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It was nine years ago when Fred Stelnicki adopted a ferret that his wife friend no longer wanted and it wasn long before it stole his heart among other items.

Today Stelnicki is president of the Manitoba Ferret Association and cares for six ferrets, three of his own and three fosters surrendered by their owners.

“They require a little more supervision than a dog or cat. They are generally very high energy, similar in behaviour to a puppy or kitten that never grows up.”

The MFA is hosting its annual Ferret Frolic at St. to noon at shelters A and B), which is open to anyone who owns a ferret or would like to learn more about them. The event includes a ferret care seminar and games such as tube races.

Donations support the MFA no kill shelter, providing food, litter and medical care.

“Deb Kelley, who is one of our founding members, has more knowledge about ferrets than the majority of veterinarians in the city,” Stelnicki said.

The MFA, which was launched in 1997, has just under 100 members and together they care for about 60 fosters, most of whom were surrendered by their owners. People give up their ferrets for the same reasons as other pets allergies, moving into a place that won accept pets, baby on the way or they don have time, Stelnicki said.

Ferrets generally live six to 10 years and need regular care of their ears, nails and teeth,
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he said, adding there are many misconceptions about the little guys.

“The first thing people think of is they bite, which is like saying every dog you run into bites,” Stelnicki said. “It just not true. They are every bit as trainable as a dog or cat.

“If you have an owner who neglects to spend time with them and lets them go around and bite people, they going to bite. They are animals, they explore and play with their mouths.”

Ferret owners soon discover their pets will swipe and hide TV remotes, shoes, socks, car keys just about anything small they can sneak away. That explains why the name ferret is derived from the Latin work furittus, meaning little thief.

Owners should provide their ferrets with plenty of their own toys to keep them busy, Stelnicki said.

“I had shoes that I couldn find for months,” he said. “I basically tore the house apart looking for the Wii remote. Anything rubbery they seem to really love.”

MEOW THE TIME

The Winnipeg Humane Society is so full of cats that it lowered adoption fees, including some for free.

Cats six months and older range from free to $20. Kittens are $100 and it only $179 for two (take two, they keep each other busy and be life long friends). The sale continues throughout July.

“If you have ever considered adopting a cat, now is the time,” WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky said in a release. “Our shelter is at capacity and we must find them homes as soon as possible,
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or else we face the sad reality of euthanizing them.

“We count on our community to help us save as many cats as possible.”

Fosters are also urgently needed to help slow down the number of incoming cats to the shelter. Foster families receive all supplies and medical expenses courtesy of the WHS.