Pet Furniture

Published on March 8th, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Gorm rat cage

The Gorm is turning out to be ideal as pet cages. Here’s another one for rats from Robin.

“My husband and I made this 4-floor cage for our pet rat (who can be seen sleeping on the balcony in the pictures). It cost around $30 for the Gorm shelf unit (5 of the 20×20 size shelves and 4 uprights) and another $40 at the hardware store for the wire mesh, hinges, wood trim that makes the door, and hook latches.

The mesh is attached to the frame with 1/2″ wood staples. The hardest part of the whole project was making the door since we have no carpentry experience but we made good use of a Speed Square to mark out the angles and keep the corners square while we stapled the pieces together.

The ramps are made by sawing out one of the slats that make the shelves and reattaching them with little brass hinges. This means each of the ramps can swing up and be secured flat to separate the floors. We then glued down a few pieces of the hook-side of velcro and used them to secure felt strips to the ramps to give some grip. When they are dirty or torn up we can just pull them off and wash or replace.

We covered the floor with old t-shirts and towels which are easy to wash and keep little feet from slipping between the slats. I’d like to replace them with carpet scraps someday for a more finished look but they won’t be as easy to keep clean.”

See more photos of Robin’s rat cage.

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- Gorm for parakeets
- Ikea home for chicks

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

12 Responses to Gorm rat cage

  1. Anonymous says:

    Unsealed softwoods are unsafe in any form, not just shavings. I’d be as concerned by a vet that didn’t know that as I would using them in my cage.

  2. Holly says:

    Actually it’s the phenols in the wood (found only in soft woods such as pine or spruce) not the dust. The phenols irritate and harm their respiratory system.

  3. Anonymous says:

    He/she is the cutest rat I have ever seen! great job!

  4. DJinny says:

    Have I said something mean?? It really isn’t my style, I apologize if I offended you by mistake…

  5. Robin B. says:

    OP here, thought I would respond to some things…

    Dana: So far we’ve had no problems with urine soaking into the wood. Our boy is litter trained and mostly pees in the litter box (which was being changed when the picture was taken which is why you can’t see it). He also hasn’t shown the least interest in chewing at the wood but we also keep him in good supply of more fun things to chew on like nuts in the shell and cardboard tubes.

    Gwen: We heard that too but asked our vet before building it he. He said that since this is whole wood and not shavings there should be no problem. It’s the dust that they have a problem with, not the wood itself. Just to be safe we did all the sawing for the project outside though.

  6. MyFuZZyButtZ says:

    ‘Most of the IKEA hacks’ DO NOT have something to do with pets! Look around and you’re see a wide variety!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why do most of the IKEA hacks have something to do with pets?

  8. DJinny says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Gwen says:

    The wood is pine or spruce which rats should never be exposed to. Visit to see the science on this problem. “The acids given off by pine and cedar shavings are very damaging to the respiratory tract. These acids can actually destroy cells that line the lungs and trachea…” Please, if you have made a rat cage out of these materials, consider switching to a power-coated cage such as those made by Martin’s or Midwest Metals (Critter Nation).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Despite all my rage I’m still just… well… quite content thank you very much! Nice work!

  11. Moontree says:

    I agree with Dana’s point about the wood- things could get messy fast. I’m thinking of building a similar condo type-thing for my rabbit & guinea pig, and I’ve heard that self-stick vinyl tiles work well. They are easy to clean and can be cut to just about any size.

  12. Dana Chen says:

    This is great — the hinged ramps are pretty neat. I’m sure the ratties are super happy to have a large cage.

    One caveat though: Is Robin aware that wood isn’t the best material for a rat cage? Rat urine soaks into the wood and causes ammonia build-up, which can lead to respiratory disease. Plus, wouldn’t the rats destroy the wood pretty easily? I feel like the effort and craftsmanship put into this would have a better ROI if the material was different.

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