A Rat’s Home Is His Castle

April 4, 2012 § 3 Comments

Let me give you a little background on the reason I am writing this post, because there is a specific reason.  Back in the summer of 2010, Danny decided to get rats, in what I am positive was a move made simply to irritate me.  It wasn’t like he knew anyone else with pet rats and was familiar with them.  Also, he already had a dog, Abby, so he wasn’t suffering from a lack of furry beasts in his life.  But decide to get rats is what he did, and when he saw that I found the idea of rats repellent, he kept on it.  “Rats!” He’d text me.  “Let’s get a rat!”  I’d get an email randomly: “I want a pet rat to sit on my shoulder!”   “Gross,” I would reply.  “You are disgusting.  Stop it.  I’m not holding a rat.  Ever.”

Famous last words.  One fateful day, we went to PetSmart to get Abby’s food and Danny dragged me over to the small animal cages and showed me the two rats.  They were sneakingly cute, I had to admit.  They sat up and stared at us through the glass, whiskers twitching.  I liked their tiny pink paws.  I did not like their tails.  But still, I guessed they weren’t as bad as I’d thought.  That day started me thinking about rats as pets, and so of course, I turned to Google.  I started reading online about pet rats, their good qualities and bad, their diet, maintenance, health, everything.  I saw the crazy cages that some rat owners built and I found pictures of the cutest, fuzziest, most adorable baby rats.  Every site I went to said one thing in common: Once you have pet rats, you fall in love.

In the middle of November 2010, I made up my mind.  I was going to buy Danny rats for Christmas.  Of course, there was the small problem of trying to keep him from buying them himself before Christmas.  I kept pretending like I didn’t really think it was a good idea, and threw out tons of lame excuses and reasons not to get them.  The whole time, I was shopping online for a cage and buying food and toys and bedding.  Suffice it to say that I did manage to keep him from purchasing rats (he loves to pretend he is the boss in our relationship but he totally isn’t).  And on the day after Christmas, we went to PetSmart and purchased our first rat: Robert.

Well, this turned into a longer explanation than I thought, but in case you haven’t noticed, I like to write.  My reason for this post is to put up pictures of our rat cage and explain how we set it up.  When I was looking into rats, I searched for stuff on cages ALL the time.  The rats spend most of their time in the cage and I wanted it to be the best for them.  Hopefully some new rat owner will research cages and land on my page and be helped by all the info and pictures.  With all that being said, here is our rat cage, right after I cleaned it:

I purchased this cage on Amazon and would recommend it highly.  It was easy to assemble, the bottom is deep and comes off for very easy cleaning, and it’s tall enough that the rats can climb all over it.  Rats love to climb and so getting a high cage was very important to me.  I also liked how the shelves were solid plastic, not wires, so that the rats’ feet wouldn’t get caught at all.  The cage came with the three blue shelves and two white ramps (you can see one behind the hammock, I only have the one in there right now).  The shelves clasp and unclasp easily, but are also strong enough that they don’t slide around when the rats are jumping.  Another good thing about this cage is that it has two doors, upper and lower.  I like having the additional access to all areas of the cage without having to contort my arm.

 

This is the bottom right of the cage.  Just a little plastic sleep hut for them to curl up in.

This is the bottom left of the cage.  I have two water bottles because we have 4 rats and they like to cluster at the bottles and try to drink at the same time.  Also, there is a small cardboard box for them to sleep in and a Lava Ledge to climb up to.  Freddy loves to perch on the ledge when I’m giving them treats through the bars.  You can also see the wooden ladder we put in there for them.

This is the top left of the rat cage.  You can see the ladder comes up right underneath the hole where you can put a food bowl.  I don’t use it, so it makes a convenient place for the rats to climb through.  The ladder was actually marketed as a pet bird toy, but our rats love it.  Oh, and that is a wine cork wedged in there, yes.  Freddy loves to gnaw on it.

This is the middle of the upper level, with the hammock and the white ramp that leads into the towel tunnel that Danny made.    

Here is a better picture of the towel tunnel.  This was all Danny’s idea and the rats love it!  He used clothespins to pin the towel into place on the wires, going around the corner of the cage.  The white ramp leads from the shelf down into the towel.  Our rat Robert loves to eat in there, where no one can see him! 

This is looking down into the towel.  You can see where one of the rats chewed the towel a little and it has holes in it now!

This is a view of the right-hand side of the upper level.  I use little tissue boxes for the rats because they LOVE to curl up inside them.  Also, the cardboard absorbs ‘liquids’, and once they get too yucky, you just toss them in the trash.  (The boxes, not the rats.)

So there you have it.  Our rat palace.  I hope this helps any new (or expert) rat owners out there!

I showed you pictures of Freddy and Robert above… I can’t leave out our other two rats!  Here is Mervy:

And Willie.  Poor Willie.  He is an albino rat with red eyes, so he always looks slightly evil in pictures.  :/  He is still handsome to me though!

 

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§ 3 Responses to A Rat’s Home Is His Castle

  • That is some awesome caging! I bought a heavy-duty bird cage and modified it. Worked great for all of our rats except one. She could get out of it in a skinny minute. We named her Houdini, of course, and ended up moving the cage to a room she couldn’t totally destroy. Yes, our kids share a room, but the rat had her own bedroom.

    • shortside40 says:

      Thank you! We also had a few problems with the rats escaping, well, just Willie. Even though he’s roly-poly now, when we first got him, he was just skinny enough to squeeze through. We used chicken wire and zip-ties around the outside of the cage for about 6 months. Then we fattened him up and could take it off!

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