How to Keep Your Rats From Being Messy and Floors Clean!
We all love our rats dearly, we truly do. From their cute little noses to their long, perfect little tails, they steal our hearts with every ounce of cuteness within their little bodies. However, the mess we don’t love so much! This is why coroplast, other scatter guards, litter catchers, and floor mats are so important to catch bedding, poop, food, and other things that the rats make a mess of outside of the cage. When they kick all of their waste and bedding outside of the cage, it tracks all over the home- and it doesn’t smell very pleasant. For those of you who are suffering, LOOK NO FURTHER! We’ve got the answers!
What Is A Scatter Guard, and How Can It Help Me Keep My Pet Rats’ Waste and Bedding In the Cage Instead of On the Floor?
Scatter guards are these glorious headache solving, work eliminating, floor protecting ideas that will keep you sane! THIS is exactly what a scatter guard looks like pre-made. If you have a mountain of bedding, rat poop, seed shells, and shredded remnants of toys currently taking up residence on your floor, it is time to get them. They mount on the cage (preferably the inside, so dirt and waste doesn’t get trapped between it and the cage bars), and keep bedding and waste from being kicked out by your rats. Rats are notorious for just tossing stuff outside of the cage. They literally do it on purpose; and sometimes? I swear they look right at you and do it, as if to say, “Do something, bro!” Maybe I’m the one that is crazy, but they truly are devious creatures at times. Anyways, they really do put an end to this rat parent torture and you can make them yourself! Even though you can get better rat cages with some protection, even the best ones have flaws (such as the double critter nation).
Using Coroplast (Corrugated Plastic) as a Cage Liner & Scatter Guard for Your Rat Cage or Critter Nation
Coroplast is my go-to when it comes to scatter guards and no mess rat cages. You can take almost any cage and make it mess proof with coroplast. The only thing is it can be hard to find. This material is actually corrugated plastic; it looks like cardboard in the center. It is generally used to make signs, such as those real estate signs or political signs that you see everywhere. It’s not too expensive but you may have to search high and low. They come in 4′ by 8′ sheets and I can promise you won’t need this much. You only need a 4″ high perimeter on each side of the cage. I found mine from a local sign shop, and only paid $4 for enough to completely secure all 4 levels of a double critter nation. It was all scraps. I couldn’t find any large sheets (I would have offered the rest to fellow rat owners) within a 1 hour radius. I’m definitely not going any further for corrugated plastic! I needed it asap, so online shopping wasn’t an option. OTHERWISE, you can get it on amazon! It cuts easily, and an exacto knife will get you finished in no time. The holes are a little harder to puncture but a leather hole punch would probably do wonders. Just secure it to the cage with zip ties and voila!
Other Great Scatter Guards
You could also use other products, such as any hard plastic or thin metal. Just make sure they are not chemically treated, are chew proof, and won’t rust. The biggest problem between scatter guards and rats is that rats love to chew anything and everything in their paths. If the guard can be chewed easily, your efforts will have been wasted. Overall, there really isn’t much that will beat the chew proof, cheap, safe, and easy to cut characteristics of corrugated plastic.
Other Solutions to Messy Rats, Dirty Floors, and Bedding All Over the Place
If you do not feel like messing with a scatter guard, there are other options. One is to find big plastic storage containers that are at least 4″ deep (like under the bed totes) that closely match your cage’s dimensions. Keep the bedding inside of them, and ensure that there isn’t much extra space between the tote and cage walls.
You can also invest in puppy pads or plastic drop clothes. These can be put under the cage and within 1 foot of the cage in all directions on the floor to help reduce mess on the floor. This is especially helpful for those who have carpet flooring that can be harder to clean stains or seeds out of.
If all else fails, make the move to fleece cage liners! You can either buy them from a hobbyist who sews them, or you can make them yourself. They are very easy to make to be honest! Fleece is a preferred flooring by many rat keepers. I prefer Carefresh bedding personally (I’ve got too many rats to keep up with washing fleece daily, as I would have to daily), so I haven’t tried fleece lining. Plus, it needs to be cleaned more often than a bedding cage change is needed.