Monday, October 30, 2006

The Ferret Cage

(NOTE: pictures below)

For the last two weeks, we've been working on a ferret cage for SaurKid's pet, Basil.

You see, we've apparently developed allergies to this darling little animal. He's a bit stinky, too, no matter how much we clean his cage (and he's descented!). However, he's amazingly sweet tempered and there's just no way that we can bring ourselves to part with him.

My doctor has said that he has often contemplated providing a service where ninja assassins will (for a hefty fee) break into a client's home and kill the pet that is causing all the allergies. This way there is no guilt associated with doing the dirty deed yourself, and your kids won't blame you. Although he says there's another doctor who already wants "in" on the franchise, I doubt the business would take off.

Basil won't always be able to stay outdoors. Right now, the plan is to relocate him to this play cage every day but bring him in at night. When it gets too cold or too hot, he'll be back in his "home" in the spare room until the temperature's livable again.

Nice, massive cages cost a fortune. If we didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a cage, we needed to build it ourselves. I discussed the initial layout with my dad and SaurKid. Originally, it was just going to be a simple, large plywood frame with some shelving. It would cost roughly a couple hundred dollars.

As I was thinking about it one day, I suddenly realized I might be able to utilize something which was already preconstructed: A used entertainment center! With a little modification, it might turn out better than we'd ever hoped, and it might cut out some time, too!

I drove around to the local thrift shops and found an ideal one for $40. I paid another $20 to have it delivered to our back porch, and we began the modifications. My dad helped locate a couple tools and cut the plywood back to part of it and Michelle's hubby helped with some parts I couldn't do alone. The rest was assembled by SaurKid and I. Altogether, it cost roughly $200 to create it:

The front and back sections which were open were covered in hardware cloth and mosquito screen, even though Michelle's hubby expressed doubts that any mosquito in her right mind would want to bite a stinky ferret. Yup, that's a pet door in the middle! It makes for easy access into the center area.

This is to prove to you that anyone could do this. I'm hardly Ms. FixIt. I spent over an hour putting a hinge on this door and ended up with many spent nails and two cracked fingernails as a result of it. I finally superglued the damned thing, and it seems to be holding very well.

You can buy a "hole saw" attachment to a drill, and it's loads of fun to use! Holes went everywhere. SaurKid had to restrain me, or the thing would've looked like swiss cheese! I also put contact paper down everywhere, to make it easier to clean up. We do have one concern: There's a lot of particle board in there. Hopefully, he'll remember where the litterbox is and if he doesn't, I can replace the parts with plywood.

This is the area he can retreat to if he wants complete privacy. There are no openings except for the holes which lead to the more open parts of the cage.

This is the jungle gym area. There's a hole at the top and bottom. I bought a heavy duty rain slicker and cut it to fit the areas I wanted, then put in grommets and used zip ties to fasten them down. These little yellow trampolines give him "steps" up and down.

Here Lord Basil is inspecting his new mansion. He seemed to like it a great deal, and immediatly went inside and ran through his crinkle tunnel (a long tunnel made of fabric and something that is wonderfully crinkly and appeals to his ferrety sense of play).

P.S. I made another addition this morning: outdoor gray carpeting. It's pretty indestructible, though we'll see what ferrets can do to it.

That's right: Ferrets. Basil's been very lonely, and SaurKid isn't always here to play with him, and I'm deathly allergic to him so *I* can't play with him, and I can't let him play with my two hypoallergenic dogs. So, I bought him a playmate today: Irene, a very dark little girl with a bandit's mask. She has the same, sweet temperment that Basil has. I named her after Irene Adler, the only woman that Sherlock Holmes ever admired. (I'll take pictures later. I can't wait to see SaurKid's face!)


Ed Abbey said...

Basil is perhaps the luckiest ferret I have ever read about. You would have made a good engineer with your thought process. Today's glues are stronger than wood so I have no doubt that your lock will stand the test of time.

R2K said...

: ) My rabbit used to be outside in a hutch. But he got maggots that way, must have been a cut on his back and flies got into it. He survived but it was pretty bad news.

uncle joe said...

Basil RAThbone?

mal said...

cool *L* Hole saws are handy things to have around...along with cordless drills,,,powersaws, power mitres...uh,, you get the idea *S*

Heather said...

Nice Job, Saur. Brilliant idea to use the entertainment center. I think you saved yourself hours of frustration and headaches. That is one lucky ferret.

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Basil`s a lucky boy. You`ve created quite the house for him! Best of luck with Vlad the Impaler too.


Anonymous said...


The Lazy Iguana said...

Here are some things I would watch out for.

1. Signs of a weasel escape attempt by clawing or chewing through the hardware cloth and/or screen.

2. Rain damage to the particle board. It could get soggy and then it would be easy to dig weasel holes for escape purposes.

Solutions include using chicken wire in place of hardware cloth and using a few layers of varnish on places likely to be exposed to rain.

But so far it is a great cage. The entertainment center idea was a good one.

Edge said...

How incredibly creative!


~Deb said...

How how inventive! I'm allergic to EVERY fricken pet imaginable! But that is something I definitely wouldn't have thought of!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Deb, thanks! Ohh, lemme tell ya. I'm turning out to be as allergic to them as cats.

Jef, thanks!

Lazy Iguana, I used the hardware cloth that's incredibly strong, and it's under the screen (in other words, the screen's on the outside) so that they can't chew through it. And I modified it today by putting gray outdoor carpeting down throughout it, so that may help. It's under shelter on my semi-enclosed back porch, so there should be no problem with rain.

Daniel, actually, they're not rodents. Evolutionarily speaking, they're closer to cats.

Tea, thanks! Vlad's always breathing down my neck (so to speak).

Heather, thanks!

Mal, right after my divorce many years ago, a girlfriend made me run out and buy loads of tools, telling me that all women should have their own supply. I've always agreed,and kept a well-stocked tool chest!

Uncle Joe, well...he was named after Rathbone, and it's a cute pun, but many people mistakenly think they're rodents and they're closer to the cat family! Believe it or not...

Alex, things like that scare me, which is why I decided to put screen over it all, too.

Ed, thank you! I was married to one once, and come from a creative family, so it all's rubbed off on me, I guess. I hope you're right about the glue!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

lucky ferret. Disney world junior and a girl friend to boot. We should all have and entertainment center,

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Saur, sounds like you are doing just fine without me, but looks like I would love to have fun and play around your place.

PS - a lot of allergies attributed to pets by certain ninja hiring doctors ... are actually caused by dust mite.
So if the kids are not allergic to the more obvious things, and the ferrets is not covered in fleas - like cats they tend to be very well groomed animals, then it might just be time to burn an old pillow or quilt, and replace it with a nice fresh one with no gead human skin for the mites to feed or breed on.

Best wishes!

Nihilistic said...

Ferrets are illegal to have in California...So its been awhile since I have even seen one!

KristieD said...

that is awesome! i have always wanted a ferret!! they are so cute and cool, I have a few friends that had them and they loved them. They are so smart. I did have a chinchilla once. But our homemade cage ended up having too many ways for him to escape so i went to the pet store and found a nice decent size cage for $150. I had to give him to a friend tho b/c i moved into a shoebox apt and he didnt fit. ;( Way to go on finding a creative and cheap solution!

eshuneutics said...

Very original! In my part of the world ferrets are prized keep them on their allotments--it's a real masculine thing! But I've never seen anything like this...what devotion.
Lucky Basil and they like one another?

Senor Caiman said...


I always had you pegged as a middle age woman with a chip on her shoulder but your use of the entertainment center is sheer brilliance. I vowed never to buy one of those things again after I put one together and had fastened it to the carpet in the family room.

Jenn said...

Have you made extra rooms for ferret babies?

(or do ferrets come neutered?)

Fred said...

Nice, Saur. It's always nice to come back after a blog-break and read about a furry animal like Basil. It makes me want to go out and buy one.

Anonymous said...

"I always had you pegged as a middle age woman with a chip on her shoulder but your use of the entertainment center is sheer brilliance."

Ha ha ha ha ha ...

As for myself, I've always thought Saur a brilliant middle-aged woman with a chip on her shoulder. ;-)

Herb said...

That is brilliant. Our rabbit is currently in a hard to clean ferret cage that is almost done-for. What a cool idea.

Ajay Shroff said...

Looks good :)

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

I loved the mini mansion for them,nice job!

Anonymous said...

I didn't think you believed in evolution?


The Lazy Iguana said...

I hope they are fixed. Or at least one of them is fixed. If they are anything like little weasel shaped cats, it will not take long.

Debbie said...

We bath ours on a monthly basis and it really helps keep the smell down! Love the play area you created for them, what a loving thing to do for an animal you are allergic to! I hope you will take more pictures of them playing in it! Very cool!