Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

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Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by chinchillasandmice on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 2:25 am

Hi! I'm new to the site and also new to mouse keeping.

I've only had my 3 female mice for about a week, but I've noticed some issues already. They have a ten gallon tank and a plastic igloo, tube, and silent spinner wheel to play on and I'm using aspen shavings for now. My issue is that I have to clean my wheel daily because they all pee and poop inside of it and it becomes caked on. Is this normal? It's possible that its wet poop or a mixture of urine and poop and running that cakes it on. Not only that, the plastic igloo I have for them and the tube also picks up bad smells and weird, waxy texture, possibly from their poopy feet.

Is this abnormal or is it just marking? Is it possibly a chemical reaction with the plastic? This wouldn't be so frustrating if they actually peed or pooed in their bedding which has a possibility to absorb the odors, but when I remove all the plastic in the cage, the smell is completely gone - they don't urinate at all in their bedding. Any tips would be very much appreciated!

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by CallaLily on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 8:32 am

Yep, the wheel mess very normal. Younger mice especially seem to muck it up quickly.  The rest of the mess can be normal too but usually once they get settled in its not as bad.  I would double check that they're all female though, to be on the safe side.  I remember my male mouse would leave all of his toys feeling greasy more so than any female mice I've had. Not sure if that was just him or a male vs female thing.


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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by CinnamonPearl on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 11:24 am

Definitely normal, yeah, but I know plastic toys can tend to hold onto bad smells even after being washed. I prefer wooden, cardboard, and fleece toys, just so I can throw them out when they get gross. The only plastic I use is the wheels.

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by nenna87 on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 5:24 pm

My girls used to pee and poop on their wheel constantly too. I used to have go wash the wheels out with soapy water at least once, often twice, a day. However, as they have gotten older they don't do it as much. Now I keep unscented pet wipes or baby wipes (depends what is cheapest when I go) near the cage for quick cleans during the week. However, there is rarely much pee on the wheel and they mostly pee in one area (usually inside a plastic toy).

For smell, I find soaking plastic items in vinegar water helps. I just soak in half water, half vinegar overnight (probably don't need that long, I just happen to doing most spot cleaning at night). In the morning I rinse them to remove the vinegar smell and allow to air dry.

Regarding getting them to pee in their bedding- this will probably come with time. However, my girls still like peeing inside things -usually plastic. I now put a "toy" in for them to pee in. They don't always use it, but usually do. I just empty out any wet bedding and wipe it out every evening with a wipe.

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 5:53 pm

Since your little girls have only been with you for such a short time, they are probably still figuring out how to use their space. With more time, they will probably figure out to confine their messing to one area, such as a corner, of their enclosure. Give them time to figure it out on their own.

Even after they seem to be getting the hang of it, though, expect there to continue to be lots of doodles all over the place. The wet, they might be able to hold until they get to the chosen spot, but those little mousie doodles just bip out whenever and wherever they're ready!

I second the "cleaning with vinegar" idea. That was what I used the most for cleaning up for mousie. Some plastics are more porous than others, and I would have to wash them in full-strength vinegar, followed by a rinse-wash with diluted liquid dish detergent (I use Dawn apple scent).

A final word of encouragement: My little April actually pottie-trained herself. It took me a long time to figure out what to use, but eventually I gave her one of the spare water dishes (a glass candle holder with a low, wide rim), and she would perch on the edge, business end over the depression for the candle, and wet right into her little pottie. Sometimes she'd even carry little doodles over from elsewhere in the tank and drop them in! Then I would lavish praise on her, and sometimes let her go along with me (on my shoulder or in my sleeve cuff) as I dumped and rinsed it and made it all nice and clean smelling to be returned to her tank.

OH, I miss my little boopster!!!

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by Rodents rock! on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:06 pm

@MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop wrote:Since your little girls have only been with you for such a short time, they are probably still figuring out how to use their space.  With more time, they will probably figure out to confine their messing to one area, such as a corner, of their enclosure.  Give them time to figure it out on their own.

Even after they seem to be getting the hang of it, though, expect there to continue to be lots of doodles all over the place.  The wet, they might be able to hold until they get to the chosen spot, but those little mousie doodles just bip out whenever and wherever they're ready!

I second the "cleaning with vinegar" idea.  That was what I used the most for cleaning up for mousie.  Some plastics are more porous than others, and I would have to wash them in full-strength vinegar, followed by a rinse-wash with diluted liquid dish detergent (I use Dawn apple scent).

A final word of encouragement:  My little April actually pottie-trained herself.  It took me a long time to figure out what to use, but eventually I gave her one of the spare water dishes (a glass candle holder with a low, wide rim), and she would perch on the edge, business end over the depression for the candle, and wet right into her little pottie.  Sometimes she'd even carry little doodles over from elsewhere in the tank and drop them in!  Then I would lavish praise on her, and sometimes let her go along with me (on my shoulder or in my sleeve cuff) as I dumped and rinsed it and made it all nice and clean smelling to be returned to her tank.

OH, I miss my little boopster!!!

Whenever I read about April, she truly sounds like she was a super wonderful girl. You and April really had a strong bond. I wish I had known her. Love
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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by Rodents rock! on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:09 pm

My mouse, Mickey, hardly pees or poo's on his wheel anymore now that he is older. And he still runs on his wheel a lot. But when he was younger, his wheel would get covered in it in no time at all.
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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 12:36 pm

You know what, Rodents rock!? You are right! April really was wonderful. An absolute joy. And, based on how she always acted around other people -- and even dogs too -- I am sure she would have wanted to know you as well. She was shy, but always curious about what I was doing, and who I was talking to.

It made it difficult, when we'd be someplace where I had to keep her "under wraps" inside my shirt, but then I'd strike up a conversation with somebody, and ... here comes April, wanting to peek out my collar, and I start doing this gentle shimmy and pull my collar up to my chin ...

I cry every day for that mouse-sized hole in my life that feels bigger than the whole universe.

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by Rodents rock! on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 5:05 pm

@MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop wrote:You know what, Rodents rock!?  You are right!  April really was wonderful.  An absolute joy.  And, based on how she always acted around other people -- and even dogs too -- I am sure she would have wanted to know you as well.  She was shy, but always curious about what I was doing, and who I was talking to.

It made it difficult, when we'd be someplace where I had to keep her "under wraps" inside my shirt, but then I'd strike up a conversation with somebody, and ... here comes April, wanting to peek out my collar, and I start doing this gentle shimmy and pull my collar up to my chin ...

I cry every day for that mouse-sized hole in my life that feels bigger than the whole universe.

These tiny pets sure do pull at our heart strings Heart
They are filled with love and personality!
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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 5:06 pm

Do you not have mice anymore, Merci? I was under the impression that you did!

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Sun 31 Dec 2017, 11:56 am

I apologize for giving that impression, but I do not.  Current residential and working conditions completely preclude that possibility.

Since April's last day, last summer, I have only had three animal guests:  First, a little green male tree cricket who was missing all three of his left legs, and who I found all wet and flat-looking next to the back door welcome mat at work.  He hung out for 52 hours with me eating baby porridge and salad greens (which several times I hand-fed to him), until he gave indication that he was ready to go.  So I let him walk away on his own power -- straight toward the baby grapevine under the viburnums.  Second and third, twice I gave overnight food and lodging to wayward slugs I found as the night was becoming too cold for them to move and return to their homes.  Papa calls me the bug doctor, and DOES allow THEM in the house.

One of the reasons I joined this forum is that I really plunged myself deep into preparing for everything mouse-care related that I could think of (before and during April's residency), and trying different things with April while solving our day-to-day issues (like how to safely get stink off of her plastic yogurt cups etc.), and I had accumulated so much mouse-care knowledge I did not want it to go stale, or disappear, now that the mousehouses are empty.  I hope I help out here.

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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by Rodents rock! on Sun 31 Dec 2017, 2:09 pm

It's always nice to keep up with learning about mice and sharing your knowledge and experiences. Glad you are here! I know I've learned from you Very Happy

Hopefully some day you will be able to have more mice and other pets too! In the meantime, you are very nice to help bugs in need. When I was a kid, I remember taking in a few bugs too.
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Re: Smelly Plastic Cage Furnishings

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 6:56 pm

Oh, I'm sorry it's taken me more than three weeks to say thank you for your compliment.  I haven't written my (3) thank you cards for gifts I received over the holidays either.  Bad me.  I have a magnet right here on the cabinet by my computer counter that says "The Key To Happiness Is Gratitude." --  Read and heed, Merci.

The last several days I've been watching out for a little mouse or vole or shrew whose trail atop and tunnels beneath the snow appeared last week outside the door I go in and out at work.  Not "watching out" as in looking for the little critter, but "watching out" as in putting down bits of saltines, sunflower seeds, and mouse chow near a hole in the snow that led into the landscaping bark under the end of the yew shrubs.  So many tiny little footprints, and that extensive belly track / tunnel complex -- all just seemed to appear Friday afternoon.

Maybe I will spend my twilight years with a little rescued apricot poodle that's past its prime, both of us shuffling around the block a couple times a day between taking our naps with matching comforters.  But I fear I would worry too much about leaving my "puppy" first and having nobody to take him/her in, so I don't know ...

As for the TOPIC here, I guess the stinky plastic problem is solved now?? I hope??

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