I’ve discussed this a few times. The reality of my life. It’s nomadic. We pick up and go and sometimes with little notice. Also, we are on the East Coast and so with tropical storms that can crop up during the summer and fall this is even MORE likely to be a last minute thing.
I also mentioned briefly we had to stay in a hotel a couple weeks ago. This was very last minute. Within 10 minutes I was told we had to leave our premises and check into a hotel for a week while they got rid of mold and began work on foundation issues from flooding which caused the mold. Blah blah blah. We were very unprepared for that.
What do we bring? WHO do we bring? As in – ALL the pets? Some of the pets? It was fortunately a situation that my husband was able to check on the hamsters and gerbils every morning and every evening before his trek to work and to home to the hotel. And mid-day I came in to check on them. It’s not that they needed to be check on THAT many times daily for that week but I just felt so terrible to have left them with no plan. They were just sitting there in an abandoned house. IT wasn’t like we had gone on vacation and had a person coming to feed, water, and play with them. This was no plan. Just a surprise and animals aside it was dramatic and stressful. I won’t get into all those details as this is my happy place. But I will say it brought to light how slack I have been.
I had been in the process of making travel bins. I finished two. The one that Gabriel resides in at the moment until I decide to upgrade him. At this time he seems pleased as punch inside his space and with his daily outings it seems to suit him fine. And that very morning of the day I found out we had to leave our house I had JUST finished Strawberry’s travel cage.
Strawberry’s is truly legit. It’s a true travel bin as it’s made to be completely lightweight and with a 2nd level within. Which I will show and explain. His is the prototype for ALL the bins for all the hamsters. The gerbils of course will have something different.
As I brought Gabriel as he was the only hamster in a light weight travel bin at the time (I didn’t have time to fix up Strawberry’s to bring him as well) I learned many things about rodents and hotels. I learned that if we cart 7 bins of creatures into a motel or hotel we are going to get some unnecessary attention. This may or may not have us kicked out. So, I decided stealth was called for. I decided to order a set of 6 of these bins.
It’s a purple tinted Sterilite bin. It’s 66 qts so small. I think it was 26 inches in length. The height is going to probably be an issue with the Syrian’s wodent wheels but I’ll cross that bridge later. But I will be able to mesh these in such a way that they can be stacked and all fit in the van in an emergency or when we inevitably relocate somewhere next May.
So, the plan …Save money! I have spent TOO much already. Especially, on all these super cool purple stealth bins. (I call them the stealth bins because coming into the dark of night into a hotel room I think the hotel clerks will have trouble deciphering what the heck is in the bins!)
1. I have been collecting all these little plastic baskets I have around the house that I use to organize things. The blue one there has this awful tape still stuck to it from the store labeling that I have had so much trouble removing. These will be made into platforms (the 2nd level within) because they are cheap and already purchased so no more spending. They are super light weight so won’t weigh down our load from the car to the hotels and back to the car. And easy to fasten to the bins using a drill for holes in the bin and zip ties.
2. Spare mesh and useless Super Pet playpen sections. This is what I had in the storage closet left over. The play pen is a complete fail for a hamster play pen. They climb over it. But it makes great bin cage meshing! Cut a little window out of the sides of the bin and use a section each of that and there you go! Re-purpose / save cash!
3. Coffee buckets. These are so useful. I use them to store hammy food and gerbil food and treats and I use them to scoop out the dirty substrate and I use one to shovel the fresh substrate out of the storage bin it’s kept in and into the cages. Now I plan to save a couple to cut out an entrance and then I have a nice, smaller, and super lightweight litter box for their travel bin.
4. Finally, the spare Critter Trail cage that Gabriel (my newest adoption!) came to me in. This is going to be a travel topper for my Gerbils. As they won’t have the plastic platforms they will have a secured to the lid topper. A nice little look out for them. Re-purpose. Recycle. Reuse!
And this is an idea of what it would look like once I make the platforms and zip tie them to the bin. A nice nifty little travel bin. Not big enough to be a permanent home but for nomadic families such as military families and or for emergencies such as Hurricane evacuations – or extended vacations where one chooses to bring the rodents along – you can’t go wrong with this!
Don’t forget a method to saw the plastic to make windows to mesh for ventilation such as a heated (over a flame) knife or the cutter on a rotary tool etc. Having the help of parents to do this. And wearing the appropriate safety gear.
And a water bottle that works well such as the types designed for tanks that hang over the side. The one I have by Oasis is fantastic. They are my favorite water bottles for many reasons. The metal is thin enough that the bin lid closes well over it. As always latching bins are the safest to use especially if you use a water bottle that hangs over the edge.
I’ll do a DIY on the travel bin making once I get them and get started.