American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

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

Critter Critiques

Cage Litter Comparison Review

By Cindy Stratton

I have 5 rat cages—4 Fern 960s and 1 Fern 940—and 2 aquariums that I tested litter in. I changed all cages/aquariums on the same day and took notes on how the litters were holding up every 2 days afterwards.

In the past I have used CareFRESH®, CareFRESH® Ultra™, a combination of Aspen Supreme™ and Sani-Chips®, and most recently a combination of Aspen Supreme™ and Aspen Shavings. With the Aspen Supreme™ and Aspen Shavings litter, cleaning cages/aquariums once per week was appropriate.

In summary, I would highly recommend the ECOfresh™ All Pet Litter. I prefer it to the Aspen Supreme™/Aspen Shavings combination I’m currently using. The ECOfresh™ had excellent odor control (I could clean cages half as often), stayed inside the cage for the most part, and was easy to clean up. Whereas, I prefer the Aspen Supreme™/Aspen Shavings to all of the other litters I tested. While the SWHEAT SCOOP® did have good odor control, it was dusty and the clean up was a bit time consuming. The other paper products didn’t have the odor control I’d prefer. The corn husks would be fine for nesting, but not as a litter to line the bottom of a cage. *


Made from naturally processed wheat, natural odor absorbent. Natural odor control comes from wheat enzymes. Non-toxic and safely digested. Looked and felt like course sand. No odor right out of the bag. Excellent odor control. One week later only a slight odor of wheat, a pleasant smell. Able to go 2 weeks before cleaning the aquarium. Very dusty when filling aquarium. When cleaning the aquarium, clumps of wheat had hardened to the bottom and were difficult to remove.
SWHEAT SCOOP Wheat Litter Under Aspen Shavings See above for SWHEAT SCOOP Wheat Litter. Aspen shavings layered on top of wheat litter. Excellent odor control. Again,a slight odor of wheat about a week later; able to go 2 weeks before cleaning the cage. The rats appeared to prefer to sleep on the aspen shavings than the wheat litter Again, dusty when filling cage bottom, and removing hardened lumps was difficult when cleaning the cage.
ECOfresh™ All Pet Litter
[now called Puppy Go Potty™]
Made from 100% recycled paper. Virtually dust free and void of silica dust. Light gray colored hard pieces, the largest being the size of a pea. No odor right out of the bag. Excellent odor control. Was able to go 2 weeks before cleaning the cage and even then there was no odor. The pieces are big and heavy enough that they don’t get flung all over the house. Very easy cage clean up. A little dusty when filling cage bottom. Dust settled quickly.
Cell Sorb Plus™ Bedding [web site not working]
Made from recycled paper and a non-toxic patented neutralizing mineral. Dark gray colored hard pieces about the size of a raisin. Dust free. No odor right out of the bag. No dust. Easy clean up. Four days after cleaning the aquarium was smelling of wet paper. Six days after cleaning, the cage smelled strongly of wet paper and ammonia and needed cleaning.
Paperlet for Small Animals
Rolled white paper cylinders about ¾ inch long. Dust free. No odor right out of the bag. No dust. Adequate odor control. Cage needed cleaning in 1 week. Easy clean up. Some wet paper odor towards the end of the week.
Pets Preference Soft Texture Critter Litter and Bedding
Made from 100% recycled paper. Non-toxic and dust free. Paper fibers are heat sterilized to protect pet from bacteria, mold, and fungus. Looks similar to CareFRESH™, but the pieces are much smaller. Smells similar to CareFRESH™ right out of the bag. Very soft. The rats spent more time sleeping on it than on the cage shelves despite warm weather. Litter is very small and the rats kicked it out of the cage bottom almost immediately. By the end of the week there was a fairly decent mess of litter outside the cage. Two days after cleaning cages, there was a slight wet paper odor. By 4 days, the paper odor was moderate. And by 6 days, the cage really needed to be cleaned.
Shredded Corn Husks Nesting Material
[product no longer on page]
Shredded dry corn husks. The rats enjoyed playing in the corn husks and making nests. The rats moved all the husks to one side of the cage leaving the other side without any litter. Some dust/dirt on the corn husks. Cleaning was somewhat messy as the corn husks needed to be condensed by hand before going into the trash bag. More of a nesting material than a litter.

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Updated December 1, 2015