Pets are very adorable, but their feces and urine aren’t. Litter boxes make it easier to clean up after our pets do their business. If you own a guinea pig but also have a cat, you might be wondering if you could use your cat litter for your cavy. That can save you the extra cost of getting some litter for guinea pigs, right? So let’s find out; Can you use cat litter for Guinea Pigs?
In most cases, You should avoid using cat litter for guinea pigs. Cat and cavies are different creatures. Guinea pigs tend to chew their litter box and cat litter boxes are filled with materials that are harmful to cavies when ingested. For instance, the most common litter materials for cats are clay and crystal. Cavies can’t digest crystals or clay. These two compounds could cause GI problems for cavies if your pet ingests them.
So, even when you have extra cat litter in your home, don’t use it for your guinea pigs. There are some special cases when you can use your cat litter box, depends on the materials the litter box is made of. This article will explain other litter materials that are safe for cavies. But first, let’s find out in more detail the risks involved in using cat litters for guinea pigs.
You should avoid using cat litter for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs tend to chew their litter box and cat litter boxes are filled with crystals and clay which are harmful to cavies when ingested. Cavies can’t digest crystals or clay. These two compounds could cause GI problems for cavies if your pet ingests them.
Cat Litter Box For Guinea Pigs- Risks & Options
Guinea pigs keep themselves busy by eating. When their food is finished, they start to chew their litter. So, If you use a cat’s litter box for your guinea pigs, here are some risks involved:
If your pet chews the cat litter, she could suffer from indigestion. Clay and crystal are not food and shouldn’t be ingested. Moreover, they contain properties that wouldn’t be digested by cavies. While cats wouldn’t eat their litter, guinea pigs will and that’s why when the cat’s litter box is designed, the type of the materials are not taking into account. Even when cats chew their litter box, they are unable to digest the clay or crystal, so it’s no risk for them.
Clay or crystals are used for cat litter because they absorb water and wouldn’t dissipate when pets urinate on them. Imagine what would happen when your pet consumes it. The substances wouldn’t break down or pass down as feces. That could cause serious GI problems for your pet. Sometimes, it can cause severe issues and can lead to life-threatening situations. Those cat litter containing clay or crystals can cause blockages in the intestine of your cavy.
Guinea pigs like to sniff the floor. If you use cat litter for guinea pigs, they could inhale the solid material. And what happens when guinea pigs inhale crystal, clay, or clumping? The substances can block your pet’s respiratory organ or even choke her. To prevent such tragic outcomes, it’s better to explore other options to use as litter for cavies.
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What Kind of Litter Box Is Best for Guinea Pigs?
Litter boxes containing clay, clumping, and crystals are bad options for cavies. However, wood-based litter or paper made are good options. So, instead of using your cat’s litter boxes, you could use natural wood or paper shavings materials for your cavy’s litter box.
Natural paper shavings litter are the best for guinea pigs. It’s comfortable, and your pets can digest it, unlike clay or crystals. Besides, paper absorbs urine and the odor that comes from your pet’s feces. Paper is also free from chemicals, and not toxic for your guinea pig. All of the commercial litter box made from environment-friendly materials so it’s another bonus!
Wood shavings also make a great litter material for guinea pigs. Aspen, Cedar, and Pine shavings are also common options. They contain essential oils that mask the odor from urine and feces. In addition, they don’t cause digestion problems for cavies. However, there are some articles mentioning some risks; A paper by Purdue University reports that cedar shaving could cause liver problems for your guinea pig. So if you don’t want to use wood-based materials for your cavy, you can stick with the paper-based materials.
Wood-based litter or paper made are good options. Instead of using your cat’s litter boxes, you could use natural wood or paper shavings materials for your cavy’s litter box.
Further Reading: “Can Guinea Pigs Get Worms?“
What Do You Put In A Guinea Pig Litter Box?
If you are new to arranging a litter box for guinea pigs and don’t know what to put in there, don’t panic. It’s simple. All you need to put in a guinea pig’s litter box is a safe and absorbent litter material. As explained in this article, Aspen wood litter or paper litter is the best material to put in your cavies litter box.
Some guinea pig owners use newspaper. While this is a cost-effective method, it is imperative to know the newspaper is chemical-free. So, you can use newspaper as the first layer and add some Aspen wooden shaving as a second layer. That way, the litter absorbs urine and contains the odor effectively.
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Here you can see how to set-up a guinea pig litter box:
What Do You Put In The Bottom Of A Guinea Pig Cage?
Your pet’s cage must never be left bare. Beddings make cleaning the cage way easier. The College of Medicine also explains that bedding is essential to relieve your pet’s feet. So, what kind of bedding can you put in the bottom of a guinea pig’s cage?
Paper and wood are great bedding materials. Some also put add some hay after putting paper or wood shavings at the bottom of the cage. However, hay doesn’t absorb odor as much as paper and wood.
Further Reading: “How Often Do Guinea Pigs Blink?“
Can I Put Kitty Litter In My Guinea Pig Cage?
Most kitty litters are made of sodium bentonite, an absorbent clay. Remember: Ingestion of clay litter is unsafe for guinea pigs. So, instead of using kitty litter for your pet, build your own litter box and use natural paper shavings or aspen shavings, as we saw above, in this article.
Further Reading: “Are Guinea Pigs Illegal In California?“
Guinea Pigs Bedding Alternatives
In a situation where you can’t find some paper or wooding shavings for your cavy’s cage, what other alternatives do you have? Here are some bedding alternatives:
Cotton cloths or towels are comfortable, and they also absorb liquid easily. However, they don’t neutralize odors like paper and wood shavings.
Hay bedding is good for guinea pigs. It has fiber and is safe for ingestion. However, it is not as absorbent as paper and wood, and it also doesn’t neutralize odor.
There is a recent trend where cavy owners use hemp as a bedding material. Hemp is comfortable and effective in neutralizing odor. Besides, it is absorbent.
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You should not use a cat litter box for your cavy. Guinea pigs tend to chew their litter box, and cat litter box usually contains toxic materials like clay and crystal which your cavy shouldn’t ingest. It can cause your cavy serious health issues like indigestion or intestinal obstruction.
Paper shavings and wood-shavings are common solutions and also cost-effective. Moreover, you can make them on your own.
If you notice your pet eats her litter material, you should add a layer of hay on top to prevent your pet from eating substances that are dangerous to her health. And most importantly, always add some bedding materials at the bottom of your guinea pig’s cage.