American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Winter 2002 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

The Bedding Dilemma - Part 2

By Nichole Royer

Whether you use
hardwood beddings,
paper beddings,
pelleted beddings, or
a combination, the
important thing is the
health of your pet.

This issue we will cover Paper Beddings and Pelleted Beddings.

  Paper Products

Paper (wood pulp) based products have become very popular as bedding for rats and mice. There are even several alternatives out there now to try. One big reason for their popularity is that they do not scatter and make a mess like many other “traditional” beddings.



This is the single most available alternative bedding on the market. All Petcos not only carry CareFRESH™, but also use it as a bedding for their small mammals. CareFRESH™ is a grayish paper pulp product, and makes an excellent bedding for all our small critters. It is soft, absorbent, and well liked by mice and hamsters for making nests. Some people do not like to use CareFRESH™ straight with rats since it tends to develop a bit of a “wet paper” smell, and its gray appearance is also not particularly pleasing to some. Often it is used in combination with Sani-Chips®, and is a favorite among fanciers. It is a little more costly than some products, but well worth it.

Manufactured by Absorption Corporation, 6960 Salashan Parkway, Ferndale, WA 98248, 1-800-242-2287, (360) 734-7415, Fax: (360) 671-1588,, [Is now Healthy Pet, 3-23-16]

CareFRESH® Ultra

CareFRESH™ Ultra
CareFRESH® Ultra™.

This is one of the newest products on the market, and is just now available through the pet industry. It is a white, unbleached, fluffy version of CareFRESH™ that I myself was very pleased with. It has a softer, finer texture than regular CareFRESH™, and my mice thought it was the greatest thing in the world to build nests out of. It is a nice clean white, which surprisingly does not particularly get dirty looking any faster than non-white bedding does. It also does not give off the “wet paper” smell that regular CareFRESH™ does. I liked this product very well, both straight, and mixed with Sani-Chip®. The only downside to it is the price. If you are interested in ordering it, please contact Absorption Corporation, 1-800-242-2287 [Is now Healthy Pet, 3-23-16] or visit their web site at

Newspaper, Shredded Paper, etc.

Many people have tried to use newspaper, shredded paper, paper towels, etc., as bedding for rats and mice. Newspaper should be avoided (unless used under a mesh floor and changed daily). Though newsprint is reportedly free of toxins, it does come off on our animals’ fur. This causes the animal to almost constantly (neurotically) groom itself, and a considerable amount of ink is ingested (to what harm, we don’t know). Shredded newspaper and paper towels can make an acceptable bedding if enough is used; however, they do nothing to control ammonia odor and must be changed every 24 hours. They also turn into a soggy damp mess when they get wet.


This is a product which I have never seen anywhere but at Petco. Essentially, it appears to be long, finely shredded strips of heavy brown paper. Though it might be good as nesting material, the relative high cost of this product for the amount in the box does not make it practical for most owners to use as bedding.

Eco-bedding is manufactured by FiberCore, LLC, 15625 Saranac Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44110, 1-800-858-6150, (216) 249-2100, Fax: (216) 249-2112,



This product is one of the laboratory beddings. It is white chip paper bedding made from alpha cellulose. It is manufactured by Shepherd Specialty Papers. They also make CELLU-dri™ (a recycled cellulose fiber, available in pelleted form and extra-soft textured form), ALPHA-Nest™ (a compressed sheet made from 100% bleached long cotton staple fibers to allow for easy shredding and manipulation in nest building), and Shepherd Shack™ (a paper house that resembles an egg carton in texture).

Contact Shepherd Specialty Papers, 8080 Moorsbridge Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49024, 1-800-253-3286, (616) 324-3017, Fax: (616) 324-3026, e-mail:,

Pelleted Beddings

Over the past few years several brands of pelleted cat litters have appeared on the market. Reptile enthusiasts have also developed a liking for pelleted beddings for their critters. These products typically are extruded pellets, approximately 1/8″ thick and ½–1 inch long. Because many of our animals don’t like the hard texture of these products to stand/lie on, many people use just a thin layer, then cover that with shavings (Sani-Chips® are the most popular).

Gentle Touch™

Gentle Touch™
Gentle Touch™.

This is a favorite bedding among those folks who can get it. No other product has had so much reported success in eliminating ammonia. Made of aspen bark and wood, the pellets are a neutral brown and have a pleasant odor. Many people place a very thin layer of Gentle Touch™ on the bottom of their cages, then cover it with wood shavings (Sani-Chips® are most popular). In California this product can be hard to come by, though this may not be the case in other states. It comes in two pellet sizes, small (cat litter) and large (pet bedding). The cat litter size is preferred for rats and mice. This is the only product on the market that successfully controls male mouse odor (and it makes a great cat litter too!).

Manufactured by Gentle Touch Products, 12390 S. 234th St. Gretna, NE 68028, (402) 332-0253, Fax: (402) 332-0267,

Aspen Supreme™

Aspen Supreme™
Aspen Supreme™.

This is the same product as Gentle Touch™ (an aspen bark pellet), just in a little bigger size pellet than the “cat litter” size pellet. If you are unable to get Gentle Touch™ in your area, then look for Aspen Supreme™. It is manufactured by Green Pet Products, Inc., [Ed. Note: 3-7-22 no longer making product, closed pet product division 2019].

Yesterdays News®

Yesterdays News®
Yesterdays News®.

This is pelleted cat litter made from recycled newspaper with an odor absorbing ingredient. It is excellent for controlling odors, but can be rather expensive. Like all pelleted beddings, many animals don’t like walking/lying directly on it, so many people use just a thin layer and then cover it with shavings. In some areas it is easy to find at most pet shops; however, in some places it has to be special ordered.

Yesterdays News® is manufactured by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, Checkerboard Square, St. Louis, Missouri 63164, (314) 982-1000,

Critter Country

Critter Country
Critter Country.

Another pelleted litter, this is made from winter wheat grass and other fibers. This one is sold in the reptile section (though it does say on the package that it can be used for small mammals). Critter Country is good, though it does not have the odor eliminating power of Yesterdays News® and Gentle Touch™/ Aspen Supreme™. It is rather expensive, but readily available.

Manufactured by Mountain Meadows Pet products, Inc., P.O. Box 778, Lewistown, MT 59457-0778, 1-800-752-8864, (406) 538-2544, Fax: (406) 538-2545, e-mail:

Part 3: Miscellaneous Beddings and New Beddings.

Part 1: Hardwood Beddings.
Part 4: More New Beddings. *

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Updated March 7, 2022