Groucho in his litter box
made for one bunny.
"Hay, this is my box!"
So why not use wood chips or clay litters?
Love that fresh woodsy smell
from pine or cedar chips? I did until I found out there are
phenols in the softwood shavings. These aren't in hardwoods in the
same quantities as softwoods such as aspen making it safer. The
phenols cause problems for the rabbit's liver, respiratory system and
there also seems to be a cancer connection, too. For me, that was
enough reason to choose an alternative.
Cat litter boxes work just
fine. There are several sizes to choose from depending on how big
your rabbit is and how many bunnies need to use the box.
By the way use a litter box,
even if the rabbit is in a cage. The cage should be large enough
to hold the litter box and have room for the bunny to move around.
The wire floors in cages are terrible for sensitive rabbit feet causing
a condition called "sore hocks." Save yourself and the
bunny problems and use a litter box. It is the first step in
litter box training them by starting in their cage or condo. (See
for housing options.)
SHAVINGS (WOOD) -
Pine or aspen shavings may contain some phenols and oils.
Cedar is toxic to rabbits.
CORN COB - Can cause
CLAY - Cat Litter
both clumping and non-clumping. Can cause life threatening
blockages if ingested.
PAPER toners can be toxic.
KENAF - Highly
absorbent and used for horse bedding. Fiber plant from
east-central Africa. Not a lot of sources. Need to
drink plenty of water when ingested to avoid blockages according
to one website for horses. Too fluffy and dusty.
What I do
- I use timothy hay and newspapers and sometimes I will use the
crown animal bedding especially since I have taken care of
I line the bottom of the box with several layers of newspaper.
Until my rabbit, Rosemary,
was spayed she found it irresistible and ripped it to shreds.
Typical unaltered teenage bunny behavior! Solution:
Drill holes in the bottom of an identical litter box and put wood
spacers on top of the newspaper in the non-drilled box with the
newspaper layers on the bottom. Then put the drilled box in over
the one with the newspaper in it. The urine runs down into the second
box and the paper absorbs it. OR you can use a cat litter
box that is perfect for this problem and keeps your rabbit's feet dry,
See the Lift 'n Sift for cats, but purrrfect for rabbits.
item, is fresh timothy hay.
The rabbits love to
graze on it. They need it for their digestion everyday. I change
the box every other day so it doesn't have a chance to smell. The
rabbits only use one end of the box for the bathroom and the other end
for grazing. It works very well. Also, you can get a hay dispenser
and hang it over the litter box to make their area cleaner.
Sometimes I put in a handful of oat hay or straw hay in the box for
variety. (Yes, they are spoiled rabbits.)
Okay, you say, but isn't
timothy hay expensive?
Not when you buy it in
9, 25 or 50 pound boxes or especially when you can buy it by the bale at a feed store.
online. Their hay is very fresh! You can also order
American Pet Diner
online. I store the hay in
plastic containers with holes drilled in the top so it doesn't get
moldy. When I worked for "corporate America" hay was delivered to my work via
UPS since I'm not home to get it during the day. I'll do anything
for my bunnies including having people "moo" in the elevator!
Living near a feed store and having a dry garage for storage is even
cheaper. Always check the hay for freshness and make sure it is
timothy hay and not grass hay. I can't always use a bale so I
donate some to my rabbit vet, to the shelter or give to other rabbit
Rinse the litter boxes with
white vinegar to control odor if needed after you clean it. The
newspaper on the bottom makes hay removal from the box less messy since
the layer of paper even if it is soaked comes right out leaving no hay
in the box to rinse out or go down your drain.
Be sure and change it out every
other day to keep down odor. I change it everyday in the summer.
Litter Box Train
See the HRS web page on
For a litter box for older rabbits or
rabbits recovering after surgery see the
litter box from PetSmart.
The Rabbits and Human Review
Rosemary and her mate, Mr. Bumble, did a very unscientific review of
litters. Along with their human, they offer their
biased point of view on the litters below:
The Human thinks it is clean,
absorbent, no dust, really do control odor and can compost.
Rosemary Rabbit Thinks:
Not my style since I like to graze real hay. My mate, Bumble,
seemed to enjoy Eco-straw best. Get it from:
Crown Animal Bedding
The Human thinks it is dust free, controls odor, good urine absorption. Expensive
(exception: Crown Animal Bedding - get at feed stores). No benefit
for teeth. Need to have hay available in hopper for necessary
fiber and dental health.
Rosemary Rabbit Says:
stinks! Bumble will eat anything and it stuck to his feet and turned
them black except for Crown Animal Bedding brand from the feed
The Human thinks it is:
not dusty, safe, absorption not as good as other litters. No
fiber benefit for digestion.
Rosemary Rabbit Says:
Citrus! Get the
smelly stuff out of my pen. Again, Bumble will eat anything
and after the first day, he didn’t eat anymore. No romantic time
The Human knows:
rabbits, best used over newspaper lining to absorb urine.
Good compost. Excellent for nutrition and dental health.
Cheap – buy it by the bale for $10 to $20 at a feed store.
Messy. Get a litter box with high sides.
I enjoy hours
grazing with Bumble in our box. Loved the chewing.
Can dig and redecorate litter box all day.
The Human thinks it
odor control and
absorbs urine okay. Need a hay hopper for benefit to teeth
and for fiber necessary to diet.
Fat, who me? Bumble
never stopped eating. We have no self-control.
Photos on this page: