If you are planning on getting a pet rat, you’re probably wondering what to put the new pet in. There are many of people, and websites, that tell you what to use. The problem is that most of these “experts” are pretty vague at times. What you want is a cage that will make your pet rat the happiest when it can’t be out and about with you. What type of cage is that, you ask? Here’s the answer:
What not to use for a pet rat home.
Aquarium: The glass aquariums do not allow the rat to climb and play. It also raises the ammonia smell, meaning you’ll have to clean it more often or risk getting your rat sick. Aquariums are also difficult to clean and will require you to remove any sleeping areas and play toys that your pet has set up so perfectly.
Wide wire cages: Rats can squeeze into very small spaces. A young rat can fit through a space the size of a quarter. Using a cage with wide wires means you risk waking up one morning and finding an empty cage and your cat looking particularly happy.
Vertical wire cages: Vertical wires are not a definitive no-no as a pet rat cage. The problem with vertical wires is that rats love to climb and vertical wires make it harder for them. Horizontal wires act like a ladder and ratties love it.
The best pet rat cages.
Leveled cages: Rats love to play and run around. They need room to do that. The best rat cages are those that are tall instead of wide. They will have levels with ramps for the rat to climb to each level. These cages make the perfect playground for pet rats.
Rabbit or guinea pig cages: Leveled cages always cost more, and may be more than you can afford. Smaller rabbit or guinea pig cages can work just as well for pet rats. Add your own levels to the cage using heavy wire and small pieces of wood. You can also add levels using heavy material attached to the wires.
Cages with locked doors: Rats are great escapees. They know to work cage doors. You want a cage that has some type of lock on the doors that the rat can’t figure out how to work. Bird cages are generally unsuitable because there are numerous doors that the rat can easily lift up to get out. They would have to be rat-proofed before using.
Rat cage accessories to keep your pet entertained.
Food and water: While not accessories, they are required. Use a water bottle and food dishes that are attached to the side of the cage. Otherwise, the ratties will dump the water and food dishes.
Sleeping and hiding areas: You can easily make your own sleeping areas for your rats by cutting sleeves off of old bathrobes, sweatshirts or long sleeve shirts. Attach the sleeves to the cage wires for the rats to sleep in. Plastic tubs with a hole cut in them for a door work great, too.
Materials for bedding: Use paper bedding(CareFresh) for the bottom of the cage, but give the rat other materials for making their own bed. Give them paper towel, white computer paper and strips of material. The rats will rip the paper and use it to make their beds. For fun, you can cover the cage with a sheet of material, something that doesn’t unravel easy, and let your rat pull the material inside the cage. A rat’s decorating ideas are always funny to see.
Long time pet rat owner
Ducommun, Debbie. Rat Cages and Toys, Rat Fan Club