If you are new to owning ferrets, you might not immediately think of litter when you are making up the list of things you need to get. However, your life will be so much easier, less messy, and less smelly if you start litter training your ferret the minute you bring him home. Only, to have success with litter training, you are going to need to purchase the right litter. There are safety concerns to consider, along with considerations that are more up to personal preference.
In this article, we are going to go over all of the important things that you need to consider when picking out litter for your ferret. In the second half of the article, you will also find a guide going over ten great litters to consider.
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- 10 Best Ferret Litters Currently On The Market
- 1. Marshall Premium Ferret Litter, 10-Pound Bag
- 2. Kaytee Small Animal Critter Litter, 8-Pound
- 3. So Phresh Scented Crumbled Paper Small Animal Bedding
- 4. Fresh News Recycled Paper Bedding
- 5. Oxbow Animal Health Eco-Straw Litter
- 6. PURINA Yesterday’s News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter
- 7. Vitakraft Fresh World Ultra Strength Paper Bedding & Litter for Small Animals
- 8. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
- 9. Small Pet Select-Recycled Pelleted Paper Cat Litter
- 10. Sunseed Fresh World Bedding for Small Animals
- Things to Consider When Picking Out Litter For Your Ferret
- What Litter Materials Are Best for Ferrets?
- What Litter Materials Are Worst For Ferrets?
- Can Ferrets Use Cat Litters?
- What Are Some Alternatives To Litter?
- DIY Ferret Litters
- How Often Should You Change Out The Litter?
10 Best Ferret Litters Currently On The Market
Now that you know everything that you need to be looking for in a litter for your ferret, it is time to pick one out. Below you will find ten great options along with a short overview of each one to help you make your decision.
Marshall Ferret Litter is a litter that is made up of natural paper fibers. It is hypo-allergenic and dust-free, so you do not have to feel concerned about the litter causing any health or respiratory problems.
The litter is also formulated specifically to control odor. However, the downside of this litter is that it is not easy to scoop and clean, so whenever you go to clean the litterbox, you will have to replace all of the litter out entirely.
A nice thing is that the paper is both flushable and biodegradable, so disposing of the litter when you change it out is really easy.
- Hypoallergenic and dust-free
- It is formulated for odor control
- Both flushable and biodegradable
- When cleaning, you have to replace the litter entirely
Kaytee Critter Litter is a litter made specifically for small animals like ferrets, rabbits, and other small rodents. It is made of bentonite, which is a type of clay, but some owners find that it works fine for their ferrets without causing any problems.
If you do decide to go with this litter, you can trust that it is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and dustfree, but you should be on the lookout at first to make sure that it does not get stuck anywhere on your ferret.
You also may only want to use it in litter boxes outside of your ferret’s enclosure to supervise any mess he would be making while using it.
Bentonite is super absorbing, so the litter can absorb up to ten times its weight in liquid.
- Hypoallergenic and dust-free
- It can absorb up to ten times its weight in liquid
- There is nothing in the formula specifically meant to hide odors
If odor control is a really important factor for you when trying to pick out a litter, you might want to consider So Phresh Scented Crumbled bedding.
While it says bedding on the label, it operates great as a litter. It is highly absorbent and is formulated with baking soda to help hide any unpleasant odors that you do not want to smell all day.
Though, some people do prefer litters without baking soda for their ferrets because if they try to eat or lick any of it (which they might due to the salty taste), it can cause some problems.
- Formulated for great odor control
- Dust-free and non-allergenic
- Contains baking soda in the formula
Fresh News Recycled Paper bedding is another paper litter. There are a number of paper litters on this list because it really is such a great litter for your ferrets and the environment. In addition to being made out of recycled material, it is completely biodegradable.
Fresh Newspaper litter is specifically formulated to lock in any moisture in order to neutralize the smell before cleaning.
The one downside is that the litter is super lightweight. If your ferret jumps into the box or digs at all, it will quite possibly splash out of the box.
- Locks in moisture to neutralize unpleasant smells
- Good for the environment
- Nonallergenic and dust-free
- Super lightweight, so it easily spills out over the sides of the litter box
Straw is not a super common material for litter, but it is completely safe for ferrets.
This EcoStraw bedding is made out of highly compressed wheat straw that is non-toxic, dust-free, and odor-eliminating. The pellets are also super absorbent, and they are specially designed to last longer than regular litter, so you do not have to spend as much time cleaning it out.
Additionally, it is really easy to scoop out, so you do not have to change out the litter entirely each time you need to clean the box.
- Nontoxic and odor eliminating
- Compressed wheat straw pellets designed to last longer than regular litter
- Easy to scoop out when it is time to change clean the box
- Some pet owners have complained of dust problems despite the label
Purina litter is an unscented and non-clumping litter which means you can feel confident that the litter is safe for your ferret. It is made out of paper, which means it is both nontoxic for your ferret and eco-friendly.
Additionally, one of the reasons many people choose a clay litter over a paper litter is due to absorbency, but this paper litter actually absorbs up to 3x more than clay litter does.
This will help prevent your ferret from tracking mess out of the litter box and through the enclosure or your house. And you get all this great absorbency without dealing with any dust.
- Non-clumping and unscented while still offering odor control
- Made out of eco-friendly and non-toxic paper
- Absorbs up to 3x more than clay-based litters do
- More expensive than some of the other options on the list
VitaKraft is another paper litter, though it does have some extra factors that make it stand out from some of the other paper litters on this list.
First of all, it absorbs up to 3x its weight in liquid. However, what sets VitaKraft apart from other litters is that they have a guarantee that their formula will provide odor control for up to fourteen days, which is more than enough as you should be replacing the litter completely at least every seven.
Plus, you get this odor control without any baking soda added in. Other important factors include it being biodegradable, compostable, and completely dust-free.
- The paper litter absorbs up to 3x its weight in liquid
- Offers odor control for up to fourteen days without any added baking soda
- It is dust-free, biodegradable, and compostable
- The litter does have a strong smell when you first take it out of the package
As mentioned in the guide, you can choose to use cat litter for your ferret if you prefer to. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Litter is one of those litters that are designed for cats but works for any small animals, including ferrets.
There are several really great aspects of this cat litter. First of all, it is all-natural and non-toxic. When you go to dispose of it, it is also completely biodegradable, making it better for the environment than some other cat litters, such as many made from silica.
It is also odor-eliminating, but it does not have any added dyes or scents that can be problematic for ferrets’ delicate respiratory systems.
- It is an all-natural and biodegradable litter
- It is booth odor eliminating and easy to scoop
- Does not have any added dyes or scents
- It is a clumping litter which can be problematic for some ferrets
Small Pet Select is a general litter that is great for any small pets, including ferrets and other small rodents. It is made out of recycled paper, and it is also biodegradable, which makes it a very environmentally friendly litter.
Additionally, Small Pet Select is non-toxic and dust-free. It is also naturally odor-eliminating, without any added baking soda, which can be problematic for some ferrets who try to eat it.
The absorbency is also great as the paper can absorb up to 3x more than clay can.
- It is environmentally friendly as it is made out of recycled paper and is biodegradable
- The litter is both non-toxic and dust-free
- The paper can absorb up to 3x more than clay
- Some people find the all-natural odor eliminating not to be enough
Sun Seed Small Animal Bedding is another bedding that works well as a litter. Because it is made out of recycled paper, it is also biodegradable, which makes it environmentally friendly.
The litter is completely dust-free, unbleached, and has no added hard chemicals, though it does contain baking soda. The baking soda allows for extra odor-blocking for up to seven days, which is about when you should be chaining out the litter.
With the additionally great absorbency (up to 3x its weight), Sun Seed Small Animal Bedding has a lot of the factors that you should be looking for in your ferret’s litter.
- It is both made out of recycled paper and biodegradable
- The litter is dust-free, unbleached, and has no added hard chemicals
- It is completely odor eliminating for up to seven days
- It does contain baking soda so ferrets might try to eat the litter
Things to Consider When Picking Out Litter For Your Ferret
When you are ready to litter train your ferret, it is important that you have the right tools with you, which include treats, litter boxes, and the litter itself. In order to pick the right litter, there are a number of different factors that you need to consider, including odor, absorbency, and materials.
Below we are going to go over all of these different factors, plus a few other things that you might want to take into consideration as you get started.
Most ferret owners will agree that litter that minimizes odor is really important, especially if you are sharing a space with your ferret. You do not want to have to live with the smell of urine all day, every day. It can be hard to know for sure whether or not a litter has good odor control without trying it out, but it is always good to start with the litters that are specifically advertised for odor control.
Of course, for your ferret, safety is the most important factor. It does not matter if the litter is easy to clean, odor minimizing, or super absorbent if it endangers your pet. You want to make sure that the litter you use can get wet without turning to dust or getting sticky because both can cause a lot of health problems.
The entire purpose of litter is to absorb when your ferret goes to the bathroom. If the litter does not do this successfully, it is not doing its job. Once again, the only way to really check out a litters absorbency level is to test it out, but you can often look at the description and reviews to get better insight before making a purchase.
4. Easiness to Clean
The goal of litter training your ferret is to make your life easier and less messy. If the litter is difficult to clean, you have not really done either one. There are some materials that are naturally easier to clean than others. For instance, silica is often really hard to clean, while recycled paper litter is often easier.
What Litter Materials Are Best for Ferrets?
1. Recycled Paper Litter
Recycled paper litter is not only good for the environment, but it is good for your ferrets. It is really easy to find inexpensive recycled paper litter, it is super easy to clean it, and it is great at minimizing odors.
Additionally, one bag of recycled paper litter can last a really long time. For very low cost, you do not have to worry about your litter causing your ferret any dangerous and expensive health problems.
2. Wood Pellet Litter
Wood pellet litter is made out of compressed sawdust, but unlike cedar or pine-based litter, all the oils have been removed so the wood pellets will not cause respiratory problems or damage your ferret’s liver.
However, you still want wood pellets that are made out of wood other than cedar or pine because there are some pellets that turn to dust when wet. It is best to test out the litter to make sure it does not get too dusty before giving it to your ferret.
3. Ordinary Wood Pellets
One option that is actually cheaper than wood pellet litter is just ordinary wood pellets that you can buy at a hardware store. Most hardware stores sell a lot of wood pellets for cheap.
If you do decide to make this your litter, make sure you take a look at the labeling first. There are some hardware wood pellets that are not meant for animal use and can be extremely dangerous. You also want to read the ingredients to make sure that it does not have any cedar, pine, or harmful chemicals.
What Litter Materials Are Worst For Ferrets?
1. Clay Litter
Clay is actually a really common litter material; however, you should never use clay litter for your ferret. Whenever clay litter gets wet, it tends to get really sticky. The sticky clay can then get stuck in your ferret’s paws, nose, eyes, and fur.
Ferrets are also known to drag their butts along the ground when they go to get out of the litter box, which can cause the clay to get up inside of them and cause painful blockages and problems. Clay litters can also create a lot of dust which can get into their lungs and cause respiratory problems.
2. Silica-Based Litter
Silica-based litters often look the prettiest, which can make them rather enticing; however, there are a lot of potential problems that can come with silica litters.
First of all, silica litter can often hurt a ferret’s delicate respiratory system. You may be able to find a silica-based litter that is safe for your ferret’s lungs, but they are all way more expensive than what you should be paying. Silica is also not the best when it comes to cleaning or odor control.
3. Cedar/Pine Litter
The biggest problem with cedar and pine-based litter is that there is a lot of oils that do not get processed out of the shavings. If your ferret inhales those oils and they get into the respiratory system, it can cause a lot of problems to the lungs, and it can cause damage to the enzymes in their livers.
Some people also find cedar and pine litters to be very messy and hard to contain, which you do not want if your ferret starts to dig around for some reason.
Can Ferrets Use Cat Litters?
The answer to this question depends on the material. It does not really matter whether a litter is advertised as ferret litter or cat litter. Instead, you need to consider what the litter is made of.
For instance, if it is clay litter or silica litter, you need to avoid it. On the other hand, if it is made up of wood pellets or recycled paper, it should be perfectly fine for your ferret, whether or not the label says cat or ferret.
There are some cat litters that you need to be on the lookout for, whether it is made out of safe material or not. First, you want to be sure to avoid clumping litters because it can cause breathing problems. You also want to avoid scented cat litters, oily cat litters, and corncob litter.
What Are Some Alternatives To Litter?
If you want to avoid using litter, there are some other options for you to consider. However, none of the other options really work great inside your ferret’s enclosure, so you will likely at least want a litter box in there.
For outside the cage, you could consider using puppy pads. Puppy pads are designed for the potty training phase of dog-owning, but they are really easy to clean up, and they are completely safe for ferrets. (You just want to make sure your ferret does not try to shred them up.) However, one puppy pad does not last very long, so you will need to buy a lot.
Another option that you can consider is some old newspaper. People often use old newspapers as a cheap and easy alternative to puppy pads, so they work great for ferrets too. You will need to use a lot of newspaper to prevent anything from leaking through. Once again, you will need to make sure that your ferret does not shred or destroy the newspaper because that can be quite a big mess.
DIY Ferret Litters
There are a lot of DIY cat litters that are not safe for ferrets like wood shavings, but that does not mean that there are no DIY options.
First of all, you might want to consider making your own newspaper litter. The easiest way to go about this is by putting your newspaper through a shredder and filling a litter box with it. You will need a lot of newspaper to use as cat litter, so you might want to ask your neighbors to save theirs for you.
How Often Should You Change Out The Litter?
It is important for you to regularly change out your ferret’s litter, or else he might stop using it, and then you could have a bigger mess on your hand. As a general rule of thumb, you want to change out your ferret’s litter completely about once or twice a week. However, you want to scoop it out daily.
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- Ferret Wellness Management and Environmental Enrichment, Laurel M. Harris,