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Pet Rats - Litter and bedding for your cute ratties!

Rats Litter and Cage Bedding

Choosing the litter and cage bedding for your ratís environment is important. Whatever product you decide to use be sure that you change it often to keep your rat healthy. The build up of ammonia and fecal bacteria can be extremely harmful to your ratís respiratory system.

Occasionally rats will be allergic to certain types. If this occurs then try different products until you find one that does not cause a reaction. In cases of severe allergies, cloth (old t-shirts, towels, etc.) can be used as a substitute for conventional bedding. Although there are many excellent choices there are also some that are dangerous for your rat.

White pet rat sniffing around curiously

Purpose of Litter

Litter is placed in the cage to absorb moisture from urine and droppings. By drying out droppings, it stops them decomposing and hence smelling. Bedding is used in the nestbox to make a comfortable bed, and also to absorb urine.

Safe Litter and Bedding

Stick to Aspen or a newspaper based bedding like CareFRESH. Other safe beddings include Yesterday's News, Gentle Touch, rabbit food/pellets, ground walnut shells, Cell Sorb Plus, Aspen Supreme, Eco-Bedding, etc.

Recycled Paper / Pellet Bedding

Paper pellets litter bedding
Paper Pellets Bedding

The most popular used pellet bedding is 'Yesterdays News'. It is manufactured from recycled newspaper and was originally intended to be an alternative cat litter. Many pet rat owners use it satisfactorily. The one problem with yesterdays News is that it does tend to crumble and get dusty after it has been wet and then dried out.

Some supermarkets also sell certain brands of recycled paper litter. Recycled paper litter isn't as soft and fresh smelling as pine shavings, but the rats soon get used to it. It's much better for your pet rats, and it makes good compost too.

Shredded Paper

Shredded paper can be used for your rats bedding. It must be changed often as it tends to get mushy when wet. Make sure that if you use shredded newspaper that it is printed with non-toxic soy or vegetable ink. Keep in mind that light colored rats will end up with dirty looking fur from the ink.


Aspen chips bedding Aspen shavings bedding
Aspen Chips and Shavings Bedding

Aspen is a very good choice for bedding. Being a hardwood, there are no toxic phenols in it making it a safe choice for your rat. The only problem with aspen is that it can be messy and difficult to vacuum.

Kaytee Aspen Bedding

Kaytee aspen bedding and litter is manufactured with all natural aspen shavings specially processed to eliminate dust and wood debris found in other bedding. Aspen bedding comes from hardwood, eliminating aromatic oils found in other types of wood. Use a thick layer as animal bedding. Can be used in all cages, aquariums and habitrails. A natural biodegradable product. Kiln dried aspen shavings.

Cardboard Bedding

Finacard litter bedding
Finacard Bedding

Ecopetbed bedding are cardboard strips used as pet bedding. Another cardboard-based bedding is Finacard which is a finer, straw-like shredded cardboard bedding. Finacard is comparable to Ecobed, but because it is finer, it tends to get kicked out of cages more.

Swheat Scoop

Swheat scoops litter bedding
Swheat scoops Bedding

Swheat Scoopís natural wheat enzymes work continuously to eliminate Ė not mask Ė odors, while natural wheat starches clump safely and firmly for easy scooping. Plus, each granule soaks up lots of liquid to keep cages dry and clean.


Walnut litter bedding
Walnut Bedding

Natural crushed walnut shells is a newer entry to the market. Walnut bedding does not stick or cling to the tank/cage allowing for easy clean up. It is particularly attractive because it is very scoopable, although it's safety is still uncertain.

Critter Country

Critter Country litter bedding
Critter Country Bedding

Critter Country is a pelletized straw litter and is all natural, biodegradable, clean, dust free, toilet flushable, won't track, and controls odour.


CareFresh is made from paper pulp. It has the appearance of shredded gray egg carton material. Rats seem to like this product although some owners complain about its odor being unpleasant, especially when wet.

Care Fresh Bedding

Promotes a more natural living environment than other bedding substrates. Its patented formula ensures that it is free from pine and cedar oils which may be harmful to small animals. Great for small pets - rats, rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles and exotics. 10 liters. Made from reclaimed cellulose. Biodegradable and flushable in small quantities.

Other pellet bedding products on the market are made from different materials such as compressed aspen, wheat grass, and cellulose fiber (Cell-sorb Plus).


Cloth is a useful alternative to conventional cage bedding especially if the rats, or if you (the owners), have allergies. Old, clothing, fabric diapers, towels, and remnants make good choices. Be sure to use cloth that does not unravel easily. Long strings can get caught around the rat’s appendages and cause injury. This is particularly a concern with babies and young rats.

Wash the fabric bedding with a hypoallergenic laundry detergent using warm or hot water. Occasional washing with a small amount of bleach is fine as long as the load of laundry is washed again using detergent only or put through two rinse cycles. If you can detect any bleach odor after washing then please run them through another complete cycle.

Cloth used in nest boxes will need to be changed more frequently if you have rats that urinate in their beds.

Cage Pan Liners / Diapers

Cage Pan Liners / Diapers are a new product. It seems great, because the single sheet is hassle-free, and easy to change as compared to conventional beddings (shavings, pellets etc), where you need to scoop out the soiled bedding. I haven't tried this yet though.

Litter Boxes

Keeping litter boxes in your cages will help with maintaining overall cage cleanliness. Rats can be trained to use a litter box (See: Toilet/Potty/Litter Training Pet Rats).

Large Hi-Corner Litter Pan

Enclosed Large Hi-Corner Litter Pan is a giant version of our best selling original design It's perfect for rats and other pets. The Large Hi-Corner Litter Pan fits into large small animal cages and it can also be used outside the cage for pets that are fully "liberty" trained. The pan features a lid to help accommodate messy back-ups while also preventing messes and litter from scattering outside the cage. It is constructed of easy-to-clean stain and odor resistant plastic.

Some suggested litters for litter trays are recycled paper, soft corncob litter, crushed walnut shells, Swheat Scoop, and certain cat litter products. When using any cat litter products make sure to avoid those with deodorizers, clumping agents, and dust.

Potty Training Pearls - 4Lb

Potty training pearls can be used for pet rats, chinchillas, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, and rabbits. Made from all natural non-toxic minerals. Super absorbent and 99% dust free.

If using clay litter be sure to choose the large granule litter (which is usually the least expensive) and avoid using the dust litter found at the bottom of the bag.

Bedding materials can also be used in litter boxes as long as it is not the same type that you use on the tank/cage floor. Using a different material in the litter box will help the rat differentiate between it’s floor and its toilet area.

Unfortunately most rats will not urinate in their litter boxes regularly. But even if it only catches the faeces, it is still a great aid in helping your rat’s environment stay cleaner.

Do also read about the Unsafe Bedding and Litter for Pet Rats. last updated 1 Oct, 2017


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