Can You Use Hay for Rabbit Litter? {Will They Eat It?}

I’m in a pinch and I cannot buy or make rabbit litter before I rush out to work. Can you use hay for rabbit litter? Is this wrong or cruel?

Do rabbits eat hay in their litter box? Is hay comfortable for rabbits to sleep on? What else can I put in the bottom of a rabbit cage?

In this article, we will explore the topic and answer the questions revolving around, “Can you use hay for rabbit litter?”

Can You Use Hay for Rabbit Litter?

Hay will undoubtedly make its way into a rabbit’s litter box. A rabbit will enjoy the comfort of hay on their bedding as well. If the hay is located in the litter box, the creature may attempt to consume it when it is mixed with urine or feces.

This is unsanitary and hay should be kept separate from the litter. Placing some hay in the litter box is great when training a rabbit to use this area for bathroom needs. Hay can be placed in:

  • A hay rack
  • Hay dispenser
  • Back of cage
  • Exercise area
  • Litter box

What Can I Use for Rabbit Litter?

There are multiple suggestions and ideas coming from the rabbit community that you and I belong to about what we can use for rabbit litter.

Let’s look at some options available to use and see what we can do. Here are some rabbit litter items:

  • Recycled paper
  • Paper based litter
  • Aspen shaving
  • Shredded paper
  • Compressed sawdust pelleted litter
  • Cardboard
  • Toilet paper
  • Straw
  • clumping litter
  • clay litter
  • pine or cedar shavings
  • deodorized/scented litter

Some of these options are not our favorites, but they can serve as temporary options until your regular type of litter is available for you to purchase or make.

Can I Use Straw for Rabbit Litter?

Yes, we have seen and heard from many members of the rabbit community who have determined that straw works well for their rabbit as bedding or litter.

Straw is a cheap source of bedding or litter option, but you will have to decide which purpose you are using it for. If a rabbit associates straw as part of the litter box, then using it for bedding as well could make for a messy situation.

Straw is generally soft and natural as a good option for either bedding or litter, but not for both at the same time.

Do Rabbits Eat the Hay in Their Litter Box?

A rabbit is bound to poop or urinate on hay in their litter box. Some rabbits may selectively find unsoiled hay in this area and munch at the same time they relieve themselves.

Rabbits munch as much hay as they like, but some of it ends up in the litter box. If the hay has made sufficient contact with urine and poop, a rabbit will avoid it when they know there is plenty more hay available in the enclosure.

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What Do You Put in the Bottom of the Rabbit Cage?

The bottom of the rabbit’s cage could either be plastic or wired. Protecting your rabbit’s feet is most important. You can use these items at first to line the substrate or bottom of the cage. We use:

  • Cardboard
  • Hay
  • Paper
  • Wood bedding
  • Marmoleum
  • Fleece

There are commercially sold options available for you at the pet shop as well. See which option your rabbit refers to or use the one that you have readily available and take it from there.

We all make adjustments to our rabbits’ enclosures from time to time. Nothing lasts forever!

What Not to Use for Your Rabbit’s Litter

Do not use the following types of litter options for your rabbit if you wish to remain on the safe side. You do not want them to become uncomfortable with digestive blockage that could lead to illness or even possible death.

To be on the safe side, keep clear of these types of litter options:

  • Clay litter
  • Cedar wood shavings
  • Pine shavings
  • Dusty litter
  • Scented litter

In other articles, we recommend scented little or clay litter to remove or fight back the strong smell of rabbit urine or poop. It’s hard to not step on your own toes or become a hypocrite.

We are all learning and doing what is best for the situation. Safety being your first concern means that preventing your rabbit from ingesting potentially harmful types of litter is strongly advised.

Can You Use Cat Litter for Rabbits?

Cat litters are clay based and clumping style litters. While there are advocates for this type of litter to use on rabbits, others may disagree.

Rabbits who end up ingesting even small amounts of this type of kitty litter can experience intestinal issues such as blockage. Aspen shavings and recycled paper options top our list of rabbit litter choices instead of using cat litter.

Do Rabbits Sleep in Hay?

Rabbits will enjoy sleeping on their favorite food. Hay is soft and fun to roll around in, munch a little and play with in between periods of rest or during relaxation.

You can purchase hay in many varieties, grow your own and choose which ones could be placed in the hay dispenser, hay rack or back of the cage and which hay can be lined as bedding. A rabbit will enjoy these options for feasting and resting.

Rabbit Litter Alternatives

Some alternatives you can use for rabbit litter include the following:

  • aspen shavings
  • wood pellets
  • shredded paper
  • soft paper-based bedding material

How much litter are you using for your rabbit and how often are you removing or replacing it? This all factors in when deciding the best option for you and your rabbit.

Clean the litter box regularly and avoid keeping it too close to the ample supply of hay in their enclosure to prevent the risk of contamination. The choices you make greatly affect the health of your loved rabbit.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.