Is Cloth Safe For Hamsters? {What Are The Risks Involved?}

Would you like to give your hamster a soft cloth to wrap around in, nest on and stay cozy? Will cloth cause any health risks? In this article, we’ll find out if cloth is safe for your hamster.

Is Cloth Safe For Hamsters? More often than not, cloth is not advised due to being a choking hazard. The fibers can also wrap around their bodies and limbs. Unscented tissue or toilet paper, traditional beddings and paper without ink are safer substitutes for cloth. 

Can I Give Cloth To My Hamster?

The debate is on about offering cloth to our hamsters. While some say that they have never noticed any issues, others point out safety issues that can’t be ignored. Here are some reasons why cloth is not recommended for hamsters:

  • choking hazard when swallowed
  • impaction (constipation)
  • cloth fibers causing strangulation of the neck
  • numbness when wrapped tightly around limbs

Wool, cotton, polyester, nylon and more materials are also sold as fluffy beddings for hamsters, but they are not as safe as regular bedding made of shredded paper, aspen shavings or pulp bedding made by popular brands such as Carefresh.

What Happens If My Hamster Ingests Cloth?

Your hamster will chew on the cloth. This is a fact. Hamsters need to wear down their teeth to prevent overgrowth. The cloth will get chewed on and we hope that the loose fibers from it do not get ingested. It can also get get stuck in their cheek pouches.

If cloth does not cause choking and makes its way safely down the digestive tract, the possibility of impaction still exists. It will be difficult to pass cloth through their bowel movements and should be avoided.

Tissue paper or toilet paper that is unscented will be safer if ingested and your hamster will enjoy making its own nest from the amount of soft and cozy tissue you provide.

Which Fabrics Are Not Safe For Hamsters?

No fabric can be deemed 100% safe for hamsters. We tend to rely on shavings, paper, pulp over any type of cloth. These types of cloth below are considered to be more harmful than cotton:

  • polyester
  • nylon
  • acrylic
  • rayon

The loose threads of these synthetic fibers can tangle easily. They are strong and your hamster may not be able to chew through it. Cotton might be easier to break if there is a tangling issue.

There are horror stories of hamsters getting tangled up and losing limbs or worse when the fight or flight response kicks in and they try to save themselves under any condition. Hamster babies have lost their lives and feet or digits have been chewed off.

What Is A Better Alternative To Cloth For Hamsters?

Tear up strips of paper towels that are unscented and free of dyes. Thin facial tissue disintegrates faster and doesn’t hold up moisture as well.

Fabric, cloth, paper or any bedding in the cage will most likely get peed on. It’s easier to remove and replace the tissue or paper based bedding instead of cloths. Aspen shavings, Carefresh bedding, or shredded paper works much better for this reason alone.

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Can You Put Clothes On A Hamster?

Although it may look extremely cute to put clothes on hamsters, the risks of harm are just too high to recommend it. Putting on a sweater or scarf may look pretty for a short time, but your hamster doesn’t recognize them as clothes.

It’s simply something to chew on and could get uncomfortable when they can’t get themselves free from it as easy as they can with paper or bedding.

When they get frustrated by the difficulty to remove the clothes, they may started gnawing on their own bodies to free themselves.

If they ingest the cloth from the clothes, they could get impaction or suffer from choking. Collars are also a health hazard and should not be used for hamsters.

Can Hamsters Use Cotton Balls For Bedding?

Cotton balls are not a safe option for hamster bedding. Fluffy types of bedding make us feel that we are giving our hamsters additional pleasure and softness, but we are adding the risk of internal injury through ingestion.

The cotton balls may also get stuck in their cheek pouches. Intestinal blockage through cotton balls getting impacted in their digestive tracts is also a major risk. There are new many variables that go with using cotton balls or cloth instead of paper and other traditional bedding options.

Is Fleece Safe For Hamsters?

Fleece is a safer form of fabric compared to synthetic fibers from polyester or nylon. Fleece in sheet form can be sewn into the substrate and is not as likely to be torn into loose pieces.

Offer fleece during playtime and use paper bedding instead for added safety. Tissue paper, paper towel or shredded paper without ink is better for unsupervised time in the cage.

Are Wood Shavings Safe For Hamsters?

Wood shavings are not as soft or absorbent as cotton or other types of cloth. Wood shavings are more commonly found in a natural setting with dried, dead wood in their endangered habitats in the wild.

Aspen shavings is a safer type of wood shaving. They are readily available in pet shops and are usually cheap. It’s a common approach to giving the hamster cage a natural feel, but you can forgo it for shredded paper instead.


We hope that the cloth you offer to your hamster is done so under your full supervision. If we leave our hamsters unattended with cloth that can be chewed on or torn into loose fibers, we’re adding the risk of external injury through possible choking or numbness around their limbs.

Intestinal injuries causing impaction or even death could result from these fibers getting swallowed as well. Paper wins over cloth in our hamster cages due to its safety and ease of replacement after it get soiled.


Thank you for visiting for information regarding hamsters and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time!