Ferrets' blog

A blog with news about my ferrets: Tata, Izzie and Liira. There will also be reminiscense about Tenchi, Adric, Ker Avon, Ryo-Ohki, Nyssa, Lady Ayeka, Romana, Pertwee, Podo, Kodo, Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon, all of whom are gone now.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ella is 7!

A little over six years ago a stray ferret was found in Chapel Hill in poor condition. The average lifespan of a ferret that is turned loose or strays away from home is three days. You don't usually find stray ferrets, at least not alive. That ferret was picked up by a wonderful local ferret owner, Celia Wright, who named her Ella. Six years ago last Wednesday Ella went to the vet for the first time immediately after the rescue. The vet was Dr. Dan Hudson, our original vet (now retired) estimated her age at one year old. She was an adult ferret so she couldn't have been much younger than that. She could have been a little older but probably not much.

Sadly Celia passed away and I adopted her two ferrets, Ella and Zephyr, more than four years ago. We'll never know Ella's exact birthday but we've used that first vet visit and added the one year estimate to calculate her age. By that measure Ella turned seven this past week. Happy Birthday Ella!

While she's taking a snooze in the picture above Ella remains a very playful and active ferret. Oh, she's old by ferret standards but she doesn't act that way. This is despite the fact that she is blind now. She lost her eyesight gradually and adjusted brilliantly. She can run down the hall and make a turn into the living room at full speed and not run into anything. She knows exactly where things are supposed to be. We do rearrange the tunnels and toys (she likes exploring and finding where things are) but we also leave large areas where she can run to her hearts content without fear of bumping into anything. Sometimes she does go bump but she rarely misjudges. Ella also knows exactly where to find her gravy at the beginning of playtime and runs out of the cage and to the bowl and maximum speed.

We leave a three story ferret condo at the edge of the couch which she climbs, either on the inside or the outside, to get up on the furniture. We don't dare move that. We also always have one of her two favorite blankets where Ella likes to sleep. Other than that she gets around by sense of smell. She also comes when called so her hearing is fine.

Ella also still loves rough play. Tonight she did sock drags: literally hanging onto my sock with my foot in it while I drag her around. She also grabbed onto my thumb with both forepaws and her teeth (without biting down at all) and I literally lifted her off the couch by one thumb. She's strong and can hang on for quite some time if she wants to. Ella shows no real signs of slowing down at all, a good indication that she's still healthy. The only other health issue I am aware of is an enlarged spleen, something that's common in older ferrets. It doesn't seem to bother her at all.

I've had some seventh ferret birthdays that were bittersweet due to deteriorating health and I've had some ferrets where it was all joy. Ella's seventh (whichever day it really was or is or will be) is a happy occasion.

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