If you are considering getting a rat as your roommate, an important question to answer before bringing your new friend home is: where to put the cage? The rats need their own habitat inside your house. Factors you should consider for their house are size, material, decor, location, maintenance, and more. Let’s find out all the info you will ever need below.
Types of your rat homes
When selecting housing for your rat, keep in mind that the larger the better. In general, the minimum size for two adult rats should be 30′′ W x 18′′ D x 24′′ H. The absolute smallest size for a vertical, multi-story cage should be 24′′ W x 14′′ D x 36′′ H. Younger rats prefer multi-level cages and can live in slightly smaller spaces. When rats get older, they can’t climb as easily and will occasionally lose their grip and fall. As a result, for older rats, a one-story enclosure is preferable.
The mesh should be made of a squarish or rectangular pattern. The rectangles should be large enough that your rat’s foot can easily push through them and pull back in without any difficulty. Unfortunately, many cages are made with rectangular mesh measuring around 12” X 1” and should be avoided. Indeed, these types of meshes have a high risk of causing pain and distress to your little rodent friend. Petco’s “Rat Manor” could be a good choice for baby rats. It has powder-coated wire to keep it from rusting. They’re well-designed and foldable, making them convenient to store.
What is the gold standard for pet rat cages?
The Critter Nation cage for small pets is one of the best on the market. Critter Nation also makes large and well-made cages with their full-sized double main doors as a standard. When opened, there is no center bar obstructing your way, should you want to wash the interior or place something in it. There’s a storage area below the cage, and everything is on lockable wheels. There is also a locking ramp for the two-story Critter Nation 162 version that can be used to separate your pet rats. Many consider this Double Critter Nation cage to be the “gold standard” for pet rat cages.
If you are looking for a cage specifically for ferrets or chinchillas, products made by Martin’s Cage are recommended since they offer a vast array of sizes. We recommend the 60-inch-high cages, which are larger than the Double Critter Nation cage. The only issue with the Martins is that the mesh is only 1/2′′ by 1′′ wide. As mentioned earlier, a rat’s back foot can easily get stuck there. If you can find a cage with either squared or larger-sized rectangular mesh, your rats will go crazy for it!
What are the things you should avoid when selecting a cage?
Here are the most important things to look out for before purchasing a rat cage:
- First, it is better to avoid buying a cage that’s made out of wooden parts. Indeed, liquids (including urine) could soak into the wood, which can hardly be cleaned.
- Second, you should always check that there are no sharp edges where the rats could get hurt.
- Third, avoid aquariums! A glass enclosure is not a nice place for rats to live in since air cannot freely flow through glass enclosures. Moreover, urine and feces are bound to remain in the air inside a glass tank, and this can increase the risk of respiratory diseases.
- Lastly, you should keep away (if possible) from any wire mesh on the flooring of the cage unless you completely cover the wire mesh on the cage’s flooring. Allowing your rat to regularly walk on an uncovered wire mesh may cause your pet to develop bumblefoot. Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection and inflammatory reaction that occurs on the bottom of rat feet and is frequently difficult to treat.
What are the basic items for your rat’s house?
Outfitting your rat’s home can be a very enjoyable experience! The essential items include food dishes, water bottles or bowls, a hideaway, toys, and bedding. Add a litter box if your rat goes mostly in one place; simply place the box in your rat’s preferred location with a bit of soiled bedding to indicate that this is the place to do business. However, don’t expect your rats will use the litter box 100% of the time. Please keep in mind that anything you put in the cage may potentially harm your pet, but a lifeless cage leads to a sad life. Simply consider the pros and cons of anything you put in the cage, and do everything you can to reduce risks.
Aside from safety, the most important thing to remember is to get the largest cage possible. This will allow your rats to enjoy themselves to the fullest while you are not present.