Hi, I’ve had rats for awhile and have a relatively large 3 story cage for my two rats, and they have an igloo and a hanging bed, but I feel like I should be doing more for them as far as sleeping stuff and toys go. I’m in college and don’t have a very large budget, but are there any things you can help me with to make them a little happier? Thank you!
Here are fifteen inexpensive ways to add both excitement and comfort to the inside of your pet rats’ cage:
There are so many ways you can make boxes fun. Cut out doors on all sides so your rats have plenty of entrances and exits. A folded-up t-shirt on the bottom of a box makes it into a nice cozy bed. A soft, folded-up cloth on top allows your rats to sleep comfortably on the roof.
For young rats, get a thick rope, tie knots and hang it vertically from the top of the cage. If you have older rats, stretch the rope horizontally (making sure it’s not too high off the floor of their cage). [Caution: Be careful there’s no chance they can accidentally get tied up or strangled.]
This is one of my rats’ staples for their bedding. I spread wide strips of plain newsprint throughout their cage and my rats make incredibly elaborate nests out of it. They never tire of this stuff! I buy plain unbleached newsprint and shred it into strips by hand.
Bandanas and scarves are super easy to tie to the sides and/or from the top of your cage to form a hammock.
Use t-shirts you’re no longer wearing or new ones you buy inexpensively. When using old ones, make sure there aren’t any small holes in which your rats’ limbs or (even their head) can get stuck.
Three ways to use t-shirts:
These are the hard plastic pipes used in construction that measure from several inches to several feet wide in diameter. They’re usually aqua/green, white or black in color. PVC pipe is very inexpensive and pet rats love using them as tunnels. You can buy them from a hardware store. (Or, if there’s a construction site near you, ask if they have any extra you can have.) Place the tubes on the floor of your rats’ cage or hang using two ropes spaced about an inch apart.
After finishing a gallon-sized bottle of orange juice or water, cut off the top portion and wash it out well. (You can even run it through the dishwasher on the top shelf.) Cut two holes several inches apart on a side of the bottle and hang it from one wall of their cage. Position it so your rats can access the hanging bed from a shelf or a floor in their cage. Line the cut-out bottle with a soft cloth such as a folded up t-shirt.
Buy plastic baskets from a dollar store. Use shower hooks, rope, yarn or ribbons to hang the basket and line with a soft cloth after hanging inside your pet rats’ cage.
Choose tubes wide enough for your rats to comfortably walk through and even turn around while inside. Cut out several holes (big enough for your rats to get in and out of) along one side of the tube. Attach to sides of the cage cutting slots into either end that fit into the cage bars. An alternative is to skip putting holes in the side and string up the tube, creating a tunnel to go from box to box.
They’re so soft and inviting. Use them as cozy sleeping bags and as linings for boxes. Fleece blankets can also be used to carpet cage floors.
Twist unbleached plain newsprint around a lab block, several pieces of kibble or a treat. Your rats will love unwrapping their “gift”.
Buy cups that are made only of paper. (i.e. Don’t choose cups that have a waxy, plastic coating.) Place a small hole in the side of the cup. Cut a length of string or twine long enough to hang the cup from the top of your pet rats’ cage. Tie a knot in one end and pull the string through the cup leaving the knot inside the cup. Place some treats, lab blocks or kibble inside and fold over the top of the cup. Hang the cup from the top of the cage. [Caution: Make sure the string or twine is located in a place where your rats won’t be able to get tangled up and, as a result, injured.]
Chew toys are cheap and give your rats the pleasure of using their impressive teeth. Besides the dainty-sized Pretzel Sticks, there are the much larger Mega Munch chews. Both are wood from willow trees which is safe for pet rats.
Very inexpensive and quite versatile, space pods can be used right-side up or up-side down. Both ways are equally fun for your pet rats.
Change things up regularly. Rotate toys, boxes and hammocks every few days so your rats feel like they’re continually getting new toys and cage accessories. A couple of times each week, place treats inside several foraging toys. Stash them in areas of their cage where your rats won’t see them right away. They’ll be delighted to find their treats later on while you’re at school, work or otherwise occupied.Follow About Pet Rats: