How to Create the Perfect Rat Cage
Make Your Rat Feel at Home
Provide your pet rat with a fantastic rat cage where they can truly feel at home and express their natural behaviors. It is not just a matter of splashing out on a nice cage; you will also want to add all kinds of snuggly items and toys for your rats. This article will tell you just what to do to make your rats happy.
How to Choose the Best Rat Cage
Your rat's home is his castle, after all. Here are some things to consider to help you make your choice.
Size. Yes, in this case size does matter! Rats need room to investigate, play, frolic and roam, and the bigger the cage the better. Of course you will get your rats out of the cage often for free-range time, but the fact is you can't be there all the time. You need to sleep, don't you? You can rest easy knowing your rats have enough space to play until you let them out the next day. Plus the bigger the cage, the more toys and hammocks you can easily fit inside.
Gaps between bars. Oh those sneaky ratties, they will squeeze through the smallest spaces. That is why cages designed for ferrets and other larger animals may not be suitable unless you have a very big rat. Did you know an adult rat can squeeze through a half-inch gap? As a guideline, you should not be able to fit your fingers easily through the cage. Small gaps are good.
Ventilation. Sadly, our rodent pals are prone to respiratory diseases, and that is why old aquarium tanks are a no-go when it comes to creating the ideal environment for our pet rats. These tanks do not provide proper air flow, and can become a hotbed of bacteria leading to deadly infections. Choose a cage with wire bars to ensure your rats can breathe freely.
Cost. If only we had thousands of dollars to splurge ... alas, most of us don't. You may need to shop around and check online for some great deals. Don't worry, you can get a great, spacious cage for a bargain price. If you can't even afford that, you could try making a cage, but consider too, before adopting your rats, that you should reserve some money in case you have vet bills down the road.
Ease of cleaning. To keep your rats healthy, you must clean the cage at least weekly. Since this is a regular chore, be sure to get a cage that is easy to clean. Many cages have a pull-out tray at the bottom which helps. As long as you can reach every corner, you will be fine, and you can give the wire a good scrub too.
So now you are well equipped to go shopping for your rat's home.
Adding Fun to Your Rat's New House
Who wants a bare empty cage? Not me! Once you have bought the perfect rat cage you will want to make it the ideal home for your pet rats. Here are some things you could consider:
Hammocks. It is well known that pet rats love hammocks. Plus, it is a joy to watch them snuggle together in pure bliss. You can make a hammock out of a square of fleecy material, or buy one from a pet store or online.
Snuggly rags. If you have any old clothes you don't mind seeing the back of, cut them up and make them into bedding material for your rats. You can also use sleeves of old jumpers as tunnels and hoods as cosy pouches.
Mirrors and bird toys. Some rats love to check themselves out in the mirror (well, they are pretty). Look in your pet store for bird toys that may be suitable for your rats to chew, climb on and have fun with.
Ramps, tunnels and ropes. Multi-level homes are great for young rats, so add ramps so they can explore the rooftops of their new home. Remember, though, elderly rats are better off in a one-level home. Tunnels and ropes are also great fun for rats—they love to climb.
Untreated wood. Wood is fun to climb on and great to gnaw. I am sure you have already discovered that your pet rats adore to gnaw, and this will fulfill their desires.
Add a stone. Sounds boring, eh? Well if you place a rough stone in a position where your rats will have to walk over it to get to their food bowl, you will find it keeps their nails trim and you won't have to deal with the horrible task of trimming nails.
Hiding places. Ensure your rats have places to hide away from the world. You can buy special wooden boxes and igloos for this purpose.
Use your imagination. Depending on the size of your rat's cage you can really go wild. How about adding a shallow swimming pool made from an unused cat litter tray, propped up at one end with a book, to make a shallow and deep end. Fill it a little with water and add some shells or rocks, plus some frozen peas for them to fish for. This is a great way to keep rats cool in summer.
How to Have More Time With Your Pet Rats
I wish rats lived longer - don't you?
The biggest complaint from rat owners is that their pets just don't live long enough, and worse still, they often pass away from nasty illnesses such as tumors or respiratory infections. The good news is there are ways to prolong your rat's life and keep them happy and healthy.
If you love rats, share your stories here. Perhaps you have discovered something that your rats love to play with in their home, or maybe you just want to say hi. Leave your comment here.