Habitat questions! recommendations wanted!

Discussion in 'Habitat' started by Siren, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. Dec 29, 2018 #1




    Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2018
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    I have a million questions and I'm a long winded writer, so I appreciate anyone who bears with me through this interrogation/onslaught lol :D

    We have the Kaytee Multi Level Habitat - I'm aware the bar spacing is too wide for babies, but it has excellent reviews for larger adult rats (ours are babies now-not old enough to come home yet, but are both male from a particularly large breed). It also has lots of reviews from people who said they just covered the bars (some with just cardboard! O.O ) until the rats were large enough not to escape.
    I know for wire floor bases it is recommended to attach plastic needlepoint canvas to prevent bumblefoot, and that you can attach hardware cloth to a widely spaced cage.
    But, has anyone ever used the plastic needlepoint canvas to wrap a wide spaced cage? I'm sure they could chew through it if they wanted to, but am hoping they won't and that this will be a slightly safer way to wrap the cage (no risk of injury from any sharp pieces of hardware cloth-for ratties or people!). Will the plastic canvas hurt them if they eat a bit of it? Does this sound like a good idea to more experienced rat owners?

    Fleece can be used to line cages - if I do this, do they still require bedding (paper, wood, etc.) of some kind as well or is the fleece good by itself? When I wash the fleece do I need to be concerned about using a particular detergent to avoid respiratory issues? Bleach, softener, no softener? If I do need additional bedding do you guys have a favorite kind, why do you like it most (cost effective/ease of cleaning/odor control/etc.)?

    Potty training - does anybody have litter pan recommendations (durable/easy to clean/chew proof/especially attractive to use as a toilet?) Should I keep a litter pan on each level of the habitat, or no because they are just small shelves? Does each rat need an individual pan, or are they generally ok with sharing a toilet? Litter recommendations (cost effective/easy to clean/odor/etc)?

    Food dishes and water bottles - favorite brand or types of food dishes, will each rat need their own dish or can they share? Water bottles, any brands that are especially durable, non leaky, hygienic, etc?

    Do you guys have any favorite toys for your ratties that you simply can't live without? Link me to them!

    Please give me ALL the suggestions!
    (And if you stuck with me this far, thank you so very much! I know I'm wordy lol)
  2. Dec 29, 2018 #2




    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

    Jul 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    central New Brunswick Canada
    Personally I hate that cage ….. you might consider returning it if possible and getting a better cage
    - too large bar spacing
    - the cage can easily separate from the base
    - the base is too small
    - the pee rivers in the levels
    - small levels
    - the green plastic pieces will be chewed

    I would suggest covering the outside of the cage with hardware cloth (from a hardware store)
    No needle point squares (never heard of them being used for anything) because you do not want to risk them getting out

    As for bedding, you can use fleece, unscented paper based bedding - make sure it is not dusty, or unscented hardwood shavings - again make sure it is not dusty. Different people have different favorites and normally only use 1 type at a time.
    Freeze the bedding for 72 hours after purchase to kill any parasites that may be in it.

    I prefer large corner litter boxes - one on each level. Many of us use an unscented paper based pelleted kitty litter such as yesterdays news in the litter boxes

    They can share food dishes - I prefer to use shallow stainless steel dishes
    They need at least one water dish that can not be upset - either heavy or attached to the side of the cage - I use both types. Water dishes need to be cleaned and refilled at least twice a day. Rats need at least 2 sources of water in the cage - Although I rarely use water bottles, I prefer glass water bottles and I take the plastic animal out of the bottle as water bottles need to be cleaned and refilled daily.

    Favorite toys : It would help if you included at least your country and your province or state in your profile
    * fleece hammocks
    * a 12 inch diameter (or larger) solid wheel (silent spinner, stealth wheel, wobust wodent etc)
    * a space pod or two https://www.chinchilla.ca/detail.php?ProductID=QLX0194&item=Critter_Space_Pod_-_Large
    * tubes to hang in the side of the cage that they can chew (and pee in) https://www.chinchilla.ca/detail.php?ProductID=SP60474&item=Chewbular_Play_Tube,_Medium_(Super_Pet)
    * a 4 inch diameter drainage pipe cut into 15 inch lengths, to hang on the side of the cage or to use in the play area with elbow and T connectors (from hardware store)
    * cardboard boxes to play in and to chew
    * wooden chew toys

    * rats need a large safe play area where they can run, climb, explore, and interact with you.
    martinscages.com has an amazing large powder coated (paint is baked onto the wires)
    I use large coroplast panels attached to each other with zip ties to created a safe play area where I can interact with the ratties
    - one of the favorite toys in their play area is this parking garage $_35.jpg
  3. Dec 30, 2018 #3




    New Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I've also had that cage and it worked OK for 2 baby rats after it was covered in hardware cloth. These were my first 2 rats and the cage was cheap and seemed to be a good size.

    I hated that cage!! cleaning it was a pain in the butt!! I had to fit my head and both arms into the front door (about 10 inches wide by a foot tall) to clean anything, the levels came loose really easily and were hard to attach again. Within a few months I upgraded to a double Critter Nation. The price is a bit scary but a GREAT investment!! I love that I can open the double doors all the way and get as far in as I need to. You wont have to wrap it in anything to prevent ratties from escaping. If they do happen to fall they wont fall as far because the shelves are bigger and more solid. Its at least double the Kaytee cage.

    ~My rats love to play in my bathroom for our free roam time. They got a Rat (cat) tree to climb on for Christmas and now that its all out together they'll get to play on it today!!
    ~I sometimes make cardboard villages for them. Cut holes in boxes for doors and windows, use tubes to connect them, different sized or stacked boxes double the fun!
    ~plastic cat toys are a favorite for my girls, they carry them around and usually put them in piles. the also really like plastic Easter eggs (I put treats inside too)
    ~I'd do some kind of hanging fruit/veggie holder (treat K bob)
    ~bird toys are another favorite to shred and use to make nests

    I use fleece and wash it every 2 days. I'm currently using "Charlie's Soap" Laundry powder to wash the fleece. the main thing is looking for something non scented. if you was the fleece in hot water with fragrance free soap you'll be good to go. if the fleece is extra stinky I sometimes wash it twice. NO fabric softener or bleach. if you need an extra boost because your boys are scent marking a lot white vinegar works well.
    My girls fling loose bedding everywhere so I stick with fleece and use binder clips to hold it in place.

    Corner litter trays work really well. Yesterday's news is good for odor control in the litter pans. I recommend one on each level.
    The girls like to drink from/dip their paws in a water bowl that is meant for birds and attaches to the side of the cage. I use JW Pet InSight Clean Cup Bird Feed & Water Cup
    my girls personally need a ceramic food dish because there are 4. They all like to lean on the dish and metal ones flip easily.
    SQ likes this.
  4. Jan 9, 2019 #4




    Not So Much Staff Member Admin

    Jul 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Northeastern Ontario
    I did have that cage at one time but quickly changed. I had a hard time cleaning the odour out of those plastic shelves and you really need to be strategic in placing hammocks. I had an old guy fall from the top to the bottom.

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