A couple months ago, Jasmine learned to climb out of her cage.
There’s just one place where she can pull it off, where the gate has an extra bar across it that she uses like a ladder. So we put a piece of cardboard over that one section of the cage, secured it with clothespins, and thought we won.
We had, for a while.
But last week, eating a snack just after I got home from work, I heard a strange scratching noise from under the kitchen cabinets. I almost hoped it was mice.
A minute later Jasmine stuck her head out and yawned.
Ah. She’s found a new way out.
Turns out that cardboard is flexible, and given enough pushing Jasmine managed to tear it just enough to squeeze her body between the cage bars and the cardboard.
We added more clothespins, then turned the cardboard so a new side would be under attack, but it didn’t work.
Every day I came home to find her sticking her head out from under the cabinet, or the bed, and yawning.
She always acts so bored when I find her out of her cage in the afternoon, as though it’s nothing out of the ordinary that she’s spent the day freely roaming across the house.
It’s a problem on a number of fronts. First, it means trouble. She hid my tennis shoe deep under the bed the last time she escaped. Pens have disappeared. Boredom means destruction, and she’ll steal anything she can.
It’s dangerous for her, too. Pencil erasers can be lethal when swallowed, there are electric and gas utilities that aren’t meant to be a ferret’s playground and there’s always the chance that we’ll leave the door open while bringing in groceries or something, not knowing she’s up, and she’ll slip out into the world and disappear.
Ferrets really do need to stay put when they’re alone, and we’re trying different things to keep her contained.
But I’ll tell you a secret I won’t tell her: it’s hilarious to watch her climb out, stretching her incredibly lithe body to its fullest stretch, pulling herself up by tiny front feet, squeezing herself through tiny spaces before flipping and falling down the other side.
And when she’s free she runs and dances and tries to kill my hand if I try to touch her, her whole self spoiling for a fight with anyone or anything that moves. She’s just 8 months old and full of energy and I only get to pet her when she sleeps.
At all other times she’s a deceptively pretty, crazy dancing monkey-weasel out looking for trouble.
And she sure is fun to watch.