Time to Think About Cages (Condo Saga Part I)

My last rabbit was mostly free range. Frank was already an old dude, and he’d had a crouched life before me, and he was happy to be free, so that kind of set-up was right for him — but it wasn’t without its drawbacks (we suffered a fair amount of minor damage to our property, and there were some close calls for his health and safety). For future rabbits, I want something more contained.

We live in a small apartment and our options are limited. I decided the best use of space would be a cube condo.

Now, I am not a great engineer or builder. I’m crafty and I like to work with my hands, but my mind doesn’t snap onto how things work the way some people’s do. Building a cube condo will not be a simple task for me. I’ll want to improve on other people’s designs, but I won’t know how to do it. I’ll go to the store and they won’t have what I want, or they will but I’ll realise once I’m home that what I wanted won’t work. I’ll waste time and money figuring things out that other people know intuitively. So be it! This is something I want to do.

So, I reviewed the tutorials and pictures I could find online (links), drew up a plan, made a shopping list, and headed out to Rona (with a little help from my friends). Since then, there’s been a lot of experimentation, and a few more hardware runs. This has NOT turned out to be the inexpensive and easy housing option that everyone talks about, but at least it’s customised!

I had a vision of using a concrete pour form tube (sonotube) as a ramp between two complete floors, but after a lot of trial and error I had to accept that it wasn’t going to happen for me. (In most arrangements it just took up too much space, and/or there were big gaps in the floor around where the tube mouth poked through — I think, if I had a jigsaw, I could have made it work somehow.) So, I turned my mind toward a more traditional approach.

Rough design for a cube condo; image hosted on Photobucket

My problem with some of the traditional designs I’ve seen are that the upper floors are small — more shelves than floors, really. I want as big a second floor as possible.

My other problem with some designs is they look awkward for a nervous rabbit to jump down from. (My suspicions about this were confirmed one day when, volunteering at the rabbit booth of a pet show, I saw an insecure adoptable prevaricate repeatedly at the edge of the top floor.) Because I plan on fostering for awhile before adopting, I expect to get some nervous rabbits, and I want their condo to be a haven, not another source of anxiety. I want to consider every detail! I think it would be best if the rabbit could jump facing forward, instead of having to twist mid-air. So I drew up this design (pictured at left), and ran the plywood down to my neighbourhood hardware store for cutting.

And still so many things to consider! What to cover the plywood with? What to use for flooring on the ground level? Where to put the doors?

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