New-ish rat owner here. What is the safest bedding to use with rats? What do you guys use and prefer/recomend? I am going to be setting up my new rat cage for me three babies, two of which I just got today.
Anything that doesn't contain pine or cedar, and is not too dusty. A lot of people use Carefresh or Yesterday's News (which is a cat litter). You can also use fabrics like old t-shirts, towels, fleece, which you can wash and replace as needed.
Aspen is ok, but some people say it's not too good on containing odours. I have heard of Total Comfort, but I've never used it. If you think it's dusty, it is probably best to change it to something else.
You will probably already know that rats are prone to respiratory issues, so you should always try to avoid anything dusty or too strong smelling.
I've been using Carefresh for over a year, now, and haven't had any problems with it. Going on past discussions in here, that and Yesterday's News really seem to be the favourites.
Haha, really? Carefresh is just... ugh. I can't even stand the smell from a freshly opened bag And to me, aspen doesn't control odor at all. When I have to use softer bedding (IE - for my mice, or for ailing/recovering rats) I use Diamond Soft bedding. Not only is it really pretty (it's seriously shiny!), it also stays clean and fresh for a long time.
I don't know what gets me about it. I never tried it on my rats but I hate the way it smells with my ferrets. It has a very adverse reaction to my sineses for some reason. Feline Pine for my ferrets in their litter box only with carefresh or towels on the bottom. I don't use feline pine for the rats at all because of their respitory reactions are much more sensitive than ferrets. Ferrets seem to be fine with it and actually prefer feline pine over any other bedding.
But yeah maybe Yesterday's News would work better on rats, but I find the carefresh to be alright. I think I want to move towards towels for everyone though at all times because all this carefresh I am buying adds up! I bet it adds up more than what loads of laundry would cost to wash the towels every week.
I love Yesterday's News, and Aspen is a close second . Carefresh got really stinky within afew days, and now is used only in transport and hospital cages. Corncob can get mouldy when wet and doesn't contain smell very well. Now that I have my FN I love fleece with YN in the litterboxes .
Right now for my Doris I've been using plain aspen shavings, and for Millicent (who has bad respiratory problems) I've been using old t-shirts and sweaters.
When I get some extra money I'll start buying towels for the girls and just cut out on shavings entirely. It's just not practical to keep using wood shavings. The costs add up and being around the stuff makes my throat ache.
my 6 or 7th Rabbit was housed on Carefresh and i already didn't like the stuff but i was young (about 15) and thought nothing of it. I noticed a lump on my rabbits nose one day so off to the vet we went. Turns out all the Dust from Carefresh was getting caught in her nose and there was a HUGE ball of puss on his nose. I stoped useing carefresh, and sad to say even with treatment the ball of puss burst. I left Damien with my vet and the infection got horrible and he died :'(. I know he's a rabbit and not a rat but thats my personal reason for not useing carefresh.
I bought Total Comfort last week when they were out of Carefresh, and it is CRAZY dusty. Giant clouds of dust were flying everywhere - I'm going to return it, because the package says "virtually dust free," not "virtually all dust!"
I've mostly had my rats on both Carefresh and the Walmart knockoff, and I've been really impressed with how long it takes to start smelling. Also, I haven't noticed much dust at all. It's also really easy to pick up when pieces fly out of the cage.
As far as aspen, my friend who uses it has to clean her cage 2x or 3x as frequently as I do. It seems pretty dusty, too, and it gets all over the place.
Finally, I tried a corn cob bedding (can't remember the name) for a few months, and wasn't crazy about it. My rats seemed to like it, though... they were always picking up little pieces and chewing on them. The odor control wasn't fantastic, so I switched.
And... when I was a very new rat owner, I just used newspaper because I didn't know any better. That stunk... after a matter of hours. It had to be changed every day, and I'm sure the ink is bad for the rats.
i just got a new rat, so i put him in my old 12x24 cage for his isolation period. i use carefresh for that. it works pretty well and doesnt stink too much. for my big cage, i use fleece. i dont know what i'm goin to do cuz i'm really unhappy with it. it's semi-water-proof, so when my rats urinate on it, it just sits there in a puddle until one of them steps in it, puts his tail in it, or--if i'm luck--it sinks into the cloth(which usually takes a couple hours!) of course, i'm still litter training my rats, so hopefully, they will learn to go numbers 1 and 2 by the end of it. XD
i put shredded newspaper in the cage because it's actually a very good thermal insulator and it's readily gobbled up to be used in nests. but i use kaytee total comfort (recycled newspaper) and it works fine. probably going to switch to towels though, just cuz i think they would look nicer, lol. for anyone else with towels, sears (i work there, booo) has huge bath towels for like $3 each now, which is pretty cheap. or you can always go to the thrift stores, etc. sometimes they have cheap cheap (aka ugly) towels there.