Unfortunately, our fancy rats just aren’t so “fancy” when it comes to their stink. Now, we can’t judge them; after all, you cannot say you haven’t had to whip out the air freshener after going to the bathroom at least a few times in your life. We’re all guilty of poisoning the air with our fumes; even our rats. However, there are ways around this issue, but first we must understand why this stinkiness occurs.
Inconsistent Bedding Changing and Cage Cleanings
If the cage is not cleaned regularly, it will most definitely begin to stink. As the ratty waste builds up, the odor will continue to get worse and worse. If you are using fleece or other fabrics, you may want to try to change the liners at least once every two days; preferably every day. If you have a large cage and only 2 or 3 rats, you could get away with spot cleaning the cage floor, ratty houses and hideaways, and wiping down high traffic toys; then doing an actual fabric swap and cage clean every 4 days. I recommend using products like the cage cleaner to the right. If you are using bedding, such as carefresh, you might be able to get away with 1 cage change every 10 days.
This of course depends on how deep the bedding is, how big the cage is, and how many rats you have. If you have several, it is better to change it every few days. This is especially true if they are male rats.
Getting the Cage TOO Clean
Rats like for their homes to smell like them. If you are super cleaning the cage EVERY time you swap out the bedding, you should probably stop doing that. Every time you clean their odor off of everything, they’re just going to go crazy and try to remark everything. They will go out of their way to urinate and defecate on everything just because you cleaned it. Instead, save the serious toy cleanings for a once-per-month deep clean. Or once every 6 weeks. You can do a wipe down of them with a wet paper towel to remove a little filth and some odor, which will greatly improve the odor while also keeping the rats satisfied! Make sure that any bathing takes place during cage change day, so that the rats are clean when they are placed into the freshly changed cage. This will help the rats to smell better for a longer period of time, rather than making their beds as stinky as quickly.
You Have Male Rats!
Males- the territorial brats who love, love, love to dribble on everything. Constantly. Endlessly. Especially their humans (which we’ve discussed ratties peeing on their humans here). We love our boys so much; there’s just something about the boys that earns them that preference. They’re so cute and cuddly- and super laid back. But we’ve had enough with that marking! Male urine seems to always be much more potent than a females, but then again, the same is true for males of many species. They just loveeee to mark everything. As stated above, cleaning everything only means they will do everything in their power to remark their territory; on top of this, the seriously potent fresh urine will stink up your house in a heartbeat. Try spraying a vinegar solution onto the toys lightly while you have them out for playtime.
Another solution for the boys is to have them neutered. Neutering a male pet rat will reduce the marking, and it will usually have a calming effect on the more timid boys. Getting a pet rat fixed is usually going to cost about the same as it would for a cat or a dog. This is because rats are much smaller animals, and it takes a skilled veterinarian to snip them properly!