A Day in the Life of a House Ferret

By Huggy Bear

Whirrrrrrr – CLUNK!

Eh? – what was that? Oh yes, the magic curtains that open at the same time every morning. Clever how they do that isn’t it? There must be a jill hidden in that little box that winds them back with the string. I must try and get in and see her one day. But for now I’ll just get out from under the other five boys and see what the weather is like today. It looks quite nice out there really, sunny but not too hot and just a few white fluffy clouds. Still, there’s enough time for another snooze on the hammock before those lazy humans in the next room come and let us out.

Later…Oh, here they come at last. I can hear the lounge door opening. Yes, it’s him again – it almost always is Dad up first – Mum won’t be emerging for a while yet. He’s lifting up the cage door and putting up the ramp so it’s time to scoot down and head for the potty. Now which one shall I use? I think I’ll use the one in the lounge….no, the one in the bathroom….no, the one in the bedroom….no, I was right the first time, I’ll use the one in the lounge!

Right, now that’s sorted out its time to start begging for a treat. Oh here we go, he always puts our collars with the bells on first so that he and Mum can keep track of us around the house; nose through the loop and squooze! Ah, that’s better. So now for the treat. What will it be today, a Whiskas Dentabit, a Felix Rascal’s Reward or some cat milk? Ah, a Dentabit; they’re my favourite even though I do sometimes get them stuck in the roof of my mouth. ‘Scuse me while I carry it off and eat it under the cupboard. It’s a good job I’m up first or Teddy Edward might have come and nicked it off me.

Now it’s time for my next job – to get into the human’s bed and nibble Mum’s toes ‘til she wakes up. Or maybe I’ll wash her eyelids with my nice rough tongue, or stick my cold wet nose in her ear. She’s moaning and complaining and she’s turned over. A bit more nose cleaning and Mum might even get out of bed. Now Dad is putting their breakfast out in the dining room so I shall go in and give them the old staring routine – you must know how it goes – watch every spoonful from bowl to mouth and back again whilst looking all soulful and deprived. With any luck we’ll get a bit of leftover banana. Oh heck, here come the others now, Boo Boo, Sir Rupert, Teddy Edward, Barney and Honey Bear. Drat, that means I’ll have to share the banana with them now!

After the humans have had their breakfast it’ll be shower time. That means that when Mum goes in there Barney and I will sneak in after her and lark about. First we’ll do the old in/out/in/out/in/out the bathroom door routine while she stands there starkers in that nice cold draught. Then once she gets into the shower we’ll force the cubicle door open and lick all the soapy water off her legs! After that we’ll nip her toes and ankles; let’s see if she can get both feet off the ground at once today! By this time we’ll be so excited that we’ll have to chase each other round the house for half an hour, trashing the place as we go and leaving little wet paw prints everywhere. Then we’ll head for the garden to dig up the flowerbeds. (Mum keeps saying that she’s going to send us to stay with a nice man called Saddam who would appreciate Weasels of Mass Destruction with their very own chemical weapons!)

Anyway, Dad is opening the French windows so its time to bound down the steps and out onto the patio. First I’ll have a sip from the birdbath and kick that pesky green pottery frog out of it. Now I’m chasing Teddy Edward round and round the fountain before heading into the flowerbeds for a good dig. We’re trying to undermine one of the tubs with the tall grass in so that it’ll fall over; I’m doing one side while Teddy digs from the other. We hope to meet in the middle one day! When we’re fed up with that we’ll scatter soil all over the paving stones. Mum will have to come and sweep it back later – well, it stops her from getting bored doesn’t it? Ah, there’s a scattering of grey feathers on the lawn so I guess the sparrowhawk has had a collared dove for breakfast again – shame he didn’t leave any for us ferrets.

Ha-ha, there’s Gizmo, one of the moggies from next door. He’s four times my size but never mind that, I’m a fearless ferret, aren’t I? Charge lads! Damn, he got away over the fence. I wish I had longer legs so I could jump like that. By the way, Boo Boo told me that his mate Yogi once ‘flew’ Gizmo. Apparently, he chased him so fast that he managed to catch up to Gizmo and pounce on his tail as he sprang for the fence. The result was that Yogi was still attached as Gizmo leapt into the air. Fortunately for Yogi he let go before they both went sailing right over!

But now it’s time to chase Barney down the drain pipes behind the bench – good fun provided you don’t mind getting spider’s webs all over your whiskers. Oh-oh, Sir Rupert’s got his head stuck in the watering can again and he’s reversing up the patio trying to shake it off – time to pounce on him and chew his back!

Meanwhile Teddy is climbing the big trellis that stands on the edge of the patio. He’s got to the top now and he’s jumped down onto the top of the fence between us and next door. He likes to visit the three Cocker Spaniels that live there so I guess that’s where he’s off to. Yes, I can hear one of them making grumbling noises: it’s probably Rosie, the one who likes to mother him as if he was a puppy. Teddy has gone right along the fence and Dad still hasn’t spotted him. Now he’s about to climb up onto the roof of the neighbour’s shed. Oh dear, the lady next door has seen him, caught him and given him back to Dad – nice try, Teddy! (He’s never been the same since he watched ‘Chicken Run’ on the telly last Christmas).

Phew, I’m getting a bit out of breath now so I think I might go back indoors and have some Ferret Complete and a drink before taking a well-earned nap. It’s back through the French windows and across the dining room carpet (leaving little muddy paw prints on the way), into the back hall and left into the bedroom. Up into our drawer in the bed and under our old eiderdown for a few zeds. Here come Boo Boo and Teddy. Rupert has probably gone to sleep in his furry foot warmer behind the lounge door. Barney and Honey Bear always stay outside longer than the rest of us. Honey Bear likes to catch and eat slugs – I don’t rate them much myself; when you chew them the slime gets stuck all over your chin.

Later… Oh-oh, now what’s happening? It’s just past lunchtime and I’m being dragged out still half asleep and carried into the lounge. Oh great, our carrier’s there! That means we must be going out somewhere. The question is where though. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. So it’s up into the carrier’s hammock and wait for the others to arrive. Here they all come, one after the other: Sir Rupert, Boo Boo, Barney, Honey Bear and Teddy Edward. Now Dad will carry us out to the car and strap our carrier onto the back seat before we set off.

Later…That’s funny, I must have dozed off, we’ve arrived already! I wonder where we are today. Ah, this smells like Twinnies Bridge. This is one of my favourite places, with lots to sniff at, nice sandy soil to dig in and boardwalks to get stuck under. Now we’re being transferred to the car boot while we have our harnesses put on. Time for a good wriggle to annoy Mum and Dad while they try to get the harnesses and leads sorted out. (Mum tries to get our coloured leads attached to colour-coded clips on a belt she has made for herself. Dad calls it her ‘knitting machine’ and if you’ve ever tried to walk us ferrets, you’ll know just why!) We won’t go down just yet, there are too many dogs about. We’ll wait until we’re out of the car park and over the bridge down by the river. Until then we’ll stay inside Mum’s and Dad’s jackets where it’s nice and warm.

First of all I think I’ll go and have a little splash about on the water’s edge for a minute or two before coming out and getting tangled up in some brambles; Mum and Dad love it when we do that! Now here’s a nice willow tree to climb, I wonder how far up I can get today before I fall off? Never mind, Dad’ll be there to catch me. Now we’ve got to the bit where the boardwalks start. We all love to dive off the edge together into the wet sand and crawl underneath. Here we can all get tangled up with each other and the wooden supports – Mum and Dad will have a hell of a job getting us out again, tee-hee!

At the end of the boardwalk is the stream where Teddy Edward and Sir Rupert like to swim. I’m looking forward to that bit. Oh heck! – there’s a family of humans ahead and we’ve been spotted already. Here we go with that old ‘Oh, isn’t he cute! Can I stroke him?’ / ‘Does he bite?’ / ‘I thought they were vicious?’ routine.

Later…Well, thank goodness that’s over. Now where’s my favourite tree gone, the big hollow willow? Here we are, just let me get in there and start scraping all the rotten wood out with my big strong paws, that’s great! I think I’ll head down to the roots now and get my lead all tangled up with the others. From here we can head for that big hole in the bank and all get wedged in at once while we try to dig out whatever it is that lives there (we’ve never caught it, so we don’t know what it is but it sure smells funny). This next part of the walk is where we start climbing up Mum and Dad’s trousers, getting into their coats and leaving little muddy pawprints all over them. Then of course, as soon as we’re inside their jackets it’ll be time to come out again and climb back down to the ground for the next load of mud: what fun! Sir Rupert however prefers to ride in Dad’s jacket hood so that he can look out and not miss anything of interest. Well, I’m feeling a bit cream-crackered now so I guess I’ll join Barney in Mum’s coat for a snooze on the way back to the car.

Later… What? Are we home? I don’t remember being put back in the carrier and being driven home; I must have nodded off. It’s going to be getting dark soon so it must be teatime. It’s Sunday today so that means a raw chicken wing to chew at. I love crunching the bones and taking bits off to hide under the TV. After that I think I’ll just have another forty winks.

Later still…Huh? What? Oh, Mum’s dragging me out of my nice warm box so that she can cuddle me in her dressing gown while she watches that noisy box of lights in the corner of the room. Cruelty to ferrets, that’s what it is. Still, ‘Resistance is futile!’ as they say. I guess I’ll just have to lie there while she rubs my tummy and massages my feet and pretend that I don’t like it really, and that I’m just tolerating it for her sake.

And finally…Dad has just woken me up to give me a drop of that special cat milk before he carries us all into our big hammock, puts our blanket over us and tucks us in. Then he closes the cage door, takes the ramp away and…. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

(First published in the October 2003 issue of the NFWS News)

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