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Hello! I am hoping to get some rats for the first time next month and I am trying to do as much research as I can now, but I had some questions about cages and setup. Firstly, how large should a cage be for 2-3 rats? Everything I am finding is saying that it should be at least 2 cubic feet per rat, but I am wondering if there is a minimum footprint for the cage? The cage that I currently have is 24x24x41.5; would this be suitable for 2-3 rats?

Additionally, I was wondering if anyone had some general recommendations for items in the cage. I'm having trouble figuring out what bedding may work best for me. I definitely want to go with a loose bedding for the base of the cage and I have a limited budget. I had been considering aspen, but the room I will be keeping the cage in is carpeted and I have heard that it is difficult to get aspen out of carpet. Does anyone have any experience with this/any bedding suggestions?

Finally, I am also looking for just general suggestions on setting up my first rat cage. I really want to ensure that I am setting up a cage that will be both cozy and enriching. So any suggestions or photos would be very helpful!

Sorry that was so long lol
Thanks!
 

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Willow, Comet, and Spark
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What cage do you have currently? Maybe I (or someone else) will recognize it and tell you if it's suitable.
For items in the cage, hammocks are definitely a staple, since rats love them so much- I think you'll need 2 or 3 of them, at least!
I'm not sure if aspen sticks to a carpet, but to prevent that you can build a deep base out of plexiglass to keep the bedding in at the bottom of the cage- instead of building a base, some people that have critter nation cages use cement mixing tubs available at Home Depot that have the same measurement as the base.

For suggestions on your cage, I definitely recommend popping in 2 or 3 hammocks, since (as mentioned above) they are a staple in rat cages- rats love lounging and climbing on them, plus they act as fall breakers if your rat happens to fall.
I also would recommend putting in a long, thick dog rope- these are fun for the rats to climb on they are generally liked and used by rats. (Here's a link to a dog rope I would recommend, and another link to a shorter one)
Then maybe place a hide in there since some rats really like them (my boy usually prefers them over hammocks!) and several foraging toys- another staple for rats, since they are so stimulating. (My favorite foraging toy for rats is this bird foraging wheel)
I would also pick up an ikea tie holder, rats really love to climb on them!

Here's a video of a rat cage tour for a setup I especially like:

 
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Discussion Starter #3
What cage do you have currently? Maybe I (or someone else) will recognize it and tell you if it's suitable.
For items in the cage, hammocks are definitely a staple, since rats love them so much- I think you'll need 2 or 3 of them, at least!
I'm not sure if aspen sticks to a carpet, but to prevent that you can build a deep base out of plexiglass to keep the bedding in at the bottom of the cage- instead of building a base, some people that have critter nation cages use cement mixing tubs available at Home Depot that have the same measurement as the base.

For suggestions on your cage, I definitely recommend popping in 2 or 3 hammocks, since (as mentioned above) they are a staple in rat cages- rats love lounging and climbing on them, plus they act as fall breakers if your rat happens to fall.
I also would recommend putting in a long, thick dog rope- these are fun for the rats to climb on they are generally liked and used by rats. (Here's a link to a dog rope I would recommend, and another link to a shorter one)
Then maybe place a hide in there since some rats really like them (my boy usually prefers them over hammocks!) and several foraging toys- another staple for rats, since they are so stimulating. (My favorite foraging toy for rats is this bird foraging wheel)
I would also pick up an ikea tie holder, rats really love to climb on them!

Here's a video of a rat cage tour for a setup I especially like:

Hello! Thanks for your response. I have the Kaytee my first home deluxe. I think the bar spacing is a bit wide so I know that I may need to purchase some wire mesh to go over it. I bought it used and it doesn't have all the shelves, but I am not planning on using the shelves so that I can give the rats a more active layout. Thank you for suggestions on items to put inside of the cage. I will be sure to implement them! Also thanks for linking that video. I have been watching a lot of videos by Emiology and they have helped me a lot. I'll be sure to take a look at that video.
 

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Here's a guide on different beddings you can use for rats:
I personally use fabrics on all of my rats platforms(I own two double story critter nation cages) and have a dig box full(a plastic box from Walmart with a hole cut into the lid) of bedding so it doesn't get everywhere.

Hammocks are great for rats. Here's my favorite etsy seller who sells hammock sets for a reasonable price:

I also recommend a lava ledge somewhere in the cage. Some rats really love to chew lava ledges and if your lucky they'll climb on it enough to trim their own nails.

You'll also want enough space somewhere to put a cardboard box or a hiding hut for them. There may be times that they want to be in darkness. Put some fabrics inside the hut so they have an option to cuddle into it when they're cold. If they don't want it they'll push it out. You'll want to put in a next box Everytime the old one gets dirty.

And I guess my last recommendation for now would be to try and find a coconut shell online that connects to the side of the cage. My rats love to go into it, but it does only hold one rat at a time. Somethin like this:
 

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Hello! Thanks for your response. I have the Kaytee my first home deluxe. I think the bar spacing is a bit wide so I know that I may need to purchase some wire mesh to go over it. I bought it used and it doesn't have all the shelves, but I am not planning on using the shelves so that I can give the rats a more active layout. Thank you for suggestions on items to put inside of the cage. I will be sure to implement them! Also thanks for linking that video. I have been watching a lot of videos by Emiology and they have helped me a lot. I'll be sure to take a look at that video.
Just saw this. I personally don't recommend any cage with a plastic bottom. Some rats really love to chew plastic and they may chew their way to freedom. I know my rats love chewing plastic
 

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Hello! Thanks for your response. I have the Kaytee my first home deluxe. I think the bar spacing is a bit wide so I know that I may need to purchase some wire mesh to go over it. I bought it used and it doesn't have all the shelves, but I am not planning on using the shelves so that I can give the rats a more active layout. Thank you for suggestions on items to put inside of the cage. I will be sure to implement them! Also thanks for linking that video. I have been watching a lot of videos by Emiology and they have helped me a lot. I'll be sure to take a look at that video.
Yup, the bar spacing is too wide for babies- most likely your babies will be able to escape. Meshing it is a good idea, just prepare to be scraped up a bit! LOL! (Also, you'll need to make sure the mesh doesn't have sharp wire that could injure your ratties)
I also think it's a good idea to not use the shelf- they kind of get in the way of making an active, stimulating cage layout.
Size-wise, I think your cage is suitable for 3 rats and plenty of accessories! (going off the photos from reviews)

Emiology is a great channel to watch, and she is really informative! Are you planning to use a mix or a high-quality lab block?
 

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The Kaytee Ferret cage has a lot of interior cubic footage (14+ cubic feet). Using a standard 2 to 2.5 cubic feet per rat, the cage may be fine for up to 5-7 rats. Personally, I think it's a little narrow. I prefer to have a bit more floor space for running around. Yes, height is good because rats like climbing but they're naturally ground-dwelling animals so cage width is just as important. At 24" wide, I wouldn't say it's an absolute deal-breaker but width is something to consider if/when you're looking at getting a different cage. For me, 30" wide would be my starting point but 36"+ is even better!

The bar spacing is an issue for young rats and even smaller adult females. Purchasing 1/2" hardware cloth and zip-ties will be the way to go. You're probably looking at an additional cost of $25-40 in materials and supplies. A sanding block will help to smooth down the sharp cut edges.

Hardware cloth is a bit ugly but it does the job. It will make the cage a little more difficult to clean and to attach accessories.

The cage has a nice deep base so that will help keep a loose substrate inside the cage. Lighter weight substrates will still get kicked out a bit, though. That might just be the cost of doing business. I use aspen shavings and I've been really happy with it even though it can be a little messy. Something heavier like recycled paper pellet litter would be less likely to get kicked out. There's no perfect bedding/substrate and it might be best to experiment with all of your options so you can figure out what works best for you and your rats. The goal is good absorbency, odor control, fragrance-free, low dust, and affordability. Nothing will score a perfect 10 in all of these categories. You just have to find out what you like best and where you're willing to compromise or compensate. I get Kaytee aspen shavings and large bales of shredded aspen horse bedding. The price is fantastic and I'm happy with the absorbency and odor control but the shredded aspen is very dusty. I have to take some extra time to sift out the excess dust by hand with a mesh laundry basket to make it useable. The extra work is worth it to me for the other benefits of the bedding.

Setting up a good rat cage can be very cheap. You really don't need to spend lots of money on fancy stuff made specifically for pets. You can raid the recycle bin, dollar stores, Ikea, thrift shops, hardware stores, your basement/garage/backyard, etc. to find everything you'll need to set up an awesome cage. You'll want stuff for your rats to hide under, cuddle up in, and climb on. With such a tall cage, you'll also want to make sure it's full enough that there's plenty of stuff to break a clumsy rat's fall.

Any scrap of fabric or old clothing can be used as hammocks, dollar store baskets can be zip-tied to the walls or hung from the ceiling as nests, food boxes/oatmeal tubes etc. make great huts, ropes and branches make for great climbing and perching, etc. Get creative. The Isamu Rat Care youtube channel has a great video called ["Rat cage challenge: DIY cage set up under £10"] that might give you some ideas.
 

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Yup, the bar spacing is too wide for babies- most likely your babies will be able to escape. Meshing it is a good idea, just prepare to be scraped up a bit! LOL! (Also, you'll need to make sure the mesh doesn't have sharp wire that could injure your ratties)
I also think it's a good idea to not use the shelf- they kind of get in the way of making an active, stimulating cage layout.
Size-wise, I think your cage is suitable for 3 rats and plenty of accessories! (going off the photos from reviews)

Emiology is a great channel to watch, and she is really informative! Are you planning to use a mix or a high-quality lab block?
Thanks for your advice! I am planning on adopting some adult rats from my local shelter so I am unsure of whether or not they will be able to fit through the bars but I figured I'd err on the side of caution and go ahead and mesh the cage. I watched some of Emiology's videos on the shunamite diet and I think that I'd really like to try making my own mix for them; however, I'm not too sure on how to find something as a base mix as a lot of the suggestions that I have found are not available in the US.
 

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I watched some of Emiology's videos on the shunamite diet and I think that I'd really like to try making my own mix for them; however, I'm not too sure on how to find something as a base mix as a lot of the suggestions that I have found are not available in the US.
Watch some of the Isamu Rat Care videos on diet. She's much more knowledgeable about the Shunamite diet. Rat Rations in the UK actually carries one of her mixes.

You could use a standard US block/kibble as the base for the mix. Oxbow Essentials, Teklad 2014, or Science Selective would all probably work well.
 

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Hello! I am hoping to get some rats for the first time next month and I am trying to do as much research as I can now, but I had some questions about cages and setup. Firstly, how large should a cage be for 2-3 rats? Everything I am finding is saying that it should be at least 2 cubic feet per rat, but I am wondering if there is a minimum footprint for the cage? The cage that I currently have is 24x24x41.5; would this be suitable for 2-3 rats?

Additionally, I was wondering if anyone had some general recommendations for items in the cage. I'm having trouble figuring out what bedding may work best for me. I definitely want to go with a loose bedding for the base of the cage and I have a limited budget. I had been considering aspen, but the room I will be keeping the cage in is carpeted and I have heard that it is difficult to get aspen out of carpet. Does anyone have any experience with this/any bedding suggestions?

Finally, I am also looking for just general suggestions on setting up my first rat cage. I really want to ensure that I am setting up a cage that will be both cozy and enriching. So any suggestions or photos would be very helpful!

Sorry that was so long lol
Thanks!
Hi there,
these videos may help you.:)



 

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Firstly, I think if possible, try getting a Critter nation because they have full front opening doors, and are big enough for 4-6 rats, making it so your rats will have a ton of room. If not, I think that cage might be okay. Second, I would recommend getting tunnels, ladders, hammocks, and a Space Pod, which my rats really enjoy, and a space pod is very popular with rat owners. Make sure to get foraging toys, such as a foraging wheel for birds. If you have small cardboard boxes laying around, these are good for the cage and the free roam area. As for bedding, aspen is fine, but I found that when it is put in, the smell of it is very strong. I use care fresh, a paper bedding, but I am still looking for something better, but it works okay. Make sure to buy a corner litter box without a grate on amazon. Use dust free cat litter in it. You can easily look up litter training videos on you tube if you decide to train them.
 

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Firstly, I think if possible, try getting a Critter nation because they have full front opening doors, and are big enough for 4-6 rats, making it so your rats will have a ton of room. If not, I think that cage might be okay. Second, I would recommend getting tunnels, ladders, hammocks, and a Space Pod, which my rats really enjoy, and a space pod is very popular with rat owners. Make sure to get foraging toys, such as a foraging wheel for birds. If you have small cardboard boxes laying around, these are good for the cage and the free roam area. As for bedding, aspen is fine, but I found that when it is put in, the smell of it is very strong. I use care fresh, a paper bedding, but I am still looking for something better, but it works okay. Make sure to buy a corner litter box without a grate on amazon. Use dust free cat litter in it. You can easily look up litter training videos on you tube if you decide to train them.
I would recommend not buying anything from Amazon, if you can help it. The quality is hard to insure, and the customer service/return policy is bad on most items. I buy all my supplies from Chewy.com, they have everything I need for a better price, and if anything comes damaged (which has never happened for me) they send you a brand new item free of charge. My DCN came in perfect condition and my dad and I were able to set it up in 30 minutes because there were no bends like the reviews on Amazon say. For the most part, foraging toys that you make will be more fun for them, because they can shred them and chew them as much as they want. If you do want to buy a few foraging toys, make sure to start with easy ones if they've never had them so they don't get frustrated. My favorite (chewable and cute) is the Treasure Barrel from Oxbow ( OXBOW Enriched Life Treasure Barrel Small Pet Chew Toy - Chewy.com ). I fill it with their normal food. It's easy and fun, and looks good in any cage setup. It's my favorite starter foraging toy. Shadow The Rat on Youtube has a whole set of videos about foraging toys. Here's her one on the best ones for rats.
Also, my favorite store-bought toy is a Comfy Bird Perch. It's basically a stiff rope with cage screws. I have 4-32 inch ones in my cage at the moment and they make great climbing toys, though if you hardware cloth the cage they will be hard to put on. JW PET Medium Comfy Bird Perch, 21-in - Chewy.com Anyways, the person above said a litter pan WITHOUT a grate, which I second on every account. Hard to clean, hard on their feet, don't fall for it. Here's my favorite rat channels on Youtube (all pretty obvious but eh)
-Shadow the Rat
-Isamu Rat Care
-Aurora Rattery
-Emiology
and, if you like, me! I'm in no way a 'professional' at this, I've just done a fair amount of research. My channel is Catty Ratties. Have fun with your new rats!
 

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I would recommend not buying anything from Amazon, if you can help it. The quality is hard to insure, and the customer service/return policy is bad on most items. I buy all my supplies from Chewy.com, they have everything I need for a better price, and if anything comes damaged (which has never happened for me) they send you a brand new item free of charge. My DCN came in perfect condition and my dad and I were able to set it up in 30 minutes because there were no bends like the reviews on Amazon say. For the most part, foraging toys that you make will be more fun for them, because they can shred them and chew them as much as they want. If you do want to buy a few foraging toys, make sure to start with easy ones if they've never had them so they don't get frustrated. My favorite (chewable and cute) is the Treasure Barrel from Oxbow ( OXBOW Enriched Life Treasure Barrel Small Pet Chew Toy - Chewy.com ). I fill it with their normal food. It's easy and fun, and looks good in any cage setup. It's my favorite starter foraging toy. Shadow The Rat on Youtube has a whole set of videos about foraging toys. Here's her one on the best ones for rats.
Also, my favorite store-bought toy is a Comfy Bird Perch. It's basically a stiff rope with cage screws. I have 4-32 inch ones in my cage at the moment and they make great climbing toys, though if you hardware cloth the cage they will be hard to put on. JW PET Medium Comfy Bird Perch, 21-in - Chewy.com Anyways, the person above said a litter pan WITHOUT a grate, which I second on every account. Hard to clean, hard on their feet, don't fall for it. Here's my favorite rat channels on Youtube (all pretty obvious but eh)
-Shadow the Rat
-Isamu Rat Care
-Aurora Rattery
-Emiology
and, if you like, me! I'm in no way a 'professional' at this, I've just done a fair amount of research. My channel is Catty Ratties. Have fun with your new rats!
If you look at reviews for any products that may interest you, there is most likely going to be warnings of things falling apart, but if there is way more good reviews than bad, the product is fine. I ordered almost all of my cage accessories from amazon, and they are all great. The only thing that is really kind of iffy is the hammocks. I got lucky with the one I bought, but they will destroy almost anything you give them, so quality sometimes in not priority. There are definatly things you can trust though.
 

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I have sewn hammocks out of felt, old t-shirts, even hung a long shirt sleeve. One of my girls had babies, and I didn't have to worry about them chewing up an expensive hammock.
 

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Something to say about rope. I found cheap rope on e-bay sold by 10 feet. I just ordered thick and thin 10 feet each and will be making my own climbing nets. Most likely it will be a bit softer than dog rope, but I will see.
You can search "twisted cotton rope" on e-bay, or this for example:
 

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I'm planning to remodel my cage, remove some floors and make it more suitable for climbing. Just yesterday have been searching online and saved some pictures with rope ideas for climbing.
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natural sticks.jpg macrame net.jpg
 

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I have sewn hammocks out of felt, old t-shirts, even hung a long shirt sleeve. One of my girls had babies, and I didn't have to worry about them chewing up an expensive hammock.
Yeah I make all my own hammocks- mostly out of scraps b/c strangely enough, my girls don’t use them to sleep in, just occasionally to get around.
 
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