There are some important factors to consider when choosing a cage to house your Chinchilla, so before you rush for the best looking or most expensive cage in the store think about your purchase and how it can keep your Chin safe and comfortable. The prettiest or most expensive is not always the best chinchilla cage!
After considering more than two dozen different cages, I decided to buy the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation (link to check the price on Amazon). For me, it’s the perfect balance of price and quality. It has many of the features of the high-end cages including a whopping five inches taller than the “Mansion Cage” which is priced much higher! (see it here) I’ve been really happy with them.
Here is a photo of two Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation Cages that sit side by side in my office.
I believe the most important takeaway from this article, is that I strongly encourage you to not purchase the higher priced, shorter cages available. The cage I have recommended even comes with free ramp covers which are ordinarily additional purchases with the higher priced units!
Also, I tested multiple cheap cages trying to save a buck, and they just aren’t very good. I bought a cheap one for my chin, and it just didn’t have enough space. Also, the cheaper cages often aren’t made of the proper material, making it them unsafe for your chin!
Things I DO NOT like: The only thing I do not like about this cage is the litter tray doesn’t have a urine guard. Urine guards are like little walls that keep litter as well as urine INSIDE the cage. I made my own guard using 3 1/2 inch pine boards that I cut and screwed together the same size as the tray. It sits on top of the tray adding 3 1/2 inches of height to the tray walls and can be easily removed when I take out the tray. What I used were (2) pine boards, 23 inches long and (2) pine boards, 33 1/4 long.
10/20/18 UPDATE: I have recently stumbled upon these deep litter pans that fit my Critter Nation cage! They are made by a company called Bass Equipment, and you can find them on this page. Here is a review of the pans. I went with the 3″ stainless steel deep pans and I absolutely LOVE them!
The video below was recorded a year ago and mentions
- that the website is not user-friendly
- that you have to customize your order
- shipping is high
None of these are true today; their website has been updated. The cost of the 3″ stainless steel pan is currently $48.25. Clicking this link takes you directly to the order page. Shipping/oversize fee is approx $23, which in my opinion is not very much considering the size of these and they are made of stainless steel.
Why I Picked the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation
- It’s actually bigger than the more expensive comparable cage by 5 full inches.
- The welded cage walls are quiet.
- Large detachable doors are the berries for easy cleaning!
- Visually appealing. Looks great in my office.
- Nice storage space underneath.
- Despite being a tall cage, it doesn’t have any fall risks inside.
- The top and bottom cages can be joined or separated.
- Super easy to assemble.
The most important thing to keep in mind while buying a cage is the Chinchilla cage size. Chinchillas are very fond of running around, hopping, jumping and climbing by instinct. As a result, it is important to buy a cage which has plenty of room for a Chinchilla to keep up with such daily activities.
The height of the cage is more important than the length and breadth as Chinchillas are fonder of jumping and climbing than anything else. The cages should be as high as parrot cages at least but not more than 3 feet. Otherwise, there are chances that the Chinchilla might fall from the top and hurt themselves. Chinchillas need a cage measuring at least 24″ x 24″ x 18″. For a chinchilla family – opt for bigger cage size – 30″ x 18″ x 24″. The most comfortable design features dimensions of 36″ x 30″ x 60″.
Chinchillas are active climber so consider at least two levels of the house, two ramps, and two balconies. Larger chinchilla cages are equipped with three floors. The side wall wire mesh should have spaces up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) especially if one of the pets is pregnant. Baby chinchillas could squeeze even through small cage bar spacing.
Chinchillas are prone to overheating as they do not sweat. A Chinchilla cage with solid sides will be hot and stuffy and can be fatal for a Chinchilla, so it is better to opt for a mesh on the side of the cage. It is best to buy a wire mesh cage as plastic ones are easily chewed by Chinchillas, which have a terrible gnawing habit.
Many veterinarians recommend a solid bottom cage with bedding because it is better for a chinchilla and the wire floor is inappropriate for their tiny feet. Most vets agree that wire-bottom caging may cause pathological changes such as limb lesions. In fact, bedding should be part of the chinchilla environment. Also, solid floors are easier to clean.
It is of utmost importance to keep the Chinchilla cage clean. The Critter Nation cage has these huge front opening doors which gives me access to the entire cage. Love it!
Pull Out Pan
To make your life easier look to buy a Chinchilla cage that has a pull-out or lift-out bottom tray which makes for easy and speedier cleaning. The Critter Nation DOES come with such pans however they are too shallow, in my opinion, and my chin can knock his litter shavings out of the cage. This is the reason I ordered new stainless steel pans from Bass Equipment (link and video above).
Make sure the shelves are not far apart and that all the surfaces are smooth (i.e., no wire grating).
Upgrades And Modifications
Here is a great clip of some fantastic (optional) modifications, tips & tricks. I love my critter nation cages just as they are however if you live in a very small apartment or are just sensitive to metal cage noises this video will show you some small modifications you can make with some cheap clamps and bolts!