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Can My Rabbit Use Cat Litter? What You Need To Know


May 15, 2023
pouring cat litter in the litter box


pouring cat litter in the litter box

Rabbits are cuddly, adorable and make excellent pets. However, they can be rather messy, and their cages require daily spot cleaning. Rabbit owners should deep clean their rabbit’s cage or hutch at least once a week, or else it will smell quite unpleasant, which brings us to our question—can rabbits use cat litter?

The answer is no, as you shouldn’t use most cat litter products for rabbits because cat litter can contain harmful substances. There are a few that are safe for rabbits, but for the most part, it’s better to use other means. Read on to learn about the safest types of litter to use for your adorable rabbit.


Why Can I Not Use Cat Litter for My Rabbit?

Most cat litter will be harmful to your rabbit. A few exceptions, such as Feline Pine, are safe because they lack harsh chemicals, cedar and pine shavings, and unnatural toxins. If you put unsafe cat litter in your rabbit’s litter box, your rabbit could ingest some of it, which can cause intestinal blockages. Cat litter is often scented, which is bad for your rabbit’s digestive tract. Using cat litter is not advisable for rabbits due to the potentially harmful and toxic substances.

Big white rabbit sitting in a cage
Image Credit: berdiyandriy, Shutterstock

What Type of Litter Should I Avoid?

Here is a rundown of litter you should avoid for the safety and health of your rabbit.

  • Clumping litter: If your rabbit eats clumping litter, it can clump inside the digestive tract, which can cause serious and life-threatening issues.
  • Clay litter: Rabbits have sensitive respiratory systems, and clay litter is dusty when stirred up, which your rabbit will do when he uses the litter box. Rabbits are obligate nose breathers due to their respiratory construction, making them prone to respiratory disease.
  • Corn cob litter: This type of litter has no real benefit—it doesn’t absorb odor, it doesn’t control odor, and if ingested, it can cause an intestinal blockage.
  • Pine or cedar shavings/chips: These types of material emit phenols that can cause liver damage if inhaled.
  • Swheat Scoop litter: This litter intended for cats can cause all sorts of problems for your rabbit. As we know, rabbits often eat litter, and this litter contains wheat, which is high in carbs and can cause obesity in your rabbit. This litter can also cause diarrhea, a bacterial imbalance, and excessive fecal production.
  • Any scented litter: Of course, avoid scented anything for your rabbit, especially litter. Just a tiny bit can cause respiratory problems for your rabbit.
dwarf rabbit digging a hole
Image Credit: Viktoria Szabo, Shutterstock

What Type of Litter Is Best for Rabbits?

Now that we’ve established that most cat litter should be avoided, what type of litter is best? Rabbit urine is strong, and you need a litter that absorbs well and does not allow your rabbit’s poop and urine to stink up your house. In addition to needing good absorption, the litter should be safe and non-toxic to your rabbit because, as previously stated, rabbits often eat litter, and using cat litter for your rabbit is not worth the risk to your rabbit’s health.

The best types of litter to use are compostable. You can purchase safe litter made specifically for rabbits, such as pelleted wheat straw, that is all-natural and safe if consumed.

Some other safe rabbit litters include:

  • Wheatgrass-based litter pellets: This type of litter is absorbent and controls odor well.
  • Paper litter (fluffy or pelleted): Paper litter is absorbent, does well to cut down odors, and is harmless if ingested.
  • Compressed sawdust pellets: These pellets are highly absorbent, control odors, and help contain bacterial growth. The pellets are made from hardwood dust, which is not toxic because phenols are removed during the manufacturing process (kiln-dried).
  • Newspaper: Newspaper is easy to use and absorbent but does not control odor.
  • Aspen bark litter: This litter offers reasonable odor control.



Most commercial cat litter, especially clay and clumping litter, is unsafe for your rabbit. It’s best to stick to all-natural products, such as wheatgrass-based pellets and paper litter. Compressed sawdust pellets work well because they offer excellent odor control and help contain bacterial growth. Newspaper is a rabbit owner’s favorite, but the only downfall is no odor control.

Ultimately, the best options are all-natural products that will not harm your rabbit if ingested but also provide odor control.

Featured Image Credit: Seika Chujo, Shutterstock

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