Monday, September 9, 2013

Interview with Anja, ferret lover and blogger

Frida the friendly ferret explores the world.
Ever wondered how an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie can enhance the human animal bond? Anja is a 23-year-old ferret enthusiast from Zagreb, Croatia. Frida is her ferret. A certain Arnie movie brought them together in a roundabout way. SAT got the lowdown. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a civil engineering student and I adore animals. In my free time I am writing this blog Friendly Ferret, still learning new things about ferrets even though I have been studying ferrets for a few years.

Why did you decide to adopt a ferret?

When I was little, I watched a movie called Kindergarten Cop, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had ferret as a pet. He was working in a kindergarten on an undercover assignment (he was a cop) and the kids were insane. One day he took his ferret to the kindergarten to make all children stop yelling and running around and it worked.

The children were looking at that ferret and so was I. That ferret was so beautiful and adorable, for me it was the most awesome thing I have ever seen. Through the years my love towards ferrets grew bigger and bigger and I just knew I have to buy one. 

Frida sleeps.
Can you tell us a bit about Frida: where did you get her from and what is her personality like?

I got Frida as a gift from my boyfriend who knew how much I loved ferrets and that my wish was to have a ferret one day. I got her for my birthday, she was only 5 weeks when she arrived and we had to feed her with milk. She is really good, she doesn't bite at all, she's a very playful and happy little ferret. From the beginning she knew what litter box is for. When she grew up we trained a little so she knows few tricks as well. It is real joy to have her around. 

Tell us a bit about the relationship you guys have.

She is actually pretty attached to me and I hate when I have to leave her home. Usually it is for one day, not more, but then my family steps in and plays with Frida. In the beginning I though she wouldn't recognize me as her owner, but now I am noticing that she actually does. When someone she doesn't know is in the room with me, she always looks to see where I am and if I leave the room she gets a little nervous and usually hides under the sofa. If she accidentally bites me while playing she starts licking that spot to apologize.

Tell us about your daily routine with Frida – how do you look after her?

She sleeps in her cage overnight, so in the morning I let her out and the games begin. The first thing she does is to see if everything is in the right order.If there is something new in the room she will notice that and start exploring. Then we play, if the weather is nice, not too hot we go to the nearest park so she can explore. I feed her with Totally Ferret food, because it is only food she will eat. I want her to eat meat, but she refuses it. She is very picky when it comes to eating, but most ferrets are.

When it comes to maintenance she isn't very complicated. Every two weeks we clip her toenails. I do that with my brother. He holds her and gives her malt paste, she adores it, while I clip her nails. The same thing happens with ear cleaning, she doesn't like that. Bath time is about every month to two months, and that is really an adventure.

Have you ever taken Frida to the vet?

I have taken her couple of times to the vet. Their first encounter was when she arrived and it was regular check up: is she healthy, does she have fleas etc.? She has also had her vaccination, neutering, and anal glands emptied - she was brave little girl every time. Neutering was important because I am not planning to mate Frida and when jills don't mate they develop different health problems which can eventually cause death. When she was vaccinated or her anal glands cleaned, we gave her malt paste which made those procedures much easier. The vet was very nice to both of us and gave us many useful tips.

Ferrets are known for being very playful. How do you entertain Frida?

I throw her balls which she follows, but doesn't catch, she just continues to run next to the ball. She also chases the roll of toilet paper. Her favourite toys are plastic cups. She can play with them for hours. They are light and hard to catch for her so she runs all day trying to catch them. I have one extra long tube and a couple of short ones which she loves very much. I love to play with her in boxes. I make a few openings in a box, she enters and when her nose is near the opening I tap it and she goes to another opening. There is also a game with a blanket. She is under the blanket and I lift the blanket, she starts to jump and runs around. Every day is different around her.

Frida licks a treat. Note one of her favourite toys - a plastic cup - in the background.
Ferrets are known for eating things they shouldn't. How does one ferret-proof their house? Has Frida ever eaten something she should not have?

Frida hasn't eaten anything she shouldn't have. Every toy she has is made out of plastic which she won't chew, or it is to hard for her to chew. We are trying to move anything she could eat, so things like rubber and foam are in the closet where she can't enter. When she is playing, there is always somebody around her to stop her when she does things she shouldn't. The most important thing to ferret-proof is the bathroom, due to the chemicals for cleaning (we are keeping them in one cabinet in the bathroom) and the toilet seat (they can easily enter but it is hard to get out). Also,you have to stop your ferret from entering behind a fridge, because they can chew through cables and be electrocuted. Same thing with the oven and dish washer.

Have you got any favourite ferret related websites?

Yes, my personal favorite is actually Croatian ferret forum, called Tvorum (coratian word for ferret is tvor) and there I learned so much about them.

Ferrets are flexible, a trait to take into account when ferret-proofing one's abode.
How has Frida changed you as a person?

She made me happier. When I am down I just need to look her, jumping and running around like crazy and I am happy in a minute. Ferrets are little anti-stress balls. While Frida is here I have really grown when it comes to responsibility and my mother sais that Frida has made our family even closer than before. I knew that having a ferret is a challenge, due to their biting habits and common health problems, but this challenge I would take over and over again. I am even considering buying another. 

Thanks Anja! We love your enthusiasm.