For those who have kept rats before, you know what great pets they make. They are friendly, lively little creatures who will keep you company and entertained. Rat owners will tell you quite proudly that each rat has his or her own personality, and that these furry beasts are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures. Rats are also very clean animals, and given that their cage is well maintained, rats have a remarkably pleasant odor. For those of you who have never owned rats before, some of this may come as a surprise. We are so used to thinking of rats as filthy, disease infected brutes, those creatures responsible for all those horrible plagues in Europe. But this is not the truth at all! The rats we keep as pets are delightful animals.
Of course, if you are going to keep a rat as a pet, you will need a cage to keep it in. Below is some information on what you should look for in a rat cage and a brief run down on some of the best commercial rat cages available.
What to Look for in Rat Cages
When you are searching for a cage for a rat, one thing to keep in mind is that the bigger your cage will be, the happier your rat will be. Rats like some room to run around in, they like to explore their world, they like to play, both by themselves and with their rat friends. Thus, you should give them plenty of room for these activities. A good rule of thumb for rat cages is that there should be at least 2 cubic feet of space for each rat you keep. Much more space than this will be ideal.
Wire cages are really the best option for rats. Wire rat cages provide plenty of circulation and fresh air for your rats. This way, you will cut down on the likelihood that your rats will become overheated in the summer. And, if the cage is indoors, they will get plenty of warm air in a wire cage from the room around them. Rats are very sociable animals, both with other rats and with human beings. Wire cages lets rats and their human owners interact. You can talk to your rats, play music for your rats (as long as it isn’t too loud), and even sing to your rats! They will love being “part of the family” as much as any cat or dog. The other thing about wire cages is that they allow smells to drift in from the room to the rats’ very sensitive noses. The main thing to remember is that rats are happiest with a lot of stimulation, although they like their quiet time too.
When purchasing a wire cage, however, you should make sure the spaces between the wires are the right size. Some animal cages are made with floors that have a mesh of 1 inch by .5 inch wire, but this size mesh should be avoided. Rats can easily get their feet caught in mesh of that size, leading to injuries and even broken bones. Better to have either a solid floor or a floor with a mesh of .5 by .5 inches. To further protect your rats’ feet, the wire can be powder coated or coated with PVC or vinyl. You can also use a piece of plastic sheeting on the floor that can be removed and easily washed.
The sides of your rat cage should be made of a mesh about 1 inch by 1 inch, or of bars spaced no more than a half inch apart for adult rats and half that space for baby rats. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your rat looks too big to fit through larger spaces than that. Rats can squeeze through incredibly small spaces. In fact, the ability to do so is one reason for the success of rats as a species.
Finally, a wire cage is a great option for rats because it is easy to hang a lot of toys from the mesh. As was mentioned above, rats are very intelligent creatures and thus they love to play. Give them plenty of toys to play with and make your rats the happiest creatures in town.
Buying Rat Cages
There are a number of good makers of rat cages that you can find at your local pet store or on the Internet. One of the most popular brands of rat cages are those made by Martin. Martin makes a variety of types of cages, including the Rat Tower, the Rat Lodge, and the Rat Retreat. Many of these cages have several stories or have balconies the rat can climb up to. These upper stories are equipped with mesh floors that are appropriately sized to avoid foot injuries. Martin can also customize your cage for your particular needs.
The Quality Cage Company also produces cages for rats. These cages tend to be simpler than those made by Martin, but they can do the trick. The mesh is powder coated and small enough to protect rats’ feet from injuries.
Either of these companies and several others can supply you with a cage that your rat will enjoy. You’ll spend many hours watching your rats as they go about their busy lives. Rats really do make great pets.
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