Bedding for Mice | Mouse Litter
Bedding for mice has similar requirements to that for other small pets such as guinea pigs. In particular, bedding for mice needs to also include an element of mouse litter, since mice cannot be relied upon to reliably use just one area of their cage for toileting. It is therefore ideal to use an absorbent mouse litter as a base layer for the bedding, and then provide some type of soft nesting material on top.
Bedding for Mice click here to buy our universal bedding litter from our online shop
This article looks at how best to provide a clean and stimulating environment for your mouse, and shows how using SmartBedz as your choice of mouse litter helps in achieving this.
Natural Preferences of Mice
Knowing about the natural behaviours and preferences of mice will help you to provide an environment which will keep your mouse healthy and happy.
Firstly, mice are generally sociable animals and so it is preferable to keep a pair rather than just one, as this will provide them with company and help to keep them interested and occupied.
Secondly, although mice need only a relatively small space to live and play, they are playful creatures that enjoy exploring their environment and like to stretch, climb, sit up on their hind legs and run around. Their cage needs to allow them sufficient room to do these things, as well as containing features and objects for them to explore. Multi-level cages provide climbing and exploring opportunities, while wheels, balls or other toys provide exercise and interest.
Mice are noted for being especially odorous, despite their small size. Although it is tempting to mask these odours with sprays or scented bedding for mice, these products often contain artificial chemicals which can irritate your mouse or even cause allergy problems. The alternative, up till now, has simply been to clean out the mouse cage very frequently, which obviously takes time, as well as being disruptive for the mouse. SmartBedz is a chemical free, unscented mouse litter which will not cause irritation but is also highly effective at controlling odour. It does this by soaking up urine very rapidly which prevents exposure to oxygen and thus the formation of ammonia. This means that the cage can be spot cleaned as needed and cleaned out completely on a more occasional basis.
Mice are also nocturnal, so they will appreciate having an area which they can sleep in which is away from direct light and preferably fairly quiet - so it’s a good idea to locate your mouse’s cage in a room which does not have a lot of noise and human activity during the day. By contrast, they will appreciate human contact in the evening when they are active, and lots of contact is essential for taming, so the ideal location to get this balance will take some thought. Handle your mice in the evening when they are most active. If you handle them during the day, they will be sleepy and may even resist being handled by biting or nipping you.
Because mice are most active at night, its best to avoid keeping a mouse cage in someone’s bedroom, since the noise they create from scurrying around or running on an exercise wheel will wake you up.
Health Issues for Mice
Like any ground dwelling, foraging animal, mice will tend to use their nose to explore for food, sniffing as they go. They are also very small animals with tiny nasal passage and small lungs which can all too easily be irritated by dust.
It is absolutely essential that you do not use conventional clay based cat litter as part of your mouse’s bedding as it has high levels of dust. Clumping varieties are even more hazardous and liable to cause blockages in respiratory systems and digestive systems. Sawdust should also be avoided for similar reasons.
SmartBedz is a virtually dust free litter that has had dust extracted during manufacture.
Some materials traditionally used as bedding for mice can actually be toxic to your mouse. In particular, the scent from pine or cedar woods, whether in chip, pellet or shaving form, is to be avoided. Many people use newspaper as an economical nesting material, but newspaper ink can also be toxic to mice (soy based ink is OK). SmartBedz is completely non-toxic to mice or any other animal.
Mice are rodents and will attempt to gnaw on just about anything it comes across. Gnawing on unsuitable materials can cause ingestion of substances which could be harmful to your mouse. Cages need to be made of materials resistant to gnawing such as wire, glass or gnaw-resistant plastic (although determined mice will have a go even at this). The same goes for any contents such as food dishes and toys. But providing toys which are intended to be chewed will be much enjoyed by your mouse. Although you can buy special chewable toys for this purpose, you do not need to spend a lot of money - even an old toilet roll tube makes a safe, chewable toy which a mouse will have hours of fun with. If you let your mouse out of its cage you need to ensure it cannot harm itself or anything of value as a result of gnawing - such as electrical cables or furnishings.
In particular, any bedding for mice must be safe for the mouse to eat. We’ve already noted that clay based litters would be dangerous to use - but the same goes for silica gel type litters.
SmartBedz is made entirely of straw, with no added chemicals, and so is completely safe for mice to nibble on.
Using SmartBedz as your Mouse Litter
We would recommend using the smaller 6mm SmartBedz pellet (the 5kg purple and green bag).
Place a layer of SmartBedz throughout the cage, with a thicker layer in sleeping areas, in any corners where your mouse likes to go to the toilet (some mice will have preferences, some will just go anywhere), and around any water bottles to help general dryness.
As well as soaking up direct moisture, having SmartBedz throughout the cage will greatly help with general odour reduction.
Apart from SmartBedz in the bottom of the cage, mice will need a layer of hay or paper to nest in. A variety of soft nesting materials are available commercially. It may take some experimentation to find the nesting material that your mouse especially likes, but try to ensure that it is a safe, natural material free of dust and chemicals.
Once the SmartBedz is in place, keeping the cage clean is a matter of daily spot cleaning - scooping out extra wet areas, indicated by swollen pellets, and taking away solids. The pellet form makes it easy to selectively take out wet areas and leave dry pellets behind - it is useful to have a scoop with holes which allows the dry pellets to fall back through. Replenish with a handful of pellets. Some mice are cleaner than others and will go to the toilet in the same place in which case just clean this corner out more regularly. The cage will need cleaning out completely when it begins to smell and spot cleaning is no longer keeping down the odour. This will generally be less frequently than for alternative litters which are either less absorbent or not as good at locking away odours. This reduces cleaning time for you and makes a bag of SmartBedz last a long time.
When it has been removed, soiled SmartBedz can be easily disposed of since it is made from straw and is fully biodegradable. It can be put on compost heaps or even directly onto the garden as mulch. Alternatively, small amounts can be safely flushed - convenient for those without gardens.
Mouse Litter click here to buy our universal bedding litter from our online shop