If you’ve got yourself a pet rat, you’re going to need somewhere to house it. There are plenty of types of rat cages available from pet stores, but they can get a little expensive. If you’ve got any old bird cages lying around, or know someone who does, you can quite easily convert a bird cage into a perfect buy top rat cages.
There are a number of factors you’ll have to keep in mind in order to create a successful rat cage. The first is to check the wire spacing of your bird cage. Wires that are five eighths of an inch apart would be perfect, depending on the size of your rat. If the width apart is too much, you can guess that it won’t be too hard for your little fuzzy friend to sneak his way through.
The next thing you want to check is what kind of wire the cage uses. While birds can also do a lot of damage to cages, rats have to chew to keep their teeth from overgrowing, plus they seem to get a great deal of satisfaction and entertainment from chewing! So, you’ll need to make sure the cage is NOT made out of plastic or wood, as this will be easy for your pet rat to chew through.
You will have to wire some of the cage doors shut. You will have to do it with something stronger than plastic tie wraps. Otherwise you’ll have the little guy running through your house, terrifying Aunt Mabel! (I know that’s always fun, but think of your pet rat’s safety!) Use wire or have the doors that are not needed soldered shut.
Finally, since the bars in bird cages run vertically instead of horizontally you must put in some staircases and toys for your pet rat to climb on. Rats love to climb and climbing extends the cage’s “floor space.” Once you’ve done that, and you’ve checked that your cage fits the above specifications, you should have no trouble with using an old bird cage as a brand new domain for your little rat.
TIP: Look in thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales for used bird cages. Try to get one that measures 24”x24”x30”. Buy a small amount of hardware cloth to use for the “stairs.” Don’t forget to clean your cage well and, if necessary, paint it with non-toxic paint to make it look fresh and new.