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Discussion Starter #1
I'm making an IKEA trip this Sunday and I was wondering how well the Borris doormats have been holding up for those who use them. I have a modified DFN, so I'm planning on getting 6 mats/set.

How often do you change/wash them?
How many sets do you keep on hand? How often do you find you need to replace them?
How do you wash them? Should I put newspaper underneath? Or just wipe the pans down in in-between changes?
How well do they hold up to chewing? Are they likely to be chewed?
Do rat's claws get caught in them?

Sorry for all the questions!
 

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I am a new owner, so this is all new to me, but here're my answers.

I wash them once a week. Granted, this means I've only washed them twice, but we intend to keep the pattern going.
I have 12 mats. I could technically get by with just 6 if I'm willing to leave the cage unprotected, but for an additional $6, I'm good with extra protection. I keep the extra mats under the cage.
I wash them on hot in a front-loaded washer. I'm sure there's a danger of the mats deteriorating, but they've held up so far in just one wash apiece. Again, they're a buck apiece, so if they can hold out for several washings, I consider it a good investment.
I just wipe the pans down, though I periodically scrub them with bleach.
A couple of my mats got chewed a little bit but not too much. These things just don't interest my rats. The chewing on these mats are inconsequential.
I've not heard any rats complain about the claws getting stuck. I did have to pick up a rat, and she decided to hang onto the mat, which was annoying, but they popped out easily enough.
 

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Wow, thank you so much for posting this! I had no idea about these mats and they look very useful! I will picking myself up some this weekend. You can not beat that price either. Thanks!
 

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So I went to IKEA yesterday and got about 30 of these mats. Sprayed them with some vinegar/water to get rid of that rubber smell and put in a set last night. I'll probably update this as I go about figuring out the best configuration I find for these mats... Testing stage here we go. Here is the experience so far (as from cleaning cage last night and putting in the mats to this morning). There's a summary at the end if you find this is too long.


As far as appearances, they are a very dark blue - almost black in color. They have rounded corners, which is a little annoying as these leaves small parts of the pan bare, but no matter. For 99¢ a mat it's a small price to pay and you can always cover the patches with something (tile, food bowl, toy, etc). They have stripes of differing "textures", not really sure how to describe it... but the stripes alternate between what seems to be thicker and thinner sections. They're flexible and seem flimsy, but they stay down in the cage much better than the fleece.
+1 Borris mats for staying down easily
+0 Fleece for needing more work to stay put


They fit well (in the Bass Pans for FN/CN cages). The length of the mat is a perfect fit for the width of the Bass Pans for the Ferret Nation cages. One mat is a little long for the half shelf trays that come with the cage, but it's not too much of a big deal; you can always trim it down if it really bothers you. I assume the mat length would also be a tad too long for the width of the plastic full level trays that come with the FN/CN cages as well. 2 mats covers most of the full levels. For the bottom full level, it leaves about 4 inches of the pan bare. You can buy extra mats to trim down for this space or you can cover it in tile. I had some 12x12 tiles that Home Depot cut in half for me and the 6x12 fit OK. One is against its length and the other is against its width; then I have a small granite sample in between the two of them. For the full middle level with the cut out in the FN/CN cages, you do need to trim a 1x9 inch cut out to accommodate the cut out (that measurement is for the Bass Pans. Add ~0.5-1in inches to the dimensions if you use the provided trays). If you don't want to trim, you can just let the mats overlap. They have smaller striped sections that make it easy to follow a straight line for a cut. For the bare corner next to the cut out, you can either trim down an extra mat or cover the pan with a litter tray (that's what I did) or tile or both. I've noticed that it is easier to spot clean the mats than it is to clean fleece as litter and poop doesn't seem to cling as much. This was nice as someone decided to not be litter trained anymore (I'm looking at you, Devi). I found the trimming of the mat MUCH easier and more convenient than the cutting/sewing/making of fleece liners (whichever way you do it, I've tried 3 methods). However, the fleece liners can be make especially to size/shape in a single piece.
+1 Borris mats for convenience of size despite trimming requirement
+1 Fleece for aesthitics of being in a single piece


Also, I had to weigh down my fleece with lots of tile as well as the litter boxes; using these mats, I've gone from 9-12 tiles (4 12x12", 5 6x12", and some granite samples) down to 3 (2 6x12" and 1 granite sample). This set up was great and all, but one of my girls likes to pull up the fleece from under the litter box and this results in tears in the fleece. The more tears there were, the more they wanted to tear it - it's a vicious cycle from there. In addition, my rats seemed to take pleasure in making enormous puddles of urine on all of the tiles while I am away at work. They refuse to pee IN the litter boxes and instead prefer to pee AROUND them or along the sides so that the urine runs down to the fleece. Plus, with the half levels of the FN/CN cages, I had to clip the fleece down with binder clips... and seeing as my rats think that peeing in the litter box will cause their universe to implode, the binder clips get pretty nasty. Cleaning them is a hassle since they have tiny nooks and crannies... However, with the IKEA Borris mats, they sit will enough in the tray that I don't need a clip and the rats don't bother them as much as they did the fleece.
+1 Borris mats for no clips
+1 Borris mats for low tile count
-1 Fleece for binder clips
-1 Fleece for high tile requirement


As for the smell, I do notice that it's down, but then I did just clean the cage and put in the new mats as liners. I don't know what happened this last week, but everyone decided to pee everywhere... including the sides of the Bass Pans; I don't even know how that happened given that the pan walls are flush against the cage. I may sprinkle baking soda on the mats and rub it in to help with urine smells, I don't know it depends on the results on the end of this week. Though, I do realize that putting baking soda UNDER the mats would do nothing since the latex backing would prevent interaction between the urine and the baking soda. There is still a smell, but I do need to take out the trash from cleaning the cage (yesterday was hectic and I forgot, but usually taking out the clean-out-trash makes for a much better smelling shed).
+1 BAKING SODA for smell reduction
+0 Fleece for smell control
N/A Borris mats for smell control


I do still need to find a way to provide a dig box that isn't going to end up with substrate everywhere in the cage. I'm currently planning on a storage box with a hole cut out as an entrance/exit. Hopefully, this will curb the "let's throw all of this paper pellet-y stuff ALL OVER THE CAGE" behavior and I won't have to spot clean/vacuum so much. They act like the vacuum is the end of the world or something.
+1 Borris mats for easy spot cleaning
+0 Fleece for neutral spot cleaning


So far, after a day, I find that I like the mats more. They're easy to store under the cage and they look tidy. They definitely take up less space than the fleece. When I get home, I will probably test to see how they hold up to vacuuming as one rat has decided that the litter box is no longer for going to the bathroom but for flinging Yesterday's News everywhere. I'll have to get a grated litter box to fix that. Hopefully that behavior will stop when I figure out the dig box situation.


*****SUMMARY*****
In comparison, with other alternatives. Scores are relatively arbitrary and are more based on first impressions of the Borris mats... meaning, I'm comparing everything to the Borris mats.


I hated shavings since they got EVERYWHERE. Even in my house... which didn't make sense since my rats are housed in a nifty rat shed in my backyard. While it was fun to see them dig and burrow in the aspen, it didn't do much by way of smell and the 2.5" Bass Pans just couldn't contain. Let's just say for me, shavings have a score of something way negative.
SCORE: -10


Fleece was just a hassle. There was always newspaper with baking soda carefully placed in strategic pee spots underneath them. I tried 3 layer liners (fleece-flannel-fleece), which seem to do OK... but they were a pain to make. 2 layer liner (fleece-fleece) and 1 layer (fleece cut to size) were OK. But again, they were a pain to make (I'm lazy and my least favorite part is just cutting the stuff to size). The 3 fleece set ups all seemed to do well in regards to smell, but I attribute that more to the baking soda than design. In addition, the 1 layer liners were a pain to just get into position since they are so flimsy. Also, fleece just seems to invite my rats to make a hole and borrow in... and then stasht he newspapers everywhere.
SCORE: -1


The Borris mats easily slide into place. They do require some trimming, but that's minimal since only one mat/set needs to be trimmed. But if that's too much work, you can also just let the mats overlap. I don't have to carefully arrange newspapers with baking soda underneath.
SCORE: +5


When I get home, I'll try to post a picture or a video to show how it goes and this poorly worded explanation will hopefully make more sense.


TL;DR - shavings<fleece<IKEA Borris mats


I'll do a more coherent scoring system. This one is more for first impressions of the Borris mat vs what I already know of fleece and shavings. I may make a new post that's just a comparison of shavings vs fleece vs mats, or I may just post the comparison here.


Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to score. So far, my list is: smell control, convenience, clean-ability, aesthetics, and preparation (ie making of fleece liners).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, and I'll also do a price comparison. For some reason, I can't edit. Feel free to ask questions!
 

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Nice analysis, LilCritter. As a result of all the questioning recently, I took pictures of my trays after we did our last major cleaning. They show how I place the mats.

As already mentioned, the mats fit the shelf trays pretty well.

shelf-tray.jpg

Two mats almost fit the bottom floor. As you can see, I could buy an additional mat and cut off a strip 3" wide. I covered part of this gap with a litter tray, but you know, this gap doesn't get a lot of action. And if it ever does, it's easy to wipe the plastic clean.

bottom-cage-floor.jpg

The biggest issue is with the top floor. You need to cut a chunk out of one of the mats to make them fit. The neat thing is that you can use the cut piece to fill in that gap. I also have a litter tray in this corner too, so that helps. Please pardon my imperfect cut. My wife's cut is much smoother, but that mat's in the washing machine.

top-cage-floor.jpg

There may be more efficient ways to lay the mats, but this is what I've done. If I get tired of that 3" gap, I could just buy another mat and cut it up. I keep two sets of mats: One is being used while the other is in storage until it's time to swap them out and throw the mats in the washer. I don't know how long these will last being washed on high. We shall see. Two washings haven't killed them.

As you can see in the pictures, they do get a little chewed on, but it's not as bad as fleece. The mats just don't interest the rats that much.
 

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Thanks for the in-depth reviews and photos guys! I saw a few posts about these mats and it definitely piqued my interest, since I've changed liners / substrate a few times now and have yet to find one that works the way I would like it to.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
20150216_165122.jpg Main level of DFN

20150216_165132.jpg Top half level with litter kicked out

20150216_165153.jpg What I meant by ever so slightly too long for the half shelves

20150216_165226.jpg Tiles covering the bare strip on the bottom pan

20150216_165600.jpg Bare spot caused by rounded corners

20150216_170130.jpg Texture of the mat

20150216_170038.jpg After attempting to vacuum and everyone kicking litter out of the boxes, thereby making more of a mess... and me spot cleaning the usual way... by hand.

Hope this helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, 4 mats would cover 2 half shelves and most of the main level.
If you Google "borris mat Amazon" you'll find an Amazon link. However, from them, it is $15.99 for 2. Part of the allure of these mats is that they are a dollar each.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Also, someone has pointed out on another thread (I'm on my phone so I can't check) that home depot has a similar mat that is slightly larger and available in more colors that should be usable. It is $4 for 2, so double the price.
 

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Yes, 4 mats would cover 2 half shelves and most of the main level.
If you Google "borris mat Amazon" you'll find an Amazon link. However, from them, it is $15.99 for 2. Part of the allure of these mats is that they are a dollar each.
Yeah, I have to agree with that. Actually, I was entranced by the post that said they were 50 cents apiece, but that must have been an older post. Still, a buck apiece is pretty good. I'm not sure that I'd use the mats if I had to pay $8 each online. Granted, fleece isn't that cheap either--at least not if I get a design that my wife likes (I don't care about the fleece pattern personally).

Perhaps if you have a friend who lives in a place with Ikea who would be willing to ship some to you? They could probably fit in an oversized envelope.
 

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No, unfortunately not. Though you can check with your nearest store. It is possible that they'll have a different policy than mine.
 

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how do you keep these mats clean? how do you wash them?
So far, I throw them into a front-loaded washing machine on high temperature. I know there was discussion on whether they can be washed on high for long. I think I've had my mats long enough to wash them two and three times (I keep two sets), and I've not seen a problem with them. If they should deteriorate too quickly, then I may consider an alternate method after I buy new mats, but that moment has not come yet.

After they're washed, I air-dry them. I wouldn't dream of putting them in the dryer. I think that may ruin them. Also, I haven't been soaking them in vinegar, so they may still have urine smell; I haven't noticed.
 

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I'm wondering if anybody happens to know the name of these at Home Depot? I did a search for "mat" with a lot of choices coming up. :)
 

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I didn't use mine for long, I got a used FN and am now using fleece but I did use them for a bit so:

How often do you change/wash them? About once a week

How many sets do you keep on hand? How often do you find you need to replace them? 2 per cage, would change 1x a week.

How do you wash them? Should I put newspaper underneath? Or just wipe the pans down in in-between changes? I used a peppermint castile soap, it was all I could find but Dr. Bronners is readily available and has unscented. Shake mats to get off loose dirt, spray any left, use hands to scrub soap on, rinse, repeat on other side, let dry. I would just wipe up the pan but pee didn't seem to get through.

How well do they hold up to chewing? Are they likely to be chewed? One girl really shredded hers but she is BIG on nesting. The other cage had some hewing damage but not a ton.

Do rat's claws get caught in them? Not that I ever noticed

I would vacuum the cage every day to get raisins and crumbs up. I never did but I regret that.
 

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I'm seeing one dark side of the mats. Or rather, the light side.

The more I wash these mats, the more pliable they become. That's to be expected. You cannot throw these mats into a hot tumbling washer and expect them to retain their shape for long. Now my rats are able to lift up the edge of the mat and even fold it over. Most of the time, the mat just falls back into place, but I came home yesterday to see one mat corner pulled up and tucked under the cardboard box I placed in there. There was at last six inches of exposed tray there. The tray was remarkably unmarked. But when I pulled the mat back down, I found over a dozen turds tucked away in the envelop my ratties created. I scolded them and scooped them into the litter tray.

Still not regretting my purchase. In fact, we bought three back-up mats last week. Some of the mats are getting pretty chewed up around the edges; they may end up getting tossed in a few weeks. Still cheaper than replacement fleece, so that's in our favor.
 

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Glad to hear you're still okay with them...as I purchased 17 of them last weekend! LOL

Next time I clean the boys' cage, I plan on using them. :)

Do you just lay them down? Or fasten them down with clips, etc?

How many washes had they gone through before you noticed the reduced structure?
 
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