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How to Choose a Small Pet’s Cage

A small pet’s home should be a safe, fun sanctuary, with lots of space to move about and a cozy bed for relaxing. Think about what you’d want if you had to live in a cage—and take it from there!


  • Step 1: Think big Always get the largest enclosure you can afford, even if your pet is tiny. Just like larger animals, 'pocket pets' need plenty of space to roam around.
  • Step 2: Consider categories Keep in mind that small-pet cages fall into three main categories: Glass aquariums with wire covers, wire cages, and plastic habitats.
  • Step 3: Choose glass aquarium for larger pets If you have a 'larger' small pet, such as a rat or teddy-bear hamster, consider a glass aquarium that’s 20 gallons or bigger. These provide enough room to run around, with space for toys and exercise wheels.
  • TIP: A rat will adore a two-level ferret cage, if you can afford it.
  • Step 4: Consider wire cage If you’re looking for something inexpensive and easy to find, go for a wire cage with a plastic tray bottom. The tray makes the cage easy to clean.
  • Step 5: Make sure bottom is solid If you select a wire cage, make sure that it has a solid bottom that can hold bedding and is comfortable for your pet to walk on.
  • Step 6: Check cage’s bars A mouse can squeeze through an opening no wider than a pencil. So if you choose a wire cage for a mouse, make sure the cage’s bars are close enough together to contain the little critter.
  • Step 7: Consider plastic habitat For gerbils, mice, and hamsters, consider a plastic habitat with tubes and tunnels--but keep in mind that these cages are more expensive and a bit harder to clean.
  • TIP: Small animals are surprisingly good climbers and escape artists. Make sure to put covers securely on aquariums and to fasten doors and latches of wire cages and plastic habitats.
  • Step 8: Get an exercise wheel All rodents, big and small, love exercise wheels. Make sure your cage is big enough to hold the right-sized wheel for your little friend.
  • Step 9: Set your pet up Lug the cage home and set up your pet in his nice new habitat!
  • FACT: Rearranging your small pet’s cage will prevent him from getting bored.

You Will Need

  • Small-pet books
  • magazines
  • and websites for research
  • A pet-supply store
  • either real or online

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