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I mentioned this in an earlier post. My family and I were at P**Co on Friday doing some animal looking. We go there quite often because we love seeing all different animals. We were by the rat tanks looking at the only 2 ratties they had at the time. A snake owner came over and was talking to an employee to see if those 2 rats were for sale for feeding snakes. My kids were freaking out and the hubs and I were horrified. So while the snake owner was walking around waiting for the employee to help another customer we immediately found the employee that was "a small animal specialist" and purchased those 2 girl ratties. Once We got them we asked tons of questions and one of the things the employee said was perfect for 2 rats was a 10 gallon tank with a second story wired cage to go on top that had a shelf so all together we have 3 levels. After looking at all of the pictures on this forum I feel we were mislead or that the employee want that much of a specialist. Is this going to be okay to use for now because the cages I've looked up are quite expensive and I can't get them one right now? I want them to be happy. Btw the dumbo is Thelma and the fancy is Louise.
 

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I'd say that employee was definitely not an expert (as is the case with most chain store employees), but they were probably mislead at some point as well. Give them lots of free range time until you can find a suitable cage. Check craiglist or whatever the site might be in your area; you can usually find good deals on used cages.
 

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The cage you have isn't perfect but it is ventilated and probably an improvement on the tank they lived in at the pet shop. I think it was kind of you to take them in to save them and as long as you have their best interest at heart and keep building your knowledge through research, you will give them the best life possible.

Like kksrats said, Freerange time is especially important, not only due to their cage size but also because you'll want to form a strong bond with them. Usually an hour a day is the minimum but 2 or 3 hours is better, especially for new rats. If one of your kids is older, say 10 or 11, then you could set some guidelines for playing safely with the rats and i'm sure they'd be happy to keep them exercised and well socialised while you're busy.

You've made the most of the cage space with the hammock and hidey house, when you do get a bigger wire/bar cage i'd suggest digging through a local pound/dollar shop for things like plastic hanging baskets you can attach to the cage sides. It's not too hard to keep rats happy, mine enjoy cat toys, especially the little rainbow foam balls they can tear up. A cheaper climbing rope is a dog tug rope attached by the tassels to the cage sides and if you have cardboard boxes lying around, rats enjoy them just as much as other hidey houses.

As for affordable cages sites like Preloved, Craigslist, FridayAd (sorry not sure where you're situated) and such sometimes have second hand cages available for a fraction of the original price. After a good scrub and 'refurbishing' their as good as new as far as rats are concerned.

Oh, and can I just say that Thelma and Louise are adorable! :)
 

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Just like any big chain, you're going to have a range of expertise from the employees. Yours probably wasn't trying to mislead you, but she probably isn't as dedicated to rats like the people in this forum. So your cage set-up is perfectly acceptable to her. Those who are a bit more obsessed with rats (such as what you'd find in this forum) would not want to keep their rats in that home.

As mentioned, you have ventilation, which is good. I don't know exactly what ammonia buildup is like, so I don't know if having an open top is enough, but if you clean the glass tank frequently enough, there shouldn't be any problem.

I know that there is a concern with wire floor, but I think that's only if they have no choice. Your rats have the option of going below and can wander around on the wire when they are up to it. If you want, you could wrap fleece around it or put some tiles down, but if no one else is worried about the wire floor, then you shouldn't be either. I'm just paranoid about it because of what I've read.

But congrats on your new family friends. I'm sure you'll have a blast with them.
 

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That cage is definitely not a good optio, It is too small and even with the topper it is going to have ventilation issues. but if temporary it isnt the worst. I think most of us started out with less then ideal cages and upgraded, pet stores often give out way wrong info sadly. I'd surely start looking for a bigger, proper cage as soon as possible.
 

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Yeah that cage is not good and you should get a better one sometime soon. Pet stores tend to have old or just wrong knowledge about rats. But it's really great that you are willing to give your ratties a good home and searched these thing by yourself :) You shoud definitely check craiglist or similar sites, facebook groups and places like that. Many people sell good cages and other small animal stuff for a reasonable price. Seller gets rid of stuff they no longer need and you get stuff you need and the money goes for a individual person, not for a suspicious and expensive pet shop.

And that cage is not completely useless either, you can use it as a quarantine or recovery cage if one of your ratties get sick, or as a nursery if you ever get rat babies or a place to put your rats when you clean their primary cage :) It's always good to have an extra cage.

Cute ratties by the way!
 

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The cage you have isn't perfect but it is ventilated and probably an improvement on the tank they lived in at the pet shop. I think it was kind of you to take them in to save them and as long as you have their best interest at heart and keep building your knowledge through research, you will give them the best life possible.

Like kksrats said, Freerange time is especially important, not only due to their cage size but also because you'll want to form a strong bond with them. Usually an hour a day is the minimum but 2 or 3 hours is better, especially for new rats. If one of your kids is older, say 10 or 11, then you could set some guidelines for playing safely with the rats and i'm sure they'd be happy to keep them exercised and well socialised while you're busy.

You've made the most of the cage space with the hammock and hidey house, when you do get a bigger wire/bar cage i'd suggest digging through a local pound/dollar shop for things like plastic hanging baskets you can attach to the cage sides. It's not too hard to keep rats happy, mine enjoy cat toys, especially the little rainbow foam balls they can tear up. A cheaper climbing rope is a dog tug rope attached by the tassels to the cage sides and if you have cardboard boxes lying around, rats enjoy them just as much as other hidey houses.

As for affordable cages sites like Preloved, Craigslist, FridayAd (sorry not sure where you're situated) and such sometimes have second hand cages available for a fraction of the original price. After a good scrub and 'refurbishing' their as good as new as far as rats are concerned.

Oh, and can I just say that Thelma and Louise are adorable!
I agree with Jess. You should certainly start bonding with them, and depending on the age of your kids, let them join in. I've had pets of my own since I was 8, but they started at fish until my parents knew I was responsible enough to handle larger pets ( gerbils and finally rats).

Supervise any interaction between them well, though, because even elementary schoolers can do risky things with animals and may not be aware of their limits.

As for the cage, try and find a new one as others have suggested, but keep that one handy as a travel or quarantine cage. The rats should be alright in it for a while, but they would fare much better the sooner you can put them in a new cage.

Its so great you saved them, and welcome to the rat loving community! :)

If you browse the forum, you will see many threads on cages and toys etc. Good luvk with your ratties, they are very cure! :D
 

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I store my starter cage on top of my DCN. I leave the door open. When I open the doors of the DCN, the rats like to climb up on top to explore. They'll even play in their former cage. So you could leave the old cage open with a few toys inside, and that will give them a "new" place to explore when you let them run around.
 

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Rat Lesson #1 - assume any pet store "pet expert" probably isnt really an expert at all. They generally have no idea what they are really talking about. Sometimes they do mean well but Id definitely bring your questions to this forum instead of to any pet experts, sometimes they will even sell you things that can actually do more harm to your rats than good.
As has already been mentioned though, for now the rat cage you have is decent and with free range time it can be okay. Did you check amazon.com ? A lot of times they will have free shipping and I know their cages go on sale from time to time just make sure you get a cage with small enough wire spacing that the rats cant crawl out. Rats are great escape artists.
 

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If someone hasn't mentioned it already, be sure to get some coverings for the two wire levels. Cardboard cutouts would work for a start, but I use plastic cross stitch sheets that are like a buck each at a craft store and can be trimmed to size. Ziptie those puppies in at the corners and your ratties' feet will be a lot happier.
Mesh Ceiling Net Textile Floor
 
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