New idea for substrate?

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GeoTerraTestudo

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Lately, our cat has been sneezing, and we think it's from her kitty litter. So, after doing some research, we've found that there are basically three types of kitty litter: 1) clay-based, 2) silica-based, and 3) plant fiber-based. Our cat's current litter is clay-based (sodium bentonite), and although it's supposed to be 99.9% dust-free, there is probably still some dust from it irritating her nose and/or lungs. We've tried silica-based litter in the past, but our cat didn't like it (which is just as well, since some researchers think this kind is carcinogenic for cats and people anyway).

Which brings us to today. We went to the pet store and decided to try the third class of kitty litter, namely plant fibers. They have a whole bunch of different kinds: corn, cedar, wheat, pine, walnut, newspaper, and recycled paper. We got the wheat stuff, and have started mixing it in with the clay stuff to transition her over.

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was looking at all those fiber-based kitty litters how similar they are to substrates for small pets. I realize that some materials are not suitable for tortoises (cedar and pine, for example). Currently I use coco coir, which works great. If the corn, wheat, walnut, and paper litters are good at absorbing moisture in litter bins, do you think they would make good moisture-locking substrates for a tortoise pen, too? :tort:
 

Yvonne G

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I think that if you're looking for a substrate to provide more humidity and moisture in the tortoise's habitat, you wouldn't want to use a kitty litter that locks in moisture.
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Ah, so coco coir has a nice combination of holding onto moisture, but still slowly releasing it. I suppose fibrous kitty litter would go too far and not release enough of it. Heck, it might even be so hygrophilic as to dehydrate the tortoises themselves (the way alfalfa pellets do). :(
 

Tom

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GeoTerraTestudo said:
Ah, so coco coir has a nice combination of holding onto moisture, but still slowly releasing it. I suppose fibrous kitty litter would go too far and not release enough of it. Heck, it might even be so hygrophilic as to dehydrate the tortoises themselves (the way alfalfa pellets do). :(

Yep. Same concept.

Also, you'd have to worry about mold. Back in the old days, when I kept sulcatas dry (the horror...), I used to use the compressed grass bedding instead of rabbit pellets. Lasted longer with less smell. Since then I've realized that that style of bedding is all wrong.
 
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