Unfortunately, the cage calculator says that the cage you have now is too small for just her, much less a friend!
And yes, she would be soooo much happier with a friend. They play together, sleep together, groom each other, and generally act like little rats during all the times you can't be with them (which is most of the day, sadly).
What defines "can't afford" for you? If you saved up $100, you could easily get a nice cage. I just found the glorious secret of ebaying "sugar glider," and all sorts of lovely inexpensive (and super lovely and expensive!) cages showed up that had tons of room. One was only about $50 with shipping! It can be done, I think the very best thing you could do for her right now is get her a new home and a friend to go in it!
Could you maybe return the cage and get your money back? There are some decent cages on Ebay that could fit two girls for not much more than that. Or you could check Craigslist, I frequently see big cages for low prices there.
no such thing as too large the bigger, the better. you may have to cover it with some wire mesh, if the bars are too far apart, but i'm sure you'll be able to find something that will work for you and your ratties
many members here have cages marketed to ferrets, cats, dogs and birds. and there is no such thing as a cage that's too big, the bigger the better. with the cages designed for larger animals you will likely have to cover the cage in hardware cloth. its a bit of a pain to do but relatively cheap. if you don't want to cover a cage then check the bar spacing. anything larger then 1 inch most rats will be able to get out of. a young or baby rat should be cages with a bar spacing no larger then 1/2 inch spacing but they grow out of being able to get out of that quickly enough anyway.
ramps are not necessary. the rats can climb the sides of the cage very easily or you can put a rope toy or a hammock there to make it easier for them to get from level to level. though i wouldn't worry about helping them from level to level until they get on in age and slow down some.
but what do you mean by large 3 story cage? i've seen people say that in reference to a hamster cage which is not large at all in my books.
This is the cage I just found and am totally coveting right now. But it's far too large for my circumstances, unfortunately. Shipping is $91 from Texas to North Dakota, but the cage itself is only $5.99!! I rat calculatored it, 5 rats! Woo, that would be a fun mischief!
More reasonably, there is this, $24 for the cage and $25 shipping. The doors look a little small, but the size itself is pretty roomy.
Punkin is an adorable name! Are there pics of her somewhere that we can see?! :lol:
Yay, new cage and new friend! Can we see photos? How big is the cage?
Also, are you making sure to do quarantine and proper intros? Veeery important for the health and well-being of all ratties involved.