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I currently have three 4ish month old boys that are in a semi-quarantine as I don't have a separate house to keep them at, so they are just downstairs. This is mostly so that I can get them comfortable with me on the couch. They are being treated for a respiratory infection and I wanted to keep them in quarantine until they warm up to me so I don't have any problems with introductions. So far, they're okay with me in the cage but they're still scared of being outside the cage.

Let me just state that I HATE the cage they're in. I have a ware chew proof 4 story hamster cage currently. http://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...itats/ware-chew-proof-four-story-hamster-cage

This cage stinks. Literally. The mesh shelves irritate me to no end putting them on as they get caught on everything. The boys keep knocking the ladders down, so I just took them out. I got this cage second hand as a gift when I got my first rat and the base was already a little rusty. Even with two layers of uhaul pads and a layer of Fleece, this cage starts stinking by day two. I've had the boys for just over a week and will be cleaning this cage a 3rd time. It's far too small and they keep figuring out ways now to pull the Fleece and furniture pads from under the cage. I feel like I keep resetting my progress with them every time I clean the cage.

What I'm looking for is something that will be big enough for 3 rats for a few weeks before they can move in with the rest of my mischief in a double critter nation, or I can separate it and they can move into one portion of the critter nation. I also need it to be small enough to transport easily and preferably fit on a folding table, but that's not necessary. It would be awesome if it could fit all 7 rats for a few days if I ever need to take all of them somewhere, but that's very unlikely. I sew all my own liners and use Fleece, but I'm not opposed to having paper bedding in the base if I can't put Fleece on the bottom. I would also like it to store easily as its not a cage I plan on using every day (unless I keep getting rats lol). I'm leaning towards the all living things rat starter kit at petsmart since I can pick it up in store, but I really didn't want to spend more than $50 and no one around me is selling any cages suitable for rats on Craigslist. It's also a little bigger than I would like, but I think I could still fit it in my car.

Thank you!
 

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I just got the all living things rat starter kit and i had a hard time fitting it in my car. I eventually ended up taking it apart. But it depends on the car, I just have a regular small 4 door honda civic. If you have anything bigger you won't have a problem. I also don't think it's very easy to take apart and put together and the shelves tend to slide around if you don't support them with zipties or something.

I'm a little new to this rat thing, so I can't really suggest a better cage... but I did want to give my thoughts on the rat starter kit since I bought it not too long ago. I think Kaytee sells a smaller rat cage with only one shelf, and I have the guinea pig cage from them and I really didn't have any complaints about it.

I mean you could always get a glass aquarium for cheap or make a cage from a plastic tub but I'd be worried about that because they already have respiratory issues... :(
 

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I got the All Living Things® Small Animal Home Item: 36-5201425 $ 127.49 at PetSmart. The price was the one on the site and the store matched it. It fits so well for my two ad could hold two more. It was easy to assemble. As for temporary digs, there are so many choices. I'd hit up Craigslist for sure.
 

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Make a bin cage!
You will need: A bin, 1/2" hardware cloth, zip ties, metal zip ties, or aluminum wire, soldering iron or drill, and metal shears or something to cut the hardware cloth with.

Fine a large clear steralite bin with the most floor space you can find. Cut large "windows" out of at least the top and one side. Solder or drill holes around the "windows".

Cut the hardware cloth about 1-2" larger than the windows and trim off the pointy bits. Place inside the windows (in the bin). The hardware cloth should overlap the cut plastic edges by a good bit (at least 1/2").

Attach the hardware cloth to the bin by using either zip ties, metal zip ties, or my preferred method, weaving metal wire through the holes you soldered and through the hardware cloth (basically "sewing" it on).

You may also want something to help secure the lid like super large binder clips or luggage straps.

Bin cages are easy to clean, lightweight, and easy to transport. I use as quarantine and maternity bins as well as to house pups before they are large enough to go in a regular cage. You can hang a water bottle on the sides just like in a cage and hang ropes / hammocks if you cut enough windows.

I will attach a pic of one of my old bin cages.


Here's a closeup of the "weaving" I mentioned. This is from the outside of the top of the bin.
 
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