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

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 for your rabbit cage that will both contain the mess and be comfortable.

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

  • Straw / Hay
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Wood Shaving
  • Clay Litter
  • Carpet
  • Old Towels or Sheets
  • Floor Mats
  • Shower Mats
  • 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.

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 wire bottom to catch waste and make cleanup very easy. Better pictures are available on Amazon HERE.

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. Here is a link to 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 of it here 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 cleanup of your rabbit’s waste so much easier.

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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~ Stacey


My name is Stacey Davis, and I and my family had 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 and as stress-free as possible.

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