There are many suitable cages for rats on the market but there are a few very important things to consider when deciding on which cage to get for your current or future rats.
Let's talk first about size. Each rat needs roughly 2-2.5 cubic feet of space and remember it's important to always have 2 or more rats!
There's a great cage calculator on the "Rat Central" website that you can use to calculate how many rats can comfortably fit in a cage your considering by using the cage's dimensions. I'll link the website below for you!
The next important thing to consider is bar spacing. This is simple. Here at Bleu Jay Exotics we always recommend buying a cage with bars that are 1/2inch apart and no larger. Young rats and female rats can usually squeeze themselves through anything larger than 1/2". Older large males may be okay with cages that have a 1" bar spacing but we always say, "better safe than sorry".
If you have a cage that has 1" bar spacing you can use 1/2" hardware cloth to keep any rats escaping. Never use chicken wire as the holes aren't even and the wire is much thinner. Hardware cloth can be secured using zip ties or nuts, bolts and washers. Hardware cloth can be purchased at most hardware stores including HomeDepot or Lowes in the garden center. The best cheap tool to cut hardware cloth are tin snips which you can usually buy for under $20.
Accessibility and Ease of cleaning
This is a big one that might come back to haunt you if you don't choose wisely Cages with small doors might make getting to your rats and cleaning the cage every week difficult. Finding a cage with wide doors may be beneficial.
Another thing to consider is pan size for bedding. Pans that detach from the cage and are deep enough to hold a good amount of loose bedding are the best. Cages with plastic bases can be used but should be watched closely to make sure there is no chewing going on.
The Critter Nation cage is one of the most popular cages among rat owners but the pans are HORRIBLE. They are no deep enough to hold any bedding. Luckily over the years people have come up with ways to change that. The more expensive but longer lasting option are the Bass Equipment metal pans for the critter/ferret nation. These pans are chew proof and definitely will last a long time but they are pretty pricey. A cheaper option would be using the cement mixing tubs from Home Depot that can be trimmed to fit perfectly into the bottom of the Critter Nation cage! This is a cheaper option but can be chewed through.
Price really depends on your personal budget. I would suggest saving your money to purchase a quality cage rather than rushing to buy something cheap.
If you're on a tight budget, don't forget to check craigslist or facebook marketplace!
personal favorite cages:
Things to avoid in cages:
- Bar spacing larger than 1/2"
-Wire flooring or shelves
-Cages that don't provide adequate space or ventilation
-Cages that don't tightly latch
If you have any questions about a certain cage please feel free to contact us any time! We are happy to answer questions and give advice!