Can Rabbits Use Cat Litter? Which Types Of Cat Litter Are Unsafe For Rabbits And Why?


Rabbits are adorable, cuddly creatures that have been domesticated for centuries. Can rabbits use cat litter? What is cat litter? Which types of cat litter are unsafe for rabbits and why? Can you give some examples of rabbit-safe litters? These are all questions that many people ask themselves when they’re looking to get a new pet.

Let’s talk about what exactly cat litter is, which types of it are safe for rabbits, and how you can tell if the type you purchased is safe or not!

Have you ever wondered if your rabbit can use the same type of cat litter that you do? It turns out, they can-and it’s a cost effective and environmentally friendly option for your furry friend.

However, not all types of cat litter are safe for your rabbits, and it is very important to be aware of the safe and unsafe types of cat litter for your rabbits.

Read on to find out more about why rabbits should not be using certain types of kitty litter and how to make sure they are getting the right type of litter that meets their needs.

What Exactly Is Cat Litter?

Cat litter is a material that people put into their cats’ litter boxes. There are many different types of cat litter, and some will be safe for your rabbit to use, while others may not! It is a type of pet-friendly product that helps absorb and control your cat’s urine, feces, and droppings.

It comes in various forms, such as: loose granules (traditional), clumping litters, silica gel crystals, or crystal sand for cats, which are small grains made from sodium silicate.

There are also many different types of traditional cat litter, including: natural/organic non-clumping clay based litters; biodegradable pads with chemicals to fight odors; specialty type kitty litters like pine pellets, wood pellets, corn cobs/corn cob bedding , newspaper pellets (not the printed newspaper), shredded paper pulp products like Feline Pine , recycled newspaper products such as Yesterday’s News, etc.

As you can see, there are quite a large variety of options when it comes to cat litter.

Caecotrophy And Its Impact On Litter Selection:

Caecotropes is the phenomenon whereby rabbits produce and excrete hard substances called cecotropes, usually after they have eaten their herbivorous diet. Cecotropes are small black pellets of digested food which are produced in the intestine by hindgut fermentation.

Caecotrophy is the act of rabbits ingesting their own feces to utilize the undigested food that is left over. The main function of caecotrophy is to provide your rabbits with proteins and vitamins that have been synthesised in the caecum of your rabbits and to ensure that these nutrients are not lost.

Caecotrophy is a very important part of your rabbit’s overall digestive and nutrition system, and in most cases, it provides up to 20% of their daily protein requirement.

It is this behaviour of caecotrophy that plays a very vital role in deciding which type of litter is suitable for your rabbits. Unlike other animals, ,rabbits end up eating their litter during the process of caecotrophy. Hence, it becomes very important that the litter is made up of non-toxic and safe materials.

Which Types of Cat Litter Are Unsafe for Rabbits?

Not all types of cat litter are safe to be used around rabbits, and it is very important that you fully research the type of cat litter before using it in your house with your rabbit!

Clumping Cat Litter:

Clumping cat litter is a type of cat litter that clumps together when it gets wet, instead of making the whole area soggy. This makes cleaning easier and reduces odors since you can scoop up all the leftover mess in one go, without having to dig around in your box for extra work.

I would strongly suggest you avoid using clumping cat litter for your rabbits. It is common knowledge that rabbits eat their litter, and if you use clumping cat litter for your rabbits, they will end up ingesting portions of the litter while going about their business.

Clumping cat litter is known to expand to more than 10 times its size. When your rabbit accidentally ingests clumping cat litter, it can expand inside your rabbit’s digestive system and completely cause a shut down or cause blockages.

Traditional clumping kitty litter can cause serious health problems for rabbits, including: gastrointestinal blockage, internal damage (damage to intestines), dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or renal failure.

This type of kitty litter can also clump on their feet, which causes issues with walking, or even get stuck in between their toes, causing pain , discomfort, bleeding, infection etc.

Clumping cat litter can be fatal to rabbits if ingested, and unfortunately, this is very common. This type of litter should not ever be used in your pet rabbit litter!

Clay Based Cat Litters:

Clay based cat litter is a type of cat litter that is made from naturally mined clay and bentonite. Clay cat litters generally contain more silica than other cat litters, meaning they’re bound to be heavier (perhaps 2x) than their counterparts.

It is very important that you do not use clay-based cat litter in your rabbit’s litter box. Clay based litters are very dangerous for your rabbit to ingest, as they can cause serious health problems or even death.

This type of kitty litter is also bad because it can lead to dehydration, which causes further complications if not treated immediately. If the ingested clay-based litter does not pass through their systems naturally within 24 hours, this can be fatal for rabbits too! This makes these types of kitty litter very dangerous and totally unsafe for your rabbit to use.

If you have been using clay-based cat litter with your rabbit and notice any symptoms of illness, you should take them to a veterinarian right away! Reduced appetite/water intake; decreased activity level; diarrhea (sometimes containing blood); and lethargy (sluggishness) are all possible symptoms.

It is very important to have a proper substrate used inside your rabbit’s cage/litter box that they cannot ingest! This will help prevent any accidental ingestion of harmful substances like clay-based litter!

When a rabbit ingests this form of kitty litter, there is no way for him/her to pass it through his body as waste product.This can cause serious health problems for your rabbit, including: gastrointestinal blockage, internal damage (damage to the intestines), dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or renal failure.

Gel-Based Cat Litters:

Unsafe types of litter may also include non-clay based clumping litters such as silica gel crystals, which are small grains made from sodium silicate. Silicates are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), so they should not come into contact with our bunnies at any time. It has been said that not all silica gels are carcinogenic, but there is no way to determine which ones may be.

These types of litter can also cause problems if ingested by the rabbit since it expands inside their digestive track, causing blockages and other issues.

Corn/Wood Pellet Cat Litter:

Another dangerous variety are wood or corn-based pellets that have been treated with chemicals such as phenol, which have antiseptic properties for fighting odors. These products usually contain about 90% pine or cedar oils, which are harmful to rabbits when eaten.

These types of litter can also cause problems if ingested by the rabbit since it expands inside their digestive track, causing blockages and other issues.

Pine And Cedar Wood Shavings Cat Litter:

Pine and cedar wood shavings cat litter is a type of kitty litter that is made from the ground up sawdust left over from processing pine or cedar trees. These types of litters are very dangerous for your rabbit to ingest because they can cause serious damage to their respiratory system.

The particles from the pine or cedar wood shavings can cause respiratory damage, as well as irritation to your rabbit’s eyes.

Pine and cedar oils are known for being toxic both by ingestion and through inhalation, so you should not have any of these products around your rabbits at all!

If ingested, they will cause serious problems, including: diarrhea, seizures, or death. The effects of inhaling them may include a loss of coordination, depression and even blurred vision, which makes it very dangerous for anyone in contact with this litter – especially if you have children- due to their smaller size.

Vegetable Based Cat Litter:

These types of cat litter are made from materials such as corn, wheat, or walnut shells, and they are unsafe for rabbits to use.

Wheat, corn, and walnut shell litters are not recommended for rabbits since they can cause intestinal blockage, which will lead to serious problems including: dehydration; gastrointestinal issues (like diarrhea); or even death.

Which Types of Cat Litter Are Safe for Rabbits?

Paper Based Cat Litters:

These cat litters are typically made of recycled newspaper and other fibrous materials, such as pulped wood shavings, and can be extremely absorbent!This is great because it helps with odor control while also providing a clean environment for your bunnies without any risk factors involved.

They may not clump as much, but if you usually use this type inside their litter boxes, then there should be no problems at all regarding urine seeping into the bottom substrate layer.

The only downside is that these types of cat litters may not offer the best odor control, but otherwise they are a great option for bunnies who like to switch up between different substrates every now and again.

Aspen Shavings Cat Litter:

Aspen shavings cat litter is a type of kitty litter made from ground up aspen or poplar wood.Aspen shavings cat litter is another safe option for rabbits since it’s basically the same as paper-based litter but made from more natural resources.

This, however, does make this substrate great at controlling odors, which makes it perfect to have inside their cages while they are out exploring around your home without supervision.

Make sure you clean any used areas daily though, because otherwise urine can seep into the bottom layer where it may be difficult to remove later on – resulting in those ammonia smells we all despise so much!

Compressed Wood Pellets Cat Litter:

Compressed wood pellet cat litter is made of small, compressed pieces of hardwood. These types of litter are one of the safest for your bunnies since they cannot ingest them and there’s no risk factor if they accidentally do – like with cedar or pine shavings.

The only real downside to these is that rabbits will kick their substrate around, which can cause some mess, but nothing too serious! You should be able to find this type in most pet stores as well as online shops, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get ahold of at all.

These alternatives may not clump together quite as much, but you’ll also have less dust than other options, which makes them even safer for your rabbit’s respiratory system.

There are several rabbit specific litters that can be safely used for your rabbits and are surely a better alternative than using cat-based litters.

A few of these include newspaper based litters, hay based litters, etc. I will not go into details with regard to these litters because the topic of this article is regarding the use of cat litters for your rabbits.

Wrapping Up

Rabbits can use cat litter, but not all varieties are safe. Aspen, wood pellets, and paper-based litter will work for most rabbits. Other types of litter, such as clay or sand, may be too dusty for a rabbit’s respiratory system to handle.

If you have any questions about whether the type of litter is appropriate for your pet bunny, consult with a veterinarian before introducing it into their environment!

A lot of people are worried about the safety of their rabbit pets, so it’s good to know if they can use cat litter in times of need. I hope this article has given you some insight into whether or not rabbits can use cat litter.



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Meet Genie, our passionate pet lover, real-life lawyer and pet expert, who is an avid animal enthusiast and has been associated with several animal NGOs and shelters for years. With over 20 years of experience in taking care of pets, she has been a part of numerous animal welfare volunteer schemes and programs. With 3 adorable dogs, 3 lovely cats, and several fish at home, Genie has a full house of happy and healthy pets. She is also a dedicated member of the Donatekart monthly program for the welfare and feeding of street dogs. She believes that every animal deserves love, care, and a full belly, and works tirelessly to make that a reality for as many animals as possible. Whether it's learning about pet behavior or finding the best ways to take care of your furry friends, Genie is the go-to person for all your pet-related queries. When it comes to pet care, Genie is a wealth of knowledge and experience. From dealing with health issues to providing the best nutrition, she has seen it all and is always willing to share her expertise with others. Follow Genie's pet blog for tips, advice, and heartwarming stories about life with her beloved pets.