Perhaps you’re a new owner that is unsure of what you get your new pet rats as far as toys, houses, beds, and supplies go; or maybe you’re a seasoned owner who just wants to spice up the dorm for your old pals. Either way, it’s always a good idea to get those rats as many toys as their heart desires, especially since they go through them really fast! I honestly recommend having 2 of EVERYTHING. Have one on back up at all times, and catch things while they are on sale!
Houses, Beds, and Huts for Fancy Rats
There is nothing more adorable than a dumbo eared rat sticking its sleepy head out of the hut, yawning, then bruxing! This is a clear sign of a content, relaxed rat! If you don’t have a house for your rat, I can tell you that he or she would GREATLY appreciate it if you bought one… right NOW. See, rats are these royal little spoiled brats that greatly cherish their private quarters for whatever it is that he or she may be doing. Stashing food, licking her feet, staring out at unsuspecting visitors… they like to spend quite a bit of time in their little homes! If it has one small door, great. If it has lots of bedding, even better. If the home can FLOAT (such as a space pod, a hammock, or a large sugar glider pouch) inside of your big rat cage, then that’s as good as it gets!
A Few Product Recommendations for Your Rats- Examples of EXCELLENT Rat Houses!
These houses are definitely a good start. Many rat owners have both the igloo AND the pod in their cages, as one can sit on the floor and the other can be hung. Chewable houses, like the third one, are awesome options too. They will need to be replaced more often but they are a good enrichment tool for rats who get bored easily.
Toys That Every Ratty Should Have to Play With and Chew On: An Owner’s Checklist!
If you don’t have the proper toys in your cage, you might find that your rat sleeps more, or chews on the cage bars. This is a sign of being super bored. Humans don’t fare very well when bored; especially if there are few options available. Imagine being locked inside of a room with nothing but a bed; no phone, games, television, books, or even magazines. It would REALLY suck. There are so many products out there that can keep your ratties engaged, some of which may be lying in your closet floor already!
- bird toys, such as those with long ropes and blocks to climb and chew on.
- flexible cage rope perches, usually made for birds (such as the Twist’N’Shape Cotton Rope Cable Bird Perches (Small))
- wooden perches
- trick or treating buckets
- wood chews
- exercise wheels
- exercise saucers
- old shoes
- hanging fabric tunnels
- big barbie doll houses
Why Does My Rat Need Stuff to Chew on and Play With?
If a rat gets bored, it will slip into depression. Humans will react in much the same way, most intelligent mammals do. Having a cage mate helps, but the cagemate rat may not always be up for socializing and playing. This means the other rat will need to entertain itself in some way. Toys assist with this. The chewing is also necessary in order to keep the teeth worn down and sharp. Rats have a notorious reputation for chewing; and boy do they love to gnaw on things!
Fourth- Proper Basics! Bedding, Food Dishes, and Water Bottles for Rats!
Bedding is going to be a big concern! With rats, the two best routes are Carefresh bedding OR Fabric (mainly whole fleece, not shredded fabric). I recommend carefresh personally, but others find fleece to be cheaper. Food dishes should be very solid, and unable to be tipped easily. This usually means a wide or heavy base, much like in the photo to the upper left. Nonporous dishes are best, as rat urine will soak into their dishes and become quite awful smelling. The longer it goes without tipping, the less time the bedding and toys are exposed to messy foods. You definitely do not want apple baby food making its way all over the cage! As for the water bottle, I cannot, ABSOLUTELY CANNOT, recommend anything other than glass! If you have the option, go for glass!!! I have many plastic bottles and very few glass ones. This is because I’ve not yet shelled out the money to make the switch. It’s going to cost me over $85, over time. They don’t get chewed, they won’t seep chemicals, and they seem to be longer lasting overall. This is just my personal experience, but many other owners seem to think the same of glass water bottles as well.
Other Cage Toys and Decor That Rats Really Love: Let’s Make This a Climbing Affair!
If you really want a super happy pet rat, give it lots of things to climb on, and through! One of my rats’ favorite things was some good old tree branches. They are free, and you can pick and choose the branches that will fit best inside of your cage. I would mount them sturdily between the cage bars so that they wouldn’t fall as the rats were climbing through them. Putting several in, at varying angles, creates an awesome little forest inspired jungle gym. Not only is it super fun and entertaining for them, but it also puts their little muscles to work. It is important for a rat to maintain its agility and strong physique, especially as the rat begins to age. An active rat is a happy, healthy rat; so don’t forget to include their favorite form of exercise in the cage!