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Hi everyone,

My two female rats are about 8-9 months old and live in a multi-leveled cage. We started out with fleece on each level, newspaper on the bottom, and Kaytee carefresh bedding in their litter pan on the bottom tray. At first this was okay, but I've noticed that they are no longer using their litter tray as a bathroom, they are instead using it to stash food. They rip and shred all the newspaper, so we stopped using that (because listening to rats shredding hunks of paper at 2am got old fast), and they pee and poo on the fleece levels at a rate that I can't keep up with washing them. Also, they get gross REALLY fast, and most aren't worth washing to use a second time so I throw them out. They are now just peeing on the plastic level itself and it's GROSS. Anyone have any suggestions on how to make this cleaner and easier on everyone? I've never owned rats before (I had a guinea pig before, haha) and I am not sure what I should do. I've looked at pictures of how nice and pretty people's cages are and I'd LOVE to get my rats using their litter tray again so that I can actually make the rest of their cage look nice! At least they aren't as gross as my guinea pig was!
 

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Honestly I’ve found with rats that levels / shelves are just a bad idea. Rats tend to at minimum urinate on them. I’ve removed all mine in my cage and instead hang a couple cat sized litter trays up and use a lot more ropes/branches/hammocks etc so they have a much more active and fun layout. Put some substrate / litter in the trays and on the floor and your sorted. They end up effectively litter training themselves.
 

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Mine pee and poop everywhere. In their beds, their hammocks, the shelves, the litter box, I have to wipe down the levels ever few days or it starts to stink. I do a through cleaning and wash all their beds on Sundays. (takes me a couple hours) I wish they would stay in the litter box so I could just dump it every couple of days instead, but one (or more) of them haven't caught on to that yet even though they're 7-9 months old.
 

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I agree. Get rid of the levels and use either litter trays or hammocks instead. I replaced the plastic levels in mine with large cage-length hammocks (they are the same size as the levels were) and I also put in wire baskets from the dollar store with fleece insides, etc. You can also try putting litter boxes on each level (if they are big enough) but I find it easier to just put up hammocks then remove when they are dirty to wash... I rinse out debris, spray them with a water /vinegar solution, then let air dry on a laundry rack outside. By the time I've saved up enough for a load, they are pretty odor free.
 
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