Hamsters seriously look as if Disney and a 6-year-old girl collaborated to make what they considered would be the cutest animal imaginable. They don't look like they have any other function than to be cute. :p I love your cage, by the way!
Rats can live on fleece. In fact, fleece pads are a recommended bedding, as they help prevent bumblefoot (Hyde's wound started out as bumblefoot). I'd put it on top of lino. Couple of things you should know, though:
- rats need to be kept in pairs or groups. Keeping them singly is not a good idea. I can link you to some really great essays on why, if you are interested. :)
- they are a heck of a lot more expensive than hamsters, as they need a much bigger cage and will need vetinary attention at some point during their lives. That is pretty much a guarantee.
I think those are the only downsides. :p Not that keeping two is a downside - rat behaviour with other rats is incredibly cute. I love seeing my boys snuggled up together in a space that should really barely even hold one of them. :) And they are such friendly, happy little critters. Whenever Darcy sees me he still bounces up to the front of the cage for cuddles. The others all give a general sniff in my direction, the lazy little fatties.
I had to buy a new water bottle for the bottom half of the cage today, since I attached their normal one to the travel cage for Hyde. I also decided to get some new toys (you know, just since I was there). I got a parrat sunflower seed block, which has been a massive success. They have to work pretty hard to break the seeds off the block, so they can't have too many at once, but the reward for their work is a yummy treat. It kept Willoughby and Darcy especially entertained. I also got a banana-shaped and flavoured chew. I think it's made of chalk, but they seem to like it and it lasts forever. I also got some more wooden fuit-flavoured chews, but they won't go on my ka-bob, so I need my dad to make the holes bigger.
I may have to buy another cage today when Hyde gets home, so the others can't get at his bandages and chew them. I think the second size of the Pet One rabbit/guinea pig cages looks good - it's long and shallow, which is the opposite of what rats want normally, but since he won't be able to climb it's perfect. I can put in an igloo and some extra fleeces and blankets for him - maybe even a low-slung hammock.
I got a call from the vet a couple of hours ago to say the surgery was successful. I get to pick him up this afternoon and find out about his post-op care and whether he'll need a neck collar to stop him trying to reach his wound. That will look hilarious, but also quite gorgeous.