Protecting Ratty Feet: Avoiding Wire Shelves, Ramps, and Floors
Wire is really bad for our little ratties, unless it is only the cage walls. Cage walls are recommended to be wire, actually. However, using wire as a ramp, floor, or shelf can cause a lot of health issues for rats. It can even handicap them or deform their little paws! We may have to buy cages that use these wire features but we can always find a way around them.
What Can Wire Flooring Do To My Rat’s Physical Health? Will It Seriously Injure Them?
Unfortunately, wire can seriously harm your pet rat. This is well known in the rat keeping world, but it is vital information that we need to pass on to those who are new to the fancy rat world. The flooring is really rough on their paws. Imagine walking across fencing that had no support underneath: it would absolutely murder your feet, causing them to retain imprints of the fencing and reddening. Over time, this would cause damage to the feet, just as it does for rats. As a rat grows up and gains weight, skeletal mass, and muscle mass, the pressure exerted on his or her feet grows. You could wind up with bumble foot, severed toes, and even amputation of limbs should infection set in. Go ahead, Google “Rat Bumblefoot” and see what it looks like.
Avoiding Wire Cages to Keep Your Rats Healthy
As long as you can steer clear of these cages, you should be perfectly fine! There are tons of rat cages out there that have the appropriate flooring, shelving, and ramps that will keep your rat safe. Look for plastic shelves and ramps, as well as an open plastic bottom. It’s probably best to avoid a metal floor cage, as they can rust with time. If you do not want to use plastic ramps, wooden or plastic ladders are a wonderful substitute! Pet rats love to climb, adding a little more enrichment to their daily lives. The right rat cage may take a bit of time to find, but we are here to help you find the best solution for your fur babies.
I Have Wire Shelves and Ramps; What Can I Do to Protect My Rats?
If you have this type of flooring in your cage, you need to change a few things immediately. for the time being, you can lay down some wash cloths or towels over the exposed wire flooring until you have time to establish a more permanent fix. Firstly, you can buy fleece to sew and slide on to all of the wire cage fixtures. If the bottom of the cage is wire, simply remove it and replace it with a plastic storage tote bottom that will fit your cage. Should only the cage ramps be made of wire, you could just use ladders in place of them. Ramps are by far the easiest fix! If you or your rats aren’t huge fans of fleece, there is always the laminated tile option. It is cheaper, easier to clean, and less likely to be shredded by your pet rats. All you have to do is mount the tile on all of the cage’s surfaces.