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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a fairly new rat owner and my boys live in a large cage with a plastic bottom. Tried lining it with fleece for a while but they just chew holes in it then land up stuck between the fleece and the plastic pan. So I just removed the fleece altogether after a few weeks. They have been living with the plastic as their floor and they have several corner layers, shelves, baskets and hammocks to climb up and down onto. I just feel like filling the entire tray with bedding turns it into a giant litter-box and they are already trained to use their litter-box which has a paper bedding in it. But watching other rat owners on youtube I'm worried I should be lining the entire cage, is it really necessary? I'm in Australia so it's pretty warm all the time and they have plenty of places to snuggle that have bunched up fabric and fleece.
 

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I do it so that they don't have to walk in their feces and urine. In the wild, an animal never encounters its own leavings, because there's enough room that it never has to. So when you care for an animal in captivity it's very important that they not have to wallow around in their own filt. I line the bottom and levels with fleece, using binder clips to hold it in place. I also give them quantities of cotton batting or shredded brown paper to nest with and to absorb the mess. Additionally they have one of those small plastic litter boxes designed for rabbits and such, and they usually use it.
 

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If they are 100% fully litter trained and honestly never pee on the floor then it would be OK to leave it bare.

Not very comfy imo though lol

But if they are likely to pee on the floor then it is dangerous and can have a large risk of bumblefoot as they walk through the urine.

I use fleece and love it. I think the biggest issue with using fleece is that some forget that rats love to dig, tunnel, nest. I find it best to use layers of fleece and lots of scraps for them to play in. This let's them dig and sleep under the fleece without being on the bare floor. Also giving them dark places to hide helps
 

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I switched from bedding to cheap bath towels and wash rags. I don't mind that they tunnel underneath because I have the towels clipped to the sides. I usually check their cage twice a day and put everything back in order. They like to redecorate so it's a game for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Haha yeah they love to redecorate, i find it very charming. I think i might start putting a loose fleece blanket on the bottom that they can do what they like with. But first we are looking for a grate to cover their corner littertray because they have started bringing all their food and toys into it and the bedding would go all over the fleece and get stuck whenever they scuffled around with each other. I did find it easier with just the plastic because they started peeing only in their tray, if there is fleece they will pee on it instead but i would like them to be comfortable. Thanks for your advice guys :)
 

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I line the bottom with fleece and then cut up small squares of fleece and put those on top. But if they are doing well with the plastic and don't pee on the plastic you will probably be fine.
 

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It depends on rats. My boys like their fleece. My girls however are another story. I have 7 and two of them will shred fleece into tiny pieces and then make a nest out of it. I do better just have a big tub at the bottom of their cage with some aspen in it and I'll give cardboard boxes for them to destroy and turn into nesting material. the only fleece I give is hammocks and even those get shredded often enough. To keep the floor from all being the same, I use tiles in some places, cardboard in some, old fleece from the boys that is on it's last leg anyways I'll also sometimes give to let the girls finish it off. My husbands old jeans I use too sometimes, those last a little longer than fleece. But then those two girls are really just busy little chewers. They completely destroyed the plastic shelves in the critter nation too.
 

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The main purpose of floor coverings is to absorb away urine and prevent the build up of ammonia, this is very important as urine left on surfaces emits ammonia which can irritate lungs, not to mention get into scratches and cause infections like bumblefoot.

The other important part of floor covering is digging and nesting like moonkissed mentions. Its why I don't use fleece myself, I far prefer a proper substrate like shredded card, hemp, heat treated shavings etc. Its a lot more natural for them, though a good deep layer of fleece and scraps etc isn't bad, I wouldn't want it pinned in place through, rats should be allowed to be rats.
 

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I lined the floor of my boys cage with cardboard,,,,it is cheap, soaks up pee, easily changed. I do toss in paper towels, or toilet tissue, to help. If you are concerned about the heat. place a piece of marble or ceramic tile, in the cage,,chill it in the fridge, they may curl up on it.
 

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Trust me when you have a adult male rat that sleeps in its own urine you will never question the need for something absorbent ever again..
 

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I've found that doormats are more often left in place, without clipping them to the floor, than fleece :) They don't slide around.
Then I add shredded paper and stuff for them to dig in.
 

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I've found that doormats are more often left in place, without clipping them to the floor, than fleece :) They don't slide around.
Then I add shredded paper and stuff for them to dig in.
What kind of door mat? And how do you wash / clean them?
 

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I'm using Borris door mats from Ikea on my upper half-shelves in my DCNs. They work OK, but get chewed, like the fleece, and don't absorb urine well, so they get smelly quickly and have to be changed out. I wash the borris mats on hot water and pre spray them with vinegar water. I dry them on low in the dryer. I am sure the washing / drying will cut short the life of the mats, but they seem to work ok for me for now. My next step is trying out something absorbent below the mats to see if that helps with the smell.
 

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I wash them (Borris doormats) in the washer, they get more absorbent by every wash. A bit softer too.If you feel it's icky to wash them in the same washer as hammocks or clothes, pre-wash them first in hot water. I wash all rat laundry at once.
I find that the top stays dry and the bottom gets wet. It smells after a few days, but not as fast as fleece does... I find fleece very un-absorbent.When I notice a smell, I rince them in hot water and put them back (wire shelves so it can dry on the shelf without molding or anything) Or you can just switch and rinse so it's not so smelly untill the next ratty laundry. Mine usually chose one primary shelf to pee on so I don't have to wash all mats mid-week. I just wash them all once a week or so with the ''big'' cleaning.

Some rats chew on the mats more that others. But usually it's ok even if the corners get a bit chewed, since they don't have to be clipped down.
I've used the same mats for almost a year now, without having to replace a single one.
 
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