Author Topic: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.  (Read 4443 times)

Offline Strychnynegirl

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Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« on: February 11, 2015, 01:30:05 PM »
Hello All, I'm new here and this is my first time posting though I've been a lurker for a few days now trying to familiarize myself. :)
I have owned mice in the past but only one rat and only for a short while. I am super thrilled to be becoming Mommy to 4 baby girls this weekend.

I've tried to ensure I had everything ready for them such as toys, hammocks, litter box, food,treats, carrier, water bottles etc. Where I have gotten stuck is their home.
I have been trying to locate a single or preferably double unit of the Midwest Critter nation. This has been a nightmare! I have tried what feels like a hundred sites
only for the cages to be extremely overpriced or out of stock and on back order and I'm wondering if this is normal. I find myself constantly refreshing ferret.com
in hopes that the cages have come in as they and their sister site are most reasonable priced. I have even called enquiring about why the in stock date changes by
one day each new day only to be told they are still waiting on the cages. I do understand these are popular cages but I'm also frustrated by the lack of availability unless I allow myself
to be overcharged. I want the best home possible for my girls and with the days counting down I feel like I may be forced to settle for something else I don't like as much but is available.
Can anyone please advise me on if its normal for them to be so hard to get or if its just bad timing on my part? I feel like I've been doing this search daily for too long :(
Also, I hope this doesn't sound like a dumb question but in a pinch since both the single and double are out of stock but the additions aren't, would it be possible to buy the addition
and set it on a flat surface so that i have somewhere to put them for temporarily then order the single as soon as it comes in and put them together. I realize its not meant as a stand alone cage
I'm just trying to figure out what my options are without having to buy two cages(one now, and the CN later) or settling for something I'm unhappy with.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! I feel like a duck out of water and I am a nervous wreck at not being ready for the little ones.Thank you so much and I hope this wasn't too much. :)

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 02:09:10 PM »
Do you have a Petsmart near you? Petsmart has been selling what appears to be a rebranded dual Midwest Critter Nation in their stores. They are rebranding it as All Living Things Multi-Level Small Animal cage. The picture is absolutely identical to the dual Critter Nation that I bought recently (which is just slightly different from my first Critter Nation) - even the ramp covers are the same. The only thing missing is the little plate on the doors that says "Midwest Critter Nation."

The current price is $229.99 - but if it is available in a store near you, there is a 15% discount if you buy online and choose In-Store pickup (the only option for this particular item). That brings the price to $195.49. There will, of course, be tax. But even with tax, that is a cheaper price than the price at ferret.com, as ferret.com will tack on shipping charges and additional shipping charges for an overweight item. I believe when I priced them out recently, their current sale price (203.99) would have been $230 something once all the shipping charges were added on. It's been backordered for a long time now - I have been watching it.

Here is the Petsmart link: http://www.petsmart.com/supplies/cages/all-living-things-multi-level-small-animal-cage-zid36-21573/cat-36-catid-600022?var_id=36-21573&_t=pfm%3Dsearch

But the prices on this cage fluctuate greatly. I find that there are always great deals around Christmas as all of the vendors try to outsell each other. But they still fluctuate during the year if you are willing to wait for the right price.

I don't recommend settling for a different cage if this is the cage that you want. Either wait till you can find the right price or pay a little more if you can't wait. Amazon's price fluctuates a lot. I bought mine from Amazon recently (I didn't know about the Petsmart deal until later, or I would have done that). It was $245 at the time. A little more than I wanted to pay, but I decided not to wait for a better price. Now, a few weeks later, it is up by about $20. Before that, it was up by $40. I suspect the cage is in low supply after the holidays and when supply is low, vendors can charge more.

As far as buying an add-on unit - you won't be able to use it easily by itself, to my knowledge, because the side panels will have little posts that are supposed to be inserted into the hollows of the panel below it. Without those panels, it likely won't lie flat or perhaps have the proper support to hold it together. You might be able to build a base that the pieces fit into, but that would be a pain.

Offline Strychnynegirl

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 03:01:26 PM »
Thank you for replying!! I actually am very close to a Petsmart and they do have the All Living Things Multi-Level Small Animal cage in stock. I wasn't aware of the 15% discount.
The only thing that really made me re-think going with that one due to my time frame was it doesn't appear to be able to be added to like the Critter Nation unless I'm mistaken.
While I'm not planning an immediate addition, especially since they are only 6 weeks old, I was thinking I would like the option of giving them more space once they are older.
Perhaps I'm over thinking things but I'm trying to be as thorough as possible to make the best choices for them and not look back later and question my choices.
My biggest concern if I wait, is where to house the girls for now since I'm supposed to bring them home this weekend.

You are definitely right about the price on this cage fluctuating though. I'm also concerned now that you have said you've been watching it as well and its been on back order a while.
I could very well be waiting a very long time for it to come in.

It makes sense that you can't use the add-on unit by itself. I figured it was a long shot but had to ask and am glad i did now.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond and give me your thoughts. I guess now i just need to figure out what to do from here and if i wait for the CN where to put my girls temporarily :)

Offline BigBen

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 03:45:42 PM »
I second Vonda's advice about not settling for a lesser cage.  It's only an added expense, and the frustration generated by an inadequate cage will affect your relationship with the rattumses.

Here are some semi-random thoughts about your situation, sparked by your post and Vonda's:

I had good luck getting my DCN a few years ago from Ferret.com--they were having a promotion, and even with shipping, the price of the cage was just under $200 US.  The Ferret.com price will fluctuate, and you just have to catch them at the right time.  But this deal from PetSmart seems just as good, if not better, and at some point it becomes worth it to pay a bit more to actually get the cage in your hands.

Your idea of making do with an expansion unit CN's come back in stock is a good one.  The expansion unit is intended to be inserted between the walls and the roof of the original CN, so it consists of a floor with a ramp to go down to the level below (this can be hooked up to make the floor solid and separate the levels), plus a back, two sides, and a front panel with doors.  The new floor has posts or metal dowels that get inserted into the original vertical panels to hold them together, the new vertical panels have posts that fit into the new floor, and the original roof panel has posts that fit into the new verticals and hold them together.  Until you can obtain a CN to add this unit into, what you can do is provide an easily-cleaned surface to be the temporary floor, and use the floor as a temporary roof, with the ramp hooked up to keep the ratties from climbing out.  If you used a piece of Formica counter-top as your floor, you could size it just a bit bigger than the expansion unit and drill holes in it to hold the posts of the vertical panels.  Otherwise, you can just tie the bottoms of the panels together with heavy-duty cable ties.  That should keep you going until you can get a CN to put underneath, lol!  [ETA:  Alternatively, you could use the floor as the floor and tie the tops of the side panels together.  Then you could use hardware cloth to cover the top and keep the ratties from escaping.  Either method should work just fine.]

Another alternative that might work for you is a Martin's cage, especially if they could ship to you in time for the weekend.  Martin's is a good brand, with different advantages from those of the CN/DCN.  They are much lighter-weight, for example, and if you put a Martin's together with zip ties instead of the metal C-rings that come with it, you will be able to collapse the cage for travel or storage.  The right cage might serve you well as a hospital, quarantine, or travel cage, and would therefore not be a waste of your resources.  And even if it wasn't quite large enough for four rats on a long-term basis, it would be okay as a stopgap until you can get your CN/DCN.  Do splurge on powder-coating; it costs a tad more than the basic galvanizing, but galvanized metal absorbs urine, and you will never be able to get the smell out.

By the way, although a CN is perfectly adequate for four rats on a permanent basis, your rats will bless you for the additional space a DCN affords.  Also, since a CN with four rats is at capacity, it will need to be changed much more frequently than a DCN with four rats.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 03:48:58 PM by BigBen »
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Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 03:51:41 PM »
You could also try contacting Midwest to find out if you can use the Midwest add-on with the All Living Things-branded cage. I am betting they are both built by the same manufacturer to the same specs and would be compatible, but there always is the possibility that they might change something on the All Living Things version to make it incompatible. I wouldn't think there would be any advantage to that, but it would be worth an e-mail or call to find out.

Offline Strychnynegirl

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 04:54:58 PM »
THANK YOU SOOO MUCH Vonda and BigBen!!
All the advice and information given by you guys has been tremendously appreciated.
I'm happy to say after contacting Midwest by phone just now they have told me that All Living Things Multi-Level Small Animal cage
is actually manufactured by them for Petsmart and is indeed the DCN just marketed by Petsmart under their label.
The units are compatible with each other. It looks like I'll be heading to Petsmart to buy the All Living Things Multi-Level Small Animal cage safe in the knowledge
that I'm still getting a DCN  and can still buy the addition after my little sweeties get bigger. Hopefully when they come home Sunday we will be able to post some pictures of them in
their new home. You guys are awesome!!  :D

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Questions regarding Midwest Critter Nation and New babies.
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 05:04:50 PM »
I figured that would be the case but since I don't actually own one, I didn't want to steer you wrong. I am happy to hear that the cages are identical. I really wish I would have discovered that deal before purchasing mine, but I am happy at least that the discovery could help someone else.