Ottawa woman creates handmade habitats for rodents

Smokey the chinchilla enjoys one of Christine Sauve's homemade habitats. (Courtesy Christine Sauve)

If you have a pet rodent—such as a hamster, ferret, or even a rat—a Barrhaven woman can make them feel cozy and at home with a handmade habitat.

Christine Sauvé has a pet Chinchilla named Smokey.

“They’re much lower maintenance than a cat or a dog, and it’s just as rewarding,” she tells CTV News Ottawa.

She wanted to make Smokey a little more comfortable, so she made a chill spot for the chinchilla.

“I ended up making a bunch of shelving, and like little habitats for him.”

She ended up liking it so much, she made it into a side business.

Sauvé's idea was to make habitats for other pet rodents. What started as a crafty project during the pandemic, is now selling everywhere.

“Now I sell those on Etsy, and I sell all over Canada, all over the States, and, I even sent a few things to Europe.”

Etsy is an e-commerce website for handmade or vintage items. Sauvé's storefront’ is named ‘Spike Smokey Creations.’

Spike was Smokey’s brother, and he died late April.

So I wanted to do something special for Smokey, like spruce up his cage a little bit,” she explains.

She makes the habitats herself from scratch out of wood and for different pets.

“It can be for rats, degus, ferrets - like, any little creature that you have at home that can be in a cage. It just attaches to the cage bars.”

It’s a comfy spot to relax, or to have a snack. From a small ledge, a fleece-lined bed what looks like a hammock, to a complete shelter which offers privacy.

Sauvé’s mom helps by sewing the fleece hammocks, and her dad has helped with some of the woodworking tools.

Pet owners appreciate the locally handmade products,

“They like to hide, so they like to stay in there for most of the day,” says Christine Solomon, who has chinchillas named Olaf and Sven. She bought a complete setup for them.

“We went with the wooden ledges, the little habitats that she’s created, little balconies; they really like it.”

Ranging in price from five dollars for single items to over $100 for larger packages, Sauvé says the $50 is the average purchase price.

 “The most rewarding thing is the reviews and seeing the pictures of peoples pets enjoying everything - it’s really fun,” says Sauvé.

You can check out Sauvé's homemade creations here.