Once you have acquired your pet rat and purchased a suitable rat cage, you may wish to outfit his new home with a few rat toys and accessories to make life more stimulating and comfortable for your pet. The following points should be considered when fitting out a cage for your pet rat.
Take care when choosing a pet litter for the base of your rat’s cage. Wood shavings often contain volatile oils that can be harmful to rats. Similarly, while clay cat litter is very effective at absorbing urine and reducing odors, it contains a large amount of dust, which can cause health problems in pet rats. The best option is corn or paper based litters, or shredded paper, which is a good way to recycle your used paper and put it to good use.
Pet rats love a cozy sleeping nest to curl up in. Rats love being elevated, so hammocks provide the ideal loft style sleeping area. Hammocks suitable for rats come in a variety of styles from open slung hammocks to pop-up tents and snuggle tunnels that are all effective in providing a comfy sleeping area for your rat. Fleece material provides a soft, warm, and comfortable nest that is easy to wash.
As rats are quite active, they tend to tip water and food dishes over with their enthusiasm. To prevent food from being wasted, and your cage getting damp and soiled, water bottles and heavy bottomed food bowls are recommended. Small stainless steel dog bogs work well for food. When choosing a water bottle, look for a large size bottle as rats tend to drink quite a lot. Also, avoid bottles with plastic clips as your rat will quickly chew and destroy these. Rather opt for water bottles with metal or wire fasteners that are rat proof.
Rats are very inquisitive and love exploring. Try to make their cage interesting by providing multiple levels, connected with ramps, ropes or ladders that they can climb up and down to give them plenty of exercise and keep them busy. If your rat’s cage is a single level cage, this can be achieved with wire cut to size and attached to the cage bars with cable ties. Or you can hang a piece of material across the cage using pegs to fix to the cage bars. Have a look at bird ladders made from wood or rope as these will be enjoyed by your rats too.
There are plenty of household items that can be recycled as rat toys and accessories. Simply look around and get creative 😉
Images by Peter Kemmer, via Flickr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]
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