The rat is no longer seen as a disgusting animal. The cartoon Ratatouille helped restore his image to the point that he became a sought-after pet. Have you fallen in love with this intelligent rodent and are wondering which cage and accessories to choose? Here are all of our tips.
In his cage, the rat needs company
It is important to take into account the rat’s need to live in a group. Grooming, for example, is a highlight in the collective life of rats. Despite all your goodwill, you can’t substitute for play with other rats or the moments of rest that rats enjoy being crammed on top of each other.
So before you even buy the cage and accessories, you need to decide how much of rats you will welcome to your home. Two individuals is the recommended minimum. Of course, you will find owners who only have one rat. The character of some rats can cope with loneliness. But for the most part, being alone in your cage is a risk of depression and behavioral problems.
The right surface
A cage reduced to the strict minimum represents a floor area of 0.5 m² and a volume of 0.35 m³. This corresponds to 1 m long by 50 cm wide and 70 cm high. The minimum height of 70 cm is essential. However, let’s be clear, these dimensions are limited to ensure the well-being of your pet rats.
If you welcome rats into your home, you are also keen to provide them with enough food to live on. It is better to offer them an area of 1 m² (1 m long by 1 m wide) and a cage that grows on several levels, ideally 2 m high. Yes, it all takes up a lot of space! But you will enjoy watching your rats live and flourish.
The right cage
If you can consider building the ideal cage for your rats yourself, you will avoid the wood that will soak up urine over time and will therefore have to be changed.
In addition to the height, your rats will also appreciate having two solid cage sides, protecting them from drafts. On the other hand, do not choose a terrarium that is too closed and does not provide air circulation sufficient.
Most wire cages are not suitable either because they do not allow satisfactory arrangements. In addition, rats require rigorous maintenance. However, these cages do not guarantee optimal hygiene.
As for ready-made solutions, you will rather turn to shelters for small animals, modular, expandable at will and comprising several floors.
Accessories and interior fittings for the cage for domestic rats
Your creativity is free to express itself! The intelligence of house rats calls for variety of amenities, while ensuring you ease of cleaning. An elaborate arrangement is necessary to mobilize the intelligence of the rats but this will require even more time for you to clean (every 2 to 3 days).
Rats are very clean animals that will use litter boxes (not dusty to protect their lungs) as a toilet.
Facilities should provide rats with the opportunity to take shelter : playhouses, hammocks (which can be simple pieces of recycled fabric), terracotta containers, cork tubes, hanging wicker baskets, branches, ladders, all these elements will be very appreciated.
The diameter of the entrances must be at least 10 cm to prevent animals from getting stuck. Playhouses should be large enough for the rats to cuddle up against each other.
You can also provide nesting material such as paper towels. It will be necessary to make sure to change it regularly to limit impregnation by the urine.
The wheels are not suitable for rats.
Remember that rats are rodents. You must therefore provide them with enough material to wear down their teeth, ensuring that they are non-toxic wood. Avoid items that are also food because rat obesity can quickly occur. It is therefore better to avoid bread, corn or gnawing stones rich in calcium.
Ideally, you should increase the possibilities of climbing and gnawing, but also multiply the surprises by changing the place of objects from time to time, or even by introducing new ones.
You can hide food in the cage.
You can also set up real courses outside the cage to create a kind ofagility for rats: cardboard boxes, wooden crates, branches collected in the forest, bricks, old bottle racks, cat trees, plastic pipes, old shoes, old sheets, mini-swimming pool … You must of course watch your animals carefully during these sports activities. And keep them away from electrical cables, potentially poisonous plants, drugs, cleaning products, your cigarettes, and dogs and cats, much like you would a toddler.
And above all, make sure that the route does not allow them to slip behind or under furniture.