Finding the best rat cages for your pets
A rat cage buying guide
Keeping a rat safe and well-kept includes buying him a new rat cage. Knowing how to buy a top rat cage is a matter of getting the right construction and knowing the best size for the amount of rats that you have. The best rat cages for you are ones that offer enough room, proper protection from harm and enough ventilation.
>> What material do you prefer?
Rat cages are made from a lot of different materials, including wire, plastic and glass and can be found at most stores that carry pet supplies. Wire and glass cages have a removable base that the cage sits in or is attached to the top of. The base helps to keep the surface the cage is sitting on clean. Buying a small starter one for a baby rat, with rat cage dimensions less than three total cubic feet, means you will have a small cage to use as a pet travel crate or to separate a sick rat from the rest. When he outgrows the baby cage, you can buy him a larger cage more suitable for his adult size. Buying one of the best rat cages ensures you will have a home for your pet rat to last his lifetime.
- Wire: Take a look at wire cages when you are looking to buy a rat cage. Wire cages are a popular choice for a rat cage. They provide good air circulation through the wires. Cool rat cages are available in varieties with several heights that allow the rat to perform one of his favorite things: climbing to high levels to sleep. These levels often have landings that allow the rat to sit, lay or play with toys. Some unique rat cages have a hammock for the rats to lay on. The solid plastic landings offer the rats a comfortable surface to put their feet on, while the wire landings let the rat waste fall down to the lower levels. When shopping for a new rat cage, look for cages that have electroplate, or powder coating on the wire to make cleanup easier. A slide out bottom to the cage also aids in easier, faster cleanup time.
- Plastic: Some cool rat cages are also made from colorful plastic, sometimes with plastic tubes attached to the sides that allow the rats to run in tunnels, giving them something to keep them occupied. Plastic cages are among the best unique rat cages to have in a home with small children, since they cannot try to put their fingers inside the cage.
- Glass: You can use a glass aquarium as a new rat cage, as long as it has a wire top. Large glass aquariums filled with toys and small animal supplies will provide your rat with plenty of room to get around in. If you are using a glass aquarium, be sure to have a box that you can put your pet rat in temporarily while you clean his cage.
>> How many rats can live in one cage?
When buying a rat cage, consider the rat cage dimensions to ensure it's large enough to give all of your pet rats enough room. The rat cage size should be large enough so each rat has at least two square feet of room, to provide multiple rats with enough room to move around and find some privacy away from the other rats. The best rat cages are equipped with more than one level. Some have two, three, four or more levels. These different levels not only give the rats more room to move around, they also allow the rats to climb and explore.
Rat cage size
Available living space
Maximum # of rats
|Starter cages ||24"W x 12"H x 14"D ||2.5 cubic feet ||1 adult rat |
|24"W x 24"H x 12"D ||4.3 cubic feet ||2 adult rats |
|24"W x 24"H x 14"D ||4.6 cubic feet ||2 adult rats |
|Medium cages ||24"W x 36"H x 14"D ||7 cubic feet ||3 adult rats |
|30"W x 24"H x 18"D ||7.5 cubic feet ||3 adult rats |
|29"W x 30"H x 18"D ||9 cubic feet ||4 adult rats |
|Large cages ||36"W x 39"H x 14"D ||12 cubic feet ||6 adult rats |
|24"W x 41"H x 24"D ||13.5 cubic feet ||7 adult rats |
|30"W x 60"H x 18"D ||18.75 cubic feet ||9 adult rats |
|36"W x 63"H x 14"D ||24 cubic feet ||12 adult rats |
>> Consider basic cage construction
When buying your new rat cage, consider the basic cage construction to ensure it's well made.
- Ventilation: Whether you house your rats in rat cage designs made from metal or plastic, be sure the rats will get adequate ventilation. If it's plastic, look for a cage with several air holes placed all around it.
- Bases: Look for a solid base to give your pet rats enough support for their feet, instead of wire bases.
- Waste pan: Look for a rat cage top with a sturdy plastic pan at the bottom, preferably one that will last for the life of the cage through repeated harsh cleaning and bleaching.
- Access: When you are choosing rat cages, examine the construction of the shelves and doors. Be sure the doors are large enough for you to get your hand in to take out one of the rats. The door should close securely so none of them can escape. A flip top lid provides another way to access the rats and tidy up the cage. When you buy a rat cage, put your hand in and reach around to be sure you can access all the areas inside.
- Spacing: If you have small children that may try to put their fingers through a wire pet cage's bars, the best rat cages for you are equipped with bars close enough together that little fingers won't fit though; they should be 1/2" apart or less. This is also a consideration if you plan to let your rats mate, because very small baby rats can fit through some wide-spaced wire cages. Some adult females may be able to fit through cages with bars spaced 1" apart. The best way to keep your rats in the cage is to buy one with rectangular or square mesh that has less than 1/2" spacing between the bars.
- Assembly: Cages that are easily taken apart and put together allow for easy assembly and dis-assembly when you move your family from one home to another.
- Wheels: If you are buying a large cage, the best rat cages are equipped with wheels for easy mobility.
When shopping for a top rat cage, look for small animal accessories that your rat will need, such as bedding for the floor, water bottles, food bowls, small pet food and vitamins. Also shop for additional items he may enjoy, such as play toys, extra hammocks, tubes he can crawl through and wheels to exercise in. The best rat cages are sold as a complete kit with all the accessories included.