnels and crawl into anything they can.”

“Ferrets like to climb and can get under or in small spaces, so it is important that they not have access to kitchen appliances, heating ducts, poisonous household substances, electrical cords or furniture, such as recliners, sleeper sofas or box springs.”

Exercise is important to a social animal like the ferret.

“They should be out of their cage for four to six hours a day minimum,” Lee said. “If you get home from work and take them out of their cage and put them back in before bed, they would be fine.”

One nice thing: Ferrrets make good companions for dogs and cats, Lee said.

Ferrets sleep 18-20 hours a day, but that doesn't mean they aren't active pets.

“They adapt to the owner's schedule. You wake them up and they are ready to play,” Lee said.

A common misconception about ferrets is that they are rodents.

“Ferrets are mustelids,” Lee said. “They are related to animals such as otter, mink, weasels, and skunks.”

Because ferrets are related to the skunk does not mean they smell. All ferrets in the U.S. are required by law to be spade or neutered and descented.

“I don't think they smell bad, but some people find it really offensive,” Lee said. “I don't think it's bad at all.”

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Old 12-14-2005, 08:53 PM
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Default 3rd most popular pet

Ferrets as 3rd most popular pet. Well deserved... However who could deny the pleasure of having that special bird, a parakeet, cockatiel, lovebird or parrot that stole and secured a place in our hearts. The special affectionate one that knew us so well and could turn our day around by a simple "hello" greeting or have the uncanny ability to reply appropriately beyond our expectations.

How do we classify our pets, any one of our pets intelligence, understanding, loyalties, affections, tolerances. How can that be rated. Popularity can be defined as that which is suitable to the majority. Pets are individuals as are we. The chemistry and love that exists between us is unique and unexplainable.
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