It is important never to use Cedar or Pine shavings for litter or bedding. These litters contain TOXIC hydrocarbons. You see, these woods are called “softwoods”. The oils that give these woods their scent is what causes the problem. When inhaled, the chemicals change the amount of enzymes the liver produces. Long term exposure to these chemicals actually causes damage to the liver and immunesystem, making the animal more susceptible to respiratory diseases such as Mycoplasma. These toxins may also cause cancer. Clay cat litters are too dusty for rats. No matter what the box says (like 99.9% dust free), stay away from them.

Safe Litters

  • Eco-Bedding–Fiber Core. Thin crinkled strips of craft paper (brown paper one grade below grocery bags). Recyclable even with animal waste.
  • CareFRESH–Absorption Corporation
    Wood pulp fibers too short to make paper processed to the appearance and texture of shredded egg cartons. Doesn’t keep odor down for very long.
  • Bio-Flush–Ampro Industries Inc.
  • Cell Sorb Plus–Fangman Specialties
    Soft pellets of recycled newspaper containing a non-toxic patented neutralizing mineral for excellent odor control.
  • FLUSH-It–XORB Corporation
    Short paper fiber pellets with odor control compound added.
  • Aspen shavings
  • Good Mews–Stutzman Environmental Products
    Recycled newspaper pellets.
  • Kozy Korner Ferret Litter–Sheppard & Greene
    These pellets, made from recycled newspaper are treated with natural enzymes to help prevent odors.
  • Yesterday’s News–Canbrands International Ltd.
    Pellets made from recycled newspaper with an odor absorbing ingredient. Comes in regular pellets, and softer texture pellets.
  • Accu-Zorb–Brisky Pet Products
    Pellets or granules of cherry and maple wood.
  • Alfalfa Pellets or Rabbit Food–Readily available and inexpensive.
  • CatWorks–Absorption Corporation
    Pellets of grain by-products. Nice smell, controls odors quite well.
  • Country Fresh Cat Litter–SSM Environmental Technologies
    Pellets of grain by-products. Very pleasant smell, controls odors very well.
  • Critter Country–Mountain Meadow Pet Products, Inc.
    The company claims that these pellets made from wheat grass actually prevent the formation of ammonia.
  • Critter Litter (Dan-Mar Equipment Co.)
    Pelleted oat hulls.
  • Gentle Touch Litter–Gentle Touch Corporation
    These pellets made from aspen wood are very absorbent and excellent at controlling odor.
  • Litter Love–The Barnaby Co.
    Aspen bark pellets.
  • Natural Animal Premium Litter Plus (Natural Animal, Inc.)
    Small brown crumbles made from peanut shell meal, yucca shidigera, and citrus extract.
  • All God’s Creatures Litter–Northeastern Products Corp.
    Small chips of a hardwood. Messy, but “softer” than pellets. Doesn’t work as well as others.

If you use one of these litters, and the rat cage stinks badly after the first few days, try this the next time: Sprinkle baking soda on the tray, then put the litter on top. The smell will, most likely, subside.

For more information about why Cedar and Pine are dangerous, see the links section under “the Basics.”