Message Number: SG7253 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-01-02 05:22:11 UTC
Subject: RE: overly affectionate ferret
Message-ID: <>

Author wrote:
> I have a 7 yr old female that in the last 2 days has had a
> behavior change. She is "stalking" the whole family. She
> follows everyone around begging to be picked up and then she
> licks us constantly. She will not sleep in her cage (she bites
> it and looks agitated) for more than a few hours and only rests
> when we hold her.

I had a very similar experience with a ferret that was seriously adrenal and then developed a number of other cancers. She lived for about 11 months after she turned up on my doorstep one night, and I called her a "velcro" ferret because she could not stand to be more than a couple of feet away from me and could not be caged because of the cage-biting "cage rage" you describe. She would insist that I pick her up, and would then go contentedly to sleep in the palm of my hand. (Thank goodness I make my living as a computer geek, so I could do my work with my other hand on the keyboard and mouse while I was holding her. B-) For her last few months I had to give all of her food and water by hand, and I took her to work with me every day, so we were never apart.

I did not begrudge Pogey her need, but I understand how demanding and awkward the situation can be. Rest assured, you are not alone in this situation, so please give your fuzzy all the comfort she desires, if you can. I felt quite honored that mine trusted and loved me enough to rely on me in her pain, even though I could not give her much relief other than my sympathy until the day she needed to be put down.

In the end I think it will be a happy memory for you if you give her the attention she seeks. Otherwise it may be a regret.

But, please also talk to your vet about the availability of analgesics. I think we give far, far too little attention to pain relief in our pets, just because most animals (especially ferrets) are very stoic about pain from a human point of view. Humans have a huge assortment of both over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, but our companions are offered almost nothing. We bring them home from surgery within a day or two, at a point where most humans would be either kept in the hospital or sent home with major scrips for pain relief. We watch them recover from injuries or diseases for which we, ourselves, would be gulping asprins or Nyquil or Orajel or other remedies. Something's not right, here!

(Vets, I would like to hear your views on the subject of animal analgesia! Even James Herriot pointed out, 30 years ago, at least one "miraculous" recovery accomplished by simple pain relief, when he failed in an attempt at euthanasia. I wonder if we're missing a bet in not placing greater consideration on this.)


*SLMW 1.0* No animals were harmed in the production of this message.