I wrote about the end of Tommy’s cube-condo this summer, so now I’ll say a bit about what he moved into.
A dog crate! A big one: 2′ 7″ high, 4′ wide, and 2′ 5″ deep.
We put in a top shelf (only 1′ 9″ wide). We might one day put in a more complete second floor, although it would have to have walls where the doors are (because that would be a pretty long jump to the hardwood.
For his comfort, we lined the floor tray with layers of corrugated cardboard. (We’ve been looking for this stuff for years! We finally found some at Rotblotts.)
I made a ramp to the top shelf, which I think is pretty fun. It’s almost more like a bridge. It’s made from a set of fiddlesticks with one end on the shelf, and the other end on a low cardboard box. I put a grass mat on top of the box for traction. The grass mat and the fiddlesticks are attached to the side of the cage with zip-ties, so they won’t slip out from under Thomas’ feet. (I drilled some holes into the sticks to run the ties through.)
Thomas likes using the ramp, but we found he was also jumping down from the shelf to the ground floor directly. Even with the corrugated cardboard, I felt it was too hard a surface to be jumping down on, so I bought a cheap yoga mat and put that below all the cardboard. I also added a few extra layers of cardboard. Since he likes to rip up the cardboard, I check every day to make sure he’s not getting close to the yoga mat. (I don’t know if he’d eat it or not; our last bun definitely would’ve.)
The corrugated flooring is not the easiest to sweep. There are patches where lower layers show through, and loose squares here and there, which make it even harder to sweep without getting hay and litter caught between the layers. We do our best. I assume every so often I’ll have to take everything out and re-do it. I expected as much. I wrote in my last habitat post about how Tom sometimes pees over the edge of his litter; now when that happens I just cut out the soiled parts and insert new patches below the lowest layer. (And I do the same when an area is made wet by spilled water from his dishes.) Maybe not the best system, but an improvement over having to replace the entire floor each time it happens!
You may have noticed the second litter box in the pictures above. We have his normal litter box in the far right corner (it’s a modified plastic storage tote). When he started peeing outside the box (as mentioned in my last post, he started peeing beside his litter box last month — and not by leaning over the edge, but actually standing outside the box), I put the small store-bought corner box to try and block him. For the most part, it’s worked (just two accidents). He pees in both boxes every day. I stuff the hay deeper in his main box, and don’t use any in the smaller one, so that he can’t stand outside the box and eat hay.
For outside the cage, we have a selection of boxes and tunnels. We switch it up, you know, try to keep him guessing!