So this post has been inspired by the fact that I bought the worst possible rat cage for my kids pet rats when I bought them. Yes I can remember having my own pet rat when I was a kid but I don’t remember any of the details of the rat cage I had at the time. When I got my kids the rats from the local pet store, I asked for a cage too and the shop assistant recommended one which I bought.
It was a lovely looking triple level cage with tunnels leading in between levels. It looked great. Little did I know that in a few short months my rats would have eaten just about all the rings connecting the tunnels as well as chewed off pieces of the tunnels too.
When I went back to the pet store to ask to buy more connecting rings I was given a funny look when I said my rats were eating through everything. Those rings are not a normal stock item and they first suggested that I buy more tunnels with rings. I said no, I have loads of tunnels, I just want the connecting rings so they offered to order them. They called their supplier and quoted me me R50 for a set of 2 and I would need at least 5 sets. This would set me back a further R250 and let’s keep in mind that they would probably just eat through those too. When I considered the fact that our rats were chewing through them at an alarming rate something felt wrong to me. I decided to rather come home and do a little research of my own.
The problem came up within seconds of searching online. Rats must not be put in a plastic cage because they will chew through everything. Our fancy triple decker “rat cage” was in fact a hamster cage and not at all suitable for our rats. Now I have to say that really did peeve me off big time to know that a pet store sold us a plastic cage that they should know is going to be chewed. If you sell rats you should be knowledgeable about the best rat cages right?
Over the months I had to remove a level every now and then when more tunnels were chewed through until our rats had to be squished into one level for a week while I ordered and then waited for our new cage to arrive.
I made the purchase from Petmania.co.za and I as soon as I set the cage up I could see the difference. It cost less than the fancy looking plastic one and it is 3 times the size, giving our rats so much more space to play in.
I could see how happy our rats were when they were moved into their new home. Here are some of the things I wish I had known before buying our rat cage.
How To Choose The Best Rat Cages
Choose Metal, Not Plastic
Yes learn from my mistakes here. Look for a cage that is powder coated wire rather than galvanized wire. It will be very strong, low manintenance and easy to clean. This type of wire also looks good which is a bonus.
Make sure the bar spacing is right too, if your rat can get his head through he will be able to get his body through too.
The Size Of The Cage
You should have 2.5 cubic feet for each rat – they are bigger than mice or hamsters and they like to play and be active so make sure that you accommodate for a decent amount of space for each rat.
It is also important to have big doors that you can get your hand inside to clean everywhere, or to pick up your rats with ease. Our new cage is perfect, but the old cage was tricky to get the rats out.
Removable Tray For Cleaning
One of the things I didn’t like about the plastic cage we had was that it was a pain to clean. I had to take apart all the levels and wash each one down before drying it and putting it back together. Also any mess would gather at the bottom and start to stink so it had to be cleaned often.
Our new cage has a removable tray at the bottom which is so easy to pull out and empty without having to take anything apart. Any rat poop and pee falls between the bars and collects in the tray, along with any food and old bedding!
What a pleasure.
Something I wasn’t aware of is that rats can easily develop lung problems, so for this reason they need a well ventilated cage. Just another reason to be peeved off at the plastic cage we were recommended! Our new cage is completely open with just bars so our rats have a well ventilated living space now.
Don’t ever put your rats in an aquarium, this will not provide the necessary ventilation your rat needs.
I hope you find this helpful in choosing a rat cage, I certainly could have done with this information when I was buying our rat cage, it would have saved me about R700 and a lot of frustration and irritation.