One of the down sides to keeping mice is the odor that comes from their cage. But if you know how to keep a mouse cage from smelling and are willing to keep up with the cleaning, it doesn’t need to be a problem.
There are two main reasons for a cage smelling. One is that the cage needs a clean out. The other is the natural odor that male mice have.
Firstly I will break the myth that mice smell a lot. They don’t smell any more than other species of rodents like hamsters or rats. Male mice do smell more than female however, this is true. Female mice are almost odorless when their cages are kept clean, and for this reason some people choose to keep only females.
Mice actually smell less than a lot of more popular household pets too. Dogs and cats can be more smelly overall, especially as they travel all over the house and are not confined to just a small cage in one room.
Are Mice Clean Animals?
Another misconception is that mice are dirty creatures. They are in fact very clean animals, spending a great deal of time grooming and cleaning themselves. You have to remember that it’s your responsibility to keep their living area clean as their keepers.
You will rarely see a mouse that has a dirty coat unless it has some sort of health issue. Their cages need to be cleaned out weekly at the minimum. Mice will choose a corner or an area to use as their pooping area in their cage. You need to keep on top of cleaning this out, in turn the mice will do their part and keep themselves clean.
Don’t forget to spend time cleaning up the accessories in their cages. These can harbor smells and odors and build up over time. If you have just cleaned out a cage and think it still smells, there is something in there holding on to the smell.
Mice Want and Need Clean Living Areas
As mentioned earlier mice will often poop in a specific area, as well as urinate in the same areas too. This is because they don’t want to live in a dirty environment. It’s incredibly important you keep on top of cleaning out these areas. If it’s too much work for you, you should have thought about this more before taking on ownership of mice.
But the reality is that it’s not much work if you keep on top of the cleaning and have a good routine. If you smell ammonia then you need to take action and clean out their cage. This is a warning sign that there is too much waste building up and the ammonia can be harmful to their health.
It only takes a few minutes to clean out the areas the mice are using as a toilet. Just simply scoop out all the damp bedding and replace with fresh. While a complete clean and change of bedding and floor materials will take about 15 minutes when you have it down to a good routine.
I cover everything you need to know about how to clean a mouse cage here.
Can Mice Be Potty Trained to Use a Litter Box?
This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people reading this, even to experienced mice owners. But a lot of mice can be trained to use a litter box. I have done this myself, and seen other people do it. So I know it can work.
You can use a hamster litter box or a similar sized plastic container. Just simply place this in the area they are already using for doing all of their business. Add some of the same materials they are used too and they should use the box more often than not.
There are some products designed to go in the box to neutralize smells. Bio-odor works well, but always use products sparingly and never use another than has an odor to it. Mice are very sensitive to odors and will be put off anything that does. Even if it smells lovely and fresh to us, it’s not going to be welcome by them.
How to Keep a Mouse Cage from Smelling with Male Mice
Male mice to have a stronger odor than female mice. This is mostly due to the fact that they mark their territory with urine often. The amount of marking and strength of the odor varies a lot between different mice. There are some measures you can take to lessen this odor however.
There has been a decent amount of research and evidence to show that males will mark their territory less if if already smells like them. So to keep their marking to a minimum you should keep at least one item in their cage smelling like them. This means not giving it a deep clean or scrub when you clean out their cage.
Males still like to be kept in a clean environment however. This doesn’t mean you can let the cleaning slip. Keep their bedding clean to ensure they are happy and healthy, and keep in mind that their marking smell is actually a good thing.
Another reason males will mark more frequently is because they can smell female mice and want to own the territory.
If you have females in a separate cage, don’t handle the females then handle the males without cleaning your hands. This will confuse them and cause them to mark their cage.
Overall it’s not a deal breaker for most people. There will be a slight odor to keeping males, but if you keep on top of the cleaning and follow the above advice it shouldn’t be too bad.
Keeping Your Room Smelling Fresh
There are a few measures you should take to keep the room with your mice in smelling fresh. You should have a good flow of fresh air in the room. This is not only good for the mice, but will keep the room smelling fresher.
Make sure there aren’t any drafts hitting the cage directly. Your mice cage should be away from breezes and direct sunlight.
Another thing you can do is use a mild room freshener. As long as the smell isn’t too overpowering you can safely use a fragrance. This will give the room a nice fresh smell when you enter. If you’re keeping the mice cage clean there shouldn’t be any problems with bad odors.
If you have any tips and advice to share regarding how to keep a mouse cage from smelling please share them here in the comments.