Litter Box Training: Recommended Litter (Part 2 of 3)

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Litter Box Training: Recommended Litter (Part 2 of 3)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you haven’t already read part 1 of this series, about selecting your rats’ litter box, you can find that post HERE.

This is part 2 of that series- choosing the type of litter to use in the litter box

First off, let me go ahead and say that I refer to the materials that go inside a litter box as “litter” and what goes under a rat’s feet elsewhere in the cage as “bedding”, to avoid any confusion since most litter will be labeled on the package as small animal or pet bedding. Just a heads up! 😉

My general rule of thumb is to try to always keep the type of litter that’s in the litter box separate from what is being used throughout the rest of the cage to make it more obvious for the ratties. That way, when you upgrade your temporary litter box to the more permanent one that might look or smell differently, what is inside that box smells familiar so they continue to use it.  It more or less says “Hey, this is what I should be peeing/pooping on”. The specific scent of the litter itself becomes familiar too so even if you move the location of the litter box, they will sniff it out and locate it elsewhere in the cage…or even outside of the cage if you provide them a litter box for when they are free roaming. So if you use a paper based bedding, such as Carefresh, aim to use a wood fiber or other material in the litter boxes, and if you use a wood fiber type bedding, such as aspen, you would want to use a paper type litter…make sense? If you use a fleece or fabric type bedding, such as the ever-popular fleece liners, you can pretty much use whatever kind of litter you like!

As far as what kind of litter is best, you obviously want something that is going to mask or neutralize urine and fecal odors. You also want something that is safe for rats, especially their respiratory tracts. Rats have very keen senses of smell and you want something that is not harmful to them. STAY AWAY FROM ANY TYPE OF CLAY OR CLUMPING CAT LITTER! Its far too dusty for any rat, not to mention is can be dangerous if ingested.

Here are a few of my favorites.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Wood Fiber Litter

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Kaytee Soft Granule is a small animal and bird bedding and litter that is fantastic for the environment; both your pet’s and your own. Kaytee Soft Granule is made from wood fibers that are not suitable for paper production. Rather than filling landfills, the fiber is converted into a soft, highly absorbent bedding and litter that provides a healthy home for your pet. I have used this particular type of litter more often than not and really, really like it. I would have to say out of all the brands I have used, this is my utmost favorite.  It comes in regular, lavender, orange, rose, and mint. I have used both the regular and the lavender and still prefer the regular over the scented varieties. You pay more for the scented versions but they really don’t smell all that different. Save yourself some money and stick with the unscented.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Paper Pellet Litter

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]ExquisiCat Naturals Fragrance Free Paper Cat Litter is my ultimate favorite paper pellet type litter. Sold exclusively at Petsmart, this is thee best paper pellet type litter I have used! Its great for odor control and unlike some pricier paper pellet litters (like Yesterday’s News) it is way affordable and still the same high quality 100% paper content litter. I like how the pellets were the perfect size- I have tried some that the pellets were longer in length. While this might not be a big deal if being used for a larger animal like a cat, they seemed too big to go into the litter box of a rat. I dunno, maybe it’s just me and I am picky, but it kinda annoyed me. If you like paper pellet litter or have used any of the more expensive brands, give this brand a shot. Before I got my Midwest Double Critter Nation cage, I had a Petco Rat Manor cage and LOVED using this particular brand as covering for inside the entire bottom pan of the cage.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

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Paper Litter

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]There was a time when most small animal bedding and litter was pine or cedar chips. Then came along Carefresh, a paper pulp type material that was so much safer for the respiratory tracts of small pets. The only problem is that Carefresh is SOOOOO dusty…in actuality, aside from the aromatic oils in the wood beddings, Carefresh really is just as bad for them, in my opinion! Kaytee Clean & Cozy is a similar type material, but just about as dust free as you can get. When I first tried a bag of this stuff, I thought it looked like torn up toilet tissue but was amazed at how well it helped control odors! Its messier than the other litters I have tried, mainly because its so light that it literally flies out of the litter boxes, but it is a really great litter otherwise. This would be best for a litter box with high sides or to be used as the bedding throughout the best of the cage. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Wood Litter
By now I assume that even first time pet rat owners would know to stay far far far away from pine or cedar litters, and if you should desire to use a wood based litter, to go with aspen. I don’t have too much to say on aspen or any recommended brands because I choose not to use it. I have a hairless rat and just looking at the aspen bedding kinda scares me. I know its not as rough as it looks, since I do use it for my guinea pigs, but I just can’t bring myself to even try it out for the ratties. I just keep picturing splinters of wood in my hairless’s eyes, since she has no hair or eyelashes to protect debris from entering her eyes. I can say that most of the brands I have tried with my guinea pigs are pretty much the same and that I prefer the kind that comes in chips over the kind that looks more like landscape mulch. It works awesome for my very smelly guinea pigs so I imagine it would be perfect at controlling rat fecal and urine odors.

Corn Cob/ Walnut Litter
A long time ago, I used both corn cob and walnut type litters. These litters are commonly sold in the bird department of pet stores. I quit using them because they were HORRIBLE to clean up! Rats flung it EVERYWHERE!  They both smelled fairly nice straight out of the bag, but did nothing to control odor. It was expensive too and I felt I was always dumping so much out. I also got concerned with my rats eating it. I would not recommend either of these litters. I just don’t feel they are safe.

Come back tomorrow to catch the official training method I use![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]