So you're looking for a nice rat home for your rat(s)? First, you need to consider how many rats you have.
For example, when we only had a couple, then four, then six...Uhh. When we only had a couple, we just got a 10 gallon aquarium ($6), a plastic aerated lid ($14), and a box (free with any on-line or mail-order purchase). The lid had a little plastic door in the middle which we ripped out and we put them on a tall shelf so they could hop from the floor of the cage to the box to the top of the lid, and off onto the shelf if they wanted to. This worked out very well.
We then had 4, 6, 8, 10, 50 rats and we bought an aquarium per pair, a plastic lid, and a box. We would line them up on shelves (for those that could get along) and it worked out somewhat well. Some decided they could fly and we had rats all over the place. Then we realized cleaning was becoming painful (2 hours) and we were breaking cages left and right ($6 - $18 a month) and some rats were tearing up the lids ($15-$30 a month).
We stopped to do the math.
Now, for $500 we could have gotten 2-3 very large powder coated cages which we initially thought we couldn't afford.
So, on the basis of housing at $10 per rat, 2 rats minimum, if you have 10 rats, buy a nice big powder coated cage. You'll thank yourself for it.
We got lucky and kept finding used ferret and rat homes. I can't find these buggers anywhere anymore so for the next purchase I had to get crafty.
I look for powder, electroplate, any kind of coating first and foremost. Galvanized/uncoated is cheaper at the onset, but it gets nasty. Rats have pee-directional-devices installed that will enable them to pee in and on the most unsuspecting places in the most unsuspecting ways.
The second thing I look for is a mesh (square, about 1/4") bottom. I am well aware of the whole bumble foot issue. I've been through over 100 rats, 3 have had bumble foot. Not one of those 3 ever lived in a wire cage with a wire bottom. This is a personal preference. If you're uncomfortable with the mesh grille bottom, shop accordingly.
The third thing I look for is a slide-out tray. I have yet to get lucky with this one. When I find this, I'm buying 6 and the other cages are going the wayside.
So, I have two options: build my own or buy one. I'm lazy. Here's what I found (alphabetically).
tip: When navigating through the RatTails,
clicking on the image that looks like the image above
will take you back to this table of contents!
Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: