SoftaCARD is a Dust extracted animal bedding that's suitable for rodents, cavies, equines and felines

Rat Bedding

 Finacard range offers pet rats the opportunity to enjoy using the bedding for sleeping, foraging, digging and den making.

Rats are generally easy to care for and, as pets go, are fairly low-maintenance in their needs. However part of ensuring that both you and your rats are happy is to choose a suitable litter for their cage. An unsuitable litter can not only lead to increased odours and unsanitary conditions in and around the cage, but some litters such as sawdust could even increase the likelihood of your rats getting respiratory illnesses.

What do my rats need in their cage?

Traditional rat cages available in shops today usually comprise of a wire cage that sits on a deep plastic base, and may come with a selection of accessories such as shelves and beds. It's important to use the cage space available to your rats well and provide them with plenty of entertainment in their cage as it's where they will spend the majority of their time. A well equipped cage will have a selection of beds, toys and climbing opportunities to keep your rats engaged. Beds can take the form of shop bought plastic houses and hammocks but even something as simple as a cardboard box can make an excellent hideaway, especially if stuffed with a suitable nesting material so your rats can make a comfy nest. A good quality substrate is needed to fill the plastic base – this acts not only as an absorbent layer for food/water spillages or urine but also provides a natural habitat for your rats, allowing them to dig and forage. Many people like to litter train their rats – it is certainly possible (although not all rats agree!) – all you need is a litter tray and a good quality litter, preferably one that is different to your normal cage substrate.

How should I choose what products to use?

It was not too long ago when the small animal market was fairly insignificant and the choice of products was limited. Historically, the product of choice for rats would have been wood shavings or sawdust, but as time has passed there has been scientific evidence to suggest that certain types of wood used to make shavings and sawdust contain chemicals that can irritate the airways of animals living in close proximity and can increase the chances of respiratory illnesses and exacerbate existing medical conditions. Although as yet not scientifically proven, this has caused the small animal market to move away from sawdust and wood shaving products into other types of bedding and litter that do not have this issue, as concerned owners do not want to put their animals at risk.

Today there are many products available specifically aimed at the small animal market, and it can be confusing to a new rat owner to know where to start. The key to choosing a bedding/litter is first to consider the material you would like to use – other than traditional wood shavings the main options available at the present are cardboard, paper,hemp and SoftaCARD being of them.

Finacard have worked hard in recent years to produce a number of products that are suitable for all small animals whilst still ensuring low cost and good value for money and have now launched a new product called SoftaCARD which replaces the Finacard cardboard substrate.

SoftaCARD substrate is produced from UNUSED VIRGIN eggboxes which have not been near any hatchery. It is shredded into strips – this production method means that not only is the subtrate softer and more bouncy, but also means that it has a faster absorbency rate due to an increased surface area of each piece – more liquid can be absorbed faster meaning urine and spills do not sit at the bottom of the cage. The random shredded nature of the litter encourages the natural acts of digging and foraging amongst the substrate and many rats love to create nests with larger strips of substrate. SoftaCARD is also dust extracted, meaning virtually no dust and the airways of your pets are not irritated. SoftaCARD is sent in compacted bales which means it is easy to store but lasts a long time – each bale should last several months depending on the size of your cage and the frequency of cleaning out.

Alongside the SoftaCARD substrate, some owners choose to use Papelit litter either as a secondary layer of cage litter placed under SoftaCARD or in a separate litter tray. Papelit is a fragrance-free compacted paper pellet litter with a very high absorbency rate and good odour control making it ideal for soaking up urine. Even when wet the pellets retain their shape and do not break down into dust meaning the airways of your pets are safe from irritation. Papelit is very different in texture to SoftaCARD which is an important factor if trying to litter train rats, as it helps them realise the difference between the litter tray and the rest of the cage. Others choose simply to mix it with SoftaCARD to give an added element of protection against urine and smells, and to increase the cage life of the substrate. It can also be useful to line the bottoms of plastic igloo style beds if you have rats that are too lazy to leave their beds to go to the toilet!

As well as substrate and litter in the cage, Finacard produce three varieties of nesting material which is ideal for placing in the beds and hammocks of your pets – Sofnest is available in paper wool strips, flakes and plain paper flakes. As well as adding a layer of comfort, it also adds a layer of absorbency to the bed which can help with rats who are not as clean as others! Rats love to construct large elaborate nests which keep them warm at night and the Sofnest products are ideal for this purpose. Unlike other products available in the shops such as the 'cotton wool' type bedding which can be dangerous, Sofnest is completely safe, does not wrap tightly around limbs and can easily be torn. It is also safe to be eaten and does not get compacted or trapped in teeth.

Finacard offer a range of options to suit all cages and budget, and SoftaCARD can be purchased on its own or with Papelit and Sofnest bedding included. All of the Finacard products represent great value for money, but the best value for money is gained when purchasing all 3 products together – for only £35.50 you can purchase all the cage substrate, litter and bedding your rats need.

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