Recently, a friend asked, “Can you use cat litter for other pets?”

When you have multiple pets, it’s natural to wonder if cat litter is safe for other animals and if you can use it as bedding or toilet substrate. 

So, let’s find out if cat litter is safe for other pets in your house. 

Can You Use Cat Litter For Guinea Pigs and Other Animals?

a group of pet animals

It’s essential to use only pet-safe beddings for rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, ferrets, and other small animals. After all, the smaller the animal, the easier it is to poison it. 

So, can you use cat litter for guinea pigs and other animals? It depends on the type of litter you’re using and the materials. 

Before we talk if pet owners should use litter for other animals, let’s see what litter is made of and what types exist. 

Types of Litter 

cat in a cat litter box

Most cat owners use bentonite clay. However, clay isn’t the only option for cat litter boxes and isn’t even the best because producing the components of clay litter is bad for the environment. (1)

So, you can choose between four types of cat litter:

  • Clumping litters (usually clay), which form hard clumps on contact with cat urine and cat feces
  • Non-clumping litters, which don’t form clumps
  • Natural biodegradable cat litter, made from corn, wheat, pellets, walnut shells, etc
  • Silica gel litters – crystals with an absorbent surface, which soak up cat urine and dry out feces 

Clay-based brands are the most popular because they have a low price per month, absorb well, and provide reasonable odor control. And it’s easy to clean the clumped urine. 

Natural, non-clumping brands and crystal litter are more expensive because they generate less dust, have excellent odor control, and last longer than traditional clay litter.

Besides type, you should also consider if the brand you want to use is scented or unscented. 

All scented brands aren’t suitable for other pets because the scent can be toxic to guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits, etc. Some are also bad for cats with allergies and worse litter box odor. 

So, when discussing can you use cat litter for guinea pigs and other animals, I’ll focus on unscented litter.

Here’s a quick summary table of whether cat litter is safe for your pets or not.

PetIs cat litter safe?
Guinea pigsNo
DogYes
Dog yes
Hamster
Yes, if non-clumping and unscented.
RabbitNo
Ferret No

Can you use cat litter for guinea pigs? 

Guinea pigs are one of the cutest pets besides cats, and it’s easy to take care of them as long as you provide the right cage, food, and bedding. 

So, can you use cat litter for guinea pigs? Clumping litter is dangerous for your cavy. That’s because clay swells up when wet and can cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested by accident. 

Since many guinea pigs snack on their beddings when bored, it’s not a good idea to use clay. Crystals also could cause intestinal obstruction, and they’re far too sharp for your cavy’s paws. 

Common bentonite clay brands are also very dusty. And dust can harm your guinea pig’s health and damage their lungs. 

Still, as pet experts say, “Appropriate bedding materials include recycled newspaper products, shredded paper, and aspen shavings.” (2)

So, biodegradable litter made from paper and wood should be safe for your guinea pig’s cage. Just check to ensure the brand uses only natural ingredients without fragrances and chemicals.  

Here’s a short clip that talks further about guinea pigs using cat litter.

@guineapigcarecenter Reply to @elenaeffertz this is why I don’t use cat litter, but it’s up to you to do research and decide what works best for your pig! #guineapigcare ♬ Bunny – Cardox

Can you use cat litter for dogs? 

very good dog being pet

Dogs don’t have the same urge to cover their waste as cats, but it’s still possible to train a dog to use a cat toilet box and encourage proper elimination habits. 

Fortunately, unscented varieties of kitty litter are safe to use around dogs since they’re made from clay or other natural ingredients. The problem lies elsewhere.

Many dogs consider cat poop a delicious treat. While it sounds disgusting, it’s natural behavior since mother dogs eat their puppy’s waste to clean the nest. 

But dogs can get ill if they eat infected poop from cats that go outside and eat live prey.

Moreover, some dogs can prefer eating cat litter, which can lead to minor or major stomach problems, depending on the amount ingested.

And many dogs like to play in the toilet box, scattering particles all over the house and tracking the mess.

So, while it’s safe to use cat litter for dogs, it’s not the best choice for cat owners, especially those with big dogs. And it can lead to inappropriate elimination inside the house if you don’t do the training right. 

ALSO READ: Is Cat Litter Toxic?

Can you use cat litter for hamsters? 

When it comes to hamsters, beddings should be toxic-free and water-soluble because hamsters like to burrow in their nest and often chew their beddings.

So, hamster owners can use kitty litter as long as it’s a non-clumping, unscented variety, such as paper or wood pellets or maybe horse pellets for cat litter.   

Don’t ever use any clumping variety since even the smallest ingested amount can cause severe intestinal obstruction in a tiny hamster.

Studies suggest that the bedding should be 15 inches deep to ensure your hamster’s overall wellbeing. (3)

Since you need to change the bedding every week, it will be too expensive for most hamster owners to use cat substrate even with excellent moisture control.  

Still, as you can see from this video, you can use natural cat brands to create a cozy hamster cage and promote good litter box habits.

Can you use cat litter for rabbits?

Natural litters, such as wood pellets or paper-based brands, are suitable for rabbits. You need to check that the pellets don’t contain any phenols (these are toxic to rabbits).  

As for clumping cat litter or scented varieties, you should avoid them. 

Rabbits often suffer from stomach problems due to overeating, so that any clumping brands can be potentially deadly for bunnies.  

Also, ensure the brand you’ve chosen isn’t dusty because too much dust will irritate your bunny’s respiratory system.

Since bunnies are so delicate, I recommend getting a rabbit substrate from your local pet store, such as hey. Rabbits love hay, and as specialists explain, “Hay is essential for normal gastrointestinal function.” (4)

Can I use cat litter for my ferret?

Ferret owners shouldn’t use clay cat litter because it can damage your pet’s stomach if ingested. And crystals are far too sharp to make a comfortable nest. 

The best bedding material for this small animal has recycled paper or wood pellets. So, you can use the biodegradable litter, as long as it’s all-natural. 

And as this ferret owner shows, you can use kitty litter for your ferret’s toilet box to ensure your ferret can’t snack on the particles. 

Using Cat Litter for Other Pets 

You can use biodegradable and natural brands for hedgehogs, rats, mice, and other small pets. Non-clumping cat products can also work if they don’t contain fragrances or chemicals.

Don’t use cat substrate for chickens because they will peck at the clay/crystals, which can cause digestion problems or even death. 

If you’re not sure what litter types to use for your small pet, you should talk about it with your vet to avoid 

Can you use cat litter for anything else? 

You don’t need to own felines to use clay or crystal brands. Besides reducing the unpleasant litter box smell, kitty litter has many other uses, some of which will leave you speechless. 

#1 Air Freshener 

Litter is one of the best choices for complete odor elimination for stinky trashcans, old books, musky closets, ashtrays, and other bad smells around the house. 

#2 Prevent Grease Fires 

sweet juicy barbecue being cooked

If you have a barbecue, sprinkling a couple of inches of litter at the bottom of the grill can prevent grease fires. It will absorb the grease, so it can’t catch on fire.

#3 Clean Spills

Thanks to its superb clumping capability, clay brands are a great option to clean accident spills, oil, or water. Cover the mess and wait for the litter to absorb the moisture before sweeping it off. 

#4 Craft Projects

Cat crystals come in various sparkling, vibrant colors, so they are perfect for crafting projects or decorations. 

#5 Get Rid of Pests

Mice and rats hate cats, so a bit of used cat clay from the toilet box can keep these pests away from your house. 

#6 Increase Traction

driving down on an icy road

If you live in an area with icy roads or steps, sprinkling a bit of cat litter on the ground can prevent slips and falls. It can also better track your car/truck when stuck in the mud, ice, or snow. 

#7 Drying Flowers 

Are you a fan of drying flowers? Then place the flowers in a box with clean cat litter. Thanks to its excellent moisture control, the flowers will dry quickly. 

#8 Moisturize Plants

Clumping cat litter absorbs and retains moisture, perfect for providing moisture to shrubs, flowers, and trees. 

#9 Remove Bad Odors from Refrigerators 

a girl covering her nose

If your fridge smells musty when you unplug it, cat litter can help you in the cleaning process by absorbing the unpleasant scent.

#10 Save a Wet Phone

While most people will think about using rice to absorb the moisture from a wet phone, kitty litter can do the same thing.

#11 Beauty Mask

Natural clay is an excellent choice for a beauty mask. Mix three tablespoons of unscented kitty litter with water, and then grind the concoction into a smooth paste before applying it to your skin. 

#12 Clean up Vomit

cat litter being scraped

Cats have the nasty habit of vomiting foam or cat food on the carpet, but clumping litter can help you get rid of the nasty smell and clean the mess quickly. 

Can You Use Cat Litter for Other Pets: FAQs

CAN I USE KITTY LITTER TO SOAK UP WATER?

Yes, you can use clay or crystals to soak up water and extra moisture from rooms.  

But is cat litter toxic? No, it’s safe for cats and humans, but its dust can trigger the respiratory system of humans and cats with allergies. 

CAN SILICA GEL KILL CATS?

Silica gel cat litter is safe for cats because it’s made from amorphous silica gel, non-toxic to cats and humans. However, cats can choke on silica gel crystals.

Moreover, crystals can cause intestinal obstructions in cats if consumed in large enough quantities.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH UNWANTED CAT LITTER?

girl thinking of something

You can donate any unwanted cat litter to a shelter or use it to absorb moisture and reduce foul odors around the house. 

Conclusion

It’s tempting to use cheap clay litter for guinea pigs and other small pets you have. However, clumping brands aren’t the best choice because they’re easy to ingest.

Moreover, many small pets have bedding and litter preferences, so they won’t be happy to use clay or crystals instead of pellets, straws, or paper.

Can Other Animals Use Cat Litter

What do you think about this topic? Can you use cat litter for other pets? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Resources

  • 1. Cat Litter and the Environment [Internet]. Natusan. Available from: https://natusan.co.uk/blogs/inside-scoop/cat-litter-and-the-environment
  • 2. Riggs SM. GUINEA PIGS. Manual of Exotic Pet Practice. 2009;456–73.
  • 3. How Many Inches Of Bedding Does A Hamster Need? – Neeness [Internet]. Neeness. 2021. Available from: https://neeness.com/how-many-inches-of-bedding-does-a-hamster-need/
  • 4. Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians. Pet Rabbits | Gastrointestinal Stasis [Internet]. www.animalhouseofchicago.com. 2005. Available from: https://www.animalhouseofchicago.com/news/rabbits-gi-stasis
Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.

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