New Ferret Nation Shelves!

by Keri K. on September 15, 2010

New shelf design and new ramp covers!

New shelf design and new ramp covers!

If you have a ferret, I hope you’ve heard of the Ferret Nation. Let me start to introduce it by saying: I LOVE THIS CAGE. I’m not the only one, either: find a ferret forum and ask for cage opinions, and you’ll hear lots of the same. It’s a popular product because it’s a great one, and they just made it a little better.

MidWest Homes for Pets has updated the shelf design in the Ferret and Critter Nation cages with an even safer, easier-to-clean solution. Instead of a flat insert in the metal frame, the new shelves are removable plastic pans with raised edges, similar to the larger floor pans. In addition, they are now including fabric ramp covers, to help protect little toes.

If you’d like to upgrade your cage, new individual shelves are available for purchase.

Ferret Nation 142 + 143 Add-On Unit

Ferret Nation 142 + 143 Add-On Unit

My two ferrets share a FN143, that is, the Two-Story cage with the Add-on Unit. It’s not cheap, but there are a lot of awesome features about this cage that make it the last ferret home you’ll EVER need to spend money on. Here are a few:

  • Its sheer size! This is a huge home, with lots of space for everything your ferret needs plus room to play.
  • All-metal construction. This cage is heavy and solid. No escapes through bent bars, or plastic clips to break.
  • Two fully-opening front doors on each level. There is immediate access to every corner for cleaning or hanging hammocks. The doors also remove completely, and each can be quietly opened with one hand. No more frustrating struggles to fit litter boxes through tiny openings, or to clean in the furthest corner. I found this to be an incredible time saver, and it makes me much more forgiving for any ferret “accidents!”
  • Wide, removable shelves add more floorspace, as well as more places to hang toys or hammocks.
  • In Two or Three-Story cages, ramps can swing up and lock to create separate living areas.
  • Storage shelf beneath. Some owners put blankets or beds there for out-of-cage sleep space.
  • It’s wheeled. I wouldn’t mind the casters being a little bigger, but it’s still easy enough to pull the cage out to sweep behind, then roll back.
My Ferret Nation. We removed the bottom shelf to accomodate our low ceiling.

My Ferret Nation. We removed the bottom shelf to accommodate our low ceiling.

Any problems I’ve encountered with my FN have all had easy solutions.

  • It’s heavy! Like I said… it’s a really, really big cage. But I’d rather have safety and stability than portability for my ferret’s main home. I have a small, lighter cage used for traveling.
  • The plastic floor pans can rattle against the metal, which can be annoying if you share a bedroom with your fuzzies. If it bothers you, try a piece of cardboard underneath the pans. Lots of cozy blankets help too, as do floor pads made specifically for the FN.
  • Assembly is a two-person job. Follow those directions! But once it’s together, you’ll never worry about it coming apart.

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Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Madi September 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm

How much does this cage cost?

Maxx Webb November 13, 2011 at 1:02 am

I have a question about the photo at the bottom of this article. In the lower level of the cage pictured, there is a rather tall and full sized litter pan. If I may ask, where was that pan acquired? I am planning on replacing my Marshall Penthouse with the Ferret Nation 142, and my critters have become accustomed to the large, full sized bottom of the Penthouse. I’m concerned that with making the switch from a “free roam” litter pan to the more confined high back litter pans, that they will not be willing to cooperate. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Keri K. November 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hi Maxx! That litter pan is actually a “mixing tub” that I purchased at a home improvement store. It had a curved lip around the edge that had to be cut off (my husband did it with a handheld jigsaw). It fits the Ferret Nation just about perfectly then, and really has reduced the number of accidents my ferrets have in the cage. Another option I’ve used successfully is an “under the bed” Rubbermaid container that takes up almost exactly half of a Ferret Nation level. That also had to had to be modified by cutting a lower entrance into one side. We ferret owners need to be a crafty bunch!

Note that if you’re purchasing a brand new Ferret Nation, it will now be the “182” no-tool model. The look and dimensions are the same; assembly is a little different from when I wrote this post about the 140 series.

If your fuzzies are having trouble adjusting to their new litter box situation, consider confining them to one level until they’re at a 100% hit rate. Fill the rest of the level with blankets and toys. Once they’ve got the hang of it, add shelves and other levels back in, one at a time, and take them out if they start to miss again. It might take a few weeks, but you’ll all be happier once they’ve got it figured out. Good luck!

Maxx Webb November 21, 2011 at 2:42 am

Thank you so much for your help. Having read this, I know exactly which mixing tub you speak of. I used the same exact one as a water trough for pair of German Shepherds I had back in Southern California. They rather enjoyed cooling their bums off in it on the particularly hot days.

I predict that the transition to the new cage should go rather well. Since I last wrote, I reduced the amount of litter in the bottom of the Marshall cage to just the left hand side, and they have been handling the change with no issue. In fact, my fat boy (Monster) seems to be enjoying the extra space that he now have to lay in at the bottom. With that, and the nearly identical layout of the two, I think all should go rather well.

And there is certainly no joke about us needing to be crafty, ha. Back when I was a naive early ferret owner, I purchased one of them dainty little corner litter pans (the same one I happened to find 3 ferrets at the local pet store sleeping in this afternoon, ha) that I quickly found to be an epic fail. At this same time, I also found that the “J Feeder” was just a really fun digging hole for the kids. So, making the best of a fail, I turned the corner litter box into a corner food depot. With that zip-tied to the corner, I’ve satisfied Mia’s destructive chewing urge, and it allows the lazy boys to drape their bodies over the edge while they eat.

Thank you again for all your help.

Shaia Borden December 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I have two sable ferrets currently occupying a My First Home Multi-Floor cage. They seem perfectly comfortable, but they have broken out several times now. I’m going to repalce the cage with a Ferret Nation 182. Do you think a Ferret Nation 182 could comfortably house three ferrets? I thought I might use buying a bigger cage as an excuse to rescue another ferret from the local shelter. Thanks!

ChinLover November 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi there, I was wondering if you know if the separate levels can be removed to make one large open space instead of having separate levels with floors between each one with a hole for the ladder?

Keri K. November 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hi ChinLover! Here are the instructions for assembling the Ferret Nation: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Media/PDF/28059-ferret-nation-182.pdf
I believe the 182 series (this blog post was about the old 142 versions) doesn’t require the upper floor grid as a structural element and can be simply left out during assembly.

And as far as ferrets go, the 182 is plenty of room for three!

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