Your Bag

Add subscription to use 30% discount for litter

close icon

Catalyst Pet

Back to blog
Revolutionary Stories

Wood vs. Paper: Small Animal Bedding Comparison

Did you know there’s a debate among small pet owners regarding the best material for your furry friend’s bedding?

That’s right, small animal bedding is a hot topic, and we’re here to sift through the pile of information and give you the facts.

Let’s start with the basics.

Why do small animals need bedding in their cages?

Bedding offers a comfy, secure place for your small animal to nest and sleep. It keeps your pet warm and cozy, while absorbing contaminants and waste, so their cage is odor-free and dry.

How do you choose the best small animal bedding for your pet?

These should be the factors you focus on when committing to a bedding option for your little creature:

  1. No harmful chemicals
  2. Dust-free or low dust
  3. High absorbency
  4. Odor controlling
  5. Allows for burrowing
  6. Easy to clean up and change when needed
  7. Made sustainably
  8. Biodegradable
  9. Soft and comfortable

    There are many options for bedding, though here we’ll focus on paper and wood because there are brands and options for both that check most of the boxes above.

    First things first, even though paper is made from wood, there are differences when it comes to these types of bedding.  Paper bedding is made of paper.

    Wood bedding is made of wood.

    Paper bedding


    1. Easy to find online or in your local pet store
    2. Little dust
    3. Highly absorbent
    4. Good odor control
    5. Safe and non-toxic


      1. Daily spot cleaning is necessary to keep the cage clean and sanitary and avoid soggy paper in your pet’s cage.
      2. Long-haired pets may get this bedding caught in their fur.
      3. Can be messy if your small animal throws its bedding (yes this happens; some small pets are party animals!)
      4. If not changed frequently, wet paper can mildew or mold.

        Wood bedding


        1. Easy to find online or in your local pet store
        2. Wood, like Douglas fir or aspen, is safe and non-toxic
        3. Highly absorbent
        4. Excellent odor control
        5. Biodegradable
        6. Sustainably made if wood residuals are used (rather than virgin wood)


          1. Some wood beddings can cause gastrointestinal, urinary and skin issues.
          2. Can be uncomfortable for your pet depending on the shape of the wood shavings or pieces
          3. Wood bedding can get stuck in pet fur, particularly those with long hair.

            Generally speaking, either choice can be a good option for you and your pet. There are safe, high-performing types of both wood and paper bedding, and there are also some dangerous options on either side of the aisle, too. 

            This is where a broader look at the parent company and specific ingredients come in handy. If you’re looking for a business that’s taking it to the next level with sustainability and quality ingredients, Catalyst is the one. We want happy and healthy pets, absolutely! We also want the humans and environment to benefit from the use of our products.

            Catalyst does the following to make it head and whiskers above the competition, and to eliminate some of those cons with wood bedding that we mentioned above:

            1. We use 100% premium Douglas fir shavings, locally sourced in the Pacific Northwest.
            2. We don’t add anything. This product is made of 100% upcycled Douglas fir shavings. That’s it.
            3. We manufacture locally. From forest floor to manufacturer is a short distance, resulting in low emissions.
            4. We kiln dry our shavings to ensure they’re hypoallergenic and dust free, making them healthy for you and your small animal.
            5. We offer discounts for subscription orders delivered right to your door, making our product even more affordable and headache-free for pet parents.
            6. We offer a variety of package sizes for your convenience; the more you buy, the more you save, with fewer emissions required to ship your product to you!

            We’re so confident you’ll love our small animal bedding, we’re offering a discount on your first subscription order. Click here to learn more about our small animal bedding, and place your first order.

            The Best Posts
            How to Successfully Make the Switch to Catalyst Pet Litter

            Nathan the Cat Lady shows how easy it is to make the transition to Catalyst Pet natural softwood litter!


            Introducing the Catalyst Litter Scoop

            Expertly designed with efficiency and ease in mind, the Catalyst Cat Scoop – brought to you by the makers of Catalyst Pet – is a simple and hygienic way to clean up your furry feline’s litter box.

            Why You Should Leave Clay Litter in the Dust

            Most cat lovers are not aware that clay litters are made of sodium bentonite, a mineral that is strip-mined and not biodegradable, but that’s not where the problems end. Clay litter can also be unhealthy for your furry feline.

            The Highest Performing Natural Cat Litter
on the Planet
            For 30% off your first subscription order, use code CAT30 at checkout!
            More on Blog
            Revolutionary Stories
            More Than a Friendly Fur Face, Small Pets Can Improve Your Wellbeing
            Does the following situation sound familiar? Child asks for a pet. Parent says no. “But I neeeeeeeeed a pet!” child hollers, barely holding back the tears and rage that will soon bubble to the surface. Needs vs. wants are sometimes...
            Revolutionary Stories
            How Often Should I Change My Small Animal's Bedding?
            Have you ever heard the phrase ‘happy pet, happy life?’ We didn’t think so. We just made it up to help discuss rules of paw and claw for cleaning your furry friend’s habitat. Catalyst makes small animal bedding—our latest and...
            Revolutionary Stories
            Experience the Douglas Difference with Catalyst’s New Small Animal Bedding
            There are tons of wood-based small animal bedding options on the market, but until now, none used Douglas fir. Why? Why not? is the better question.Catalyst Pet recently added small animal bedding to its lineup of sustainable, high-performing pet products,...