Features to Look Out For
Naturally, one of the first things you need to consider when buying a cage for your rats, is what the dimensions/ size of the structure should be.
Rats need homes that are spacious and provide them with plenty of room and a general rule of thumb is that your cage needs to provide each rat with at least 2 cubic feet of space.
However, you need to remember that this is an absolute minimum amount of space. So if you can give them far more than that, do so!
Your safest option is to merely go with the cage that is the largest you can physically accommodate within your home, this way you will ensure that your rats have a whole world of space to call their own.
Unless of course you have about ten rats!
Style of Cage
What we mean by style of cage is the cages overall structure and what it provides your rats.
In general, there are two different styles of rat cages: ones which provide lots of ground space, and ones that provide lots of height. Rarely does a cage do both!
While you may simply think that these differences in style are merely designed to help owners fit cages into their individual houses correctly, what choice you make could actually have an input on the happiness of your rat!
Male rats tend to prefer wider, open ground space cages, whereas females appreciate heighty cages for climbing purposes! So the sex of your rats can in fact make your purchasing choice a little easier! Or even harder if you have one of each!
Ease of Cleaning/ Accessibility
If you ever want to handle your rats or clean your cage, you need it to be easy to get in and out of without some tiresome lock process getting in your way or tiny doors making it an uncomfortable squeeze.
Try and plump for something with large expansive doors at the front of the cage so you can have instant access to everywhere you want.
Being able to seperate the wire framing from the base of a cage is also helpful for getting inside it and performing a deep clean!
An often-overlooked importance, bar spacing is the absolute main point of security when it comes to keeping your rats safe and inside their home.
1 cm or less tends to be the standard spacing for rat cages as this ensures rats of all shapes and sizes will struggle to ever squeeze through the gaps. If you purchase a cage with gaps of between 2 and 3 cm though, you may find that female rats and babies can find their way out of the cage more easily opening them up to threats around your home or getting themselves lost!
Lots of rat cages model themselves after bird cages by utilising the fantastic idea of a grill and tray flooring base.
The idea here is that droppings and urine fall through the grill and into a tray, separating your animal from their dirt for a more hygienic environment. This tray can then be easily removed and cleaned without having to go into the cage and hand-scrub the area.
However, this isn’t a great idea for rats! Wire/grill flooring is sore for a rat’s feet and overtime they’re trotters can become permanently damaged by walking on such surfaces!
We instead suggest going for a cage with a solid flooring, that still has a removable, easy clean base.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the material of ladders, as similar metal rung options will also have bad effects on their feet and may cause accidents due to a lack of grip.
Rats can suffer from a range of health issues in enclosures that are closed off plastic structures, as their droppings cause them to be quickly contaminated by bacteria and ammonia build up.
You should always therefore choose a metal-barred cage which provides constant airflow.
If you ever need to travel or move your cage around, it can be helpful for it to have a wheeled stand or have features which allow it to easily collapse.
Obviously, it’s better to buy a cage which already provides you with most of the accessories or items needed to take care of a rat. These definitely should be things like food bowls and a water bottle, with exercise equipment or toys and apparatus being a bonus!