For information about cages, including pros and cons of the
most popular cages currently available, approximate costs,
where to buy etc, please click HERE
AusRFS has designed high sided trays to fit Ferret Kingdom cages. Made of non-chew hard plastic, they are available for purchase directly from a Melbourne manufacturer.
Please click the title of this box
to download details.
NEW OWNERS - before purchasing a cage,
please, please read all the information on this page
and download the AusRFS Cage Advice Document using the link above.
Many people waste their money on cages that are not suitable for rats.
If you have any questions then contact the AusRFS, we are happy to help.
Rats are kept in cages, similar to a large bird cage. They need good air ventilation, so should not be kept in enclosures with completely solid walls, and absolutely NEVER in a glass aquarium.
There aren’t many good rat cages available and although many cages are described as being suitable for rats, a lot of these are far too small or have bar space which is far too wide for rats. Also be aware that accessories that may come with a “rat” cage might not be useable, for instance the drip drink bottles that come with most cages, are usually not suitable for rats, as the ball size is too heavy for rats to use, and they won’t be able to get any water out of them.
Most people start out with a smaller, less expensive cage and upgrade to a better one, or in a lot of cases upgrade several times! So in the long run it’s cheaper to invest in a better cage in the first place. A good quality cage will look better, last longer, be easier to clean and decorate and will make life with your new pets much easier and more enjoyable.
Cages differ a lot in their design and quality so it’s a good idea to actually see all the options before purchasing - taking into account where the cage will be placed and how you will be keeping your rats. For example you may prefer a freestanding cage on wheels if you are going to be moving the cage from room to room. If you are not going to litter train your rats, you will need a cage with a deep base to spread with litter, but if your rats use a litter tray to toilet in then you don’t have to have a cage with a deep base. If you are new to rats, it’s a really good idea to speak to different people about how they keep their rats, and if possible go and see their cage set ups as different things work for different people. For more ideas for things to put in your cage see the AusRFS book The Pet Rat Care Guide or do an internet image search on words like “rat cage set up” “rat cage decoration” etc.
Bigger is definitely better. The ABSOLUTE smallest cage for 2 rats would be around 61cm high, 61cm wide and 36cm deep with 1 full level and a couple of ½ levels. We don’t recommend keeping rats in this size cage unless the rats spend a LOT of time out of their cage. We highly recommend investing in something larger.
Bar spacing This is also very important!
Rats can squeeze through very small spaces! Bar spacing should not exceed 1.25cm.
Young rats or small adults may be able to get out of anything over 1.25cm.
It’s a good idea to check a newly purchased cage to make sure there are no bent bars, any places where the bar spacing is slightly wider or other odd gaps that might allow rats to escape or get stuck trying to get out. Any gaps can be covered with a patch of Mouse Wire (available in rolls from Bunnings), held in place with enough cable ties to hold the wire closely to the bars so the rats can’t push in between.
Cages with wide bar spacing can be made escape proof by covering the entire cage with mouse wire, but this is definitely not ideal. It’s a lot of work to do, it’s difficult to cut the wire without leaving sharp edges, a huge number of cable ties are needed to attach the wire all over and the wire, and it makes it much harder to clean the cage, and if you leave one slight gap, your rats will find it!
Cages with a good amount of horizontal space are best. A wide cage with a few large levels is much more practical than a tall, thin cage with lots of small platforms. Rats need good sized flat areas to safely run, wrestle and play with each other and their toys as well as providing plenty of room to place hide houses, boxes food dishes etc.
If you have a tall cage, it’s very important, to provide ladders, ramps or other items which are not too steep so the rats can easily get to the various levels. It’s also important to place platforms, hammocks or other items strategically throughout the cage to prevent a rat falling all the way from the top to the bottom of the cage. Some rats are good climbers but a lot are not, old rats often have trouble climbing at all, and need to be housed in a single level cage.
Additional levels can be easily added to most cages by attaching the levels onto the cage bars with cable ties.
Rat cages should not have wire flooring, these can cause ulcers and injuries to rat’s feet. If your cage has wire levels they should either be replaced with solid levels or covered with some sort of a solid sheeting. Very thick plastic is best but something like vinyl flooring will also do. Any company that cuts/moulds plastic should be able to make levels and trays to measure, but the AusRFS can provide details of companies that our members have used. In addition some people also like to cover their cage levels with fleece fabric, others prefer to lay down newspaper.
Galvanized metal cages aren’t recommended but if you really must use them, be sure to wash the cage thoroughly with a vinegar solution to avoid the risk of zinc poisoning.
Cages can be professionally powder coated to give them a new look or new colour. The AusRFS can advise of a company that some of our members have used.
The AusRFS is always available to answer questions.
Please don't hesitate to contact us.