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Cage Shelter Cages


Cavy Slave
Oct 15, 2008
Hi everyone,

I am employed at a local shelter. Since the early 1960's, we've rented out the same building for $1 from a very generous company that owned the land. A little while ago, that company went bankrupt and had to sell its property, which means the land our shelter is on. Long story short, the shelter is now being evicted by the new property owners so that a strip-mall can be put in place.

After much fund-raising, we are finally able to build a brand new facility. This means more to us than could even be imagined. In this facility, we will be having a small animal room. My boss, who knows I absolutely love the small and fuzzies, gave me the amazing responsibility of choosing cages for our new room.

Of course, I automatically thought of C and C cages. They are what I use for my own critters and I absolutely love the versatility that is offered. However, I began to toss this idea around in my head and I'm not quite sure how they would work in a shelter environment. My worry is that the coroplast base would be destroyed from the sanitizing chemicals, chewers and who knows what else. Not to much that I would most certainly need to find a very good locking system so that all of the goofy people that come in don't decide to stick a hand in and harass any of the little critters. I want something that is basically a heavy-duty C and C cage.

Here's what I'm hoping to find (but don't know where to look) :

- Durable and Easy to sanitize

- Preferably something with solid sides and a vented top.
* Solid sides make it much easier to sanitize, as opposed to
wires. Also, Id like to keep the open area at the top so that
people wont go from cage to cage and stick fingers in.
Additionally, solid sides will help to prevent any sickness

- Must fit standard for the small animal that will be using it.
* Basically, Id like to make sure I have a cage for a guinea pig
that is at least a 2x3 or 2x4. And of course rabbits, chinchillas
rats, ferrets, etc also need cages appropriate for them.

- Preferably off the ground or with storage underneath

- I would also love to be able to have a few cages that can be
functional for various types of animals. For instance, we tend to
have a lot of guinea pigs and rabbits surrendered, but once in a
blue moon we do get a ferret or chinchilla or rattie. Just because
We don't get them in frequently, doesn't mean they should have
to be in an improperly sized cage. (Hopefully that made sense)

- I also have to take in to consideration prevention of any illness.

I am open to any ideas possible. It would be best to find cages that can be ordered, but Im open for any suggestions. This is so terribly important to me and I want to make sure that what we get is appropriate for our needs. I want to be able to show potential adopters that small animals SHOULD be cared for in a particular way, with spacious cages, veggies/hay/pellets and whatever else they require.

Can you give us the nearest city where you are located? That way, anyone in the area could provide you with phone numbers/addresses/links to a coroplast provider. From what you describe as your needs, it sounds like you can make the sides high enough to both discourage handling of the pigs as well as them chewing on the coroplast.

The photos section has a vast array of covered as well as open cages to give you some visual ideas. I highly recommend it. Good luck on your journey and a big thank you for you caring enough to give the small animals the very best in living environment.
How many small pets do you have at any given time? You might want to use traditional cages for the quarantine period when you first bring in new animals. If they're ill, the solid plastic bottoms can be completely disinfected whereas coroplast has the folded corner which is difficult to thoroughly disinfect unless you take the cage apart. Once they pass the quarantine period, you can move them into coroplast with compatible others of the same sex. You could also sell coroplast cages to make some extra income for the rescue. You'd probably get a break on the cost of the coroplast if you buy it in bulk.
How big is your budget? Another option might be getting some fabricated stainless steel bottoms made to size that way they could be fully sanitized.

For the rabbits I saw from on an out of my state rescue the most awesome bunny cages. They were basically bunny runs. I believe the sides were made our of cinder block each run had a nice wooden gate with quarter inch galvanized stainless steel mesh so they bunnies could look out and each run had a shelf the bunnies could hop up on or hide under. I'm trying to remember which rescue it was so I could post pictures. I'll keep looking and see if I can find it. You could put guinea pig cages on top of that as well.

If you use the quarter inch galvanized steel mesh you could easily make a rat cage out of that that would be big enough for rat(s) that babies could not sneak out of. You would need a wire crimper and some J hooks to attach the mesh together after it was cut to size. (I'll see if I can find directions. It's been a long while since I built anything like that.)

I'm not sure of the needs of ferrets or chinchillas so I don't really have any ideas.
This is not the picture I was thinking of but the idea is the same:

Shelter Cages
I haven't seen a cage for sale like what you are describing. Do you have the budget for a custom setup?

I've gotten some quotes from these people Cages, Custom Cages, Eurocage and Aviaries - Corners Limited of West Michigan for an acrylic and wire parrot cage, and their prices are very reasonable. Their website isn't amazing but I've gotten a catalog from them and they can pretty much do anything and can use whatever material you need- they encourage you to call them with your own ideas for whatever animal. They've done a lot of enclosures for zoos.

It might not hurt to send them an email or call them to discuss what you are looking for and see what they quote you!
What if you make C&C cage with really hight sides (all the way up the cubes) to keep hands out- but with a grid top for ventalation. If you duct tape the corners the coroplast could be flattened out for cleaning. And the duct tape would be replaced with clean fresh duct tape to prevent ilnness from spreading. I'm not sure what chemicals you use to disinfect, but you could test them on some scrap coroplast first. Maybe a sign about no fingers ect in the cages too, and a watchful eye!
Obviously I don't know much about shelter regulations so this may or may not work, or may need some tweaking. Good luck!
What about some sort of galvanized steel cages? They could be used for all small pets since they generally have very small holes.

I found this: (broken link removed)
Maybe use the dog crate style for guinea pigs?

Or what about custom plexiglass cages? You could fashion a metal grid lid onto the tops of each one and drill small holes in the front of them for more ventilation? It would allow people to see the animals, but not touch. For rabbits, rats, chins, etc that like to climb and jump, the bottom could be plexiglass where people reach, and the tops could be the galvanized steel?

I think with traditional C&C cages the coroplast would need replaced often. It isn't a solid structure, urine and such can leak into the corners with time. If you can find some sort of canvas like base like those midwest pets cages have, you could use the grids with that.

I'm just kind of throwing ideas here as I go, sorry if it's a bit scattered. I think you'd be better off to end up with cages made of either the galvanized steel or plexiglass or both. Selling materials for a C&C cage on the side would be a great idea too. Maybe have an "adoptable of the week" set up in a C&C cage in the front or something for people to see what it is, and how awesome they are.
Thank you all for the wonderful ideas! Inle_Rabbit, I LOVE those rabbit cages! Now Ill have to see if I can find them. My only hesitation is that they dont have lids. Believe it or not, we've actually had people come in to the shelter and open dog cages (which are clipped and have HUGE signs that say not to make contact) and then act shocked when we tell them not to do so. So of course, I worry that someone will waltz in and decide its a good idea to pick up an animal from an open cage.

Pinky, Im not entirely sure what our typical capacity will be, since currently we do not have a small animal room and have an extremely small building in general. We wanted to have a small animal room in the new building so that we have the ability to take in exotics and keep them in an environment away from the cats and dogs. I'd assume we wouldnt have an enormous amount, but then again I can honestly say that I have no clue =(

Additionally, my boss gave me no particular budget. The only true instructions were, "Find the required cage sizes for different small animals and give me the dimensions or try to find the cages and places we can order them from." I figured I could present both high and low cost options.

I may contact a local sign company that I use for my own cages at home and see if they are willing to donate or discount coroplast for the shelter. I really like the suggestion to sell a C and C starter kit.

Inle, where did you find that picture of the cages? I just cant get over how nice they are! I spent hours on the web the other night, but with little success. Those just look perfect, especially because they appear to be easy to sanitize and a long-running drain against the wall would make it perfect for cleaning.

Lastly, Ive been tossing around the idea of the Midwestern Expandable cages (aka, the C and C knock offs haha). I like the fact that multiple units can be joined together, accessories can be purchased (including lids) and that the base is machine washable and the wires can be soaked in sanitizer so everything can be completely disinfected with relative ease.

Again, I cant thank you all enough for your ideas.
This is where I found it and it says it is handmade but doesn't look hard for someone who knows how or very expensive. Now that I'm looking at the cages here is what I think I would do.

Build bunny runs however many you think you need. I would do them at least 36 inches high which would be counter height. Put solid tops on the rabbit runs. On top of the rabbit cages I would put the guinea pig cages. Something like these pictures only with tops. You can make tops with wire shelving that should be a good deterrent to people as well as clip-able or lockable. For the bottom you could either use linoleum or melamine, both of which would be easy to clean and durable, linoleum more so than the melamine I would think. Make sure to leave some space at the top of the rabbit run walls for cross ventilation. You could even put regular cabinets above the guinea pig cages for storage. If the bunnies need more light puck lights would probably work and require no wire. For the guinea pigs if you build the cage right you could leave niches to place the plexiglass sides so that sides could be taken off or put on depending on how many guinea pigs you have or how much space you need.

anyway those are my ideas. =D
Thank you so much! I think what I might do is print out pictures of different cages and design ideas and present them. That way, if she approves of a certain design, then I can inform her that they will need to be built by a company specifically for us, or possibly find an independent construction worker. Supposedly the room is fairly large, so Im thinking of possibly asking for counter tops with cabinets below for storage. That way, I can have the guinea pig cages on top. I like the idea idea of the plexiglass runs. I think that will be great because the customers will have a good view and the cages should be fairly easy to clean. We will probably have the same flooring as the dog kennel, which is supposedly going to be a non-porous form of concrete. Obviously, I wouldn't let the buns sleep on concrete, so they would have beds and fleece goodies lol.

In a dream world, I wish I could have this cage, but customized to be the appropriate size and safety needed for a rabbit. I think (although not positive) that a cage of this type might also be adaptable for ferrets:

Shelter Cages
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