What do you put on the bottom of a rabbit cage? – Rabbit Pros

What Do You Put On The Bottom If A Rabbit Cage?

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My family has been keeping rabbits for decades, and in that time we’ve set up dozens of rabbit cages for both indoor and outdoor rabbits. One of the biggest challenges is choosing flooring or lining for your rabbit cage that will both contain the mess and be comfortable.

What do you line the bottom of a rabbit cage with? Here is a list of the best rabbit cage floor options:

  1. Straw / Hay
  2. Newspaper
  3. Cardboard
  4. Wood Shaving
  5. Clay Litter
  6. Carpet
  7. Old Towels or Sheets
  8. Floor Mats
  9. Shower Mats
  10. Vinyl Flooring

Now let’s dig into the things you need to consider when putting something on the floor of your rabbit’s cage as well as the pros and cons of each of these options.

Be sure to check out our articles about recommended bunny gear. It’s based on years of experience and will save you time and money.


Why Do You Need To Put Something On The Bottom Of Your Rabbit’s Cage?

No matter how sweet and cute your rabbit is, she will make a mess.

While rabbits can be litter box trained, they will never use their litter box exclusively. Many rabbits have a habit of going to the bathroom while they are eating, and even while they are sleeping!

In addition, a startled rabbit will often have a little accident while they scramble for the safety of their sleeping box.

Most rabbit cages and hutches have wire bottoms to allow waste to fall through and not make messy piles for your rabbit to sit or lay in. Others have solid bottoms designed to hold loose litter as the whole cage is designed like a rabbit litter box.

Flooring Needs for Wire Bottomed Rabbit Cages

Some of those cages with wire bottoms will have trays to catch the waste, but not all. If your rabbit pen doesn’t have a way to catch waste, then you’ll need something to cover the bottom of the cage to do the job.

Even if your cage does have a waste pan underneath, you will want to have portions of the cage’s wire floor covered with something for the comfort of your bunny. Living full-time on a wire floor makes your bunny’s feet sore and we all know how miserable sour feet are.

With a wire-bottomed rabbit cage, your biggest consideration in choosing a material to cover the wire bottom is the comfort of your rabbit both when standing or walking on the wire, and when laying on the bottom of their cage.

Flooring Needs for Solid Bottomed Rabbit Cages

Solid bottomed cages are designed to capture all of the mess in the bottom of the tray, and then be able to easily remove the bottom to clean out the waste and soiled floor covering all at once.

When choosing something to cover the bottom of these kinds of rabbit cage bottoms, your number one concern is going to be absorbency and odor control.

Examples of Rabbit Cage Bottoms

Here are some examples of rabbit cages and hutches on Amazon. I encourage you to spend a few minutes looking at these to gain a greater understanding of how waste trays are used and what these wire floors look like.

I’ve included a few notes about each rabbit cage to save you some time.

This is a wire-bottomed cage with a slide-out tray underneath the wire bottom to catch waste and make cleanup very easy. Better pictures are available on Amazon { Click here to see the current price on Amazon. >>> }.

This is a solid bottom-based rabbit cage. On Amazon, you can see where they display it with straw on the bottom of the cage. { Click here to see this rabbit cage on Amazon. >>> }

This is a super nice rabbit hutch that has a wire mesh floor with an easy-clean slideout tray for waste. You can see more pictures on Amazon. it { Click here to see on Amazon >>> }.

Best Ideas of Things To Use For A Rabbit Floor Over A Wire Bottom Cage

Assuming that there is a waste tray under the wire bottom of the rabbit cage, then your concern should be the comfort of your bunny while still leaving plenty of room for waste to fall into the tray.

This means that you will not be covering the entire wire bottom of the cage, but will instead just have a few ‘safe’ spots for your bunny to rest and relax.

All of our bunnies love having a woven straw mat or bed to lounge in. As an added bonus, your rabbit will enjoy chewing on their straw bunny furniture which provides them both physical and mental stimulation.

You can get these very affordable on Amazon. If you want something that is more bed-like, check out this straw bed also on Amazon.

Other options for wire floor covering include:

  • Cardboard – Cheap and disposable.
  • Old Rugs – Cheap and washable.
  • Old Flannel Sheets – Cheap and washable.
  • Old Towels – Cheap and washable.

What To Put In The Removable Tray Under The Wire Bottom Of Your Rabbit Cage

You don’t have to put anything in the slide-out tray that’s under the wire floor of your bunny’s pen, but it’s a good idea to do so. Remember, the purpose of that tray is to catch your rabbit’s waste.

People put a number of materials in those trays to absorb liquid waste and help with odor. Examples include straw or wood shavings. However, there is only one best solution.

Clay litter is the best material to put in that slide-out waste tray. The same litter that you would use in your cat’s box will make the cleanup of your rabbit’s waste so much easier. *** Clay litter should only be used where your bunny can’t get access to it. If they eat clay litter it could cause serious health problems.

Here is an article where we go through all possible choices for rabbit litter material.

The Best Rabbit Pen Flooring For Solid Floors

Since the waste is going to remain in your rabbit’s cage, you need to consider a number of things when choosing what to cover the bottom of your rabbit’s cage with.

  1. Absorption of Liquid Waste
  2. Odor Control
  3. Easy Cleanup of Tray
  4. Limited Mess As Your Rabbit Walks & Lays In This Material

After years of trial and error, I believe that the best way to cover a solid bottom rabbit cage is with layers of various materials.

On the bottom of the tray, I like to put a layer of cardboard or a very thick layer of newspaper. This will absorb any liquid waste and make cleaning out the tray much easier.

On top of that layer, I like to put straw or hay. Straw is cheaper than hay but has little nutritional value. Hay is a bit more expensive, but your bunny will also eat it as a supplement to the pellets you are providing.

I prefer straw or hay over other options such as wood shavings or paper mulch because those materials are more prone to sticking to your bunny’s fur or on her feet. Then when your bunny leaves the cage, it inevitably makes a mess where ever it travels.

Finally, I’ll add some luxury resting spots in a corner or two. A nice soft blanket, sheet, or towel is a cozy place to relax and can easily be washed when soiled.

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Related Pet Rabbit Articles You Might Like

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  • Thinking About Getting A Rabbit As An Apartment Pet? We made a list of things you must consider before you do that! { Read It Here >> }
  • Not Sure How Much A Pet Rabbit Is Really Going To Cost? You need to learn more before you decide to get a pet bunny. { Read It Here >> }

~ Stacey


My name is Stacey Davis and my family has kept rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more.

14 thoughts on “What Do You Put On The Bottom If A Rabbit Cage?

  1. My new rabbit has eaten some of the newspaper lining the bottom of the hutch. Is it ok just to put wood shavings in the floor and leave out the newspaper I don’t won’t him to eat any more paper

    1. Wood chips alone will be fine but just not as absorbent as the newspaper lining. Be careful with your floors underneath his cage.

  2. Thanks for a very informative article.
    1-Putting hay in the bottom wouldn’t have it overeat?
    2- how often do you replace the bedding/hay?

    1. I don’t believe that rabbits can overeat on hay unless it’s high protein hay like Alfalfa. We let our rabbits have all the timothy hay they want. Overeating leading to obesity is always associated with pellets or treats.

      How often you have to change the bedding depends on your bun. Most of our rabbits get fresh bedding about once a week.

  3. I have two old lionhead pet rabbits. There are keep in gages, my apt. Is not pet proofed. I give there cages with alfalfa hay about 2 inches deep. I then added a large handful of hay ever other day. They can eat all they want. I also feed them rabbit food daily with lots of water. My bunnies are 3 and 6 lbs. They also get snacks. Should I be doing any thing else. They are 15 years old. And healthy

  4. Tawndy Shelley, I need to know if ya have a rabbit cabin with no floor and a turn out to play . What would ya do or put on the ground for digging, so she doesn’t get hurt in the cabin..!!??

    1. Tawndy,

      Check out Omlet’s outdoor hutch. It might be exactly what your looking for. The link is to an article on our website, but they have lots of optional equipment, including features that reduce digging.


  5. i just aquired a netherland dwarf.2mos very messy boy. just moved him to large 4 floor cage with wire floors and ladders. do you think he will learn to use ladders, i am going to use your advice to put litter under wire floor. should i put towels, rugs, paper, cardboad on the wire in his cage? up the stairs, to make him comfortable? if i do, how often should i wash these things. i bought him a hutch to sleep in. i would also like to litter train, but i dont know how. i do know they usually defecate and urinate where they eat. would it be good to get a hay rack? will he use kitty litter at that spot? i also have a very sweet mainecoon cat that i have introduced him to. very slowly. they are out of the cage for short periods, go face to face, lick each other, with supervision. advice please

  6. I have two rabbits in a hutch at work and we are using poly to cover the wood bottom then cardboard and then wood chips… this system is to save the mess of pee that would likely drip through on the wooden structure and start smelling. The rabbits do chew through the cardboard by end of week and nibble on the poly a bit… once we clean and change all the liner each week it is then covered up again. Do you feel this is detrimental to their health??

  7. Hello I have a 6 month old Dutch bunnie I only have a regular plastic cage.. I use bedding all the time for her.. but the only thing is I ram out of bedding and I the only thing I have is forever ply cat litter. Is it okay for me to use that for her.. cause I’m starting now to let her be able to stay out of her cage more and more everyday. And the cage is now to small for her.. and i did buy her a big rabbit cage but got the wrong the one.. it was all wood but it didn’t have the bottom to it so I put her old cage in there and she has lots of room I just want to make sure I can use that cat litter.. and how can I help her from chewing on everything.. she loves baths I give that to her ever 2 wks she never runs out of hay

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