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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Using the Martin's Rat Play Pen with Pan as a Quarantine Cage

We recently purchased a Martin's Rat Play Pen with Pan from Martin's Cages in Columbia, Pennsylvania. We hadn't considered buying one in the past because we always have had designated rat-safe areas of our home where the rats could come out and play. These areas work better for us, because we can be there with them and interact better. While the Martin's play pens allow you to sit inside when you raise the flip-top lid, the space is cramped and the rats can climb up the walls and out if the lid is raised.

So what changed our minds? We needed to get a new cage for quarantining new rat additions to our family. Loki, living alone, currently resides in the cage we otherwise have used for quarantine. A new cage is expensive - even the pet store cages suitable for rats are pricey. And if we were going to spend that much money, we would rather spend it on a quality cage. Midwest Critter Nation cages were out of the question, as that is simply too much for a cage that currently would only be used for a few weeks during quarantine. Se we looked at getting another Martin's cage.

But one problem with getting another Martin's cage just for quarantine is that it can't be easily assembled then disassembled - even if you put it together with zip-ties. Since we would be storing this cage after quarantine, having something collapsible for storage was ideal. That was when I really took note of the Martin's Rat Play Pen with Pan (some of the play pens do not come with a pan and simply sit on the ground - those would not have met our needs).

The play pen was actually a little cheaper than the smallest cage suitable for a pair of rats. It includes a pan similar to the pan their cages come with, and the pen is latched to the pan with spring hooks. It also includes a flip-top lid for putting the rats in and out. The entire pen collapses for easy storage.

Martins Rat Play Pen with Pan -
modified for use as a quarantine cage
It is not ideal for use as a cage, because it does not have levels and it does not have a cage door. However, Martin's accepts custom orders, and we found we could add a door for just $10 more. So we ordered one and attached a large shallow storage bin to on side as a second level. Not an ideal cage for every day, as there are some areas that are hard to reach through the door, but for a few weeks, it is just fine - and plenty spaceous as well. It is also nice that both sides of the top flip open, making it easy to pet a rattie through the top.

But what made ordering a play pen for quarantine really worth it?: when quarantine is over, we can use it for its intended purpose. A cage would just be stored away, but a play pen has future use.

Why would we want a play pen when our rats get out time in larger areas?
  1. It can be set up outside. Sometimes we like to enjoy some nice weather out on the deck. Now we can bring the rats out with us, but keep them safe from predators and parasites and just getting lost, by using the play pen. The rats always seem to enjoy the smell of the fresh air, and the play pen makes it safer for us to let them come out every now and then.
  2. It can be set up in any room of the house, carpeted or not, rat-safe or not. We can put them in the play pen for some play time while we are watching TV in the family room or having company in the living room. We can have them out in the play pen even when the dogs are around without having to be extra vigilant.
  3. It can be used as neutral territory for introductions. Of course, this assumes it is has not been used for quarantine, or it is no longer neutral.
Jo in quarantine
It certainly doesn't replace true out-time with us, but it gives us more opportunities to take the rats out during times when we can't focus solely on them. It gives them a second environment to explore with toys that won't fit in their cage. And when we get more rats, we won't have to worry about investing in another quarantine cage if all of our traditional cages are in use.

1 comment:

  1. Besides a play pen for out of cage time would this one a good cage for boarding for 4 days at the vet for two adult males while we are on vacation?