Choosing the right cage litter for your pet rodent is extremely important for your pets well-being. There is a wide variety of small animal cage litter available for pet owners to choose from; some are safer for pets than others, some are more absorbent, some are cheaper and some has better odour control than others. When choosing cage litter for a pet rodent, owners should research their choices carefully and find the one that works best for them.
Cedar or pine wood chips/shavings: Cedar or pine shavings is one of the most commonly used type of small animal litter; however, it is one of the unhealthiest. The strong odour that pine and cedar shavings gives off does a wonderful job at masking the animal urine scent; however, the oils that produce the pine or cedar scent can cause serious respiratory and liver problems in small animals. Cedar or pine wood shavings are not a good choice for small animal litter.
Clay cat litter: Clay cat litter is dusty, can cause serious health problems and its production is extremely hard on the environment. Clay cat litter should not be used as small animal litter.
Corn cob bedding: Corn cob bedding is not a bad choice for small animal litter; however, it does tend to mould quickly when wet and does not absorb odours well. If corn cob bedding is used it should be changed frequently.
Aspen Shavings: Aspen shavings are a excellent choice for small animal litter. It is very similar to pine and cedar shaving; however, because it is a hardwood instead of a soft wood it does not contain the dangerous oils that cedar and pine have. The drawbacks of aspen shavings is that they can be hard to clean up and is messy.
Homemade shredded Paper litter: Shredded paper is a safe choice for small animal litter; however, it tends to need changing frequently as it has minimal absorbency and basically does nothing to help control odours. Shredded newspaper can be used if the ink on the newspaper is made from non-toxic soy or vegetable oil; however, the ink will dirty the coats of the animals using it.
Commercially made litter from recycled paper: There are several brands of commercial litter that is made from recycled paper products - Eco-Bedding, Yesterdays News and CareFRESH. Eco-Bedding is made from recycled paper, it is far more absorbent than just using shredded paper and is dust free. CareFRESH is made from paper pulp, it works well, but tends to have a bad odour when wet and is moderately dusty. Yesterdays News is made from recycled newspaper, it was made as a clay cat litter substitute, but can be used for small animal litter, it works well, but tends to crumble and become dusty once it dries out after being urinated on.
Pellet litter: There are numerous pellet litters on the market that are safe and work well for small animals. There is pellet litter made from wheat grass, compressed aspen and cellulose fibre. Yesterdays News is also a type of pellet litter.
Cloth: Old material can be used as bedding for small animals. The material will need to be changed frequently, but can be thrown in the washing machine and reused, which saves pet owners money. Material that unravels easily and has a lots of long threads should not be used as it can be dangerous for the small animal.
Hay: Hay is one of the safest things to use for small animal litter and bedding. It is relatively inexpensive and more difficult for the animals to kick out of the cage compared to wood shavings or other types of litter. However, hay does not do the best for absorbing urine and does not control odours the best.
Timothy hay: Timothy hay is safe for small animals and works better than normal hay as it has a sweet smell and is better at absorbing and masking urine odours. However, it is more expensive than normal hay and is still not as absorbent as many of the other types of litter. Timothy hay works best as a litter when mixed with wood shavings.