• Frankie

Neurodi-fur-gent


Recently, I have been observing my two ferrets who are absolutely incredible, very mischievous, cheeky and playful. Through time observing them, how they play and interact with new humans, new animals and objects, I had a questionable epiphany... ARE FERRETS AUTISTIC?! My hypothesis lies in many areas and I would like to lay a few out here.


Ferrets will always explore their area to "scope it out" which helps them to feel more at ease. This can take a while, days to months to feel truly comfortable. Quite often the ferret will find somewhere to hide until they adjust. This is very similar to my experience as an autistic individual, I always need some time to adjust to a situation or place which is unfamiliar. Autism means having a different way of connecting to the social world, similar to untangling earphones from your pocket. It can sometimes take a while, you might get frustrated and neurotypicals seem to have wireless which they can pop straight on, but it is worth it in the end to get those tangles out! Essentially, quite often more time is needed to adapt, just like the way ferrets will scope out an area, find a spot they can observe the interactions occurring before entering and feeling comfortable.

Ferrets are Particular. As I mentioned before, we have two ferrets; Sidney and Siouxsie. Sidney has been my baby boy for nearly 5 years and through that time, we have played, cuddled, been chased by each-other during zoomies... Through all this we have become best friends and I love my boy very very much. Sidney and I have a very special bond which can never be replaced (Sorry to my partner...) and this is also a very typical trait of those who are neurodivergent. Once we find a soul who is right for us we become inexplicably obsessed, whether the soul is in a human, animal, video game, book, anything, at least in terms of panpsychist lore (Panpsychism means everything on earth has a soul, agree or disagree, I appreciate the sentimentality of the ideology). So take that focus and admire it... that focus is all yours and nobody can take it away, just like Sidney never leaves me when he wants a cuddle and I fully embrace every moment we cuddle.


Finding your tribe often feels impossible, like nobody will ever understand you and you are a bit of an oddball, but what Sidney has shown me especially is that you can be odd, or weird and no matter what there is somebody who understands and wants to spend time with you. Autistic individuals can feel pressured into social situations, especially through adolescence and onwards to becoming a co-worker, "come to this party", "let's all go for a meal"... I would rather stay with my ferrets, thank you. Regardless, this is stressful, but put yourself out there if you find your particular human and want to be around them, maybe go and have your coping tools with you, ferrets don't just go to anyone or anywhere, they like to have a bond and seek familiarity. Ferrets are very emotionally intwined animals and so are we as Autistics, some of us have empathy off the charts which can make new situations even harder. Feeling everything at once like an explosion. A ferret walks into a room (not the start of joke, promise) and they are TINY, imagine being so tiny while also hypersensitive and curious, this is very tiring for the poor ferrets and also neurotypicals as it almost feels like we are shrunk in size and stepped into this bamboozle... We can get through it with coping mechanisms and good friends, just like ferrets get through with cuddles and distractions like toys and salmon oil. Simply put, ferrets get overwhelmed with going out and need to sleep it off for 14 hours, just like a neurodivergent getting overwhelmed and needing to stay inside for a few days to recharge, it's not a negative at all, it just means we need more time, like Sidney does.

I will continue this, but for now I'm going to take a break and give my furbabies a cuddle. If you took anything from this post, that's amazing, if you didn't, that is also amazing, you read it and I thank you for that. Take care humans.

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