Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Emmett and Fiona and Gus

L'il Fiona in the hammock.
As I write this, a cute little ferret named Fiona is playing with my foot. She’s a tiny, adorable little thing, sometimes sleepy, sometimes curious, sometimes terrified of a plastic cheerleader pom pom. She’s been in the house for three days, and I’m already crazy about her.

Emmett, a big moose of a ferret, won me over even more quickly. A climber, he’s managed to be on every horizontal surface of our family room, and pretty much every vertical one as well. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t tried to sell me exclusive photos of Spider-Man. It’s been a while since I haven’t been sure on which plane to look for a ferret; Emmett surprises me, wherever he goes.

These are both beautiful, amazing, friendly ferrets. We’re lucky to have them.

I worry, though. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry. It’s been three days now, and our original ferret, Gus, is still wary of them. For now, they’ve been sleeping separately, the new guys in one cage and Gus in the other. We let them out together, or sometimes Gus on his own, so hopefully he can maintain his sense of mastery of the house.They've swapped cages, voluntarily. They're growing accustomed to each other's smells.

Emmett, perched for trouble.
But when they’re out together… I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I was hoping it would be one big ferret party, with Emmett and Fi helping Gus get over his apparent loneliness at the loss of She-Devil. But what’s been happening so far — and it’s only been three days — has been something different.

Emmett has almost consistently been a gentleman around Gus. He’s much bigger, younger and stronger, but he doesn’t pounce on him, doesn’t play any overt domination games. And Gus doesn’t immediately go into intimidated mode, either. He’ll hang out at the food bowl, looking like he’s trying to ignore Emmett. Then they’ll walk around together for a little bit, with Emmett essentially shadowing Gus, and Gus looking like he’s walking away while trying to stay cool about it. I feel like I’m reading too much into their behavior, but that’s the vibe I get. Today, Emmett did, briefly, pounce on Gus a little, but I pulled him off and scruffed him and told him “No,” and then he let Gus alone until he was done eating. Then, afterward, they did the follow routine once around the room, and Gus retreated into his cube (a hanging cube-shaped hammock in one of the cages). Emmett walked up the ramp and looked inside – didn’t even poke his head in – twice, but Gus didn’t budge.

Fiona, on the other hand, might be a little afraid of Gus. When Gus looks in on her, she’s likely to squeak and hiss, which scares him off. I’m really hoping this gets better. He’s definitely interested in meeting her, but she rebuffs him – sometimes immediately, or sometimes after they share a bite next to each other at the food and water bowls.

Gus & Fiona on an awkward dinner date.
I’ve never been in this situation before, and neither has Kathy. We’ve never had to worry what our current pets will think of the new pets. We’ve never had to introduce them to each other, or anything like that. I really want to provide a good home for Fiona and Emmett – these are awesome, brave, curious animals – but the point of bringing them home was to help renew Gus’s golden years, not to stress him out more. We were afraid he was getting too bored on his own, but he might prefer being bored. As polite as they are — and they really are — they might be a little much for our little guy.

So I’m conflicted. We’ve got new pets, and they’re perfect, entertaining goofballs! I want to be thrilled. And instead, I’ve got this unsettled, wait-and-see feeling. Kathy and I might be ready for more ferrets, but Gus has to be ready, too.

We’ll see.



Feargal said...

I guess Ferrets are people too....

Hope it all works out for the three of them. Keep us updated.

Perhaps Emmet and Fiona should have brought presents for Gus? Apparently its what newborn baby brother and sisters do...

Rob S. said...

Thanks, Feargal. We've got our fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

I have had to make ferret introductions before, but not with an older ferret involved. *sigh* We'll just have to see how this all works out.

Mrs. Rob S.