If you’ve spent any time searching for the best cages for gerbils or hamsters, chances are, you’ve stumbled upon the “Qute” cage by the company Omlet.
Furniture-style cages and enclosures are growing more and more popular, which is generally good news for small pets. It means fewer brightly colored tubes and pink castle-shaped “cages” (hopefully).
But some offerings in the furniture-like cage category just aren’t suitable for our pets. Here is our honest and thoroughly researched review of the Qute cage for gerbils and hamsters and whether we think you should house your pets in it.
Quick summary: No, we do not recommend the current model of the Qute cage for either gerbils, hamsters, or any small pet. Hopefully, reviews like this will help Omlet consider creating a suitably sized cage.
What Are the Features of the Qute Cage?
First, let’s look at what you get with a Qute cage. The Qute is a two-story cage with a tank-style drawer on the bottom and a cage up top. The cage has wire on the front and back and wooden sides.
The bottom drawer of the qute pulls out so that you can dump it out and clean it, which is a clever idea as far as gerbil cage design. There’s a vertical tube that connects the top and bottom levels, and you get a wheel and a water bottle, plus a little food dish for your pets.
Is the Omlet Qute a Good Cage?
The answer to this question is that no, the Qute cage isn’t appropriate for housing gerbils, hamsters, or other small pets.
If you have your pets in a Qute right now, don’t panic. Every pet owner takes missteps at some point in their journey, and Omlet worked hard to make their Qute cages look attractive to pet owners and future pet owners.
It’s not your fault as a pet parent if you were misled into thinking this would be an amazing home for your pets. (We’ll discuss what to do if you own a Qute further on below.)
Here are our reasons why the Qute, as it is now, is not appropriate for our pets.
Qute cage size and dimensions
The biggest reason the Qute isn’t well suited to small pets is its size. The Omlet website gives the following dimensions for the cage:
Depth: 1 ft. 1.7 in.
Width: 1 ft. 4.1 in.
Bedding tray: 10 in. (H)
Top-level space: 9.25 in. (H)
Top-level space = 8.3 US Liquid Gallons
Bedding tray = 8.5 US Liquid Gallons
Combined = 16.8 US Liquid Gallons
Because many sources still state that you only need a 10-gallon tank for a gerbil, plus 5 gallons for each additional gerbil, you might understandably think this is more than enough.
But the fact is that gerbils need two things in their enclosure: a large section of deep bedding and adequate unbroken floor space.
Gerbils are more burrowers than they are climbers, so having a second floor should be considered a bonus or enrichment item rather than part of their necessary floor space. Levels can be great for gerbils, but they have to have plenty of open space for burrowing and running, too. Hamsters do not need levels, as they’re not skilled climbers.
Here are the bare minimum requirements for pets you might consider keeping in a Qute, compared to what the Qute provides (note that we recommend choosing enclosures larger than this if possible):
- Two gerbils: 620 square inches of unbroken floor space
- Two mice: 615 square inches of unbroken floor space
- One dwarf hamster: 615 square inches of unbroken floor space
- One Syrian hamster: 775 square inches of unbroken floor space
The Qute only provides 221 square inches of unbroken floor space.
Here’s more information about our recommended gerbil enclosures, our recommended mouse cages, and our hamster cage size minimums. We’ll also have some suggestions for aesthetically pleasing (and suitable) gerbil and hamster cages below.
Qute vertical connecting tube
Another factor that makes the Qute cage unsuitable for small pets is the vertical tube that connects the top and bottom portions.
The tube is completely vertical, so although it has ridges inside, it will be stressful and difficult for pets (especially hamsters) to climb up and down.
Additionally, larger hamsters can get stuck in the tube because it’s not very wide, which is extremely dangerous.
You can avoid this problem by simply removing the tube and filling the bottom tray up all the way with bedding. However, some hamsters will still struggle to jump up through the hole.
Qute wheel and wheel space
The next problem with the Qute has to do with the accessories it comes with, and namely, the wheel. Gerbils and dwarf hamsters need at least an 8-inch wheel, and Syrian hamsters need at least a 10-inch. The wheel that comes with the Qute is only about 7 inches in diameter.
A wheel that’s even a little too small can have hazardous effects on your pets, in addition to making the wheel unpleasant to run on.
When your pet is running on a wheel, its back should be naturally straight or a bit hunched, just like it is when your pet runs on a flat surface. Its back should not be overextended or curved into a slight U-shape. This can damage your pet’s back over time and lead to permanent injury.
Additionally, the space on the upper floor where you can place a wheel isn’t tall enough to fit a wheel much bigger than the wheel the cage comes with.
Can You Add On to a Qute Cage to Make it Bigger?
One red flag that you can see on Qute’s own website is that many owners of the cage have added space on to the enclosure in various creative ways.
For example, some Qute owners have joined two Qute cages together using a connective tube. Others have connected the Qute to a separate cage with a tunnel system. The Qute isn’t built with this in mind, but it’s easy enough to clip part of the wire cage and attach a tube system.
However, attaching tubes and additional enclosures to the Qute doesn’t solve the problem of space. The animal still doesn’t have all of the unbroken floor space that it needs to thrive.
Additionally, attaching different compartments together in this way can stress and overwhelm a hamster, and it can cause gerbils to declan.
What to Do if You Have a Qute Cage
If you find yourself stuck with a Qute cage and are realizing now that it’s not an adequate home for your pet, you’re not alone. Many pet owners have purchased the cage thinking it was larger or more suitable for gerbils and hamsters–after all, Omlet markets the Qute to those pets directly.
Here are some ideas for what to do if you have a Qute cage that your pets are currently living in.
Return your Qute if possible
First, check to see if the cage is still within the return window. Omlet has a 180-day “no questions asked return policy,” so if you’re within that time frame, you may be able to reverse your purchase.
This is the best option, as you can spend that money on a 40-gallon tank or other suitable enclosure (and have money left over for toys and treats!).
Plan for your next enclosure
Whether you’re able to return the Qute or not, it’s important to work on upgrading your pet’s enclosure. Look for the best cages for gerbils and for hamsters, and plan your next purchase wisely.
Especially if you’re unable to return the Qute, it’s essential to put away some money to buy a more suitable enclosure.
The best place to start, in our opinion, is with a simple 40-gallon tank. This will take up more floor space in your home, but it has an elegant look that you can decorate however you’d like.
Give your pets as much play time as possible in the meantime
While your pets are still in the Qute awaiting their next enclosure, make sure to give them plenty of free time outside the cage if that’s something they enjoy.
Many gerbils and hamsters love to get out of their cage and explore a playpen full of unique obstacles, like paper towel rolls and ramps. You can also sit in the bathtub with your pet to interact with them and let them explore a new space freely.
Don’t put your pet in a hamster ball for playtime. These are very dangerous, and they induce stress in small animals.
Fill up the bedding tray completely
Another thing you can do while you’re still working with the Qute is fill up the bottom bedding tray all the way. This gives your pets as much space as possible to burrow, which is their natural instinct.
Unfortunately, based on customer photos, most people who use the Qute only put a thin layer of bedding in the bottom, which isn’t sufficient.
Don’t sell your Qute to another pet owner
It may be tempting to turn around and sell the Qute if you can’t return it. After all, it isn’t an inexpensive enclosure. But doing this will only go on to harm another animal or animals.
We strongly advise against selling a Qute cage or even donating it to a thrift store. This is unfortunate, but it’s the best way to make sure another small pet doesn’t end up in a Qute.
Repurpose your Qute cage
Instead of selling or giving away your Qute, you can repurpose the unit or its materials. You can donate the tube and wheel to a small pet rescue, which may be able to use them for small mice.
The Qute unit itself can be used as a shelving unit if you remove the middle floor and insert a piece of wood there instead. Because it was designed to look like furniture, it’s not hard to imagine ways to turn it into an IKEA-style nightstand or storage cube.
You can also reuse the floor piece and the wire grids as part of a custom tank topper for your pets, or use them in some other way. For example, you could use them as the ventilation panels on a DIY bin cage.
Nice-Looking Cages for Hamsters and Gerbils
Many people stumble upon the Qute cage because they’re looking for something that won’t stand out like a sore thumb in their home.
And that’s completely understandable. It is possible to have small pets and a stylish home, without compromising on your pet’s welfare. If that’s what you’re in need of, we have some suggestions, below.
Learn more: Best Hamster Cages and Enclosures in the US
As mentioned above, a simple 40-gallon tank is our top choice for both gerbils and dwarf hamsters. A 40-gallon tank has 15.5 inches of burrowing depth and 648 square inches of floor space.
Buy a mesh lid for the tank, and fill it up with bedding, toys, and enrichment for your pet. You can put the tank on any surface you have that’s large enough (36” by 18”) or purchase an aquarium tank stand.
A terrarium is another great, attractive option that can look great in your home. They come in many different sizes, including 50-gallon. The only downside is that
The extra-large PawHut cage is a great choice for a Syrian hamster because it provides more than 1,000 square inches of floor space that’s distributed well between length and width. It also has almost two feet of height, which is great for burrowing.
We recommend removing at least the bottom shelf of this cage so that your hamster has more depth for burrowing. This cage and other wooden or MDF cages aren’t suitable for gerbils or for those hamsters who like to chew anything and everything.
For a truly beautiful hamster cage that your hamster will also love, the Niteangel Vista is a great choice. It has more than 1,000 square inches of floor space, so it’s great for either a dwarf or Syrian hamster.
This MDF cage is a good alternative to the Niteangel Vista at a lower price point. It has a modern look with a cute hamster design on the top. This cage has about 740 square inches of floor space, however, so it’s not quite suitable for a Syrian hamster.
6. DIY IKEA Cage
An IKEA Detolf cage is another option for a dwarf hamster that can look great. These don’t have enough burrowing space for most gerbils, but they can have enough for a dwarf. The Detolf gives your hammy over 1,000 square inches of space to explore. You can also make a DIY cage out of many other IKEA pieces, like the Linnmon and Kallax.
Ditch the Qute for Your Pet’s Wellbeing
Unfortunately, cages that are unsuitable for our small pets are the rule, not the exception. Companies continue to manufacture and sell cages that do not meet the minimum size requirements for hamsters or gerbils. And even though it’s a nice-looking cage with an innovative design, the Qute is one of those many unsuitable cages.
We hope that this article has helped you to decide on a different cage or on a new cage if you already have the Qute. Hamster and gerbil care are an ever-evolving process, and there will always be minor missteps along the way. What’s important is that you evolve and change, and do the best you can to provide the best care possible!