Choosing a Pet Cage, Hutch or Kennel
Need new housing for your small animal? When looking for your next chinchilla, ferret, guinea pig, hamster, rat or rabbit cage, hutch, or kennel, there are certain guidelines and options to consider before purchasing a cage, hutch or kennel which can be influenced by the size and type of animal, as well as how long as that animal will be in the particular cage and you should never hesitate to spend money on your chinchilla as well. In order to choose the right chinchilla, ferret, guinea pig, hamster, rat or rabbit cage, hutch, or kennel follow these steps.
First, determine the amount of space your animal will take-up in his/her new home. Measure your animal as if he/she were outstretched with hind feet kicked back. This is how animals are at their most relaxed state and will be their longest length. Write the number down. Now, for the larger small animals (rabbits, ferrets, or chinchillas), hold them “owl style” by placing their hind feet in your hands and gently stand them up until they are about the natural “washing up” position when they stand only on their hind feet. Note how tall the animal is on you and use this as a guideline to measure the animal’s maximum height it will require.
Now, access your animal’s expected activity level. Determine how much exercise you wish to give your pet. A pet who will stay in their cage for long periods of time will need a larger cage, as will one who is going to be housed with another pet. A good guideline to keep is to get a cage that is twice the pet’s length for pets who are frequently exercised and three times the pet’s length for those who must remain in their cage longer. Take into the same considerations for the cage’s height. Explore these options for pet cages, kennels, hutches, and other pet housing options.
Think about the person responsible for handling, cleaning, and general care of the pet. This will help you get an idea about which type of cage, hutch, or kennel to choose. Consider accessibility features when choosing the pet’s cage. There are pet cages on wheels for pets that move from room to room, and pet cages with side-opening and top-opening doors. Smaller animals like hamsters, rats, mice, and other creatures can have a side opening cage; however larger pets like chinchillas, guinea pigs, ferrets, and rabbits can have a top-opening cage for easier accessibility to pick-up the animal.
Finally, cleaning options for each cage, hutch, or kennel also need to be considered. The easiest to clean pet cage is a rabbit hutch, but it is designed to be used outside, and while the waste does fall through the chicken wire, it does need a daily wire scrubbing and waste removal. Note: if animals are housed in a hutch, due to the chicken wire, be sure to provide adequate bedding and inspect your pet’s feet bottoms frequently for sore hocks.
Other cages have trays that can be dumped, washed, and refreshed daily. Some also have 6″ high plastic bottoms where bedding is placed, changed, and monitored to ensure freshness. Determine where you wish to keep your pet (inside or outside) and which method of cage cleaning works best to determine which type of waste tray will suit your needs.