HELOISE A few ferret facts before it becomes the family pet

Dear Heloise: I am a ferret owner in Minneapolis. My mom cut out your ferret article for me, and I received it on Easter. I wanted to write to tell you that ferret ancestors might have been nocturnal (this is just a guess), but domesticated ferrets, including my Valencia, are neither diurnal nor nocturnal. Pet ferrets sleep on and off during the day and night, and tend to get used to their owners' schedules. Valencia usually goes to bed around 9:30 at night and wakes up again around 5:30 in the morning. She sometimes gets up to drink and eat during the night, but then goes back to sleep again. She's not ready to play again until morning. Jess, via e-mail.
Jess, your e-mail got us to do a little more research on ferrets. I love ferrets and had a couple as pets many years ago. One was Fanny Farkle Ferret.
Domesticated ferrets are not feral or wild, and without human care would probably not survive on their own. They don't have the hunting instincts that their early ancestors had. And you are right -- they are not nocturnal and can usually adjust their schedule to yours.
Remember: Before getting a ferret, be sure you understand the care and commitment one requires. Heloise
Dear Readers: Dorothy Frantzen of Palestine, Texas, sent in a photo of her cat Sweetie drinking water out of the bathroom sink.
Go to Heloise.com and click on This Week's Pet. Send your favorite, unusual pet photo to: Heloise/Pet Photo, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279. Heloise
Dear Heloise: When cleaning the litter box, I always spray nonstick vegetable spray all over the bottom of the box and also on the sides. It makes the box easier to clean. I also sprinkle a little baking soda in the box to help deodorize it. Thelma Goss, Louisville, Ky.
Thelma, thanks for the hint. Some cats can be a little picky, so if you notice that your cat stops using its box after you try something different, that might be a signal to stop. Speaking of litter boxes, Patti Drake of Cogan Station, Pa., sent in the following hint: "I want to tell you my hint for cleaning my cat's litter pan. I use an inexpensive toilet brush. It works great for getting into the curves and corners!" Heloise
Dear Heloise: This hint is about decals on the sliding-glass doors. It is helpful to have them at eye level for children and adults, but please don't forget family pets! I have a bird feeder on my porch that my cats love to watch. They try to pounce on the birds outside, and rather than risk them having a cracked or compressed vertebra or a concussion, I put some decals at their level to keep them from running into the glass. Laura Coleman, West Memphis, Ark.
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate

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