So, you did all the things, got your cage, got the pretty fleece liners to go over your trays... next morning its like a bomb as gone off.. the liners seem to have disappeared into what now resembles a ball of chewed fleece that may have gotten stuck in a washer, there are pee puddles and smelly exposed poo in the corner. All the while your babies sleep peacefully in a ball shaped like a potato in the corner almost looking like abused dogs set out in the cold. Making you feel like a horrible owner.
To understand just what the heck has happened you have to understand the rats thinking a bit more. Rats, being nocturnal do their "best" work while we sleep. Making nests they are driven to make, forging food they have to find to live. Grooming... lots of grooming. Drinking from the water bottle that seems to sound as if they drink for 4 hours loudly
(especially if your cage is in your bedroom) pouncing and play fighting all things they just have to do they gotta be rats. So while we fight to keep cages perfect and pretty we loose, and loose more money trying to "do the right thing" all the while they do as they need each night. So if you can't beat them join them, well- at least try to make things easier for your self.
Here I have put together a "kit' that are designed to revamp your current cages to make those brats that love to destroy a bit more easier to live with. I will have printable lists where these supplies can be found and links for things I may sell or offer as they become available. This is just how I do thing for those rather stubborn nesters who become rather destructive.
Double Critter Nation Cage:
Cement Mixing Tray
10-12 Extra Large Binder Clips
(2) 9x12 metal baking dishes (shallow)
Sterilite under the bed container
Sterilite container 16x11x9 or file box
2-4 rooting blankets
2-6 Hammocks (various)
Optional - preferred
Ideal set up Single &
Double Critter Nation
<--- Cement mixing tray from Home Depot
The first thing is the cement mixing tray and or Bass Equipment replacement tray. These are going to be a preference for you.
I like to use the mixing tray in the bottom only(found at Home Depot or Lowes). I pop out the bottom grate and slip in the tray to replace that bottom floor its really deep and gives them essentially another 8 inches room. However, you loose the storage shelf under. Also, it tends to darken up the cage and take up room if you just set in inside.
The cement tray WILL need a little bit of modification. We shave off about 1/4 inch around the entire thing. I also cover the hole they use to hang it in the shop with a hardware cloth sleeve to make it last a bit longer they won't have a hole to start to chew on.
<----3 inch Bass Equipment tray
The Bass Equipment replacement pan located HERE are wonderful in stainless steele so spend the lil extra and get that. These will last forever and have a couple inch side for use with bedding as a substrate. Just make sure you are ordering for the correct cage.
These are also available for all shelves and notch pan.
Binder Clips: Seems silly right? Xl binder clips? A must have? These lil boogers are
wonderful for clipping liners DOWN - yes they will still rip but they help a ton. As you will see I tend to cover most the bottom with things this way they do not really care to bother the textile as much.
Floor Tile: I like a good 8x8 for size. This helps as a cool place to sleep, clean or eat and offers weight on top the liner. I like to purchase 4 but only use 2 normally at a time. This way I can have two soaking and cleaning but not have to wait for them to be done. Any ol' cheap tile works great.
PEE Rock: I like this to be a small brick and I put on in each litter box or use to smash the litter box against the side I want it to stay. I also get a few to switch out and let the sun bake these dry.
Metal litter tray: Rats will potty train if we are consistent and on top of things. They like to poo in one spot, they like the box to stay clean (even tho you may see them EATING in their boxes too- gross)
I purchase cheap low metal baking dishes from the dollar store and or walk mart or target. I like at least the 9x14 size.
Textile Liners: These are ugly, absorbent CHEAP liners cut to any size you want. I DO still use these I binder clip them down and use them over the shelf and notched pan when they get chewed its not too big of a worry, I normally just toss a rooting blanket over top of them anyways. They just make clean up tons better then scrubbing the plastic trays.
I sell these cut to your cage design HERE
Sterilite container: Under the bed storage - Yes, these are the typical plastic storage containers you find every where. I use one on the large flat shelf (middle level with hole) this takes up half the floor space and is deep you can place your bedding in this. As you can see from the cage above. I like to use two in a double if I do not use the cement pan - still works well.
File box or the 16x11x9 - I use this one as a dig box. This one is simple, a little bedding at the bottom. then rip up and shred paper and fill the box a little bit. You can throw some scraps of fleece, a ripped up paper bag. They love to sleep, dig, and stash in this box.
Hammocks, rooting blankets, wood shelf and swing are located in my shop @ AdorkablePets.com
The shelf is very important for rats to chew. Rats teeth constantly grow and so they need to be able to chew on woods to help keep things tidy.
Rooting blankets can be made at home or are available in the shop. These are just fleece squared tied to make mini tied fleece blankets like we often use to cuddle up on a couch with.
Hammocks are for sleeping, spying and cleaning. I suggest a hammock per rat in each cage so if you have 4 then 4, 2 for 2 and so on. While they need each other for company they also like their space too ;)