Are Ferrets Good Pets for Apartments? (Solved)8 min read

Ferrets are the third most popular pets to own in the United States. Whilst ferrets naturally live outdoors, modern-day living doesn’t always allow for outdoor space for our pets. 

Whilst you may think that ferrets need a lot of space to play, actually apartments make fantastic environments for keeping ferrets. Ferrets love socialising and will have a burst of energy for around 5 hours a day, making apartment living ideal. In this article, we’ll go into more detail including the pros and cons of keeping ferrets in apartments. 


Ferrets can be a wonderful addition to your apartment. They’re fun, sociable, and can keep you entertained for hours on end. However, they can be high-maintenance if poorly trained. Ferrets cannot be kept as pets in California, Hawaii, and New York City. 

Is It Illegal To Keep Ferrets in Apartments? 

You can legally keep ferrets in apartments in most of the United States. As of writing this article (April, 2022), there are only two states that prohibit keeping ferrets as pets:

  • California
  • Hawaii

In New York, it’s legal to keep ferrets in your apartment, except in New York City. It’s the only city in the state that still prohibits owning a pet ferret.

Previously, it was also prohibited to import ferrets, possess them, or offer them for sale in Washington D.C. In fact, most guides still say you can’t keep them as pets.

Good news, though: this isn’t the case anymore.

In 2018, D.C. revised its laws and has since exempted ferrets from the list of prohibited pets. 

This comes after a 36-year ban on ferrets, which was introduced in the 1982 “prohibited species” list. 

So, to summarize, it’s illegal to keep ferrets in California, Hawaii, and New York City. Anywhere else and you’re good to go!

Additional Regulations  

Unfortunately, most states impose additional regulations for pet ferrets. Some ask for your ferret to be vaccinated, while others require you to have a permit to have one in your apartment.

I highly recommend you check your state laws and regulations before bringing your ferret in. 

Remember, having an unvaccinated ferret is considered a misdemeanor across most states and can land you a hefty fine.

Ferret in cage

Do Apartments Allow Ferrets?

There’s no definitive answer to whether apartments allow ferrets or not. In most cases, the landlord or leasing agent shouldn’t have any issues with it.

Even if your apartment has a “no pets” policy, you should ask for more info regarding ferrets specifically. 

A lot of apartments don’t allow cats because they can scratch the furniture and carpets. Dogs can be destructive too, especially if they’re over 15 lbs.

Ferrets, on the other hand, are small and lightweight. They also spend most of their day in a cage, so there’s a high probability that they’ll be allowed as pets.

However, two issues may cause your landlord to disallow your little furry creature: the foul smell of the litter box and concerns over chewed walls and furniture.

We already know that ferrets can quickly make your apartment smell fowl. This may violate your lease agreement or even cause the neighbors to file a report with environmental services.

If your landlord is still on the fence about letting you keep a pet ferret, you can try and persuade them by:

  1. Assuring your landlord there won’t be any damages or unpleasant odors
  2. Offering to cover any damages if your ferrets misbehave
  3. Keeping their cages clean and giving them occasional baths

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Keeping Ferrets in Apartments?

Having ferrets in your apartment has its perks, but it’s not something you should do on a whim. 

They’re definitely high-maintenance creatures, and things can quickly get out of hand if you don’t give them attention on a daily basis.

Advantages of Keeping Ferrets in Apartments

Ferrets are adorable and socially intelligent creatures that are generally easy to train. Here are some advantages of having pet ferrets in your apartment:

  1. They’re Highly Intelligent Creatures

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to own a ferret is how intelligent they are. Ferrets can pick up new tricks like shaking paws, rolling over, jumping through hoops, and more.

You can easily train them to do their business in their designated litter box, which will make it easier for you to keep the apartment clean.

Did you know that ferrets love to play hide and seek? Yes, you heard that right. Ferrets love to hide in tiny spots and wait for you to come and find them.

If you have two ferrets or more, you’ll witness one of the most incredible forms of teamwork, as the ferrets team up and spread out in different places. 

  1. They Love To Socialize

Ferrets are like your extroverted friend who’s always craving attention. You may not feel up for it all the time, but you’ll secretly appreciate the companionship.

Once you bring a ferret to your apartment, you’ll notice that it comes to check up on you and expects you to do the same daily.

If it’s too much work for you, that’s fine. Ferrets are best kept in pairs to keep each other’s company. 

Remember, lonely ferrets may develop behavioral problems and get sick more often. So, if you’re planning on having one ferret, you should dedicate some time to your furry pet every day.

With that being said, having four ferrets or more may backfire. Ferrets are colony animals, and they tend to establish a social hierarchy that can cause the dominant ferrets to demand more attention than the others.

  1. They Have Explosive Energy

A lot of people think owning a ferret is like owning a hamster. In reality, hamsters can stay in their enclosure all day and only exercise on a treadwheel for a couple of hours.

Ferrets, on the other hand, enjoy high levels of energy throughout the day. They may sleep for long periods, but they’ll become extremely active for three to five hours every day.

Personally, this is an advantage because it makes my apartment feel more “lively.” Ferrets like routine, too. This means I’d often come from work, let my ferrets out of the cage, and feel rejuvenated with them running around the house.

To make sure no ferret squeezes in a tiny spot and hides for hours, I tie a little bell around their necks. I’ve also recently added some toys, tunnels, and ramps for them to play with.

If you feel like you have no energy throughout the day, maybe having a couple of ferrets in your apartment will spice things up!

Disadvantages of Keeping Ferrets in Apartments

Ferrets are sociable, active, and fun to be around. However, they’re not easy to care for. Here are three challenges that will face you if you’re keeping ferrets in your apartment:

  1. They have a rather “bothersome” smell
  2. They may bite if aggravated
  3. They may become hostile around other pets

Do Ferrets Make Apartments Smell?

We hate to break it to you, but ferrets have a distinctive odor that can make your apartment smell.

If you don’t train your ferrets to use the litter tray, you’re going to be rinsing the carpet and mopping the floors every couple of days. 

This can be solved by quickly persuading them not to spread their pong all over the apartment. Don’t forget to frequently clean up their mess, groom them, and give them a bath now and then.

If you have a male ferret, you must neuter it as soon as possible to curb the odor. Another effective solution is to place an air purifier next to their litter tray. 

Finally, stay away from kibble and switch to a raw diet to prevent their intestines from acting up. Remember, ferrets aren’t supposed to eat fruits or veggies as it only exacerbates the issue.

Do Ferrets Need Any Outdoor Space? 

Ferrets can stay indoors at all times, but it wouldn’t hurt to go out occasionally. 

The most crucial thing is to avoid locking up your ferrets for long periods. Ferrets need space to run around and play, even if they stay in your apartment at all times.

If you take your ferrets outside, be mindful of the temperature. Cold weather can get your ferrets sick fairly quickly. Extremely hot weather, on the other hand, can make them dehydrated.

Do Apartments Offer Enough Space for Ferrets?

Since ferrets are outdoor creatures, you may have some concerns about keeping your ferret in your (relatively) small apartment.

The short answer? Yes. Ferrets can live comfortably in your apartment without any issues.

The long answer? Let’s take a look at Japan.

Ferrets are some of the most popular pets in Japan. They’re imported from the U.S., neutered, trained, and kept in apartments and condominiums.

The average size of a U.S. apartment is 941 sq. feet. The average apartment size in Japan? 440 sq. feet.

The takeaway is that your furry friend will have no complaints while staying with you. As long as you allow it a few hours outside of its cage, it should be perfectly content with its living conditions!


Having ferrets in your apartment takes some research and preparation. If you’re keen on getting pet ferrets, brace yourself for a couple of challenging weeks until you get used to them.

Once you do, you’ll be rewarded with cute and playful creatures that can spin and roll over better than your average golden retriever!