Today, we’re matchmaking your pet rats with their dream rat cage, comparing pet rat cages across all sizes and categories, so that you can pick the perfect one for you.
Picking pet rat cages
Pet rat lovers already know something everyone else is just now learning – rats make awesome pets!
With their fun personalities and ability to quickly bond with carers, a cute and cuddly pet rat can add so much joy to your life!
But your pet rat also needs certain specific things from you in order to thrive.
The most important of these is a suitably roomy rat cage.
The cage doesn’t have to be pricey – in fact, there are some cheap rat cages that will work just fine – but it does need to meet certain standards in terms of floor space, cage height, enrichment and safety.
If you are getting ready to go shopping for a big rat cage for your new fur baby, read on to learn about the best rat cage for a single pet rat or a pair of pet rats!
Rat care basics
For decades, people who heard the word “rat” would automatically picture laboratory experiments or dumpster-diving scavengers.
Today, the rat is finally known for who she has always been – a highly social, active, intelligent, compassionate, sensitive and inquisitive companion animal.
Rats are playful, curious, affectionate and well able to bond with human carers.
Best of all, pet rats are fun to train and they are very fast learners!
Rats are also clean-freaks.
If there is an odor to your pet rat or to his cage, it is likely from one of these two reasons: your pet rat is ill and needs to be seen by a vet, or you need to change the cage bedding more frequently.
(To learn more about general care requirements for your pet rat, we recommend that you read this informative article!)
If you are brand-new to being a pet rat parent, here are some handy essential facts:
Adult rat size: The average adult rat’s body (not including tail) ranges from 9 to 11 inches (22.86 to 27.94 cm) long. A rat’s tail is usually 7 to 9 inches (17.78 to 22.86 cm) long.
Adult rat weight: An adult rat can weigh anywhere from 350 to 650 grams (0.77 to 1.43 lbs). Male adult rats are generally bigger and longer than female adult rats. However, some rats are more petite and others will outgrow these dimensions!
Rat lifespan: The typical lifespan for a healthy pet rat is between two and four years.
Rats in captivity
A pet rat will readily bond with you, but they will also long for the company of other rats.
Here, keeping two pet rats (same-gender or both fixed) will make for the healthiest, happiest pet rats.
Rat cage setup
So now let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of rat housing so you can get up to speed!
With these timely rat cage setup tips, you can ensure your pet rat’s basic housing needs are met in full!
Rat cage size
Choosing the right rat cage size is the most important criteria to safeguard your new pet rat’s health and wellbeing.
Each adult rat requires a minimum of 2 square feet (0.185 square meters) of dedicated floor space.
Since pet rats are best housed with at least one other rat companion, plan on 4 square feet (0.37 square meters) of floor space for a pair of rats.
Minimum cage floor space per single adult rat: 12 by 24 inches (30.48 by 60.96 cm).
Pet rats love to climb and explore, so a large rat cage is the best recipe for rat happiness.
A good way to give them space and climbing potential without taking over the floor space in your house is by choosing a tall rat cage, with several stories.
Minimum cage height for an adult pet rat: 24 inches (60.96 cm).
Most experts agree that wire cage walls (with ½ inch bar spacing or smaller to prevent escape) offer an ideal environment for curious, climbing rats.
However, rat cage floors should be made of a solid material that is easy to clean, comfortable for sensitive rat feet and resists chewing and corrosion from rat urine.
Plastic or powder-coated metal are both good choices for a rat cage floor.
Glass or plastic solid-sided cages are not recommended for use with pet rats due to inadequate ventilation.
Rats can develop respiratory distress from breathing in the ammonia from their own urine, and even a mesh top for ventilation may not be adequate to diffuse this safely.
For your pet rat’s health and safety, be sure to only choose ink-free, rat-safe soft material for bedding.
If you want to use wood or pellets, steer clear of cedar or pine (both are toxic to rats) but aspen is fine. If you use hay, make sure the edges are soft and not sharp.
Shredded tissues, paper towels or dye-safe newspaper can also be cheap, handy bedding options.
Pre-made rat-safe bedding can also work well.
Your rat will need constant 24/7 access to fresh water and dry food.
To keep water and food sanitary, you will want to select a water bottle/sipper tube and a hanging dry food dispenser.
You can use a heavy, no-tip floor dish for fresh food.
Bedding should be added liberally (at least one inch thick) in all areas where your rat will enjoy sleeping, hiding, burrowing or nesting.
You can use small plastic plant pots, cardboard boxes, PVC pipe sections and other similar containers for nesting and hiding places.
Try to keep the food, sleep and bathrooming areas separated from each other inside your rat’s cage.
Rat cage accessories
Rats are smart and curious and they LOVE toys!
Some great rat cage accessories include ladders, PVC tunnels and tubes, hammocks, ropes, and solid-surface exer-wheels.
Be sure to provide plenty of rat-safe chew-ables such as untreated wood, rawhide, and cardboard to help your rat keep his teeth naturally filed down.
Rats are extremely sensitive to extreme temperatures and drafts (hot or cold).
For your rat’s health and safety, you will need to keep the temperature in the area near your rat’s cage between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15.55 to 26.66 degrees Celsius) and the humidity range between 40 and 70 percent.
Choose a location for your rat’s cage that is draft-free and out of range of any floor, wall or ceiling air vents that could produce drafts.
Also make sure the cage is not in the path of direct sunlight coming from windows or skylights.
Rats are extremely social pets, but they are more active at night than during the day.
During the day, your rats will need a quiet place to rest and sleep.
At night, however, your rats will crave your company!
For this reason, evenings are a great time to offer out-of-cage play time as well.
Kaytee rat cage
Kaytee is a long-time trusted name in pet care products and accessories.
These three Kaytee rat cage options each offer different types of accommodations based on the number and size of your pet rat.
Kaytee My First Home Habitat Multi-Level for Exotics
This Kaytee cage for small pocket pets earns top marks from pet rat owners for the narrow cage bar spacing, multi-level play areas with built-in ramps and platforms and a deep base to hold bedding inside.
At 30.5″ (H) x 18″ (D) x 30″ (W), the dimensions will accommodate two adult rats.
Kaytee My First Home Habitat for Pet Rat
Rat owners who have already bought this smaller cage recommend it as a temporary home or travel habitat.
However, it’s not quite big enough to be a full-time rat home.
The cage bar spacing is escape-proof and the cage comes with a few built-in extras, such as a solid ramp with a solid platform and a built-in cup for fresh food.
Kaytee Complete Ferret Kit
While this highly rated cage is designed for use with ferrets, rat owners say that with dimensions of 30” (H) x 18” (D) x 29” (W), it works quite well for a pair or trio of adult rats (this cage is NOT recommended for small or young rats).
The kit refers to inclusion of multiple solid-surface platforms and ramps that are perfect for a rat’s sensitive feet.
The kit also includes bedding and a food dish and water dispenser.
Wire rat cage
One super important fact to remember when selecting a wire rat cage is that you don’t need to restrict your search to rat cages specifically.
Sometimes these cages are too small or unsuitable for other reasons.
But many cages designed for ferrets, chinchillas, sugar gliders and other exotic small “pocket pets” can also meet the needs of pet rats quite well, as some of these cages demonstrate.
Prevue Hendryx Earthtone Dusted Rose Rat & Chinchilla Cage
This lovely and decorative rat manor cage is decked out with posh extras.
One of the best is that this cage is mounted on wheels so you can easily move your rats from room to room.
There is also a handy storage shelf under the cage itself.
Happy rat owners say the bar spacing prevents escape and the cage is easy to assemble.
The roomy dimensions of 31” (L) x 20.5” (W) x 40” (H) x 27” (cage-H) will house two adult rats comfortably.
MCage NEW 3 Levels Animal Cage
This economical and highly rated cage is a great large rat cage choice.
The wire bar spacing is half an inch to prevent escape attempts, and the multi-level design includes a number of platforms and ladders (although these you will need to cover with a solid plastic or other material to protect your rat’s sensitive feet).
The wire floor grate can be covered or removed.
The cage dimensions are 30″ (H) x 18″ (D) x 24″ (W) which will accommodate two adult rats.
Midwest Homes for Pets Critter Nation with Stand
Continuing with the policy that bigger is better, here’s a fabulous large rat cage, which is a hit with rat owners – one even pronounced it “perfect!”
But big doesn’t mean unwieldy: it sits on a rolling base with lockable casters.
The cage itself has three higher levels of solid surface no-slip ladders and rat cage shelves, plus a wide plastic floor and ½ cage bar spacing to prevent escapes.
The dimensions are 36” (L) x 25” (W) x 62.5” (L) x 24.5” (L-cage).
Cheap rat cages
Finding cheap rat cages can be a tricky balancing act between false economy, and spotting the good rat cages which do the basics well, at a more modest cost.
These cheap rat cages are highly rated by pet rat owners and still come with some fun extra bells and whistles so you get the most value for your purchase.
MCage Two Size, 3 Level Animal Cage
This is the less expensive version of the MCage listed earlier here.
The dimensions are still a comfortable 24” (H) x 16” (D) x 24” (W) and the cage bar spacing is ½ inch to prevent adult rats from escaping.
Pawhut 4-Level Indoor Small Animal Cage
This handy small animal cage comes on casters to make movement easy when needed.
It comes with a system of solid-surface ramps and platforms plus a food box and water bottle.
The bottom wire grate is removable if needed.
With dimensions of 25.2″ (L) x 17.1″ (W) x 36.6″ (H), this cage definitely delivers value.
Rat owners say this is a good fit for a pair of large adult rats.
Prevue Hendryx Cocoa Frisky Ferret & Rabbit Cage
This cage is a more affordable version of the Prevue Hendryx cage listed here earlier.
It also features the lower storage shelf and is mounted on casters for easy movement.
The kit includes a plastic solid-surface ramp and platform system to create two levels inside the cage.
With dimensions of 17.13” (W) x 25” (L) x 34” (H), rat owners say it contains a pair of adult rats quite nicely.
However it’s one of our smallest suggestions here, and we think it’s best as a stopgap solution, not a long term home.
Cool rat cages
These cool fancy rat cages give you lots of options in terms of finding the right rat cage for the size of your space and the number and size of the pet rats you plan to house together.
Each cage offers a multiple-level option for climbing plus valuable extras to keep your costs more manageable.
Most importantly, each rat cage listed here has been endorsed by rat owners as suitable for their pets!
Midwest Critter Nation with Stand, Single Level
This single story rat cage has a second interior level accessed by a ramp (which you will need to cover for foot protection).
The cage bar spacing is ½ inch to prevent escape, and at 36″ (L) x 25″ (W) x 38.5″ (H), the dimensions overall are adequate for a pair of adult rats or a mama rat nursing babies, but it’s a little small to provide a truly comfortable long-term home.
Best of all, this cage has a lower storage shelf and lockable caster wheels to move it about as needed.
You & Me Rat Manor Habitat
This rat manor cage has sufficient space (length/width) to accommodate two smaller size adult rats.
Where it shines is in the height it provides – there are three full levels above the floor level, accessible with ramps.
However, you will want to change these out or cover them to protect your rat’s sensitive feet.
Rat owners say their pet rats love this cage and they especially appreciate the multi-level design.
Best rat cage
We hope you have enjoyed reading through this carefully curated selection of the best pet rat cages for different numbers and sizes of pet rats!
Perhaps you have even discovered the perfect new rat cage that fulfills all your requirements and needs!
We would love to hear which rat cage you selected (whether it is on this list or not) and what your precious pet rat’s experience with that cage has been – please feel welcome to post your story in the Comments section below!
Stern, H., DVM, “Caring for Pet Rats” Animal Hospital of Soquel, 2011.
Quesenberry, K. E., DVM, MPH, DABVP, “Providing a Home for a Rat” Merck Veterinary Manual, 2016.
O’Connell, J., CVT, et al, “Rat Care (Rattus norvegicus)” Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, 2011.
Robbins, K., “AFRMA – Pet Rats & Mice – General Care” American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association (AFRMA), 2015.
Vella, D., BSc, BVSc (Hons), DABVP (ECM), “Pet Rat Care” Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets, 2013.