Hi, my names Irena and I live on the beautiful island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea with my pets.
Although not always possible, I do think that rats should be able to run free for some time during the day as it’s not fun to be cramped up in a cage all day and all night.
Anyway, as I’m really interested in rats, I’ve done a lot of research on pet rat cages and I’d like to share what I’ve found out for those of you who are planning to adopt one of these friendly creatures.
Mind you, perhaps you should adopt two as they do better in pairs. They enjoy playing with each other and will cuddle up together to sleep, so it’s a good idea to get two pet rats of the same sex.
Before we get into the best rat cages, we’ll take a look at what else to needs to be considered.
What to Consider When Choosing a Pet Rat Cage
Before you even think about getting a pet rat, look around your home and make sure that there is enough space for a rat cage. Rats don’t like to be cramped and need as large a cage as possible.
They are intelligent animals and like to be kept busy. They should also have the opportunity to run around the room under supervision as well as spending time in their cage.
In addition, they need human interaction so you need to decide if you have the time for this.
Of course, it’s the same with any pet. All animals need to have time to bond with their owners. However, it doesn’t end here.
You also have to remember that you will need to clean out their cage at least once a week if not more.
Rats need a place to sleep, to exercise, to investigate and to hide away when they want to sleep. They are nocturnal animals so they will need a cozy and dark place to sleep during daylight hours.
Your cage should either come with a nest box or you should build one out of wood.
Rats are sensitive to light so subdued lighting is essential. Line the nesting box with clean shredded paper or soft bedding material.
What’s Best to Line Rat Cages With?
Kitchen roll is an excellent choice of bedding and your rats will enjoy shredding it and building a nest by themselves.
Don’t use newspapers as bedding material because ink can be toxic to rats.
Cotton wool isn’t a good idea either as your rats could eat some of it and cause a blockage in their digestive system.
What Type of Rat Cage Are Best?
It’s a good idea to avoid cages which have the bars spaced out too much as rats are very curious creatures and will attempt to squeeze through small spaces.
Get a cage where the bars are no more than half an inch apart and then your rats should be safe.
You don’t want them running around the room without supervision as they could start chewing through wires.
Rats are prone to getting respiratory diseases so it is vital that they have enough clean air around them.
Some people buy an aquarium, but this is not a good idea for rats as these generally have solid glass or plastic walls. Always choose a cage with wire bars so there is enough airflow.
When looking at rat cages, get one which has a detachable bottom tray.
You need to keep the cage clean as soiled bedding can encourage respiratory diseases in rats, not to mention the fact that soiled bedding isn’t a nice environment for your rats to live in.
You need to clean the cage at least once a week if not more and a detachable tray is a great idea as you won’t have to disturb your rats too much while cleaning. I
advise checking the tray at least two or three times a week, if not more often.
A plain cage with nothing in it isn’t a good choice. Try to find one which has platforms and ladders or ramps between each level.
Your rats will love climbing up and down them. Add other accessories as well to keep their brains active.
What to Put in a Rat Cage?
As I have said rats are intelligent creatures so they need some stimulation.
Toys are a great idea and you can use some that are made for birds, mirrors and bells provide excitement for your rats and they can either play with them themselves or with each other if you have a pair of rats.
You could also hang some natural rope from the top of the cage into it.
Your rats will love trying to climb up and down the rope and playing with it. However, you don’t need to go out and buy toys.
Why not build your rats some tunnels out of toilet rolls, wrapping paper rolls or kitchen paper rolls.
It really is simple and will give your rats hours of fun. You don’t have to buy expensive toys for your rats to be happy.
Rats love to chew so it’s a good idea to put some pieces of natural wood in the cage so that they have something to chew on and stop their teeth from growing.
If you didn’t know, their teeth can just keep growing and growing so they have to have something to chew on to stop this.
You don’t want them chewing the platforms and ramps in the cage or their toys.
We have already talked about putting a nest box in the cage, but it’s also a fun idea to put in a hammock. Some rat cages even come with hammocks.
Your rats will then have somewhere else to nap or to just lie surveying their surroundings.
Another good idea is to put some of your old clothes on the bottom of your cage. Your rats will enjoy the different textures as they are different from wood chippings.
Naturally, the clothes will have to be thrown away once they get soiled.
Put a non-toxic stone in the cage for your rats to scratch. This will stop their nails becoming too long and sharp and will hopefully stop them from scratching you when you are handling them.
They won’t mean to do it like my cats don’t want to scratch me, but unfortunately, it happens,
If you have a large cage you can really go wild. Why not build a swimming pool for your rats in a tray.
They will love it, although remember to keep the water shallow. You could even build a see-saw out of wood.
When it comes to the bottom of the cage, you will need to put in non-toxic wood chips for your rats to go to the toilet. Don\t use cedar or pine as both of these are toxic to rats.
Where’s the Best Place to Put Rat Cages?
It’s best to put rat cages away from drafts as they suffer from respiratory illnesses. Direct sunlight isn’t good for them either as they are sensitive to sunlight.
Ideally, the cage should be kept at a temperature of around 20C. In the winter don’t keep them near a radiator as this will be too hot for them.
The cage should be kept away from the TV and hi-fi as the vibrations from them can stress your rats out. However, the cage should be kept where there are people around.
Rats are very sociable and will create a relationship with their owners so will like to see them. If they want a bit of privacy, they will go into their nesting box.
Put the cage on a table so that they are at eye-level with what’s going on in the room.
This will also give you the motivation to interact with them. It’s different to having dogs and cats who can come to you whenever they want.
5 Best Rat Cages
1) Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation
This will give your rats extra comfort when they are climbing. The top platform is a great place for your rats to survey the world around them especially if the cage is on a table.
The bottom tray is removable so makes for easy cleaning. It is leak-proof as well so any food debris, water or pet waste won’t get onto the floor.
The cage is made out of strong metal wire. There is just 1/2 inch between bars so your rats won’t be able to get out of the cage as much as they might try.
It has 4 wheels so you can move the cage wherever you want it to be. The wheels are lockable so the cage won’t move when you’ve put it where you want it to be.
As the cage is so spacious there is plenty of room to add accessories. Your rats would love to have a private nesting box, exercise wheels and toys.
The size of this rat cage is 36 inches in length, 24 inches in width and 63 inches in height which is plenty big enough for two rats.
2) Zeny 37″ Ferret Cage Rabbit Guinea Pig Chinchilla Rat Small Animal House
It is made of steel wire which doesn’t rust. All the ramps and platforms have round corners so your rats won’t get hurt by any sharp edges.
There is a bottom tray which pulls out so you will easily be able to clean the cage without disturbing your rats too much.
The cage also comes with attached water bottles and plastic food boxes for easy feeding.
The cage has two front openings, one on the top and the other on the bottom.
This means that you will easily be able to get access to your rats when you want to give them a cuddle or let them have a run around the room.
The cage comes with 4 lockable wheels so you can move the cage around your house and see your rats from wherever you are. They will also enjoy this.
3) Kaytee 2 x 2 Multi-Level Habitat
It is a little different to other cages as it has slides in-between the platforms instead of ladders or ramps.
Your rats will have great fun slipping and sliding up and down them. There is also a hammock at the top of the cage where your rats can relax and in addition, there is a tunnel for playtime.
The cage is very secure as it has a wire-base locking system and the latches are chew-proof. You don’t want your rats escaping and hiding in nooks and crannies.
The cage also has wheels so you can move it around. What’s better than having your pets with you wherever you are?
This rat cage is a good size at 24 inches in length x 24 inches in width x 41.5 in height. The more room your rats have is better for them.
4) Midwest Deluxe Ferret Nation Double Unit Ferret Cage
It is 36 inches in length x 25 inches in width x 62.5 inches in height. Your rats will love all the space they have.
This cage has a removable and leak-proof bottom tray. There are three platforms with ramps in-between each platform. The ramps come with extra covers for extra comfort.
There are full-width double doors which makes it easy to get to your rats to feed them or if you want to take them out for a run. There are dual-locking door latches which will keep your rats safely tucked up inside.
The cage is extremely sturdy and is made out of durable metal wire. You can easily move it around your house as it has 4 locking wheels.
5) Prevue Pet Products Rat & Chinchilla Critter Cage
The cage has a pull-out tray at the bottom so you can easily clean out the cage without disturbing your rats. There is also a bottom shelf for storing food and treats.
There is a wind-bell lock on the bottom of the cage so your rats will be unable to push out the tray.
The cage is a reasonable size at 31 inches in length x 20 1/2 inches in width x 40 inches in height. It gives your rats plenty of room to play.
There’s a large front door for when you want easy access to your rats. After all, you will want a cuddle and to let your rats run free at times.
How to Maintain Pet Rat Cages
You will need to check the cage every 2 or 3 days to make sure that it is not soiled too much. It is important to keep the cage clean.
Dirty cages can cause breathing problems and lung infections in rats. In addition who wants to sit in soiled bedding?
It is a good idea to remove what is soiled a few times a week and then clean the cage completely once a week.
Keep a little of the used, but not soiled bedding back to put back in the cage as it will give your rats a sense of familiarity.
You need to put both bedding and substrate in the cage. Your rats will easily be able to identify what is bedding and what is their ‘litter tray’.
If your cage has a wire bottom, put a layer of lino down before adding the substrate.
Make sure that you don’t choose any dusty materials for the substrate as this could cause breathing problems.
Be careful to not put in anything with chemicals as some of these could be toxic for rats. Deodorizing chemicals are also not suitable.
Final Thoughts: Best Rat Cages
I hope that this article has given you food for thought if you are thinking of getting pet rats. Just remember to get as big a cage as space dictates.
Your rats will appreciate the extra room. Also, make sure that the cage has ramps and platforms to play on and to rest. Toys are a must as is a nesting box.
For more on rats check out these