Hi, my name’s Irena and I live on the beautiful island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. I have a crazy, but lovable dog called Sherlock and three cats, Hamlet, Dimitris, and Ebony.
Today I’m going to be talking about the best litters for rabbits. Long gone are the days when rabbits were kept outside.
People used to think that they pooped everywhere when and wherever they wanted. However, this is far from the truth.
They can be litter trained and therefore they can make ideal indoor pets. I had two bunnies when I was a child, Snowdrop and Thumper so I know how adorable these animals are.
What Type of Litter to Use?
Don’t just go out and buy a normal bag of cat litter. Clay-based and clumping litters are dangerous for your rabbits as they can harm the respiratory system which can sometimes be lethal.
Also, stay away from pine chips and shavings as these can damage the liver. Corn cob litter isn’t absorbent and doesn’t control odor. Rabbits can also eat the corn which can cause a fatal blockage.
The best litters to use are ones that are made for rabbits and other small pets.
You will find ones out there which are made from paper, oats, alfalfa, citrus, peat moss, aspen bark, and compressed sawdust pellets.
Oat and alfalfa-based litters are some of the best out there as they neutralize unpleasant odors. The only downside is that your rabbits might eat too much of it and cause bloating.
Paper is absorbent, but it doesn’t get rid of all smells. However, it can be used, together with the waste matter, in your compost pile.
Citrus-based litters are absorbent, but they can be expensive. However, they can also be composted as can peat moss. Another absorbent rabbit litter is compressed sawdust pellets.
A great advantage they have is that they are cheap. They are made from hardwood or softwood sawdust and the good news is that they aren’t toxic.
While they are being made, the phenolic compounds are taken away rendering them safe. Finally, litters made from Aspen bark are good at absorbing smells and in addition, they are safe, unlike pine.
How to Set Up Your Litter Box
Buy a litterbox that has low sides, for example, one made for kittens. An alternative would be a shallow storage tub. If your rabbits struggle to get in, cut a doorway into one of the sides to help them.
The next thing to do is to place a layer of litter in the bottom of the box. Don’t bother putting in a lot of litter as rabbits don’t bury their litter as do cats.
In addition, when you come to clean the litter box, you will need to get rid of all the contents. If you use too much litter, things can get unnecessarily expensive.
How to Litter Train your Rabbits
Although rabbits can be litter trained, it does take a little more effort than training a cat.
With all the cats and kittens I’ve had, they’ve started using the litter box as soon as I’ve brought them into the house. Rabbits take a little more time and patience.
When first introducing your rabbits to a litterbox it is a good idea to limit the space your rabbits are allowed to be in.
Why not first start with their cage and put the litterbox in there? Once they have started to use the litterbox in the cage let them out into a rabbit run or indoor playpen.
A puppy pen is also a good alternative. Watch your bunnies go in and out and if they go to a certain corner to poop or pee, tell them ‘no’ and herd them back into the cage.
Don’t lift them up and put them back into the cage as they might think they are being punished and the cage could become a prison for them.
When they start using the box praise them and give them a treat. It doesn’t matter if you have to use several litterboxes.
Bunnies are slow learners so the more the merrier. As they start becoming comfortable with using a box, you can reduce the number of boxes they have.
On the other hand, if they forget to use the litterbox, reduce the area until they are comfortable with it again.
Don’t be surprised if your bunnies lie down in the litterbox. It’s perfectly natural and is nothing to be worried about.
Rabbits like to poop and eat at the same time. A good idea is to put some hay in the litterbox or put a hay box right next to the tray.
If you are using a hay box, put it right next to the litterbox in a position where your rabbits will have to jump into the litterbox to eat their hay and therefore have the opportunity to poop as well.
Accidents will happen with rabbits. If they do, mop up the urine with a paper towel and pick up the poop.
Put it all into the litterbox to reinforce the fact that this is where your rabbits should be relieving themselves.
It’s a good idea to put a plastic mat underneath the box just in case they urinate over the side by mistake.
It is essential to persevere, especially if you have adopted older rabbits who haven’t been litter trained. It will probably take a while to train them.
If you see that your rabbits are about to poop outside the litterbox gently herd them up and direct them towards the box. They won’t like being picked up under these circumstances.
If your bunnies are choosing a certain corner of the room to poop and urinate, they could be trying to tell you that that is where they want to go.
In this case, it might be a good idea to put the litterbox there and see if this works.
Rabbits, like most animals, want to mark their territory. If they are spraying and pooing everywhere this is what they could be doing.
Their hormones become active around the age of four to six months, so this is the time to think about getting them spayed or neutered.
This should stop them from spraying. Occasionally rabbits will try and assert their authority over you by peeing on your couch or bed.
If they do this, put them back in their cage and shut it. You are the one who must be at the top of the pecking order.
Litter Training Mistakes
The biggest mistake which you can do is let your bunnies out of the cage and not watch them.
If they urinate or poop without being seen and aren’t herded back into their cage until after the event, the bad habit might stick.
Another mistake is hurrying things along. Bunnies like to take their time to learn and you need to take the time as well.
Not only will you get a well-trained rabbit, but you will have fun watching your rabbits play and explore. That’s the beauty of having a pet.
Cleaning Litter Boxes
A clean and fresh-smelling litter box will encourage your bunnies to use it. After emptying the litter box, use white wine vinegar to clean it out.
White wine vinegar can also be used for accidents outside the litter box or alternatively use club soda. If the box is very stained, leave it to soak in white wine vinegar and warm water.
If you use organic rabbit litter, which is always the best to use, you can use it as mulch or compost when it has been used. Rabbit poop can be applied to plants as a fertilizer.
Bad Litter Box Habits
Yes, rabbits can have bad litterbox habits like all other animals. My cats desperately try to bury their poop and, in the process, a good amount of litter ends up on the floor.
I am forever sweeping it up, but I can’t get mad with them as they are trying to be clean.
One of the main bad habits rabbits have is the same as I have with my cats. Bunnies often enjoy kicking their litter out of the box.
A solution would be to get a covered litterbox although not all rabbits will take to this. I have tried with my cats in the past and they’ve never seemed to like it.
An alternative would be to experiment with different types of litter. Chances are they’re not keen on the one you’ve chosen.
Another bad habit is urinating over the edge of the box. They push themselves up so far in the litterbox that their pee goes over the edge.
Again, a covered litterbox might do the trick. Another solution is to get a tub with higher sides although of course, you will still have to cut in a doorway so they can get in and out.
There is also such a thing as a urine guard which you can place at the back of the cage to stop urine being sprayed outside the cage.
What if Your Rabbits Start Dribbling all Over the Cage?
If your rabbits are dribbling, they could have a bladder infection, so the best thing to do is to take your bunnies to the vet for a check-up.
The vet will usually prescribe antibiotics. However, if this doesn’t seem to cure the problem, perhaps something is upsetting your rabbits.
Perhaps you’ve got a new pet or unfamiliar guests come into your home. Maybe you’ve moved their cage. In that case, move it back.
Give your rabbits a little time to settle in with new pets or guests and they should stop dribbling when they feel secure again.
The Top 6 Best Litters for Rabbits
1) Fresh News Paper Small Animal Litter
Because it is very absorbent, you only need to change the litter two or three times a week rather than every day. It absorbs urine much better than wood shavings.
As it is made from paper, it is dust-free so it better for the respiratory health of your bunnies.
The paper is recyclable and it is biodegradable and can be used in your compost heap. What is better than being eco-friendly?
This litter reduces the waste in landfills and saves cutting down trees. In addition, it doesn’t get stuck to the fur of your bunnies nor does it get tracked around the room.
The net volume is 10 liters, so you are getting good value for your money.
2) Kaytee Critter Litter Premium Potty-Training Small Animal Litter
It absorbs moisture immediately and helps to control unpleasant smells from ammonia. It has the capability of absorbing ten times its’ weight in liquid which makes it very economical.
Because of this, you will only have to change the litter once or twice a week at the most.
It’s a good idea to place a piece of newspaper in the litter box first and then put it in the litter.
This makes it very easy to clean and stops the litter from sticking to the bottom of the box.
This litter is 99% dust-free which is good for your rabbits as you don’t want them catching any respiratory diseases.
The bag is resealable and that means there will be less mess.
3) Kaytee Wood Pellets for Pets
This will give both you and your bunnies a much pleasanter smelling home. It has been processed to eliminate dust which will keep your bunnies respiratory systems clear.
When your rabbits urinate on the pellets, they turn to sawdust which makes the box easy to clean.
The pellets don’t cling or stick to the tray but it’s always good to put a piece of newspaper down before putting in the litter. This makes cleaning even easier.
4) Oxbow Bene Terra Eco-Straw Pelleted Wheat Straw Small Animal Litter
This litter uses special technology to compress high fiber wheat straw into a pellet. These pellets are twice as absorbent than newspaper which means that you don’t have to change the litter quite as often.
In fact, it absorbs around 300% of its’ weight in moisture.
When the pellets become wet, they expand and separate. It’s then easy to identify which pellets need to be scooped up. You can do this daily and then do a complete clean once or twice a week.
These pellets last a lot longer than wood shavings which is good for your pocket and it also gives you more time socializing with your bunnies rather than cleaning up after them.
Another advantage is that the straw stays in the litter box and isn’t easily kicked out. Eco -straw is dust-free which is good for the health of your rabbits.
To get rid of this litter you can flush it down the toilet or even better, use it for compost. Eco-straw is heat-treated which ensures that it doesn’t contain any unwanted insects like mites.
Unlike some rabbits litters, it is perfectly safe for your rabbits to consume this litter. In fact, because it is full of fiber it is good for your bunnies.
It is interesting to note that because of the way it is made, the urine will go below the surface of the litter, so it still feels soft and dry on top, encouraging your rabbits to use it again.
It won’t stick to their coats nor will it track so the area around the box will remain clean. To top it all, it contains no chemicals or fragrances.
5) Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter
It is made from recycled paper so you will know that you are doing good for the environment and it is biodegradable.
Put it straight out onto the compost heap when you’re done with it. It is unscented which is good for your rabbits as they can be put off by perfume.
This litter absorbs more than three times as much moisture than a clay-based litter. Of course, you shouldn’t be using a clay-based litter with your bunnies, but this is just to give you an idea of how good it is.
The litter is excellent at odor control and is designed for low tracking. What you don’t want is litter trailing all over your carpet.
It is 99% dust-free so it is good for the health of your rabbits. There are no harmful chemicals used in the making of this litter so you can rest assured that it’s non-toxic.
6) Hertz Multi-Cat Lightweight Recycled Clumping Paper Cat Litter
You will certainly get your money’s worth here. It forms odor-absorbing clumps which can be removed without having to change the whole box.
These clumps turn blue when there is urine on them, so it is easy to see what needs to be removed. It doesn’t stick to the box and it won’t track.
It is 99% dust-free which will keep away respiratory diseases from your bunnies. The good news is that it’s eco-friendly as it is made from 80% recycled paper.
Also, it’s easy to lift because it is made from paper. I know I’m always struggling with bags of very heavy cat litter.
Final Thoughts: Best Litters For Rabbits
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article on best litters for rabbits and if it’s your first time, have been given a good idea of how to litter train your bunnies.
They take a little time and patience to train, but it’s worth it in the end to have rabbits who can freely wander around your house without having accidents.
Gone are the days when you kept your rabbits in an outside cage. They are lovely animals and should have the chance to interact with their people.
I stand by my first choice of rabbit litter, Fresh News Paper Small Animal Litter. It gets rid of any odors quickly and it is highly absorbent.
It is biodegradable so you will also know that you are doing something for the environment.
I also like Oxbow Bene Terra Eco-Straw as it absorbs 300% of its weight in moisture.
Rabbits tend to chew on their litter which isn’t always good, but this litter is made from natural fiber which is both healthy and safe for your bunnies.