No, you should not use cat litter for rabbits. Although there are one or two exceptions to this rule, most cat litters are harmful to rabbits. The best thing to do is to use specific rabbit-friendly litter from the store.
Read on to find out why various cat litters should be avoided, what litters are safe, and more!
Types of Cat Litter That Are Bad for Rabbits
Some cat litter is worse if used for a rabbit’s litter. These should be avoided at all costs, and if you use them for your cat then try your best to keep it out of reach of your rabbits.
The worst cat litters for rabbits:
- Clumping cat litter: This is arguably the most harmful as would expand in their stomach (expanding up to 15 times the size if swallowed). At best it would cause a blockage, at worst it can cause the digestive system to shut down.
- Crystal cat litter: To keep its crystalline form, this litter uses chemicals that would be harmful if ingested by rabbits.
- Clay cat litter (or clay-based litter): The dust from clay litter can cause respiratory issues if a rabbit inhales it, and actually eating the litter can cause digestive blockages.
- Pine and cedar litter: Both types of wood are aromatic and release fumes when urinated on. This can also be dusty, potentially causing sickness or respiratory issues.
- Zinc cat litter: The danger here comes from zinc being poisonous. It can cause blood in their poop and in the worst cases it can be fatal.
These litters should be avoided at all costs, but if your rabbit does accidentally eat or breathe in any of these then you should contact your vet ASAP.
Best Types of Litter for Rabbits
There are plenty of tried and tested litters that you can use in your rabbit’s litter box safe in the knowledge that your rabbit is safe.
There are a few materials that made good options as rabbit litter:
- Newspaper shavings
- Aspen wood shaving litter
- Compressed wood stove pallets
This should be placed in the same part of their cage in some sort of litter box or tray so your rabbit can keep with a routine of going to the toilet in the same place – making it easier for cleaning and litter train them at the same time.
The general rule of thumb here is to get non-toxic litter so it won’t be harmful if your rabbit eats any of it.
Also, try to get chemical-free, high absorbency litter. This’ll minimize any bad smells as their urine won’t be left stagnant in the cage producing ammonia.
How to Litter Train Rabbits
The first thing to do when litter training your rabbit is to neuter them (if they haven’t already been). This will control their hormones and prevent spraying when marking territory.
- Choose a suitable, medium-sized litter tray or box that your rabbit can fully get in.
- Select the litter. You’ll need a rabbit-friendly litter, see the list above for guidance on this.
- Put around one inch of litter across the base of the tray.
- Put the tray in the same spot and keep it there.
- Every time your rabbit poops, put the droppings in the tray.
- Praise your rabbit and reward them with treats for using the litter tray.
- Give it some time, and before you know it the habit will have formed.
Extra tip: When you clean the litter (which should be daily) you can mix a little bit of the used litter with the new stuff so your rabbit understands that’s where they go to the toilet. Over time, use less old litter and more new until you can change the whole thing.
Do Rabbits Need Litter?
Yes, rabbits can poop up to 200 times per day. This is a lot of poop, and it builds up quickly so having a litter tray makes it significantly easier to clean up every day. You might need to do some trial and error to figure out what type of rabbit-safe litter your pet prefers.