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So I have a DCN cage, and I use a mix of Aspen and Carefresh bedding on the main levels, and have been using towels covered with fleece on the two shelves. However, my rats have started chewing up the towels like crazy and so I went to IKEA and bought some Borris Mats, which I've seen recommended by quite a few people.

I just have some questions about these...for those of you who use them, do you put them under your fleece on the shelves, or how do you use them? Do rats chew these up easily? I also noticed on the backs of the mats it says they are not machine washable, but I always wash my rat items (hammocks, fleece, tunnels, towels) in a warm cycle in the washing machine with a bit of detergent and vinegar. Has anyone tried washing Borris Mats before, and how did they work? How long do they last?
 

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I use Borris mats. They're pretty good.

I put them directly on the shelves of my DCN. The lower level has about a 2-inch gap between the two mats. This wasn't that big of a deal, but my girls are litter-trained, so I don't know if that matters. For the upper level, I cut a strip out of one mat about halfway through. This allows me to put two mats side by side with one mat having a chunk cut out. I use the cut-out-strip to fill in the gap on the far left. The interstitial shelves get one mat each.

Machine-washing them will degrade them, but I do it anyway. I've had 15 mats for over 7 months. They are now very pliable, and it's easy for a bored rat to lift the corners of the mats. This generally isn't an issue except for one time where a rat managed to fold the mat over itself and form a little cave. That cave became the new potty.

I wash my mats on hot and let them air-dry. I've read some people who just give them a vinegar bath. I don't have much space for a bath, so machine it is. They are getting a bit ragged, but we are promising ourselves another trip to Ikea soon, so we'll get some more mats. Still, $15 for about the past 7 months or so isn't too bad. I won't be upset about replacing these.
 
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