Rats are an animal that is quickly growing in popularity among the pet trade. A few years ago, rats were nothing more than an animal that was kept in the school science room or that a “nerdy” kid would have as a companion.
Today, though, they’re loved by small animal owners around the world. Thanks to this, there has been an increase in companies who manufacture rat products – including cages.
Here are a few of the best rat cages that you can get.
- The 6 Our Favorite Rat Cages:
- Rat Cage Buying Guide
- Examples of Poor Rat Cages
- Setting Up A Rat Cage: Must-Have Accessories
- The Effects of Poor Rat Cages
- Rat Cage FAQs
The 6 Our Favorite Rat Cages:
1. Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation
The Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation is one of the top-selling rat cages on Amazon. It is available as a single or double-sized cage, with each addition boasting two stories, the upper level accessible via durable metal ramps. The ramps come with soft covers to prevent injuries to your rat’s feet and give them more traction. The cage can accommodate up to 6 rats as a single unit and up to 12 rats when you buy two additions.
The cage features locking wheel casters and full-width double doors that swing open to make it easy to clean, to add fun items and accessories, and to feed. The shelves inside of the cage are adjustable and very wide, giving your rats plenty of space to sleep and play.
Below the bottom level of the cage is a built-in storage shelf where you can store your items, rat food, and extra supplies.
- Locking wheel casters for stability and safety
- Full-width double doors
- Covered ramps for accessibility
- Built-in storage shelf
2. Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage
The Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage provides rat owners more than adequate space for what they pay for the cage. The entire cage, save from the plastic litter pan at the bottom of the cage, is made of durable metal. Although the cage is lighter in weight and not as heavy as other cages on the market, it is very sturdy and safe for small pets. In addition, it is easy to assemble.
This cage provides 3-levels of play space and plenty of floor space for exploring. The large space is ideal for segregating sick, old, or unneutered pets without having to buy a whole new cage. Its ramps are wide and solid, making them ideal for rats that have poor balance or vision.
Furthermore, the bottom of the cage contains a storage shelf that is big enough for storing accessories such as water bottles, food bowls, hides, and bags of rat bedding.
- Built-in storage shelf
- Easy assembly
- Sturdy but lightweight
- 3-levels for exploring
- Wide platforms and ramps
- The door is not full width
- No ramp covers
3. YAHEETECH Rat Cage
The YAHEETECH Rat Cage is a 69-inch-tall cage with more than enough space for a group of rats to thrive. Although it is technically a birdcage, it has all the space that you need for your rats – including, of course, the height.
It comes with a handy stand that features a built-in storage shelf. This stand is easy to move thanks to the 360-degree swivel casters attached to the bottom of each leg. The cage is made of a durable metal that is both water and rust-resistant, as well as safe for rats to live in since it won’t become harmful when it begins to rust.
The cage’s double-door design makes it easy to clean, set up, and feed the inhabitants inside while the plastic bottom pan ensures that droppings are caught, and messes are prevented. This pan is designed to slide out for easy cleaning with soap and water.
- Extra tall
- Rust and water-resistant
- Removable litter pan
- Easy to clean
- Swivel casters for easy transportation
- Thin ramps
- No ramp covers
4. You & Me Rat Manor
The You & Me Rat Manor is one of the best rat cages for 2 rats. It’s made up of durable, chew-proof, heavy-duty welded wire that is stain resistant as well as powder-coated. It has an extra-deep base that is perfect for filling with bedding or for catching droppings.
In addition, the cage features a number of wire mesh platforms that are large enough for hides or food bowls to be placed on and for your rats to comfortably stand on. The ramps used to access the platforms are made of the same material as the ramps and connect securely to them for guaranteed stability and safety.
The base of the cage and the top, wire-melded part of the cage connect using secure latches to prevent escapes.
- Extra-deep base
- Multiple levels
- Chew-proof design
- Secure and sturdy
- No ramp or platform covers
5. Homey Pet Inc Wire Cage
The Homey Pet Inc Wire Cage is technically a cat cage, which makes it more than big enough for the mischief of lovable rats. The cage has one-inch bar spacing and has been crafted from iron. It’s best suited for adult rats since babies are small enough to squeeze through the bars.
It features a folding design that allows owners to set it up within a matter of seconds by simply unfolding it in your chosen location. Once unfolded, the cage is both durable and lightweight.
For easy transportation and relocation, this cage includes top-located plastic handles that allow you to carry it like a tote bag. In addition, the bottom of the cage features locking casters that keep the cage securely in position as well as a pull-out base tray that makes for easy cleaning, as it can be rinsed with gentle soap and water.
- Easy to clean
- Handy carrying handles
- Locking wheel casters
- No-tools-required set-up
- Reports of damaged wire
6. Pawhut Rolling Small Animal Cage
The Pawhut Rolling Small Animal Cage is ideal for up to 4 rats. It features three levels, each one connected via wide plastic ramps that are textured to provide pets with extra grip and stability. The platforms themselves are also made of thick plastic and are easy to remove for cleaning purposes. They are wide enough to support hides and other rat items.
This cage has half-inch bar spacing which makes it ideal for rats of all ages and sizes, as well as a deep base with wheels on the bottom. Two of the cage’s four wheels have brakes to prevent them from moving or rolling. The bars are crafted from durable welded metal wire that is resistant to chewing and damage.
- Half-inch bar spacing
- Wheels with brakes
- Textured ramps
- 3-levels for play
- Small doors
Rat Cage Buying Guide
Since rats love to explore and have a very curious nature, it can be an issue if you have a cage that has too big of bar spacing. If this is the case, your rat will likely find a way to squeeze through the bars. You’ll need to buy a cage that your rat can’t escape from.
When your rats are babies, their cage should have spacing no more than half an inch but as they get older, you can increase the space to 1-inch. In addition, bar spacing is important because it can be tempting for children and guests to stick their fingers through the bars and, if the bars are big enough for them to do this, they can get bit.
Rat cages can be made from a variety of materials. As pets rats have a tendency to run, urinate, and chew on their cage, it’s important that your cage is made of a safe material that won’t harm your rats should they decide to use it as a chewing toy.
As an example, people who buy rate ages that are made of galvanized wire often complain that their rat’s urine seems to seep right into it. As a result, cages made with such materials prove to be hard to clean. Plastic cages can be easier to clean, however, they are also easier to chew through and are less likely to survive years of being chewed on.
All rat cages should have good ventilation. This is crucial to the health of your rats, as they tend to have very sensitive lungs, many problems can arise if your cage isn’t properly ventilated including the dreaded respiratory infection.
For this reason, glass tanks are not a good choice for rats. They do not offer enough cross-ventilation (air flowing in through one side of the enclosure and out the other).
The overall design of a rat cage isn’t just a small, minimally affecting feature. It can define how comfortable your rat cage is, as well as how safe it is. Your rat cage should always have a solid bottom pan to hold bedding or litter. These bottoms can be made of PVC, covered metal, or heavy-duty plastic that can’t be easily chewed through.
In addition, the ramps and shelves should be adjustable and crafted from a textured material that is easy for your rats to grip onto as they climb and run. Textured surfaces ensure that there are no falls due to slipping. Having ramp covers included with your cage, which is an accessory that often comes with textured ramps, helps to protect your rats against foot and leg injuries.
The spaciousness of a cage is a very important factor and, honestly, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t provide your rats with as much space as possible. They’re not picky like hamsters in terms of needing dedicated chambers for every activity, but they still need plenty of room to run around.
Rats also tend to grow very quickly, growing out of smaller cages quicker than you’d imagine. This being said when buying a new rat cage, it’s a good idea to go as big as you can possibly afford even if it looks like it is too big.
Healthy rats will utilize every inch of space you give them as long as said space is full of things to enrich it.
Ease of cleaning
Like any other pet that lives in a cage or tank, your rats need their enclosure cleaned regularly. Their cage is where they do all their business, which can make the cage messy and stinky. For this reason, rat cages should be easy enough for you to clean that you don’t mind cleaning them multiple times a week and spot cleaning in between.
If the cage is a pain to clean, you’re less likely to maintain a good cleaning schedule due to the sheer hassle of the task. Factors that go into how easy a cage is to clean include its size, its doors – how many, where, how big -, and the materials that it is made of.
There’s really no telling when or why you might be required to move your cage from one spot to another. This is why it makes sense to buy a cage that is on wheels and that can be easily moved from one room to another.
Assembling and dismantling your cage shouldn’t be too difficult, either, as both are sometimes necessary.
Even if your chosen cage offers easy access to all the inner parts, you need to make sure that the door remains tightly shut and locks securely. Rat cages are totally useless when their doors don’t stay closed, as the rats will definitely escape and go on an adventure around the house.
The ideal rat cage has doors that lock in some way or another. For example, locks that slide into place. There have been instances where owners have tried to use zip ties as door locks. The consensus from that experiment was that, unsurprisingly, zip ties are not a good permanent solution to security issues – the rats simply chew right through them.
If you’re having issues with security, consider using a piece of thick metal wire as a lock but don’t rely on plastic or any thin materials.
Examples of Poor Rat Cages
While there are a number of great rat cages on the market, there is also an endless supply of poor rat cages.
This cage has been shipped to hundreds of buyers on Amazon alone, leaving me to believe that it’s a pretty popular cage. This being said, though, it’s way too small for rats. For one, rats should be kept in pairs and this is much too cramped for a pair of rats.
Secondly, there is very limited room for hides, toys, and climbing. To make this cage a bit better, I’d remove the platform with the food dish and the slide/ladder and fill the space up with hammocks and a basket or two instead.
This cage is too small, too. It may work for a pair of juvenile rats but will not be large enough for adults or bigger mischief. It has a very small door, which isn’t necessarily what makes this a poor cage but is a negative aspect.
What makes it a poor cage is that its bottom is covered in plastic – and rats chew plastic.
One way that I’d remedy this disaster of a cage is by covering the bottom of the cage with a plastic floor pan. You can get these from home building stores and, with a few power tools, easily cut and sand the pan to the proper size.
Not only is this aquarium too small for rats but, frankly, it’s an aquarium that is designed for fish, not rodents. This being said, it lacks cross-ventilation and does not allow for climbing or hanging toys, a water bottle, or hides and hammocks.
It also likely comes with a mesh lid, which rats can and will make quick work of chewing through, making this cage insecure and unsafe.
This cage should be marked with a big red X – especially if you’re intending to put a rat inside of it as is. If you’re considering a tank for your rat and can’t be persuaded otherwise, consider adding a tank topper. These handy products are basically wire-cages that fit on top of aquariums so that the enclosure ends up with a glass bottom and a traditional, cage-like top that can be used for hanging accessories.
This cage, unlike the others we’ve gone over, has the height going for it. However, it’s made of wood, which is known for locking in and trapping the scent of urine. Since it’s made of sanded wood, it’s also going to be impossible for your rats to climb about in the cage seeing as they can’t get a grip on the sides.
Going along with this, hanging anything for enrichment purposes would be incredibly difficult. I might also be worried that a rat could chew through either the side ventilation windows or the front wire. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that could make this cage any better simply because it’s made of thick wood, which would be hard to modify.
However, one suggestion I have is that the thin-looking wire on the front could be replaced.
Setting Up A Rat Cage: Must-Have Accessories
Once you’ve found a suitable cage, you need to think about what you’re going to put in it. You’ll need to fill it with all the rat essentials – bedding, toys, and fun accessories. Rats are incredibly intelligent and are prone to boredom if their cages are too empty, which is why it’s crucial to provide them with plenty of fun things to play with and keep their minds sharp.
Hammocks and Hides
Hammocks and hides are what take up the most space in a rat’s cage. Hammocks are exactly what they sound like – hammocks but for rats. They come in nearly any pattern and color that you could ever imagine and are generally made of a soft fleece material that’s cozy and comfy for your rats.
Hammocks can also be made at home! All you need is a hammock to trace, a kit of grommets, a sharp knife, material, some thread, needles, or a sewing machine, and something to hang your hammocks with. Shower curtain rings (the metal ones that open) work well for this purpose. If you’re interested in making your hammocks, a quick Google search will provide you with tons of different hammock tutorials.
Hides are just as versatile. They can be anything – a cardboard box with a door cut out of it or a professionally made, commercial hide that’s made of plastic or other hard materials like wood. Hides can come in virtually in shape and size.
Some of the most popular hides are igloo-shaped products that are made of thick, hard-to-destroy plastic. Occasionally, a hide will be made of soft material and look more like a pouch than a house. These types can be thrown into the wash when they get dirty, whereas igloos and other hard hides must be hand washed with soap and water.
Rats love to chew and because of this, they need an assortment of things that they can chew on. Wooden hamster toys and blocks are great choices for chewing.
When it comes to other toys, though, you should expand your scope to other isles of the grocery store. For example, plastic cat balls with bells in them are a favorite of many rats. They love to carry them around and sniff at them, pushing them around the cage.
Bird toys are another awesome option that shouldn’t be dismissed. Since bird toys are designed to hang, they make fun hanging toys for your rats to play with.
Of course, it’s wise to avoid any toys that have small beads as rats can choke on them if they think they’re food. In addition, it’s also a good idea to avoid toys that have been dyed unless the toy specifically states that the dye is pet safe and made using natural fruit and vegetable coloring or food-grade food coloring.
If you’re looking to go the cheap route, take a look around the house. Rats tend to love cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, clean socks and clothing items, and shredded pepper without ink. They’ll also thank for you creating a dig box for them.
To do this, just fill a basket or box with a rat-safe substrate such as coco fiber and then sprinkle in a few tasty treats. Your rats will make a giant mess most certainly, but they’ll spend hours digging through the box and keeping busy.
When you put any kind of cardboard toy in your rat’s cage, be sure that you replace it often as rats are prone to scent-marking their territory – including their toys.
Some small animal owners argue that litter boxes aren’t essential, however, the general consensus is that they are. If you can litter box train your rats, litter boxes will quickly become a must-have item in every rat cage you ever have.
The litter boxes should be big enough for one or two rats to fit inside of. They should also be deep enough to fill with an inch or two of whatever litter substrate you choose to use. In my personal experience, having a litter box that attaches to the side of the cage is your best bet – I’ve had rats slide behind the litter box and do their business behind it instead of inside of it. Corner litter boxes are generally a safe bet.
If you’re having a hard time getting your rat to urinate in the litter box, consider adding a “pee rock” into the litter box. These are just flat, smooth stones that, for some reason, attract rats and make them want to pee on top of the rock.
Water bottles are better for rats than water dishes, hence why I say that they are a must-have accessory. Rats have a tendency to spill water dishes as well as use them as litter boxes. If they spill and happen to mix with feces, the result is a giant mess that has the potential to be both a health hazard for your rats and a pain in the butt for you.
If you have more than two rats, you should have more than one water bottle. Plastic or glass can be used, as long as they’re cleaned and checked for damage on a regular basis.
The Effects of Poor Rat Cages
Bumblefoot is a painful condition that can affect small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, and rats. Basically, it’s when your rat’s feet begin to develop ulcers. It isn’t contagious to humans but if left untreated, can be fatal to rats.
The most common cause of bumblefoot is when a rat has an open wound in which urine or feces gets inside of it and causes infection. This can result from wet bedding, overfull litter boxes, and a lack of cage cleaning.
It can also be caused by an animal walking on wire cage floors, ramps, and platforms, which are a common feature in poor cages.
Broken ankles and toes
Rat cages that are unsafe can result in broken toes and ankles. Typically, this happens when your rat gets his or her toes caught in something in the cage, whether it’s the wire bottom cage or a toy of some sort.
Respiratory infections are most common in cages that are either unclean or have poor ventilation.
Typically, any cage that isn’t composed of bars isn’t going to have enough airflow. This includes enclosures like glass aquariums, plastic bins, and rabbit hutches. When your enclosure doesn’t have adequate airflow, germs and toxins from the ammonia in your rat’s urine will build up, causing respiratory infections.
Respiratory infections can quickly become fatal for rats and always require a visit to the vet.
Spine, tail, and joint problems
Your rat’s spine, tail, and joints can be affected by poor cages. Most often, the cages that affect these things are too small – so small, in fact, that your rat is squished and unable to completely stretch out or easily move around.
If your rat’s cage is small enough that its spine is bent more often than it’s straightened out, chances are that the cage is way too small.
A rat that has joint problems or an injured spine is vulnerable to a number of secondary illnesses and mobility issues.
If a rat’s cage is too small or makes it difficult for them to get around, they can easily gain weight. Unfortunately, obese rats tend to be unhealthy and have shorter lifespans than their slimmer counterparts.
Rat Cage FAQs
How much time do rats need out of their cage?
Rats should have at least one hour of free-roam time per day.
Can I use a rabbit hutch as a rat cage?
Rabbit hutches should not be used as rat cages. They have poor ventilation and are not big enough.
Are rat cages secure?
As long as your rats can’t squeeze between the bars of the cage, most rat cages are fairly secure. To make sure, though, take note of what your cage is made of. Thin wire won’t cut it.