How to Decorate a Pet Rat Cage

Are you getting pet rats? Do you already have rats and are looking to give them a more entertaining and fun cage? Look no further! This article will give you some fun, cheap ideas for decorating your rats' cage!


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    Find a house or nest for them to sleep in. Rats like having a little home to sleep in when they're tired--you'll find that if you don't have a house in their cage, your rats will sleep in a corner or near the sides of the cage, usually not flopped out in the middle. In the wild, rats have burrows. It's the same with domesticated rats. Instinctively, they like to have a cozy little place to sleep in.
    • Anything will do for a house--a small shoebox cut in half will do. Ferret hammocks also work well, or you can look in the rodent section of your local pet store. Hamsters also like houses to sleep in, so you'll find some colorful igloos and huts in that section of the store. Just make sure it's big enough! Rats, especially more than one, will need more space than a little hamster.
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    Choose some bedding. Not the regular sort of wood shavings, paper shreds, or whatever else you use to simply cover the floor--rats like to have special soft material for their nests. "Fluff" (such as Care Fresh) or recycled paper bedding will work well. Small towels and fleece work well, too--just prepare for them to be shredded! Kleenex works just fine for rats, as well. It's soft and easily shredded. Be careful that the bedding is unscented or it may cause infections (URIs).
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    Choose a food bowl and a water bottle. You might want to get a food bowl that can be screwed into the side so they don't knock it over and make a mess. Additionally, rats love fresh fruit and veggies, so grab a second bowl specifically for "wet" foods. That way, you can keep dry food from molding and easily take out and wash the dish after a couple of hours. Make sure the water bottle holds at least 8 oz.
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    Choose some toys. Rats are fun-loving creatures and get bored easily. They love to play! A rattle, a bell, even cat toys are good sometimes. You can buy edible toys like a stuffed log chew. You'll also need wood chews to keep your rats teeth down as the grow non-stop. Have fun with this step, as these toys are what will make your cage look colorful and will entertain your rats.
    • Rats love to climb, so give them hammocks and ropes! You can buy a hammock from the store or sew some scraps of fabric together to make your own.
    • Small rats enjoy wheels like hamsters, but once they get a little bigger you're going to need to invest in some rather large wheels--otherwise, you might hurt your rat's back. The Wodent Wheel is a good choice, as it's very big in diameter and your rat won't have to squish into a tiny wheel to run.
    • One man's junk is another rat's playhouse! Used things from around your house--toilet paper rolls, glass jars, tree branches balanced against the corner of the cage (just make sure there's no pesticides on them!) are all super fun for rats to climb through, gnaw on, and play with. As long as there's no small parts the rat could choke on or get hurt with, most anything is fair game.
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    Choose some rat treats. High sugar is a bad idea. You can buy something like dried apple slices, or if you're on a budget just cut your rats some veggies or fruits. Veggies and fruits are needed to supplement their diet too. Be sure to give your rats veggies or fruits on a daily basis. Hiding treats inside of things is always a fun game for your rats--inside of a hammock, a cat toy, or hidden in the bedding, rats love an adventure, especially when food is involved.
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    Make sure your rat cage is not in the draft of a vent or fan. Rats don't like fluctuating temperatures, and it can stress their little bodies out to the point where they become very sick and unhealthy. Additionally, make sure their cage is in a room where there's not much noise. You wouldn't like to live next to a construction site, and neither would your rat.


  • Make sure the cage is rat-safe! Check for pointy objects and take out old fruit every few hours.
  • Keeping rats is more than having a nice cage. Be sure to socialize with your rats, too, and seriously consider getting 2 rats to keep each other company. Rats are social creatures, and no amount of toys or fun things in their cage can make up for another companion. Taking care of two rats isn't much different or more expensive than one, and your rats will definitely thank you for it!
  • Keep the cage clean. Replace the food, clean the water bottle, replace bedding, etc. If a toy is getting too worn-out, replace it. Keep the cage safe, clean, and fun!


  • Make sure your rat cage is not in the draft of a vent or fan, as this can kill your rats because of uneven temperatures.
  • Small pets can have respiratory problems when using pine or cedar bedding. It is recommended to use Aspen or paper bedding. Most rat sites will have lists of good kinds of bedding, so look it up if you're not sure you have the right kind of bedding.
  • Glass aquariums aren't good for rats' respiratory systems. Wire cages allow for better air movement and also give your rats more things to climb--if you have a glass tank for your rats, consider finding a wire cage or drilling a good number of small holes in the sides so that the inside doesn't get stuffy at all.
  • A dirty rat cage can make both you and your rats sick. A rat cage actually shouldn't smell much if at all, so if your cage has a bad odor, you need to either clean it more often or see if maybe a toy or piece of food is molding.

Things You'll Need

  • A cage (at least 1' x 2' x 1' in dimensions)
  • Water bottle (at least 8 oz.)
  • Bedding or towels
  • Food dish
  • A place for your rat to sleep
  • Fleece scraps
  • Hammocks
  • Small animal toys
  • A variety of chews
  • Fresh food for your rats

Article Info

Categories: Mice and Rats