What To Use For Your Hamster’s Litter (And What Not To Use)

While it may seem unimportant, the type of litter that you use in your Hamster’s box is actually very essential. The wrong kind can end up causing health problems in Hamsters or, in some cases, make them avoid using the litter box altogether.

The best kind of litter to use for hamster is a paper based, unscented litter. This has the best absorbency and odor control while also being safe for a hamster’s digestive and respiratory systems. Other options that are safe for hamsters include aspen shavings, wood pellets, shredded paper, and soft paper-based bedding material.

In addition to the type of litter, you also want to think about how much litter you use, how often you clean the litter box.

By taking all of this into account, you will be able to keep your Hamster comfortable and more likely to continue using the litter box.

What To Use For Your Hamster’s Litter

Each year it seems like there are more and more options for litter. There’s litter marketed for Hamsters and small animals, bedding, and a hundred different kinds of kitty litter. Finding the types of litter safe for your pet Hamster can be incredibly confusing.

Hamster-safe types of litter include:

  • Paper-based pelleted litter: My preferred type is typically made of recycled paper compressed into absorptive pellets. These paper-based pellet litters are great at absorbing Hamster urine, so you don’t need to use as much daily. Most brands also do a decent job at odor control.
  • Aspen shavings: This type of wood shavings litter is safe for Hamsters. It usually does a very good job at odor control. However, it’s not the most absorptive litter, so you’ll have to use a lot of it. Aspen shavings can have a strong scent too, which can deter some Hamsters from using the litter box.
  • Compressed sawdust pelleted litter: This is leftover sawdust that has been compressed into absorptive pellets. You can often buy this in bulk for pretty cheap prices. It’s what’s commonly used at the animal rescue that I volunteer at. This litter also does an excellent job at containing odors, but not as good as paper-based pelleted litters.
  • Shredded paper: The cheapest option you can find is simply shredded paper. You can make this yourself if you have a shredder. While it’s safe to use around Hamsters, I generally don’t recommend it because it doesn’t absorb Hamster urine easily.
  • Bedding: Paper-based bedding marketed for Hamsters is also a safe option. Since bedding is thinner and softer, it’s not as absorptive and pelleted litter. You will likely have to use more of this daily to make sure there is enough to soak up the urine.

Top Recommended Litter Brands For Your Hamster

Each type of bedding has its pros and cons. If you are in a hurry and just want the quick list of best Hamster bedding, then here you go:

Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Bedding Pet For Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Hamsters, Gerbils, and Chinchillas, 49.2 Liters
  • Clean and cozy bedding is safe for small pet including rabbits, hamsters, guinea...
  • Absorbs 6x its weight in liquid
Carefresh 99% Dust-Free White Natural Paper Nesting Small Pet Bedding with Odor Control, 50 L
  • Small Pet Bedding: Our clean, white natural paper fiber bedding blended with 25...
  • Pillowy Soft: Comfyfluff natural paper bedding made from scratch is blended with 25...
carefresh 99% Dust-Free Natural Paper Small Pet Bedding with Odor Control, 60 L (Color May Vary)
  • Small Pet Bedding: Our natural paper fiber bedding makes the softest, driest most...
  • Pillowy Soft: Comfyfluff natural paper bedding made from scratch is gentle on...

What Not To Use For Your Hamster’s Litter

Although there are several types of litter that are safe to use around Hamsters, there are also a lot of common brands of litter that you should avoid.

Hamsters will often chew on some of their litter, so we can’t use any type that can cause digestive problems in your little pets. You also want to avoid litter made of poisonous wood or particles that can cause respiratory problems after prolonged exposure.

The types of litter to avoid include:

  • Clay litter: Clay litter is the most common cat litter you’ll find in stores. It clumps up when it’s exposed to moisture, making cleaning a cat’s litter box easier. However, since Hamsters often eat their litter, it can clump up in your pet’s stomach and cause a blockage.
  • Pine or cedar wood shavings: Pine and cedar shavings used to be a common type of litter and bedding used by Hamsters. However, some studies suggest exposure to the phenols in these woods can cause liver damage in Hamsters.
  • Dusty shavings: A high amount of dust can irritate a Hamster’s respiratory system, so it’s best to avoid these types of litter.
  • Scented litters: Scented litters don’t always use safe chemicals for Hamsters. Hamsters also have sensitive noses, so being next to a strong scent all day long can cause respiratory irritation over time.

Is Cat Litter Safe For Hamsters To Use?

Cat litter is not advisable for your Hamsters. It can prove to be very harmful to them.

If your Hamster swallows the litter by any chance, it could lead to blockage in the stomach. It can further lead to severe health complications.

Also, several companies use clay in their cat litter, which is toxic for Hamsters.

Hamsters have a sensitive respiratory system. Clay litters produce dust clouds, which can harm your Hamster’s lungs.

Instead of cat litter, you can always go for extraordinary Hamster-centric products.

How Much Litter To Use In Your Hamster’s Litter Box?

It is crucial to fill a balancing amount of litter in your Hamster’s litter tray. If you over-fill the tray, your litter ones will struggle to identify between the tray and the general area. If you fill less, then your Hamsters might feel uncomfortable.

You can begin filling around 1 inch of litter, then see how your Hamsters react to it.

If you feel that your Hamsters are unsatisfied with their litter tray, add a little more litter, which should be around half an inch at a time.

It is also essential that you add some soiled litter or soiled hay in the beginning. The smell of the soiled litter will attract them. Hamsters always choose to stay in a familiar location.

Litter training is not an overnight process. Time and patience play an important role. You will have to execute the trial and error method. Once your Hamsters adopt the routine, maintain consistency.

Cleaning A Hamster’s Litter Box

Listed below are a few steps that will help you to clean your Hamster’s litter tray:

  • As soon as you take the tray from its enclosure, examine it thoroughly. If you notice any cracks or signs of your Hamster chewing the tray, it would be best to replace it as soon as possible.
  • You can begin the cleaning process with a jet spray. Jet sprays help to clean any stubborn letter or waste that sticks to the tray.
  • After using the jet spray, you can scrub the litter tray with white vinegar. This will make the tray free from any kind of bacteria or germs.
  • If your Hamster has ever suffered from any kind of parasitic infection, then using bleach will help a lot. Make a solution using 1 part of water and 6 parts of bleach and scrub the tray properly.
  • Then, leave the tray soaked in water for 30-40 minutes. This will help to remove all the cleaning materials,
  • The last step is to dry the tray completely. If you can dry it in the sun, it will be more fruitful as the sunrays further have more antibacterial properties.

Cleaning a Hamster’s litter tray is a lengthy process. Therefore, having at least two interchangeable trays for your little ones is essential. This way, you can use one tray in your Hamster’s enclosure when the other is cleaned.

Though litter training is a tedious process, a rewarding one. The playtime of your Hamster will turn pleasant. Also, litter training helps your home eliminate the smell of ammonia.

What Type Of Litter Box To Use For Your Hamsters?

Before training your Hamsters, you must be equipped with the correct tray. The litter tray itself is an essential item.

The size of the tray which you pick is another crucial aspect. You Hamster will probably ignore the tray if it is too small. If the tray is too big, your Hamster may use it as a bed.

The litter tray should be big enough to hold your Hamster comfortably. The minimum size of the litter tray should be 12 x 10. If you have a long-haired Hamster, this must be taken into consideration.

The height of the litter tray plays an important role. If the tray is too low, then your Hamster’s urine will dive down their leg and lead to scalding.

But there is an exception if your Hamster has any kind of mobility issue, then a litter tray with heights can be a problem.

Also, older Hamsters may face many issues reaching the tray height to poop or pee. If this is the case with your Hamster, select a low-height tray.

You will find that the Hamster-specific litter tray does not follow these requirements. In such a scenario, you can use storage crates and plastic bowls to make a suitable litter tray for your little ones.

I love this fantastic Hamster litter box with a shovel. You can try this out as these works like a charm for me.

Litter Training Hamsters

Time and patience are the most important things you require to train a Hamster.

The process of litter training your Hamsters is as follows:

  • Observe your Hamster closely and try to find out where they urinate. You will notice that most of the time, your Hamsters pee in the same place.
  • Once you discover that particular area, clean it properly. Their enclosure must smell normal.
  • Hold a small piece of urine-soaked bedding back, and place it in the litter tray of your Hamsters. Hamsters have a fantastic sense of smell. Therefore, they will follow their nose to reach the area.
  • Place this tray in your Hamster’s preferred location for urination.
  • There is a possibility that your Hamsters get confused when they see the tray. They may aim to urinate somewhere else. Your Hamster will get used to the tray in a few days.
  • If your Hamsters urinate outside their tray, clean the area immediately as their urine holds a decent smell. Your Hamster will be encouraged to urinate in the same area if you do not clean it immediately.
  • If your Hamsters continue to excrete outside, move the soiled bedding or poop in the litter tray.
  • If your Hamster urinates in the tray, do not clean it immediately. Leave the tray as it is for 24 hours. This will teach your Hamsters that the tray is the perfect place to urinate.

It is advised to repeat the above process until your Hamster becomes habitual to the litter tray.

However, you must remember that litter training is not an overnight process. If your Hamster is stubborn, then litter training them may prove to be a challenging task for you.

Do not scold your Hamster when they are not doing well with the training. This may scare your Hamster. Instead, always keep in mind the golden rule for pet training. Always praise your little one when doing good and ignore anything undesirable.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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