Many new ferret owners are attracted to their pets because of their high energy levels and vivacious spirit. These feelings are often short lived, though, once they bring them home and see first-hand just how much destruction ferrets can do in your home. Left unattended, ferrets tend to get into anything and everything.
They are very curious by nature, and even if they have no plans to eat objects, their own curiosity usually will have them chewing on everything around them. This instinctive habit is what causes many people to ask if ferrets are known to chew on furniture.
The answer to that question can never be yes or no, because while ferrets will chew on many things, there are some materials they tend to avoid sinking their teeth into. So, the answer therefore is it depends on the type of furniture you have.
Ferrets rarely chew on wood, so your wooden furniture like your tables, desks, and chairs are pretty safe from an attack, but bets are off on everything else, especially anything made with plastic, rubber, or fabric. So, even if your wooden furniture also has elements of these different materials like fabrics, you can expect your little furry friend will happily sink his teeth into it the first chance he gets.
The best way to protect them from harming themselves and your furniture is ferret proofing wherever possible.
While most furniture is not made of rubber, you can find that some has rubber attachments that a ferret could easily get access to. Rubber legs, covers over arm rests, and rubber decorative enhancements can be very appealing to ferrets; even leather patches are not off limits to these guys. One of the reasons for this is because while it doesn’t taste like anything in nature, it does have the texture that mimics foods they would normally eat in the wild.
Ferrets are meat eaters, so you can imagine the sense of satisfaction they get from sinking their teeth into a nice leather sofa. Unfortunately, if they were to swallow any of these materials, it can drastically block their digestive tract and you will have a very expensive vet bill on your hands.
If you have any wires or cords that are coming from your furniture, speakers, stereos, or lights, you need to be extra careful. Ferrets won’t hesitate to sink their teeth into them, causing undue harm to your equipment and even putting your ferret’s life in jeopardy.
So, make sure these electric cords are far out of their reach or cover them with hard chew proof plastic. You can also find more in-depth information on this topic by reading our article, how to ferret proof wires.
By and large, the most popular type of furniture for a ferret to get into is the softer furnishings, which can include bedding, sofas, recliners, and chairs with fabric and stuffing. Recliners, for example, have a nice padding in the cushions, which your ferret will inevitably attack with reckless abandon.
Not only can the chewing and swallowing be harmful to your pet, but they could easily get caught in the wires and mechanisms that could cause severe injury or harm while they are eating their way through it.
If you’re not watchful, your fuzzy little friend will quickly turn that beautiful recliner into a pile of shredded threads. The best way to preserve your recliner from a ferret attack is to make sure it is out of their reach.
This may not be so easy to do. The best solution is to have the recliner kept in a separate room far out of their reach. However, if not, it is best for you to put up some type of barrier to keep him away from it.
Some people use the panels from their ferret playpen to put up a barrier around the recliner to keep them away from such dangerous furnishings. This is a wise decision and the only other alternative besides getting rid of the recliner altogether.
Unlike beds and sofas, recliners cannot be ferret proofed. If you try to box in the base, the recliner becomes completely nonfunctional and no longer serves its purpose. By putting up a removable ferret proof barrier to keep them away is the only way to protect them.
Again, the same thing that attracts ferrets to recliners will draw them into your bed in a big way. They may not be intending to eat the stuffing in your mattress, but as they try to burrow into the soft folds of its stuffing, they will undoubtedly chew and swallow some of it, giving you a pretty expensive vet bill or worse.
Most of the time, ferrets will work their way into your bed from underneath. They will first find their way into the box spring, so they can get into the glorious empty spaces inside where they can stash all sorts of treasures they have found.
But from there, they can easily claw into your mattress from underneath, chewing their way through the stuffing, which can cause them to choke, and it could clog up their digestive tract.
To prevent this, you can box in the base of your bed with a wooden frame that will keep them from having any access to the underside at all. You could also nail a vinyl or plywood cover over the entire bottom of the bed, which will discourage them from the attempt at all.
Ferrets are excellent climbers, which can create another set of problems. If you have the kind of bedding that hangs down the sides of your bed, your ferrets can quickly climb up the sides and not only chew on the bedding, but burrow themselves inside where they can easily suffocate.
If you plan to have any ferrets in your bedroom, make sure you don’t have anything hanging that they can climb, giving them access into this highly dangerous territory. Also, read our article on how to ferret proof a bed to give you more ideas.
Sofas are especially dangerous for ferrets. Again, chewing on the stuffing can be very hazardous to their health, but as they chew, they could find themselves trapped inside where they can be severely injured by wires and springs, or they could be crushed when someone sits.
The good news is that a sofa can be easily ferret proofed. The easiest option is to remove the legs so that the sofa can sit directly on the floor blocking all access to the underside. This can be a problem for some people though, as it can cause the sofa to sit too low to the floor.
A second option is to box in the bottom and the sides with either plywood, vinyl or some other material that the ferret won’t be able to climb. By doing that you prevent them access to the easiest parts of the sofa. In most cases, that is sufficient enough discouragement for them and they will wander off to easier targets.
For those with more determined pets, you may have to place a layer of chicken wire or vinyl under the covers of the cushions to make an additional deterrent. They may attempt to chew through the fabric a few times before they reach a barrier they can’t break though, but eventually, they will stop and look elsewhere for things that they can break through.
Keep Your Ferret Busy With Toys
Ferrets are natural chewers, it’s instinctive and part of what makes them unique. You will never stop them from this habit, so it’s best not to repeatedly scold them for something they can’t help doing.
Of all the possible ways to protect both your furniture and your ferret, you will have to focus your energies on management. Rather than trying to get them to stop something that is inbred in them, make sure they have plenty of things within their reach that are safe for them to chew on.
There are plenty of ferret toys on the market that can keep ferrets occupied for hours on end. They can not only satisfy their inner need to chew on things, but they are completely safe if swallowed, so there is no risk of harm to them.
Some of the best toys are those that cost you nothing. For example, paper bags – they love the crunchy sound they make when they play with them, cardboard boxes with holes cut out so they can run in and out from all different angles, and hard plastic balls they can push around and chase across the floor.
The main point here is that the more diversions you can create for your ferret, the easier it will be to keep them from looking at your furniture as a giant chew toy.
These are highly interactive animals and they love experimenting. Unfortunately, some of their experiments will have them chewing into things that are dangerous for them. Ferrets are wild animals that are not easily adapted to the natural things of the human world. We can take nothing for granted, and as long as you keep that reality in mind, you will be ever vigilant in keeping your ferret and your furniture safe.
Remember, you are never finished ferret proofing your home. These are very smart creatures that will always try to outwit you. Once you create a barrier, they will be determined to overcome it, so you will have to always think on your toes and be willing to adapt your strategies in order to stay one step ahead of your pet, but if you do, both of you will enjoy many happy years together.