25 Apr 2023

Best Litter For Rats

Do you have pet rats and mice at home with no litter box for them? Read on as we discuss the best litter material and how to choose one for your little furry friend!

Best Litter For Rats

Intelligent, friendly, low-maintenance, calm, yet a lot of fun - pet rats have a dedicated fan base, albeit small.

Unlike dogs, you don’t have to walk a rat every day. Yet, they are known to be faithful pets and can bond well with their owners and cage mates. So, we won’t be surprised if most of you already have a cute little pet rat at home!

But did you know that these little guys have varied needs when it comes to their bedding? While some owners often use cat litter or clay litter, it may not be a comfortable option for your rats. In fact, clay cat litter is too dusty to be used all over your rat’s cage.

Instead, you can opt for shredded paper towels, aspen shavings, pellet bedding, or cloth as litter material for rats. So, here’s what you need to know before purchasing the best bedding and litter products for your tiny fluff ball!

Why Do Rats Need Bedding?

Rats have sensitive feet, so a slippery cage floor is not something they feel comfortable in. Hence, rat bedding is a must, and here are the three main functions the ideal bedding must fulfil:

1. Nesting Material

Small animals like rats and mice require additional nest-building material to line their sleeping areas. They should be able to build their own spots to sleep, hide, and play!

Hence, we suggest offering them soft bedding materials like paper towels (a cheaper alternative for nesting paper material available in pet stores), unscented toilet tissue, shredded newspaper, etc. If you wish to use old fabrics, choose materials that do not create long threads when chewed or cut. Also, avoid giving your rats any clothes with holes, as their tiny feet can get tangled in them.

Brown Rat Litter

2. Litter

Bedding litter should be used in the litter box or litter tray only and not in any other area of the rat cage. The litter is used for odour control and moisture absorption, so we encourage you to train your rats to use their litter trays.

Unscented recycled paper litter is a popular pick in this aspect. However, you can opt for other materials as long as they are not scented.

3. Substrate

Small pets like rats love digging and creating holes here and there. So, choosing a deep substrate material as the cage’s base will help them stay active and comfortable.

Although absorbency is appreciated, the substrate can offer little moisture-absorbing properties if you have a dedicated nesting area and litter boxes. As such, we suggest opting for aspen shavings as a suitable cover for the ground space.

Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Litter For Rats

By now, you must have gathered a few qualities imperative in a litter box for rats.

First is absorbency, so you can train your rats to use their litter box to attend nature’s call. But rat owners must note that moisture can arise for other reasons, like a leaking water bottle or a toppled bowl. Another common scenario is territory marking if you have male rats, so absorbency is key when it comes to getting the best litter!

Odour control is another crucial aspect, not much for the rat, but for your comfort. Nasty odours often attract germs and bacteria, which can further become a health hazard for your little ones (both humans and rodents!).

Accordingly, here are some factors you must keep in mind while choosing the best small animal bedding and litter:

1. Non-toxic

Chemicals are bad for everyone, not just rats. However, it becomes all the more difficult to prevent your rats from ingesting toxic substances, considering they nibble on anything under the sun!

Consequently, we suggest avoiding substances that may contain chemicals, toxic ink, bleach, etc. Instead, check out The All Natural Pet Bedding, which is good for your rat’s health and garden.

2. Unscented

Adding to the previous point, some artificially-scented products contain other chemicals that may produce noxious fumes. Certain natural fragrances may trigger respiratory problems among rats since they have sensitive noses and lungs.

Rats In Litter

We recommend maintaining proper hygiene in your rat’s litter box to avoid using artificially scented bedding materials.

3. Low Dust

Since most rats have a weak respiratory system, opt for something “dust extracted.” Such products will not become dusty after being subjected to your rat’s digging. So they are less likely to irritate their sensitive noses and tiny lungs.

Because of this reason, we suggest opting for coarse, dust-free sand bedding over fine bedding.

4. Physically Safe

Last but not least, the material should be physically-safe. This implies that it should not have sharp points or long fibres that can get tangled and restrict blood flow.

For instance, straws make the worst bedding material for rats since they are pointy and may stab your pet’s eyes and nose. Clothes with long strings and loose threads are also not suitable since rats can get their neck or legs tangled.

Best Litter Material For Rats

1. Shredded Paper

Shredded paper bedding offers a suitable texture along with absorbency. And considering how effective shredded newspaper is, it is a cheap option, too.

However, ensure the paper does not contain toxic inks, bleach, colours, etc. Remember that recycled paper gets mushy when wet, so you must replace it more frequently.

2. Aspen Shavings

Aspen is a hardwood that does not contain phenols. So, it is entirely safe to be used as small animal litter. It may not be as absorbent, but it makes an excellent substrate for your rats to play on.

Straw Litter For Rats

3. Paper Pellets

One of the best materials for a rat litter box, paper pellets offer high absorbency and prevent odour. They are also ideal for controlling bacterial growth.

4. Clothes Or Fleece

If your rats are allergic to the abovementioned materials, try using fleece fabric as the bedding. It offers a soft and cosy surface for your rats and does not require much maintenance.

However, fleece does not absorb moisture, and rats obviously cannot dig in it. So, we suggest using old T-shirts in conjunction with other litter materials.

Litter And Bedding Material To Avoid

1. Baking Soda

Firstly, baking soda is very fine and dusty, so it is bound to enter your rat’s nostrils. They may even ingest it, which can result in illnesses. Baking soda is a common ingredient in homemade rat poison, so it has no place in a litter box for rats!

2. Cedar And Pine Shavings

Avoid cedar and pine as they are soft woods containing phenols and acids. However, you can use pine shavings if they are kiln-dried. For all other types of softwood shavings, it’s best to avoid them.

Choosing The Best Litter for Your Rats

Lastly, we’d like to wrap up with yet another suggestion for litter material that you should use cautiously.

Corn cob is a common pick as it is highly absorbent. However, it rots quickly and may even develop mould, much like clumping cat litter. As such, opting for the more suitable and safe litter box materials recommended above is best.

But if you face any issues finding the best litter for your rats, head over to Planet Pet and check out some of our highly-rated products. We offer free delivery and same-day postage on orders confirmed before 2 pm.

Besides, we have something in store for all types of pets - big or small. So, visit our website to splurge on your pets or learn more about caring for them.

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