The news lately has been focused on why ferrets are wrong for a certain city. Today, let's focus on why they are right for urban pet owners living in any city at all.
Ferrets don't require a lot of space. Ferrets love to play, and play hard, but they don't need a yard or a park to romp in. Any standard room will do--plus you and some fun toys, of course! Ferrets need four hours of daily outside-the-cage playtime, and that's easily accomplished in the mornings before work and the evenings before bed.
Ferrets can adapt their schedule to yours. You may have heard that ferrets are nocturnal, but they are actually crepuscular, which means that they are naturally active at dusk and dawn. For many city-dwelling ferret parents, these are ideal times for ferret playtime. But a ferret's schedule is easily adjusted to yours. Basically, you can wake them up when you want to play. They'll sleep when you're gone. No need to worry about a sad puppy waiting at the door, pining away and waiting for you to come home. And definitely no need to hire a dog walker!
Ferrets are litter-trainable. Obviously, this is a biggie for any pet that's going to share its living space with you. Ferrets have great success with the litter box, and a little training and preparation can go a long way. Simply placing litter boxes in corners where ferrets play will greatly increase their chances of using it. The thing to remember with ferrets is that their digestive system is very short, so they can't be expected to travel a long distance to relieve themselves. Keep the facilities close at hand, and your ferret is much more likely to use them.
Shedding is not an issue. Like any furry animal, ferrets do shed, but it's manageable for two reasons: It's only twice a year, and it's not a lot. A healthy, properly groomed and cared for ferret will shed its coat twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Beyond that, normal hair loss is expected, but because ferrets are so small, it's usually not an issue. Vacuuming regularly and washing ferret's toys and bedding are sufficient.
It's perfectly fine for ferrets to stay inside all the time. As far as pets go, ferrets have delicate respiratory systems and are susceptible to some human-born diseases that do not affect other pets, such as pneumonia and influenza. For this reason, some ferret owners choose to limit their ferret's exposure to the outside world. Of course, some ferrets enjoy walks on their harness and lead. Those ferret owners who take their fuzzies outside are always vigilant to look out for hazards like dogs, cats, vehicles, or anything that might bring harm.
Of course, there's a plethora of other pets for city folk to choose from--from fish to lizards and rodents to even a small cat. But there's something about the silly, affectionate, inquisitive ferret that is just perfect--and once you discover it, no other pet will do!