Cage location/elevation

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Vael
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Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 4:21 am

Cage location/elevation

Post by Vael » Sat May 25, 2019 4:44 am

Hello. I'm getting my first pair of rats in the next month or so, and while researching all sorts of cage setup things I finally realized that my cage is far too high up off the ground for them to be able to exit and enter at their own leisure during out-time.

It's on a table as of right now, and even though I'm confident I'll have the energy and health to handle rat care in general, due to the condition of my joints it'd be a massive help if I didn't have to crouch down to get to the cage all the time. Especially while I clean it.

Are there any alternatives to having the cage on the floor? The table is too high up for a convenient ramp (it'd have to be rather long and I'm not convinced they wouldn't fall off in case they get spooked and are in a hurry), but I'd like them to be able to feel as stress free as possible.

Could I just introduce a few permanent hides on the floor with their scent in them? Are there any other things I'd have to look out for if they can't access their cage at all times? Hell, are there any DIY options for me to give them that access? Maybe I'm overthinking things. I don't know. Expecting sure is stressful.

Thank you in advance.

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[cub]
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Re: Cage location/elevation

Post by [cub] » Sat May 25, 2019 6:11 am

It's not the end of the world if they can't take themselves in/out of the cage during free range. A lot of people don't even free range in the same room that the rats' cage is in, myself included. I do suspect rats are more comfortable/confident if they can go back to their cage at any time, but it's not a deal breaker, and I strongly suspect just being in the same room will help confidence levels.

Rats are very good jumpers, at least until old age catches up with them, so you don't exactly need a ramp. A series of steps will do just fine, if you have boxes, stools, etc. of suitable heights. They could also be combined with a ramp or ladder, e.g. have the ramp bring them out of the cage and partway down onto a lower box, and so on. A 20cm jump is very little effort for a rat.

If that doesn't work for you for any reason, e.g. if your joints would prefer not to be shifting things around in front of the cage all the time, then honestly don't worry about it. Given that you'll need a carrier for vet trips and the like anyway, you can make that their home-from-home when they can't get to the cage. My rats get used to being in the carrier to be weighed, when I need to clean out the cage, when I need to move them to their free range room, when someone needs medication or extra feeding, and so on, and they've come to see it as a home base when their cage isn't nearby. If you get a larger cat carrier (a lot of people like the Ferplast Atlas or similar, and the Catit Cabrio is also popular, though bulkier) then you can even put in a hammock to make it comfier, but they'll hopefully be more interested in tearing around (and tearing up?) the room than sitting in a boring old carrier. :lol:

Great that you're doing all this research in advance! Try not to overthink things, though I must admit I'm guilty of that myself. Rats are wonderful pets and you just can't help but get excited. :luck:
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn, Din, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Xeltan the wonky, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

Vael
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Cage location/elevation

Post by Vael » Mon May 27, 2019 12:13 pm

Yeah, you're right. Thank you for the reassurance. I'm not very confident in my rodent handling abilities so I feel like I'm going to be making mountains out of molehills until at least a few weeks into the sweethearts arrival, ahah...

Hopefully I can build some kind of a staircase leading up to the cage. Guess I could start hoarding some cardboard boxes under my bed or something.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Cage location/elevation

Post by cyber ratty » Fri May 31, 2019 9:22 am

That sounds a good plan - alternatively you could attach a long tube to the cage doorway that they could climb up/down.

Rats do feel safer higher up so having the cage off the floor is best. :luck:

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