Can You Use Cat Litter for Rats? (All You Need to Know)

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Your home may be home to rat friends, and if you’re trying to take care of, you may always be looking for ways to provide them with a healthy and comfortable life. 

It’s fun to watch these tiny little creatures. Some rodent pets are more likely than others to be harmful to humans; however, rats are acceptable pets.

Can You Use Cat Litter for Rats?

The use of cat litter for rats is not recommended. Unlike cats, most rats are sensitive to smell, and many kinds of cat litters contain materials toxic to their well-being. 

It is your responsibility to furnish them with something that will not harm their health, even if they use it as bedding.

Here is a litter you may be able to use for rats –

Wood cat litter:

Litter made of pine and cedar woods is toxic to rats. These woods contain acids and phenols which are very bad for their liver and respiratory system. 

The ammonia from urine can combine with the strong scent and affect the respiratory tract.

Rats may have an impaired immune system if they’re exposed to this for too long. 

Aspen shavings are the only type of wood that is safe for rats. It doesn’t produce dust and has phenols, which are toxic to them. Aspen is readily available and quite inexpensive.

Paper cat litter:

While paper litter can be used for rodents, it must be unscented. If it also claims to control or stop odor then you should avoid using it as this is not true of all paper litters.

Paper or natural litters are generally not used for guinea pigs because they may trigger health issues. 

The best choices for guinea pigs are the litter with odor control features, which will make your pet feel better.

Silica cat litter:

Silica cat litter is not a good option for rats. Although it doesn’t contain any harmful substances, it’s a bit dusty. It also has drying properties that can dry out your pet’s delicate skin and fur too much.

One downside of chew toys is that some rats will chew on them and this may not be good for their health.

Clay kitty litter:

Clay cat litter is harmful to rats. Manufacturers may claim that it’s not dusty, but it does produce dust which can be harmful for the lungs of rats.

If the dust and clays stick to the fur of a rat, they’re likely to ingest it while grooming. The clay doesn’t digest and can cause problems, like stomach blockages, which can cause health issues.

Are Rats Attracted To Cat Litter? Will Cat Litter Deter Rats?

Rats are not attracted to cat litter. Rats try to avoid any other animal bigger than themselves, and cat litter is not like the pests rats would typically be drawn to (like garbage). 

Additionally, rats have a strong sense of smell and an aversion to strong smells. Rats are very unlikely to be attracted to cat litter, then.

Some believe that cat litter will deter rats, but this is not always accurate. Rats are rarely deterred by unused cat litter. In some cases, rats may be more inclined to avoid areas with used cat litter.

It can be difficult to deter rats when they’re already in your home, but you can try placing used cat litter containing urine or feces from your cat. However, this is not an ideal option.

Are Cat Litters Suitable For Rat Cages? Is It Possible To Utilize Cat Litter For Pet Rats?

Rats are different than cats, who only use their litter for excretion. Some rats also use the litter as bedding, so you shouldn’t use cat litter in rat cages. Rats can be very sensitive to smell.

They don’t like the smell of scented items, so even if cat litter is scented it won’t bother them.

For pet rats, do not use cat litter. Most cat litters contain dust, smells and agents that are bad for your pet rat. 

Rats groom themselves just like cats and end up consuming the litter which is not good for their health.

Which cat litter is safe for rats?

In order to keep rats healthy and stress-free, it’s not necessary to use cat litter. As their respiratory systems are more sensitive than regular cats, they get agitated when exposed to strong scents. 

In particular, scents that are employed to mask the smell of urine bother them because their respiratory tracts can’t handle them.

Cat litters also come with clumping agents that cover the faeces and urine. These are toxic and life-threatening to rats, however–we recently found one litter that’s claimed to be safe for rats. 

When shopping online or speaking with a manufacturer, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what kind of cat litter is safe for rats.

It’s important to make the best decision for your tiny rodents when you pick out their litter, because they require a specific set of requirements. 

The litter should be free of fragrance, dust, clumping agents, odor control agents and it should also be large enough so that rats don’t try to chew on it and swallow it.

3 reasons you cannot use cat litter for rats

Three reasons not to use cat litter for getting rid of rats are given below –

Respiratory Issues:

The majority of cat litter contains harmful elements that can cause breathing issues. Rats, in particular, are quite sensitive to smell. 

This is because they have smaller lungs than a human and cannot easily fight off the toxic elements found in some cat litter.

If you’re considering using a corncob for the rats to chew on, remember that corncob can have mold and rot when damp for a long time. It’s not ideal for rats to breathe in. 

Rotten stalks can also grow harmful bacteria in the most icky of ways. Your rat’s immune system will be severely affected by this.

Digestive issues:

The chemicals found in most cat litters are toxic to rats. When rats groom their fur, these chemicals (like acids, phenols, and baking soda) can be ingested.

Elements would enter the rat’s intestines but couldn’t break down like they should. Many of these elements could cause the rat to become seriously ill and eventually die if not treated.

Not the best bedding:

One major difference between cats and rats is that only rats use litter as their bedding. Cats, on the other hand, do not. 

Cat litters in crystal or powder forms can make for a great cat litter, but it won’t work for rats because it’s too harmful to their respiratory system.

On the other hand, most kitty litter brands include an odor control system, which is a big no for rats. 

Rats cannot only try to eat these crystals which are harmful to their health. Additionally, many crystal-based litters are not suitable for bedding.

Can You Utilize Cat Litter Bedding For Rats?

Rats should never be bedded on litter. These litters are intended for cats, and most of them have been shown to be harmful to rats. 

However, if you must use it, make sure the litter is made of paper or aspen wood shavings with no added chemical control system.

Rats need a safe and clean place where they can snuggle and feel comfortable. But it’s not easy to find the materials that meet these needs because they have to be 100% natural, unscented, easy to replace, and comfortable. 

Since cat litter doesn’t meet all of these criteria, it’s best not to use it for rats.

Rats have fragile respiratory and digestive systems, so it’s important to check for any harmful objects. 

Something as small as a loose piece of thread can be dangerous for them. Check for items such as broken glass or metal pieces daily, and replace the bedding at least once per week.

What Do You Use In A Rat Litter Box?

Let’s go through this section to learn more about what should be put in a litter box –

Shredded paper:

100% natural shredded papers are the best option for rat litter boxes. Since rats are very sensitive to smell and dust, 100% natural shredded paper is free of both and therefore ideal for them.

Unbleached paper towels:

If you’re looking for a great option for your pet’s litter box, unbleached toilet tissue or paper towels can be a great alternative to dust-causing litter. These options are non-toxic and won’t hurt your pets.

Hardwood shavings:

Have rat problems? Softwood shavings might not be the best option for you. You can try using hardwood aspen, oak, or ash in a litter box.

These planks are safe for your home and the environment- they’re free of phenols, acids, and strong scents. 

Best of all, they stay nice and cool to the touch, so you can easily walk on them without getting burned or cutting yourself accidentally on a nail that didn’t secure properly.

Cloth or safe fabric:

To avoid wet and smelly rat litter boxes, use sheets of fabric or pieces of cloth as bedding.

Since fabric is thin and provides no coverage, it will quickly become soaked with urine and start to smell bad.

This can cause problems for your rat buddies. You will have to clean and replace the cloth on a regular basis to prevent these problems.

Final Thoughts

You should never use cat litter for rats. Cat litters come with masking scents, clumping agents, dust and an odor management system that are bad for their respiratory and digestive systems. 

Use homemade litter instead, as it will be more safe and convenient to use.


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