What Should My First Rat Cage Be?
You’ve chosen your new rodent friends, but you might be wondering where on earth they’re going to live now you’ve got them. Choosing a first rat cage can be overwhelming, as there’s so much choice. There are some important factors to consider when you choose your first cage. There are some affiliate links in this post, all marked with an asterisk.
Rat Cage Size and Space
The size and space of your rat cage are actually two points of consideration. It’s, of course, sensible to choose a cage that will actually fit in your house. Think carefully about where the cage will go and measure up the space you have to work with.
It’s important to get a cage big enough for your rat group. Many pet shops advertise cages as being suitable for rats that are actually far too small, so make sure you’ve checked before spending any money. Many rat owners actually favour cages designed for birds, as they usually have better height.
There are several cage size calculators online, such as this one, but as a general rule of thumb, in a well set up cage, you need between 2 and 2.5 cubic feet of space per rat.
A good cage for an active adult group should be quite tall. Rats love to climb and some cage height gives them room to do this. For older or infirm rats, a single level cage can be a better bet. The floor profile of the cage should be big enough for the rats to run around. Bucks need room to wrestle!
Rat Cage Bar Spacing
Check the bar spacing of any cage you buy. You don’t want surprise escapees! For most rats, a spacing of about 1cm is fine and will keep even kittens and small does in the cage where you want them. For adults, especially bucks, you can get away with wider spacing. If your bar spacing is too wide, you can correct this by wrapping the cage in mesh, which will keep even tiny babies in.
For your own sanity, choose a cage with easy access. Large doors or a roof you can open will make your life much, much easier, both for catching reluctant rats and for cleaning and furnishing your cage.
Which Rat Cage Should I Buy?
You should buy a cage that’s a good size, a price you can afford and with good access. There are lots of options out there, and you may find a second-hand bargain on local selling or rat groups.
Aviaries are very popular options, but make sure you check the bar spacing and avoid wire shelves, as these can damage rats’ feet. At Rattie Ratbags, we use a Popamazing Parrot Cage* and love it. We also have a Mamble 100* for holidays, which is a lovely cage for a smaller group.
For smaller groups, cages like the Savic Small Pet Cage*, or the Savic Zeno 3 Empire* are popular. For larger groups or room to expand, there are lots of great options available, such as the Little Zoo Venturer, the Savic Royal Suite XL*, the Savic Royal Suite 95* or the Ferplast Furet Tower*.
Look for reviews of whatever you plan to buy, and make a decision that works for you.
Why Do Some People Have Multiple Rat Cages?
You might see rat owners who seem to have a whole fleet of cages but only one group of rats. This is actually quite sensible. You will, of course, need the main cage, but it’s a good idea to have a spare cage in case you ever need to separate a rat because of aggression or illness. We have a small hamster cage, which is a single level, so suitable for a sickly rat who may be less mobile. It wouldn’t be suitable for long-term use but it’s fine for a quick fix.
If you’re planning to travel with your rats, a holiday cage is a good idea. This can be smaller than your main cage, but should still be a reasonable size for your group. A cage that packs flat is handy for this, like our Mamble, an Alaska*, or the Furat Plus.