Norfolk Industries for Disabled People

100% Recycled and
Fibre Pet Bedding Products
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Blog » How cotton is a much better product than viscose fibre

How cotton is a much better product than viscose fibre

Cotton bedding is NOT Viscose Fibre – The differences

For many years Norfolk Industries has provided top quality products for small animal bedding from a range of raw materials such as food grade papers and recycled newsprint paper, however, the business actually started with products made from Viscose Fibre over 25 years ago.

Viscose was the traditional raw material used for nesting small animals and this work was commissioned by one of our customers at the time.  For many years viscose was the only material available for this type of nesting product. 

Gradually over the years, safety concerns started to be raised with regard to entanglement and also issues when pouching animals (hamsters) inadvertently swallowed the material (although we would never sell this product as a material to be consumed).

Whilst Norfolk Industries did not receive many complaints, from the couple that we did, it was clear that an alternative safer material would certainly be preferable.  After an extensive search we found a very short fibre cotton material derived from nappy manufacture. 

Trialling this over a year, it became clear that this material which much better suited to small animal bedding.  We introduced this material into Asda as a replacement for the Viscose Fibre we had been supplying and over the course of the year we had no complaints.  We also met with QD and replaced their viscose fibre product with a cotton alternative.

The reasons for this are –

  • The fibres are so short that they do not form any kind of entanglement issue at all.
  • If swallowed, the short fibres can allow the animal to pass the material much easier than the long viscose fibres, so the material does not ball in the gut.
  • The cotton is a waste product from the manufacture of nappies for babies and so does not contain any chemicals, allergens or dust.

In the last 5½ years that we have been supplying this material as bedding, we have never had a complaint about it.


There are only 2 downsides to this material, neither of which affect its performance at all –

  •  It cannot be dyed into any other colour, so is just white (whereas the viscose traditionally came in a range of bright colours).
  • It looks very similar to Viscose Fibre, so people think it is the same material.

Cotton close up sml5

 The picture above shows how short the fibres actually are!  Cotton is soft, absorbent and safe so the perfect material for a small animal bedding product.

 It is also readily available in the UK for a reasonable price which assists us in passing on a reasonable price to our customers.

Blue Fibre sml2

The picture to the right shows the viscose fibre.  It’s hard to see from this picture but the fibres can become wound together around items in the cage such as the wheel or little legs and feet which can then cause an entanglement issue.

Cotton is available to buy from our website, on our e-bay shop or through suppliers such as QD, Bents Garden Centre and other small retailers around the UK.

Shot 014 cropped2

Cotton promotes the natural nesting instinct within small animals such as mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters. 


Give it a try, all we ask is that you don’t ‘tar it with the same brush’ as the old traditional material Viscose Fibre!