Best Rat Cages: Find The Perfect Habitat For Your Pets

by Monika
Best rat cages

Most rats spend the majority of their time in their cage, with only an hour or two of free-range time outside of their cages in a day. So the cage needs to provide plenty of space to do what comes naturally to them – digging, climbing, foraging for food, running, and sleeping.

To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a little guide on everything you need to know when searching for the best rat cage for you and your rats.

How to Choose the Best Rat Cage for Your Pets?

With so many different cages on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for you and your rats.

The first thing to remember is that cages advertised for rats AND mice are not suitable for rats. Rats are much bigger than mice and need more space.

How Big Should a Rat Cage Be?

When you see a cage that piqued your interest, the first thing to do is to put its dimensions in the rat cage calculator. That will tell you how many rats the cage can house and if the cage is even suitable for rats. Remember that this calculator tells you the maximum number of rats for that cage, but that doesn’t mean your rats wouldn’t benefit from a cage that is even larger than that – because they would.

When it comes to rat cages – the bigger the better. However, a large cage that is not set up in a way to maximize the space and promote activity is just as bad as a cage that is too small.

Cage Volume

Rats need at least 2.5 cubic feet of cage volume per rat. Ideally, a cage should be no less than 8 cubic feet in volume, even if you have only 2 rats. Not having enough space in their cage can cause aggression and fights among rats. You can check the cage volume in the rat cage calculator.

For young rats, some people decide to go with a smaller cage. Baby rats will grow up in 3-4 months, and then you’ll need a new, larger cage. So it’s best to buy a good size rat cage right away. Just make sure the bar spacing on your cage is narrow enough to stop young rats from escaping.

Rats should always be kept in groups (or pairs). They are extremely social and need friends to thrive. So a rat cage should have enough space for at least 2 rats.

Cage Height

Rats should be able to stand on their hind legs in the cage and still have plenty room over their heads. A recommended minimum height for a rat cage is 20 inches (50 cm). This will allow your pets to express their natural need for climbing.

Floor Space

Floor space is another important aspect to consider. In the wild, rats travel several hundreds of meters in search of food. They also dig and build extensive underground burrows so a cage should be set up to enable that behavior. A cage should be at least 24 inches (60 cm) long in one direction to allow your rats to run around. A preferred floor area would be at least 32×20 inches (80×50 cm) or more.

If the cage doesn’t have a deep base, then you should include a digging box so your rats can satisfy their need for digging.

Best Type of Rat Cages

Bar Spacing

Many cages that are large enough for rats are designed for other larger pets, such as gerbils, so they have more space between the bars. It’s important to keep in mind the minimum bar spacings for rats, or they might escape from the cage or hurt themselves if the bars are too far apart.

Bar spacings:

  • A bar spacing of 0.4 – 0.6 inch (1 – 1.5 cm) is ideal as it keeps all rats in – even young rats and smaller females
  • A bar spacing of 0.8 – 1.0 inch (2 – 2.5 cm) can sometimes be used for larger adult rats, but smaller rats would most likely squeeze through them
  • Anything larger than 1 inch (2.50 cm) is not suitable for rats, big or small

Horizontal or vertical bars?

Rats can climb either of those without any issues, so it’s mostly a matter of preference for the rat owner.

Ease of Cleaning

Rats can be messy, even litter trained rats. You’ll be cleaning their cage at least once a week, so choose the cage that will be easy to clean. You’ll want your cage to have large doors so you can access all parts of the cage. This will make your life much easier.

Cages with doors that allow the front of the cage to fully open make cleaning a breeze. You can simply open them up and sweep out the mess.

What Type of Cage Is Best?

Metal barred cages are the gold standard since they have many advantages over other types of cages. They provide plenty of fresh air flow, they are easy to clean, and the rats can’t escape if the bar spacing is suitable for rats. Durable enamelled bars will prevent the cage from rusting, and it will look good longer.

The best types of rat cages

Types of Cages to Avoid

On the other hand, you should avoid these types of cages:

  • Wooden cages and cages made of wooden cabinets or bookcases – Rats and wood don’t mix well. Firstly, rats can easily chew through the wood and escape. Secondly, wood is almost impossible to clean from the rat’s pee as the wood absorbs it, and it starts to smell bad very quickly.
  • Aquariums or plastic bins – Rats are prone to respiratory disease, so they need plenty of fresh air flow in their cages. Plastic tanks and aquariums keep the dust and ammonia in, irritating the rat’s respiratory system.
  • Wire mesh flooring – Constantly walking on the wires can cause bumblefoot on your rats’ delicate feet, resulting in swollen and infected feet. If you buy a cage with a wire mesh flooring, cover the floor with something solid.

The Best Rat Cages – Our List of Favorites

We’ve put together a list of, in our opinion, the best rat cages that fit all of the requirements: they are large enough, have small bar spacing, and are easy to clean.

Critter Nation 2-Story Small Animal Cage

Critter Nation Cage

This is one of the best rat cages a rat owner can get for their pets. It has plenty of space – it can house up to 10 rats! It’s ridiculously easy to clean as the front doors on both levels can fully open. It is on the pricier side, but it works great for someone with many members of the rat family.

  • Dimensions (without the stand): 36 x 24 x 54 inches (27 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.5 in
  • Can house up to 10 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon & Chewy

Critter Nation Single Story Cage

If the 2-story Critter Nation cage is overkill for you and you don’t have that many rats, a single-story cage works just as well for up to 4 rats. It also has a front door that can fully open for easy cleaning and wheels so you can move it around without much effort.

  • Dimensions: 36 x 24 x 24.5 inches (12.25 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.5 in
  • Can house up to 4 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon & Chewy

Ferplast Ferret Tower Two-Story Cage

Another spacious cage that can house a large group of rats. It has two 6-inch plastic bases so your rats can enjoy tunneling and burrowing. This cage won’t work well if you have chewers, though! If your rats tend to chew the plastic, they should be housed in all metal cages.

  • Dimensions: 29.5 x 31.5 x 63.4 inches (34.09 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.5 in
  • Can house up to 13 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon & Chewy

Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage

Prevue Ferret Cage for rats

This cage fits all of our requirements but one – it has a wire mesh floor with a removable tray that is designed for convenient cleaning, but a wire mesh floor is not something you want your rats to walk on every day. As we already mentioned, constantly walking on bars can cause a foot infection known as bumblefoot.

If you choose to go with this cage, you need to do some simple updates. Just put something solid at the bottom of the cage so that rats don’t have to walk on grates. Or, you can remove the wire bottom altogether and use a tray as a cage bottom.

  • Dimensions: 31 x 20 x 41.5 inches (14.89 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.87 in – for larger adult rats only
  • Can house up to 5 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon

Best Smaller Rat Cages (2 Rats or a Smaller Group)

If you only have a few rats and not planning to add any more to the family soon, and space is an issue in your home, then these smaller rat cages might be a good fit for you.

Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage

This cage would make a great home for up to 4 rats. This one also has wire flooring, which can cause bumblefoot, but it should be an easy fix. You can simply remove the wire bottom and use the pan under it as the bottom of the cage. Or you can choose to put something solid over the flooring to cover the bars.

  • Dimensions: 31 x 20.5 x 30 inches (11 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.37 in
  • Can house up to 4 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon & Chewy

Kaytee My First Home Habitat Multi-Level for Exotics

This is the smallest rat cage on our list, and it can house up to 3 rats. It has a plastic base that you can fill with a suitable material like cardboard squares, cross-cut shredded paper, shredded coconut fiber bedding, hemp, or safe large wood shavings (kiln-dried and low dust). Your rats will love digging in it and making burrows. You can make it more interesting for them by burying nuts or other treats for them to find.

  • Dimensions: 30.5 x 18 x 30 inches (9.53 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 0.5 in
  • Can house up to 3 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon & Chewy

Best Rat Cages in the UK?

The above list is mostly aimed at North America. But what about the rat cages in the UK and Europe, where lots of our readers are? Many of the great cages sold in the US are not sold in Europe. So here’s a brief list of some of our favorite cages sold in the UK and Europe.

MidWest Critter Nation 2-Story Cage

Critter Nation Cage
  • Dimensions: 91.4 x 61 x 137 cm (27 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 1.5 cm
  • Can house up to 10 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon.co.uk

Ferplast FURET XL Cage

Ferplast Large Cage FURET XL
  • Dimensions: 80 x 75 x 86.5 cm (18.33 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 1.3 cm
  • Can house up to 7 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon.co.uk

MidWest Critter Nation 1-Story Cage

  • Dimensions: 91.4 x 61 x 62 cm (12.25 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 1.5 cm
  • Can house up to 4 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon.co.uk

Savic Zeno 2 Knock Down Animal Cage

Savic Zeno 2 Rat Cage UK
  • Dimensions: 80 x 50 x 70 cm (9.89 ft³)
  • Bar spacing: 1 cm
  • Can house up to 3 rats
  • Sold on: Amazon.co.uk

How to Make the Cage Fun?

Choosing the best rat cage for you and your rats is one of the most important tasks of rat ownership. But the work doesn’t end there. Most cages come with a few basic accessories such as shelves, ramps, and a hammock. But this is not enough to keep your pets entertained and happy.

Our pets’ wild relatives dig burrows, climb trees, walk, run and explore to find food. You want your cage to encourage that behavior.

Here are a few ideas on how you can enrich your rats’ lives with a few simple additions to the cage:

Your rats will spend most of their time in a cage but make sure to provide at least 1 hour of free time out of the cage a day. Let them roam free and explore in a safe area where they can’t escape or cause any mischief. Aim to provide as much free time out of the cage as possible. This will also help you bond with your rats while they climb on you, hide in your clothes, and enjoy a nibble you offer them.

Hopefully, these tips helped you choose the best cage for your rats. Spending some extra time to find that perfect rat cage is worth it! Your rats will thank you for it.

Which rat cage did you choose for your rats?

Let us know in the comments!

Two photos of rats in a cage by: iMlyaa / Reddit

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