You see them everywhere.
Wire bottom cages are probably the most common type of chinchilla cage.
Even a lot of breeders use them.
They are smaller, so they tend to cost less and take up less space.
But there is a lot of information out there claiming that these cages are bad for chinchillas. That they can potentially damage their feet.
Is that true? And if so, why do so many people continue to use them?
Keep reading for the truth about wire bottom cages for chinchillas. I’ll also show you my favorite cage and the one accessory that changed my life and makes this whole debate moot anyway.
Are Wire Bottom Cages Bad For Chinchillas?
No, wire bottom cages are not bad for chinchillas. But flat bottom cages are easier on a chinchilla’s feet.
Wire bottom cages also require chinchilla-safe bedding, like wood shavings, beneath the wire bottom. Overall, wire bottom cages are not bad, but they are also not the best choice.
I know that answer probably raised a few additional questions about wire bottom chinchilla cages. Don’t worry, we’ll answer them all in the rest of this post.
The Truth About Wire Bottom Cages For Chinchillas
There is a lot of confusion among chinchilla owners in the online communities concerning wire bottom cages. Some insist that wire bottoms can be harmful to the small bones in a chinchilla’s feet.
And I don’t necessarily disagree. But also believe that a wire bottom cage for your chinchilla can undoubtedly get the job done.
And they are far better than some other common alternatives, most notably cages containing plastic components. Please, do not put your chinchilla in a plastic cage.
In fact, chinchilla breeders often use wire bottom cages. Some will make them available to you when you adopt your chinchilla, while others do not, meaning you will have to buy a cage.
In that case, I’d say don’t go with a wire bottom cage. Buy one of our favorite chinchilla cages instead. The first one listed in that article is the one I myself use.
In a perfect world, wire bottom cages would be nothing more than starter cages. But if you already have one, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to rush to get a new cage.
I personally started with a wire bottom cage myself, and it worked just fine. However, I did have some complaints and some things I disliked about the cage.
First and foremost, I didn’t like the thought of my chinchilla’s feet slipping between the bars. I also didn’t like thinking that it would cause potential long-term pain or harm to her feet.
I also got tired of using shavings for my chinchilla’s bedding (we will cover this shortly). I decided it was time to make a change and swap chinchilla cages.
I simply concluded that wire bottom cages don’t make sense long term. They are not physically appealing and was ready to make a change.
I already touched on this above, but here’s more detail about what I did instead.
Alternatives To Wire Bottom Cages For Chinchillas
After deciding that I was ready to kick the wire bottom chinchilla cage to the curb, I decided to purchase the dual-level Critter Nation 2 cage.
It was the best decision I could have made for my chinchilla for a few reasons. First, it is a significantly larger cage than any typical wire bottom cage.
As we know, chinchillas need large cages to remain happy and healthy. Secondly, it allowed me to make the change from using wood shavings to fleece liners for the bedding.
Fleece Liners Provide More Comfort Than Wire
Yes, fleece liners are 100% safe for chinchillas, and they are excellent when compared to shavings. They are easy to wash and clean and make things much more comfortable for your chinchilla.
Not to mention, they look much better.
I use these specific fleece liners which are custom- made for the Critter Nations 2 Dual Level Cage.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
There are just so many benefits to using fleece liners as opposed to shavings.
They might cost more upfront, but they save you so much in the long run, since you no longer have to keep buying new shavings. Just wash the liners and reuse them over and over.
There are also far more comfortable on your pet’s feet, as mentioned above. And they are so much easier to clean. This article has much more on the benefits of fleece liners.
Avoid These Mistakes To Prevent Infections
Another thing to keep in mind about wire bottom cages is that a chinchilla should never be directly on top of the shavings, because they get soaked with their urine.
Especially since most chinchilla owners don’t clean their cage often enough to prevent potential infections.
You should use some type of screen or tray beneath the wire bottom chinchilla cage that holds the chinchilla shavings. When your chin urinates, it falls below the cage and gets soaked up by the shavings.
Wire Bottom Cages For Chinchillas: Final Thoughts
To recap, wire bottom cages are not necessarily bad for chinchillas. Many chinchilla owners use them and have never had any issues. A lot of breeders use them too.
But there is the potential for injury. And they are usually on the small side. If you have the budget to purchase a bigger cage for your chinchilla, that’s certainly the path I would take.
Chinchillas love to jump and they love to climb. A larger cage with soft fleece liners and multiple levels within the cage will go a long way toward helping your chinchilla remain happy and healthy.
Nonetheless, if a wire bottom chinchilla cage is all that your budget can accommodate now, you have nothing to feel bad about and generally not much cause to worry. And you can always cover the wire bottom with fleece, too.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your chinchilla and the journey you have ahead of you.
Chime in with your thoughts on wire bottom cages.
This is one of the more debated topics I’ve seen when it comes to owning a chinchilla. I’d love to get your feedback on the topic as well.
Do you think wire bottom cages are bad for chinchillas?
Do you think the cause further damages or pain to your chinchillas’ feet long term?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.
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