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Hi everybody,

I don't have any rats yet... but I will as soon as my cage is finished. I've never owned any rats before, and I have some questions on their cage. I am trying to save money here as well. I don't have a lot...

I bought one cage and guessed very wrong at its dimensions... it was only big enough for one rat (13.5x15.5x17). So, I returned it, spent 10 more dollars, and bought an 18x18x24 bird cage (http://www.petmarket.com/clean-life-bird-cage-24h-p-2547.html). And if anyone else is interested, I got it for 49.99 at Petsmart.

I want to add levels to it of course, to utilize the vertical space, to give my rats more room to roam around. I bought some 1/4 inch galvanized steel wire mesh from Home Depot. Is this going to hurt their feet? I am hoping to make ramps and floors with it. I bought a couple stick on linoleum tiles from the dollar store to put over the floors, but do I need to cover the ramps as well?

Also, a friend of mine has some scrap wood he said I could use. I was concerned that it might get chewed up, or need to be replaced if the rats peed on it (which I'm assuming they'd do). What could I do to make the wood good to use? And, unrelated to cages, is that wood good for them to chew on (or would it hurt them somehow) or would it be better if I buy wood chew sticks from the store?

I bought a piece of PVC pipe, but other than that, I really don't have any other toys yet. Do pieces of clothing make good hammock material or do I need to buy certain material? I'm assuming it will eventually get chewed on and probably peed on so I want it to still be safe and easily replaceable and cheap once they've gnawed it up.

Is there an easy way to make ladders? I don't want to buy a bird ladder in the store because I know it'll get chewed up.

Oh, and one last question. The cage is 24 inches tall... is that enough for 3 levels? Or should I maybe only do one plus a balcony or something?

Okay, and one last one. Does having a large number of "proper" chewable items (things you intend for them to chew on) reduce the amount of chewing on things you'd rather they left alone? I'm a little worried about the plastic that secures the cage to the base, ladders, that sort of thing.

When I start with new pets, I like to do it right!! I want my rats to be happy in their cages during the time I'm not playing with them. Any other suggestions you have for me, I'm more than open to! I know it's a lot of questions. Sorry :oops:
 

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First off, that cage can only hold two ratties comfortably. Be advise if you wish to add to your rat pack you MUST get a larger cage.

Also, galvanized wire will very quickly begin to smell and soak up urine, making it impossible to cleanb. We will suggest powder or PVC coated wires.

Wood will do the same, absorb odors and stink. And I don't think it will deter your rats from chewing on anything, but do remember to change out toys and keep them guessing.

As for hammocks, many people here make their own, a few sell their hammocks online.(I really think Night has the best ones ;) ) Fleece is by far the best material to make hammocks out of(polar fleece, mind you), because it doesn't fray. Rats tend to get appendages stuck in frayed parts of regular cloth and hurt themselves.
 

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For 10-20$ more you can get a much better cage of ebay. Just key word search ferret cages. If I were you I would return that one and invest in bigger, sturdier cage.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Vixie - I know it's just big enough for 2 rats. I was doing the cubic calculations on my cell phone in the store. The first cage I bought was way too small but I had no exact measurements on it and guessed very wrong. :) I have no plans of getting more than 2 rats. Not enough room in my apartment.

And thank you so much for telling me about the galvanized steel. I suppose I will take that back then. I have other ideas for adding levels. Is the linoleum stuff still a good idea? I'll look into the hammocks here, as well as possibly making my own. Thanks!

Liz - I looked on ebay first, though I was looking under "rat cages." Shipping is really expensive. I really can't have a cage much bigger than the one I've got. And I've already spent $10 more on the cage than I planned (though I'm not complaining, the first cage was WAY too small!). I also really wanted the 1/2" bar spacing because I'm paranoid.

Kimmie - I'll take a look :)
 

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They have some nice ferret cages w/ the levels included for 50-60$ including shipping on ebay. If you buy a bird cage w/out platforms, you're ultimately going to have to spend more money on something, whether it be hammocks or platforms, etc. I know it seems like a lot of money, but spending a little more to begin with on a decent cage will ultimately save you money in the long run.

Here's one link to a nice cage for 60$:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Multi-Level-Ferret-Chinchilla-Guinea-Pig-Cage-NEW_W0QQitemZ230117740070QQihZ013QQcategoryZ121854QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

You could also look into building one. Often times you'll spend less money doing this, and end up w/ a better cage.

Good luck in your search.
 

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home depot sells the same 1/2" wire you bought, only PVC coated (it's green and smells funny, oh well) for $8 a roll right next to the stuff you bought the first time :D. you can use that to make the ladders as well, although i think i made ours a little steep, ha ha. i made ramps 7 squares wide (so what, 3.5"? i think). i would do one level and a balcony. make sure they have room to stand up straight if they feel like it.

buying them lots of stuff to chew on usually helps with chewing problems. honestly, it's more fun to chew on a hamsteroid than the floor you're standing on, lol. they can be picked up in your hands, moved around, etc. wood will get nasty, so get linoleum or that plastic signboard stuff they sell at fedex or whatever. pretty sure all your questions were already answered so i don't know why i started a reply, but now i'm rambling... :(

i tried craigslist.com and got a 18" by 18" by 36" cage (big enough for 3 or 4 rats but i'm only going to have 2, i think - don't we all say that?) for $35.
 

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