There are many different cage and bedding options for your ferrets. From free roaming, to outdoor enclosures, to indoor cages you have many options for housing your ferrets. Keep in mind that any ferret kept in a cage MUST have a lot of time outside of the cage to play every day, and even uncaged ferrets need regular interaction and attention. Also be aware of how many ferrets you plan to keep and provide enough space for sleep spaces, feeding spaces, litter boxes, and room to play. If you have multiple ferrets they will often all cram in to the smallest bed in the cage in one pile – that said, you should ensure that there is enough space for your ferrets to sleep separately and have some space from each other if they are feeling fed-up with their cage-mates.
Check out the Forum Board: Creative Rooms and Cages for ideas!
Many people choose to Free Roam their ferrets, which means letting them roam the house instead of keeping them in a cage. This requires careful ferret proofing of the house, as well as requiring that everyone in the house should be aware of how to behave around the ferrets and to watch VERY carefully when opening doors to outside in case of an escape-attempt. Even if you free roam, it is advised that you always have a cage you can lock your ferret in if you need to for health, monitoring, or safety reasons.
Some people have a set room that is set up for their ferrets to live in, rather than a cage. This allows a lot of space, while still keeping the ferrets out of potentially dangerous areas of the house. Again, it is advised that you always have a cage you can lock your ferret in if you need to for health, monitoring, or safety reasons.
Outdoor enclosures are a fantastic option if you live in a climate that has safe temperatures. Ferrets adapt very well to living outdoors and are commonly kept outside in Europe and Australia. Some people keep their ferrets outside all of the time, and others have outdoor play areas that the ferrets have access to only some of the time.
Outdoor enclosures MUST have ways for your ferrets to get out of the weather and direct sun. Ferrets adapt to cold very well, but should have insulated, dry sleeping spaces available. Unfortunately, ferrets to NOT deal with heat very well and even a cool, insulated sleep space may not be enough if you live somewhere that gets temps above 80 F. See Helping Ferrets Deal with Heat and Nest Box.
Additionally, you must ensure that any outdoor enclosure is not accessible to local/wild animals in your area, and that the ferrets are not able to dig out underneath the enclosure – remember, they are burrowers in the wild! It is also wise to have a secure lock on your enclosure as pet theft is not unheard of.
Hutches are more common in Europe than the U.S. As with larger outdor enclosures, it is vital that you be aware of cage placement (do not place in direct sunlight with no access to shade), and temperatures.
Midwest Ferret Nation (FN)
Ferret Nation cages are the most popular cage option in the U.S. and Canada. They provide maximal floor space with a reasonable footprint. Cage levels are full-levels, with half level shelves to minimize height/fall risks. Additionally, the cages can be purchased in single level or double level models, with an optional add-on story for three-level cages AND they can be modified to attach side-by-side to create a “double wide.” Each level can be closed off via folding ramps. This makes these cages highly customizable and versatile. They break down for travel and shipping.
The cages are also some of the safest ferret cages on the market, including solid floor pans and double-locking door mechanisms that make escape extremely difficult. The full-front doors and removable floor and shelf trays make these cages VERY easy to clean, which is a huge consideration.
Because these cages are so popular, there are many sources of customized bedding sets that are easily available or you can make your own.
FN 141, 142, and 143 refer to the older model cages. They tend to be of heavier construction, use permanent bolts rather than clip-mechanisms for assembly, and are a slightly different dimension from the 180-model cages, making it more challenging to connect the cages if you have different models.
FN 181 (one story)
FN 182 (two story)
FN 183 (“three story” – one-level attachment that can be added to a 181 or 182 to create an additional story)
There are also many “off-brand” cages that are similar to FN cages.
Midwest Critter Nation
The Critter Nation cages are very similar to Ferret Nation but are designed with narrower bar spacing, horizontal bars (instead of vertical), and slightly smaller dimensions.
Super-Pet (now Kaytee)
SuperPet Cages are very common, and can be used to house a single or small business of ferrets (2-3). Unfortunately, these cages are not very sturdy and often need reinforcement to prevent collapse and/or escapes. Additionally, they are notoriously difficult to clean. The taller versions of these cages also pose a fall risk so it is important to put many beds, hammocks, ramps, or custom shelves throughout the cage to prevent your ferret from falling from a top shelf and injuring themselves.
The smaller versions of these cages (links below) should only be used for one ferret, temporary caging, or travel/medical cages.
Rabbit/Guinea Pig Cages
These cages are great options for a ferret that is only caged for a short portion of the day, for sleeping spots for ferrets who free roam or have a ferret room, for medical cages, or travel cages. They are not large enough to be used as a full-time cage – even for one ferret.
Small cages, such as rabbit/guinea pig cages are easily modified to make great travel cages or medical cages for isolating your ferret when (s)he needs close monitoring or separation from the rest of the business. Check out this Easy Travel Cage