Last Updated on October 30, 2022.
Advantages of Using Fabric Cage Liners
- Various types of fabric are good options for people with allergies or hedgehogs with bedding sensitivities.
- Many owners like the fact that fabric bedding is recyclable (washable) and stores easily.
- Fabric is less likely to harbor mites than other products.
- There are no wood splinters, dust, or small pieces to get on the floor.
- Light colored lines are great for monitoring hedgehog’s output as fecal matter is a window to your hedgehog’s internal health.
- A liner made of a combination of fleece and flannel, or other soft materials, can be very comfortable for your hedgehog.
Disadvantages of Using Fabric Cage Liners
- Initial Start-up Cost
- Quality liners may be hand made or purchased from liner dealers and have a higher start-up cost than traditional bedding.
- The best liners have multiple layers, which further increases the start up cost.
- Loose Threads
- One must be diligent to watch for any loose threads that can wrap around toes or feet. Beth Ann Breitweiser, DVM, at All Wild Things Exotic Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, spoke to us at length about the dangers of loose threads and small fibers from fabric. A small fiber or thread can cause permanent damage to a toe or foot in less than six hours. She has amputated many toes and feet at her practice due to this type of injury.
- Be careful with woven or knit materials. Toenails can catch in the small loops of a knit or between a weave and rip or injure the hedgehog’s toes.
- Always check handmade items for loose threads at the seams and all bedding for holes or other potential dangers.
- Fabric cage liners may not be a good idea for hedgehogs that are not litter box trained.
- You need to have several liners on hand as they need to be changed daily if not multiple times per day to keep odor at a minimum.
- Some fabrics such as fleece or vellux are made from finely spun plastic so they do not absorb moisture and liquids (hydrophobic) so urine and feces will pool on the surface.
- A secondary liner of paper towel or another absorbent material underneath the liner is necessary to soak up moisture.
- Fabric softeners are likely to repel moisture, decreasing the absorbency of the material.
- New fabric may also repel moisture.
- Even though fleece is soft it can also be very drying to the skin
- Liner Shuffling and Digging
- The relatively smooth surface may allow for accessories to slide and be tipped by your hedgehog.
- Hedgehogs do enjoy burrowing so they may decide to sleep and play under the liner, making quite a disaster of their entire cage.
- While this is not harmful for the hedgehog, it can be quite irritating to owners who like a tidy looking cage.
- The hedgehog’s urine and feces may pool or puddle directly on the cage if the hedgehog has shuffled the liner out of position.
- Hedgehogs that like to dig in their bedding will not have materials to shuffle around and investigate but instead will simply scratch at the liner.
- Even though hedgehogs are not typically chewers they may pull at edges or where they have dug at the fabric and get fabric stuck in their teeth.
Care and Use Suggestions
- Hedgehogs have a very good sense of smell and so fabric softeners may irritate your hedgehog. What smells good to us as humans may be overwhelming to your hedgehog.
- Some hedgehog owners choose to wash their hedgehog laundry with Dreft or other detergent for sensitive skin just to be on the safe side and to reduce the possibility of fragrance irritations.
- You will want to provide your hedgehog extra pieces of material to burrow under or snuggle in so that the hedgehog does not burrow under the fabric cage liner.
- Lightweight accessories may need to be anchored to the bedding with Velcro.
- One way to keep bedding in place in cages that have a wire top is to cut a piece of fleece or fabric much larger than the base of the cage. The fabric can be draped down over the sides of the cage and held in place with the cage top.
- We suggest using light colors of fabric so that you can detect changes in urine and stool color or consistency that darker fabric colors may hide.
- Bleach will break down the fabric so other antibacterial cleaning methods should be explored.
VIDEO.: WASHING FLEECE
Please See Our Types of Fabric Bedding Article For More Information
Contributors: Gail Smith, Nicole Belval, formerly of Prickly Pair Hedgehogs; Christine Riddle, Riddle’s Hedgehogs; Shelly Fowler, Beach Bum Hedgehogs, Melissa Ramos