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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Rat Room Remodel

The Remodeled Rat Room

My husband, Tom, always takes a nice two weeks off over the holidays. This year, he decided to devote a huge chunk of that time to remodeling Ratropolis (our Rat Room). Our Rat Room is in the basement and has always been a nice place for rat free range, but the room as a whole had a little bit of an unpolished basement atmosphere. For reference, below is a shot of the former Rat Room, featuring the same back wall as shown above:

The old Rat Room
The pale green walls left the room feeling rather cold, and the sump pump in the corner was loud, an eye sore, and a potential hazard. There was also a mess of cabling in the same corner that had to be kept out of the rats' reach. The floor was cold, hard, dark green concrete.

We decided it would be best to completely wall off the sump pump area of the room to create a large closet storage area and protect the rats from the hazards of the sump pump. My husband redid all the wiring and cabling back there so that everything is clean and orderly. Shown below is the new wall in the old rat room.

Wall enclosing sump pump and creating storage closet.
The rats in the old setup were limited in space by an aviary housing my remaining finches. We decided to move the last of the birds (just four left) into a flight cage (actually, a Critter Nation turned on its side) so that we could tear down the aviary and expand the rat room into the bird room territory. That effectively doubled the rat room in size.

We then decided to remove the ceiling mounted 4' shop light fixture and replace it with two LED fixtures with a dimmer switch, to give the room a classier look and to allow control over the amount of light in the room.

From there, we painted everything a nice warm happy yellow, with fresh white trim and baseboards. The yellow ended up being a little darker/brighter than I intended, but I like the way it turned out. I read once, a long time ago, about a study that showed that rats were happier and more social in a yellow environment when compared with a blue environment. I can no longer find any trace of that article, but that always stuck with me, and so when we wanted to warm the room up a bit, yellow seemed like the perfect choice.

We installed shelving for storage on the new back wall. We covered the floor with Allure Ultra waterproof laminate flooring (like Pergo, but made of vinyl so that it is waterproof). The final result is shown below.

The new wall with storage shelves and door to the closet/sump pump area.
A fan in the far left corner keeps the air circulating. 
Looking slightly to the left is the love seat for TV viewing.
The left wall with love seat and flight cage (modified DCN on its side).
The entry into the room with flight cage on one side of the door and
rat cages on the other side.
Different angle of the entry to the room.
The rat cages on the right wall.
The TV mounted to the wall.
View from the love seat.
The entire room is rat safe for supervised free range and now feels much more like a living space rather than a basement pet room.

DISCLAIMER: When I say "we" did something, I primarily mean "Tom" did it, with me sometimes being able to help as the gopher, hold this, find this tool, hand me the screws person. Tom is amazingly talented and hard working and truly amazing.