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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!
I have three girls of various ages (All younger than 6 months) and they are housed in a ratty mansion (ex ferret cage) in my bedroom.
Now.. My problem is that a strong urine smell has taken my house and family hostage. The cage gets cleaned every other day. It is wire with the wire floor removed from the bottom and a huge tray in its place. All the bedding is washed every few days.

My mother has threatened to evict the rats, so it's an emergency! Any suggestions?!?!?!

Thankyou in advance!
 

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do you use aspen or anything or just cloth bedding? i won't use just cloth bedding cause of the smell. the aspen bedding soaks it up so it doesn't smell.
 

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scrub the cage down with vingar and water or lemon juice and water if you don't like the vingar smell. and make sure to scrub both sides of the bars. the mixture is two parts water one part vingar or lemon juice. are you washing the bedding by hand or in washing machine. sometimes hand washing, if not done thoroughly enough will not get rid of all the smell. but there are people that prefer the hand wash method to make sure that there's no strong odours from the detergent. i use the washing machine personally nad just let the bedding sit out for a few days (often a week) before using that bedding in the cage. airs out any strong odours.

if the vingar and water mixture doesn't work (and i don't see why it shouldn't) you can also bleach clean the cage but i wouldn't do this unless you knew you could rinse every last trace of the bleach off. if you can take the cage out and hose it down afterwards maybe.

another method to get really stubborn odours out (i've never had to use this mind you, but have heard about it) is to take the cage to a do-it-yourself carwash and wash it there. i imagine it would be really easy to clean there with the high pressure water and all that (and i may try it this summer) but where i currently live its quite the trip to get to one. instead, in the summer i just use the garden hose and vingar and water in a spray bottle.

but perhaps the odour isn't being held in the cage bars. do you have plastic or wooden toys, hidy-holes, houses or igloos? if that's the case trash the wood. besides not really being able to tell what wood its made from the odours from them are impossible to get out. as for the plastic stuff send them through a round in the dishwasher. if you don't have a dishwasher wash them by hand in the sink.

you could also give your rats baths. i know there are some people that don't bother as rats are pretty good at keeping themselves clean but i find it makes a difference in the texture of their coat, the ammount of hair on their tails and their overall odour. it also helps keep the white or pale rats the right colors. i use baby (johnson's) shampoo. i've heard others use puppy or kitten shampoo but i'd be a bit concerned about the oils used in them. i know that if you use dog flea shampoo on cats you can kill the cat so i go with the mild baby shampoos instead. if its not going to harm the delicate skin of a newborn baby then its not going to harm the skin on the rat.

anotehr problem may bet that your litter isn't absorbig the smell enough. i find yesterdays news to be amoung the best at that. i've heard that corn cob litter is also popular for this reason. the wood (aspen-pine and cedar are a big no-no) litter i find doesn't do much for odour control. if you use the right bedding you can get away with only really havig to clean the cage once a week. and if you deep clean (scrub the heck out of it) at least once a month) you shouldn't ahve a problem with odours.

as a sort of related side note you could train your rats to use a litter pan in the cage. cleaning that is a lot easier then the whole cage (though bedding-cuddly towels and hammocks should still be changed at least once a week). all you have to do is empty it every so often (depending on the size of the litter box) instead of scrubbing quite so hard on everything once they have fully mastered the litter box. now, having said that, i have not myself trained a rat to use a litter box (i keep meaning to do it but something always comes up when i'm looking up methods) but have heard great things about it and its supposed to be really easy to do.

anyway, try those things and you shouldn't have any problems with odours.
 

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twitch - their is nothing wrong with aspen bedding. the pine and cedar are the ones you shouldn't use. i use aspen and it works very well on the odors.
 

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i use cell sorb... it works fine :)
 

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ok, i mis typed. i meant to say that aspen was fine, the others, pine nad cedar were the no-no. aspen is good for them but in my experience the odour control on it isn't that great. at least not compared to yesterdays news
 

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Personally I use corncob bedding and I never smell anything out of my rats. I heard another person say they used a cat litter bedding, a thicker one, not that sandy kind.. could hurt their lungs. Anyway, if you wanted to use the cat litter, maybe you could scoop out the mess once a day and then refill it a little. I use Tidy Cats Multi-Cat scooping litter.. not for my rats, but I know it's inexpensive and clumps up nicely and also has an "odor control" thing in it.


About training the rats to go in a litter pan, that can be done if you find the corner they pee in, and put the litter pan in that spot because they're just used to peeing in a corner and will pee in the box because it's there. I tried it but my pan was too small and they just knocked it over. Might work with a large enough one.
 

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I use "wood shavings". Doesn't contain cedar or pine - those are sold separately by the same maker. I get the stuff in 10 cubic foot bales from the farm supply. It's for horses and the like. Can't beat $6.99, and it doesn't have any real smell to it, and it absorbs odor very well - better than the aspen I've used actually. I only change the bedding once every other week generally unless its really soiled. My apartment (studio) is quite small, and I, nor any of my guests ever smell the rats.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all your replies, I use newspaper, hammocks and a plastic igloo filled with odd socks as bedding. The cage tray is about an inch deep, so wouldn't cater fantastically for the above suggestions. The main problem is the urine on the sides and ladders etc, which they love to climb!
Completely rinsed entire cage, smell disappeared. Back again this afternoon. It doesn't seem normal.
 

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maybe the coating on the cage didn't cure well and the odour is getting trapped between the coating the bars. its the only thing i can think of for it really. if you're cleaning the cage regularly and changing the cloth bedding out often then odour shouldn't be a problem. what type of cage do you have?
 

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i had the same problem wen i asked at the pet store they sed to use cat litter as it soakes up the wee and gets rid of the smell. my boys need cleaning every 4 or 5 days now which is much better than every morning and night!
 

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Wait, you mean pelleted cat litter, right? Not the clumping kind?
 

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Is the cage gallvenized or powder coated? Gallvenized tends to smell alot. Also, if it's a ferret cage, are there grooves on the side of the shelving? Urine can get trapped in there.
 

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i use the pellet cat litter which has no dust it even says on the bag sutible for small animals and thats it absorbs well many of my friends use the same with their rats guinie pigs hamsters and indoor rabbits, also i used 2 use it with my kitten but hes potty trained now :) (we rescused him at 14 months old and he was savage now hes the perfect house pet!)
 

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Oh okay, phew! I thought you were saying you used clumping cat litter. Sounds like what you're describing is Yesterday's News.
 

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Galvanized cages are rather porous and urine soaks into them eventually. Powercoating seals the metal so that doesn't happen. Your bedding is newspaper? Ugh...no odour absorbing at all and very foul smelling quickly. I use aspen as well and its good for a week in my multi-rat powdercoated cages.
 

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actually the pelleted cat litter like yesterdays news which is tightly rolled newspaper is excellent on ordour control. i find it works even better then aspen in my experience.
 

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Yesterdays news is very good for odour control and I use it in my litter pans.
Too expensive for me though.

If I had a rat that ended up allergic I would definitely switch to YN.
 

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it depends where you get it. if its from a pet shop ten you're paying an arm and a leg. but if you can get from a feed store like co-op or some other locally owned feed store (i use J&P) then you can double for what you would pay for one bag at a pet shop. i can get 2 30lbs bags from my feed store for $30 CDN where if i spent the same ammount at a pet shop i'd only be able to get one 30 lbs bag (if that, more likely only a 15 lbs bag). this is true with just about any litter or food for pets too. the inflation rate at pet stores is just nuts.
 

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And this is the reason I miss working at a vet clinic. When I worked at Atlantic we used YN for cats that had been declawed, and i was able to buy it at cost. Now if I need it, I go to Walmart or a local grocery store.

I second Lilspaz on the newspaper for bedding. You'll notice within a day or so that it really has no odor control whatsoever. Also, if the cage is galvanised you'd be better off replacing it. It seems like a lot I know, but the urine soaks right in and is impossible to get out. The cage will always smell, unfortunatley.
 
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