SHAK HOUSE website
I've bought this to replace my Superpet cage. This may or may not be a huge mistake; the boys may or may not chew it into tiny pieces.
The cage comes in very bright colours - it's not one of those cages that will blend into your living room decor. The fantastic thing is that it's made in sections. You can choose which side panels you want and where to put them. The standard Rat Shak comes with seven solid wall panels, one wire wall panel, two solid doors and two wire gates. It all fixes together using poles which slot down through the sides of the panels and then screw together.
The roof is intended as a storage space, but I've cut through to let the boys into the attic. It remains to be seen whether leaving off the sealing strip at the top of the roof gives them enough ventilation. I may have to rethink.
They haven't chewed it! Mind you, give them time. The attic space is working well, although the bedding needs to be changed regularly. The cage does seem quite smelly, possibly because they've been working to make it smell like home. I think it really needs more ventilation.
Because the cage is quite enclosed it's hard to see all of the rats in it. So when we lost Theo one morning we didn't realise until the evening when we found him on the hamster cages. Plan: buy more wire panels as and when I can afford them, and eventually add another storey to the cage.
Well, I've cleaned it out, and I have to say it's one of the easiest cages I've ever cleaned. You can just wipe each shelf, sweeping any bits through the access holes in the floors, then slide the base out to empty and wipe.
I've got a couple of extra panels; a wire door for the bottom level to get a bit more light in and let me see who's in there, and a wire panel for the second level so I can fix wooden shelves/steps to the back.
It looks like Ferplast corner shelves will fit into it. I've offered one up, I think the fixing holes will line up with the bars of a wire panel, but I'd need two wire panels around a corner to try it properly. It might be a good way to make the drop between levels smaller when I add another level. (Later Note: the ferplast panels do not fit.)
More Rat Shak photos (amongst others)
Hmm, I've done it again. The cage now has another storey. It's fantastic. I feel like a little girl with a dolls' house. Seven rats with four floors, including the attic. It looks empty. But I mustn't GMR.
I'm still very pleased with the cage. I've taken it completely apart once to scrub it down, which took me 3 hours, but generally it's fine with a good wipe down once a week. The boys haven't attempted to chew it at all - they save that activity for their wooden wine rack.
I've added a balcony, so the boys can lurk on there and get attention as we pass. Everyone except Toby, that is, because for some reason the others don't allow him off the ground floor.
I've been gradually taking out the additional between-floor shelves, as the ratties are chewing the nylon nuts that hold them in place. I'm sure Shakhouse would send me some new ones, but leaving them out gives more space for bigger toys and makes the cage look more airy. I'm also replacing solid walls with wire wall panels, because it gives me more places to hang hammocks and attach bits and pieces. I'll have enough bits for another floor soon! But I don't think the ceiling will allow. There are five boys in there at the moment and I think I'll keep it at that level.
I've placed an order for another floor and some more wire panels. So I'll have a four storey cage soon.
The order's here. The wire panels are great. Now I will be able to hang hammocks on all the levels. The floor is broken on the corner and the poles are missing, so I've emailed Shak.
Couldn't wait for a reply to my email, so I've phoned Shak. No reply, but I've left a message.
Sent a snail mail letter to Shak. Still no reply to the email or phone message.
No reply. I've left another phone message and sent another email. Very frustrating - I hoped to have the extra floor installed by now. Not impressed with the customer service.
I've left a bad review on their floor panel page. Maybe they'll notice that.
Having finished arranging weddings and suchlike, I'm back on the case. I've written another paper letter and sent it and copies of everything else off on the 10th of September. Still no reply. I could scream! I really need that extra floor now I have all the extra ratties, but if I order another it might happen all over again.
I just tried the contact form on the website. I don't think I've tried that before. Maybe that will work.
Video tour of the cage
Wow! I'm excited now! A friend has offered me a single storey Shakhouse cage she doesn't want. If I can get my extra floor from Shakhouse I can make it into a two storey and link it onto my cage because I've already got the panels. I've been trying to work out how to attach the Shakhouse cage to a different cage to extend it, but it will be so much better if I have one that matches.
I've placed an order for another floor, but added a note rather than making payment. I've also written yet another letter that I'm going to send recorded, or whichever one will track the letter. Then I'll know if they get it. Then I'm going to try to leave a message on their phone at least once a day. I'm going to get my cage bits off them if I have to drive there myself!
The really annoying thing is that I've been sending people to their website. According to their links page I've sent them 1665 people, and they've sent 54 to me. Which is really clever because their link to me doesn't actually work.
Left a phone message.
Um, forgot to leave a phone message.
Sent a registered letter.
It came! It actually came! I've got a replacement floor and the poles to go with it! I knew what it was as soon as I saw the parcel. I am a muppet, though; I sat on the floor and cried when I unwrapped it. Still no actual communication, but something got through to someone.
I've got it all planned out. There's just room for an Argos coffee table next to the current cage, so if I put the new cage on there it should be just the right height to go next to the arm of the settee. I'll have the other cage in a week and a half, so not long to wait. Expect photos!
I now have an unreasonably large cage in my living room. Yes, it's all one big cage, connected horizontally with a tunnel. It is fantastic. Totally excessive, but fantastic.
I got a nice email from the Shak webmaster last week explaining that there had been a problem with the email. I will probably use Shak again, but don't know if I'd trust them with a big order. At least I know next time to go straight to the registered snail mail, assuming that's what finally got through.
The cage is shaping up well. As there are six floors I wipe down the un-covered floors each evening, change the litter trays, and do a thorough clean of one floor, changing the hammocks etc. On the seventh day I clean out the dining room cage with my other group in. The RatShak doesn't get too messy at all, except possibly in the attic because there's no litter tray up there and they seem too lazy to come down a level to use one.
I'm breaking bits! The rods which slot down the side are prone to having the screw in part break off in the hole if you screw it in too hard, and some of the panels have cracked. I have fewer rats in the Shak cages at the moment, so only have two x 2 storey cages assembled.
Sold. It was really hard to see it go, but it's not practical for the larger number of small groups I have now.
Description Measurement Inches Centimeters a. Panel with rod sections Width 18.00 45.50 b. Panel Height 18.00 45.50 c. Rod Sections Width 1.25 3.30 d. Panel between rods Width 15.50 39.20 e. Door opening Width 12.50 32.00 f. Door opening Height 13.50 34.00 g. Base Height 4.00 10.00 h. Base inc. pull out tray knob Width 35.75 91.00 i. Roof Height 9.00 23.00 j. Roof with overhang Width 36.00 91.00 k. Roof with overhang Depth 22.00 56.00 l. Full 2 storey cage with feet Height 49.50 125.00 m. Full 3 storey cage with feet Height 68.00 171.00 m. Full cage Width 36.25 92.00 o. Body of 2 storey cage Height (2b + g) 40.00 101.00 p. Body of 3 storey cage Height (3b + g) 58.25 147.00 q. Body of cage Width (3c + 2d) 34.75 88.00 r. Body of cage Depth 18.00 45.50
Height = vertical measurement from top to bottom Width = horizontal measurement from left to right
Depth = horizontal measurement from front to back
Cage calculator estimate (2 storey) : This cage will house up to 7 rats if the space is used wisely.
Cage calculator estimate (3 storey) : This cage will hold up to 10 rats if the space is used wisely.