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Best Small Animal Litter for 2020

If you have decided that you want to litter train your rabbit, rat, hamster or ferret, you’re going to need two things – a litter tray, and some litter.

You can’t just use any old litter which would be used for cats, though. It needs to be suitable for their smaller feet, safe if ingested, and clearly for toilet purposes (that is, different from what is used as bedding).

Different animals will need different litters, so below is a guide on which to buy for your pet, as well as the best pick for the job.

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Kaytee Critter Litter
    • Dust-free
    • Great absorption
    Check Price
    Back 2 Nature Small Animal Biodegradeable Paper Litter
    • Big bag
    • Great low price
    Check Price
    Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
    • Safe for small feet
    • Always uses fresh paper
    Check Price

    The Top 5 Small Animal Litters Reviewed

    1.
    Kaytee Critter Litter

    These potty training pearls made from non-toxic minerals which are safe for your animal to be around.

    Each pearl absorbs moisture on contact, which is great for keeping their litter area free from mess and as clean as possible. It is formulated to be 99% dust-free, which is perfect for their little noses.

    This high level of absorption will help to eliminate odours too, and should therefore reduce the amount you have to clean it out – just clear the solid waste every day until the lot needs replacing.

    It does clump when wet, so is best for large animals who don’t really attempt to eat anything in their cage.

    Features

    • Dust-free
    • Great absorption

    Specifications

    • Material: Non-toxic bentonite
    • For: Ferrets, Rabbits, Rats
    • Capacity: 3.63kg

    2.
    Back 2 Nature Small Animal Biodegradeable Paper Litter

    Paper is great for a few reasons. Firstly, there is no dust to breathe in, so this will not damage their respiratory tract or other senses.

    It is good therefore for all small animals, whether you have a teeny mouse or a gigantic rabbit. You can also use it for reptiles and birds, in case you have a menagerie. The softened and flattened paper pellets are clinically clean, made exactly for this reason.

    They have excellent absorbency and will keep the cage clean for a while until the whole litter tray needs swapping out. The paper is lightweight, so it is easy to handle and change the litter too.

    Features

    • Big bag
    • Great low price

    Specifications

    • Material: Paper
    • For: Any Pet
    • Capacity: 20L

    3.
    Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding

    Hamsters need something soft in case of burrowing, and which will be sensitive on their little paws. Paper and other natural materials are perfect.

    This bedding is white, which makes it easy to spot when it has been ‘used’. The soft texture is safe for your hamsters to walk on, and it is unbleached to keep chemicals away. 99% dust-free and completely print-free, your hamster won’t be affected when they clean themselves.

    It comes in huge bags too, so you won’t run out anytime soon. It is primarily bedding, but leaving an area for your hamster to go in a tray means you could have both functions in one purchase.

    Features

    • Safe for small feet
    • Always uses fresh paper

    Specifications

    • Material: Paper
    • For: Any Pet
    • Capacity: 56L, 178L

    4.
    Pettex Small Animal Wood Pellet Bedding and Litter

    Dust extracted, and giving a good amount of odour control, this absorbent wood litter is natural and biodegradable for anyone concerned about their waste footprint.

    They can chew it, and while this isn’t an ideal scenario, it is something which sometimes can’t be avoided. But, if they do, they are safe and harmless in small amounts if accidentally ingested.

    It is suitable to use as premium bedding but offers a great alternative if you want to use different materials for bedding and litter tray. Nothing artificial has been used, and it limits the smell of the tray.

    It does clump a little bit when it gets wet, so is best for larger pets, but the wood is sourced from sustainable forests.

    Features

    • Dust free
    • Sustainable

    Specifications

    • Material: Wood
    • For: Rabbits
    • Capacity: 5L

    5.
    Breeder Celect Recycled Paper Pellet Non-Clumping Cat Litter

    This is primarily cat litter, but if you’re after a small pet-friendly paper litter, it is a good eco-friendly bet. And because it is also made with kittens in mind, it is safe for little noses and paws.

    The paper is recycled to make clinically clean super hygienic paper pellet cat litter. It does this without using chemicals, additives or binders, and because it is non-clumping, it won’t be causing any issues if ingested.

    It isn’t great at eliminating smells, but you can buy in a 10, 20 or 30L bag.

    Features

    • From recycled paper
    • Doesn't clump

    Specifications

    • Material: Paper
    • For: Rats, Rabbits
    • Capacity: 10L, 20L, 30L

    Buying Guide

    Material

    It is best to use a different material in their litter tray than their bedding, so they know where they should pee and where they should sleep! But, this does mean you can use two types of bedding.

    Common materials used for small pets include paper and wood pellets. These are safe to be ingested – small pets love a nibble, and while they shouldn’t ideally eat their litter, it is best to safeguard against blockages.

    It is also the best option for reducing dust. Things such as clay or silica can cause issues if eaten, even in small doses.

    Avoid pine and cedar softwood shavings for all small animals – they contain fumes, and can also be sharp and splinter. You can read more about what to use for your pet below in the FAQs.

    Capacity

    How often does your pet go to the toilet? How many pets will be using the tray(s)? When will you be giving them fresh litter?

    All questions to be asked when you’re looking to buy some litter. We would suggest buying a small bag at first, to ensure it is good for your pet. But thereafter, a large bag will often offer you better value and is best if you will be changing the litter daily.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    Which litter should I use for my pet?

    There are some materials you should avoid, but this can depend on your pet in question, so always research as specifically as possible before buying. Something suitable for a rabbit may not be good for a smaller hamster.

    There is also a general rule of thumb to avoid anything with chemicals or dust. Small noses are sensitive to these as they can harm lungs – avoid dyes, scented litter, and softwood (pine and cedar) shavings.

    Cedar and pine shavings contain phenols, the same compound used in Lysol and Pinesol. These fumes irritate nasal passages, lungs and throats, causing vulnerability to bacteria.

    Also, avoid clumping cat litter. It is not uncommon for small animals to have a nibble on what is in their cage, whether it be their bedding, toys or even their cage! Ingesting clumping litter will cause blockages in their digestive system which will be fatal.

    People also like to avoid shredded newspaper – the ink can come off easily on their feet and fur, so would be ingested if they clean themselves.

    • Rabbits

    Don’t use clay litter made for cats, as rabbits are nibblers and clay could cause blockages. You may want to avoid materials which could also be used as food such as alfalfa, oat and wheat. Not only can this be confusing for them, but they will also likely eat it.

    • Ferrets

    The only cat litter that is safe for ferrets is a corn-based cat litter such as World’s Best Cat Litter. Do not use a sand based cat litter as ferrets burrow a lot and could ‘sniff’ the sand, forming a sand clot in their sinus passages.

    • Rats

    Certain cat litter products can usually be used here. But you must avoid deodorisers, clumping agents, and dust, as well as cedar/pine shavings. They love to groom, so dust can easily be ingested. Therefore, many rat owners will use material which can be used for bedding but just choose a different one from what is used to line their cage. Paper is commonly used too.

    • Hamsters

    Soft materials such as paper, chopped straw, wood pulp, or dried plant material are good. In the wild, hamsters like to burrow and nest, and while this will likely be done in their bedding, you can’t guarantee they won’t also try it in their litter tray. Try to avoid general cat litter as they will not be able to digest the pieces they eat.

    How do I train my small pet to use a litter tray?

    Watch how they behave in their cage or hutch. Is there a particular corner they seem to like to go to the toilet in? If so, place the litter tray here.

    You may want to place other things in the other corners to stop them from going here, such as their food, toys and bed. Small animals tend to go backed up into corners, and in the same spot repeatedly.

    If they need some encouragement, rewarding them with treats after they have gone is a good idea. You may also want to dangle treats or toys over their tray, to encourage them to spend time in the area.