Author Topic: Rat Cage Advice  (Read 5551 times)

Offline Caitak

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Rat Cage Advice
« on: January 15, 2005, 08:01:49 AM »
Hey there,

It's been a while since I've been on here. I lost my last rat towards the end of last year. Poor breeding and Respiratory problems finally caught up with him.

My last three guys were housed in a Zoo Zone plastic rabbit hutch. It's sort of like a large plastic tray with curved sides which go up to a wire top. It was a great enclosure for them and had plenty of room for my three little guys, but due to the shape of it I was limited with what I could do with it.

The main problem was that at it's highest point it was little over a foot high, and the only way to get into the cage was to remove the wire lid - which meant that realistically hammocks and things could not be hung up (as I found after spending ages making one for them only to find that once they climbed in the combined weight of three squish-bums was too much to open the top!)

In later years (or months rather), it was great, my frail old boys had nothing to fall off of. But I still feel that they missed out on some of the antics that I read about on here. As we didn't have a suitable 'free-range' area their play was limited to the sofa and my bed.

I've just started my second semester of Uni and as I'm moving back home this summer I'm being allowed rats again. Prepare for the barrage of questions!

I mentioned that I may be getting some more rats to a friend (I'm only getting two this time - Read: for the moment ;)) and they told me that they'd kept chinchilla's once, and as I'd told them I was planning to get a new cage they offered me their old chinchilla cage should they be able to find it.

Question Number One: Is a chinchilla cage really suitable for rats?

The one that he described to me (although I don't have exact dimensions), has it's own stand and is fairly high, probably coming up to about shoulder height on me (and I'm 5'4"). It is made of all wire with three separate levels (also wire), and has a slide out tray underneath to make cleaning out easier. Obviously I can't post pictures of it, because I don't know what it looks like yet. But if anyone has a cage that sounds similar to this please let me know where I can find pictures of it ;)

Question Number Two: Should I be worried about the levels being made of wire? Doesn't this cause Bumblefoot? If I was to get a cage like this, what can be done to prevent their feet from becoming sore?

Question Number Three: What's the ideal wire spacing that I should aim for?

The Zoo Zone enclosure was made with about three quarter inch spacing, and for the first week or so of having the boys it wasn't unusual to find one of them had climbed out through the wire and was then stuck on the top! This cage would be wire all round and so my previous method of balancing books on top probably wouldn't work! Obviously if the spacing is too wide to begin with I could always keep them in the plastic cage until they're big enough for the wire one.

Question Number Four: Should this cage fall through how much should I expect to spend (bearing in mind I'm in the UK) on a similar cage?

All the really decent cages seem to be American and I don't want to have to order a cage on my credit card unless absolutely necessary.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any comments or answers you can give.

I'm off to stare at more cute baby rat pictures and count down the days until I can get my own.




Offline knuckles

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2005, 09:27:08 AM »
There is actually alot of debate about whether wire flooring "causes" bumblefoot or not.  Alot of people now think its more genetics, overweight, dirty living conditions.  I do know from my experience that once they have bumblefoot, wire flooring can "irritate" it. 

The spacing on floors should be 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch at the most.  any bigger and the chances of feet getting caught increases.   It depends on the rats for what size works for walls.  1/2 by 1 inch is fine for most rats, even babies and small females.  The other thing you really want to look at is powder coating (or at least PVC coated). Galvanized wire will started to STINK really fast and is impossible to clean since the pee seems to sink into the wire.

I think there is a link to a UK pet supply web page under "pet stores" above on the main header for this page.  And I'm sure other UK people will be along with advice.

Offline Beth

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2005, 10:39:21 AM »
I tend to look at cages and see if they will be ok for the rats rather than looking for them by animal if you get what I mean. If it's called a ferret cage but it will work for ratties then go ahead and use it.

Ratty Corner has pages and links about cages in the UK.


Offline TWC

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2005, 03:25:19 AM »
I know the kind of cage you're talking about.  No, they are absolutely NOT suitable for rats, OR chinchillas, unless you make some modifications.  The wire floors (if it's the one I'm thinking of) have spaces exactly the right size (1" x 1/2") for a foot to slip through, and not always come back out so easily.  I had this happen with a rescue rat once, she was NOT friendly (she came from a very bad situation).  I tried to go and help her get it out, but she was so scared of me that she wound up pulling it out fast herself just to get away from me.  I felt so bad and eventually was able to get ahold of her to look at it.  It was fine, but it sure scared me.  Happened again with a male rat, I helped him escape.  After that I just decided to only use the cage for chins.  Had a three month old baby break his leg in it.

I wound up taking all the levels out and replacing them with branches.  The chinchillas liked that better anyway.


Offline nokikitty

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2005, 10:15:25 AM »
Would it be ok to cover wire cage levels with felt? It's pretty soft but my concern is that it shreds and might release some kind of weird fiber dust  :-\

Offline Suebee

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2005, 10:19:24 AM »
Felt is safe... but you're going to have to change it at least once a day...

I prefer "washable" surfaces, like vinyl carpet runner. :)

Offline litletori

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2005, 09:49:17 PM »
I buy cheap single laminate floor tiles from a hardware store (the bendy rubbery kind, not the small heavy porcelin tile things) to cover all of the wire flooring in my ratties cages. I just just pieces to size then, to seal in the cracks, I border all the edges of the tiles with duct tape. It works like a charm! All I have to do to clean is spray down their floors with a squirt bottle (with a dash of vinigar for freshness) and wipe dry with paper towels. It's a godsend. Then you don't have to cover the entire floor with felt or anything else. I think as long as your ratties cannot fit their heads thru the cage walls, it will be fine. Just make sure you cover the floors and that there are adequate ramps for them to get to all of the levels. The ramps can be wired, a little wire won't hurt their little feet.

Good luck with your ratties to be!
Rattigan, Spodie, Missy, Nilla, Fawn, Freya, Blizzy, Coco, Pebbles, Sierra, Pearl, Jojo, Bobo, Bear, Charlie, Albert, Wilber, Taz, Milo, Yoda, Nell, Boris, Muffy, Snickers, Chaz, Sissy, Pepper, FeeBee, Tootsie, Maisy, Chloe, Asia, Whinnie. Bella. They give me a reason to smile when I have no other.

Offline remmy1320

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2005, 09:24:02 PM »
I have used needlepoint plastic canvas on wire shelves and it works very nicely.  It is easy to clean .

Offline VegetarianPetLuvR

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2005, 09:37:27 PM »
I have used needlepoint plastic canvas on wire shelves and it works very nicely.  It is easy to clean .

I use that also...though I will definitely argue that it is NOT easy to clean. Thankfully my girls are litter trained, but the pee still gets in all the little needlepoint holes and...eww. If you go with this, putting towels down over top of it works wonders to keep it clean longer. Then just change the towels every few days.

Offline Sapphire_Rats

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Re: Rat Cage Advice
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2005, 11:10:52 PM »
Here is another website I go to which is UK based, they have a product review it is...

One Ferret boy by the name of Chulo...

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