Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box?

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats

Declawing cats is highly controversial in the veterinary and feline world. But despite the issues surrounding it, we can’t deny that there’s still a huge population of declawed felines, especially in shelters.

In this article, we’ll talk about one of the most crucial aspects that can make their lives more comfortable and consequently increase their quality of life – and that’s by choosing the best cat litter for declawed cats.  

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Benefits of Using an Appropriate Cat Litter for Newly Declawed Cats?

Declawing surgery is the permanent amputation of a cat’s toe bones, which permanently mutilates him and renders him unable to scratch.

Expectedly, because of the loss of the portion of their toe bones, declawed felines, especially recently declawed cats, experience pain when digging their litter. And this becomes the major reason for litter box avoidance.

As cat parents, you should recognize and respond to the special needs of your declawed kitty, so he can still use his litter box comfortably despite his condition.

In particular, your feline friend will benefit from using a particular litter that won’t irritate and won’t add trauma to his sensitive paws.

Below are some of the benefits of paying special attention to the needs of your cat’s delicate paws:

Soft Cat Litter Reduces Discomfort

Using a soft litter helps alleviate the discomfort experienced by declawed cats, especially the newly declawed ones.

Soft litter is gentle on a declawed cat’s sensitive paws, which is very helpful in encouraging him to continue using the litter box despite what happened.

Avoid Contaminating the Surgical Site

Recently declawed cats have ultra-sensitive paws because of the operation. And since there is an open wound, the risk that a cat’s paws can be contaminated, irritated, or infected is very high.

Using an appropriate declawed cat litter can help prevent these further discomforts and complications. During this crucial period, a declawed kitty doesn’t need additional irritations that can aggravate his uneasiness.

Promote Healing

The faster healing of a recently declawed cat’s surgical site can help him get back to his normal life as much and as soon as possible.

Although declawed cats are permanently mutilated, they can still live a happy and comfortable life. And that can start by preventing further trauma and promoting faster recuperation.

One of the ways to do this is, of course, choosing a litter material that will not be harsh to your cat’s wounds. The paws of newly declawed cats are generally sensitive to clay litters, so, it’s best to avoid this, especially during the immediate post-operative period.

Promote Proper and Regular Bowel Movements

If your cat successfully used his litter box after surgery, but then, the granules cause pain on his sensitive paws, there’s a high chance that he will find other places to pee and poop next time. And you are right, it can get messy.

Hence, using the best litter for declawed paws is crucial to avoid cat litter avoidance and to encourage your feline friend to have his regular bowel movements at the appropriate place.

Help Reduce Stress

The trauma, pain, and anxiety brought by the declawing procedure are already too many stressors for a cat to handle.

As a cat owner, ensuring that he can have a comfortable and stress-free place to do his business is just one of the simplest things that you can do that can have the biggest impact on your cat’s healing and recovery.

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 1

Types of Litter for Declawed Cats

Cat owners definitely know by heart how overwhelming it can be to choose a particular litter that their feline friend loves.

And choosing an appropriate litter can even be harder for declawed cats, but we’re here to simplify it for you by narrowing your options with the following types of best cat litter options:

Paper Litter

Because of its soft texture, paper cat litter is best for newly declawed cats, and it is also the most recommended option by veterinarians.

This type of litter doesn’t emit litter dust that can contaminate the wounds from the operation. It also comes in a paper pellet format, so it is considered a non clumping litter that doesn’t stick on your cats paws.

Some cat owners use recycled paper litter or use old newspapers and magazines for their recently declawed cat.

And while this option is not as effective in odor control as the commercially-sold paper cat litter, it is still a practical and gentle choice that is good enough for short-term use.

Corn Litter

This one also has soft pellets that are gentle on a cat’s paws. However, corn litter is a clumping cat litter, which is best used for felines whose wounds have completely healed.  

Wood Litter

You can buy wood litter in fine granules or wood pellet litter type. And though, either type of wood litter is generally soft, they are still best used if your cat’s wounds have fully healed. In particular, any type of pellet litter can be uncomfortable on cat paws, more so, for declawed cats.

When it is wet, wood pellet breaks down into sawdust, and the cat litter dust can contaminate and/or irritate your cat’s healing wounds.

If you still prefer a clumping cat litter, your better option is a non-pellet wood litter that is specially designed for cats with sensitive paws.

Wheat Litter

Wheat litter is another biodegradable clumping cat litter that uses soft pellets that can be gentle on your cat’s paws. However, just like any other type of clumping cat litter, this is also best used when your cat’s wounds have completely healed.

Grass Litter

Grass litter is another popular alternative for cat owners who are looking for a biodegradable natural cat litter that clumps well.

Then again, because of its clumping ability, grass litter is best used for cats with healed wounds. Nonetheless, with its soft and fine texture, it can be an excellent natural litter once your cat has completely healed.

Clay Litter

Clay is a convenient choice of cat litter, but it is often too harsh for your cat’s wounds. The dust and fine granules can also enter your cat’s healing wounds and cause problems. Hence, it’s best to stay away from it, at least while your cat is recovering.

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats

IMAGE PRODUCT  
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 2
Yesterday's News Original Paper Litter
  • Eco-friendly litter
  • Low-tracking formula
  • Made with pellets of recycled paper
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 3
Fresh News Non-Clumping Paper Litter
  • Retain 3X more moisture
  • Made with 100% recycled paper
  • 99% dust free and 100% non-allergenic
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 4
Okocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Litter
  • 99% dust-free
  • It’s flushable
  • A plant-based litter
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 5
Hartz Multi-Cat Clumping Paper Cat Litter
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Offers instant odor elimination
  • Forms tight clumps that turn blue when soiled
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 6
Arm & Hammer Litter Naturals Corn Cat Litter
  • Natural clumping litter
  • Made with natural corn fibers
  • Weighs 50% less than clay litter
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 7
sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
  • Delivers 2x stronger odor elimination
  • Eco-friendly, flushable and biodegradable
  • Made without dyes, perfumes or harmful ingredients
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 8
Pioneer Pet SmartCat Clumping Grass Cat Litter
  • 99% dust free
  • Provide excellent odor control
  • No irritating fragrances or perfumes
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 9
Frisco All Natural Clumping Grass Cat Litter
  • Made with 100% natural grass
  • Fast and solid clumping action
  • No added chemicals, dyes or fragrances
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 10
World's Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter
  • Quick clumping formula
  • All-natural multi-cat litter
  • Completely lightweight and 99% dust free
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Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 11
  1. Yesterday's News Original Paper Litter
  2. Fresh News Non-Clumping Paper Litter
  3. Okocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Litter
  4. Hartz Multi-Cat Clumping Paper Cat Litter
  5. Arm & Hammer Litter Naturals Corn Cat Litter
  6. sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
  7. Pioneer Pet SmartCat Clumping Grass Cat Litter
  8. Frisco All Natural Clumping Grass Cat Litter
  9. World's Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter

1. Yesterday's News Original Paper Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 12
Made of recycled newspaper, these pellets leave a smaller footprint on the environment than traditional clay. Eco-friendly litter is 3 times more moisture-absorbent than clay.

The adage, “old is gold,” basically applies to this non-clumping cat litter that is made from old and/or recycled newspaper.

Purina Yesterday’s News Original Paper Cat Litter isn’t just a US-Veterinarian-recommended eco-friendly cat litter, but more importantly, it’s the number one brand recommended by vets for recently declawed cats.

This paper litter features soft pellets from newspapers and magazines. So, it’s also an environment-friendly and economical choice.

And since it’s a paper litter, it’s also non-clumping, which is important for the newly declawed cat’s gentle paws.

Additionally, this paper litter is ultra-absorbent. In fact, Purina is proud to say that the formula used in this litter is 3x more absorbent than clay litter, which is the most popular option for cat owners.

Yesterday’s News is also virtually dust free, with low tracking and effective odor control. It is also great for long hair cats because the pellets don’t get stuck in their fur.

However, since it is naturally non-clumping and the paper is ultra-absorbent, your cat’s urine can easily soak through the paper and pool at the bottom of the litter box. Hence, you’ll have to empty the litter box regularly to keep it clean.

2. Fresh News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 13
Low tracking, soft pellets retain their form, helping to reduce pellets from sticking to your cat or kittens paws and tracking around your home.

Paper cat litter is the best option for newly declawed cats because it contains the softest litter materials.

Fresh News Unscented Paper Cat Litter is another popular choice. It is inexpensive and its moisture-locking soft pellets retain 3x as much moisture as clay litters. No wonder cat parents and cats alike are hooked into it.

Fresh News Paper Litter is also made from 100% recycled biodegradable paper, making it an eco-friendly choice that helps reduce landfill space, as well as save trees from being harvested to be processed as litter.

Additionally, the soft paper pellets retain their form, which helps prevent pellets from sticking into your cat’s paws and consequently reduces tracking or scattered litter particles around your house.

Fresh News Paper Litter also has added baking soda, which is effective in controlling odors. And since it is made from paper, it also goes that it’s virtually dust free and soft on your cat’s paws.

However, you do need to empty and change the litter box regularly to keep it clean and dry.

3. Okocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 14
The biodegradable wood fiber is sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued and works to naturally prevent enzymes from bonding with liquid and waste, halting ammonia odor before it even starts.

Tough on odor, but gentle on a cat’s sensitive paws, Okocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Litter is a top choice for declawed cats.

This is also a clumping type, so, you can easily scoop out the wastes. However, as with any type of clumping cat litter, it’s best used for declawed felines with completely healed wounds.

This wood litter is also light, so, your cat can easily dig through it to cover his wastes. Also, the lightweight of this wood litter is helpful for cat owners who are not fond of carrying loads of heavy litter.

Okocat Super Soft Wood Litter uses a formula that easily absorbs liquid that comes in contact and easily forms a clump for easy scooping.

This wood litter is also flushable, dust-free, and is free from harmful chemicals, artificial fragrances, toxic dyes, and GMOs.

4. Hartz Multi-Cat Clumping Paper Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 15
Made from recycled paper instead of the traditional clay, it still offers all the same tight clumping and odor absorbing power that you need.

Hartz Multi-Cat Strong Unscented Clumping Paper Litter is another top litter choice, that is both good for your cat, good for you, and the environment.

It is made from recycled paper, but it has the same strong clamping ability as clay litters. And unlike other paper cat litter, it instantly forms odor-absorbing clumps that turn blue when exposed to cat’s urine.

What’s more, this paper litter is dust-free, which is perfect for cats and cat parents with allergies and asthma.

It’s also super soft, which is great for a declawed cat’s sensitive paws, and it is extremely light, which makes it easier for you to dig into it without extra effort.

And with its strong odor control, this litter is an excellent choice for multiple cat households.

5. Arm & Hammer Litter Naturals Corn Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 16
A lightly scented natural cat litter made with corn fibers, a plant-based clumping agent, baking soda and mineral oil to reduce the amount of dust.

Made from corn fibers, and mixed with mineral oil and baking soda, Arm & Hammer Naturals Scented Clumping Cat Litter is the ultimate eco-friendly cat litter with double odor-controlling powers against cat urine and feces.

The corn fibers also provide a soft footing that your cat will love. And the mixture of natural ingredients in this litter absorbs twice as much liquid and significantly reduces the amount of dust and debris.

It’s also light, so you don’t have to carry heavy loads when it’s time to empty your litter box, and it clumps very well, which makes it easier for you to clean and clear the soiled litter box.

6. sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 17
This natural, ultra-absorbent litter is crafted from biodegradable and renewable wheat—the wheat starches trap odors on contact, while the natural enzymes help neutralize urine and ammonia odors.

Clumping cat litters are generally not advisable for newly declawed cats, but sWeat Multi-Cat Clumping Natural Wheat Cat Litter features superfine granules that are soft and gentle enough for declawed cats with persistent tenderness after the operation.

This litter features a highly absorbent formula crafted from 100% biodegradable, natural, flushable, and renewable wheat.

Every grain of wheat starch is packed with natural enzymes that help fight and reduce urine and ammonia odors.

sWeat Wheat Cat Litter is also virtually dust-free, low-tracking, and is free from dyes, and chemicals that can be irritating to your cat’s healing paws.

And since it clumps easily, and has an effective odor-control system, this litter is also great for multi-cat households.

7. Pioneer Pet SmartCat Clumping Grass Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 18
This quick clumping action traps the odor-causing bacteria, and odors disappear. Clumps will continue to harden and dry until all liquid is absorbed.

Light in weight, but strong in performance, Pioneer Pet SmartCat All-Natural Clumping Grass Cat Litter overpowers the clumping capacity of the ever-popular, yet harsh to declawed cats, clay litter.

If you are looking for a new litter that your cat will love and get comfortable in using, then, you’d better try a grass cat litter.

While this formula is crafted from 100% natural grass, its texture is as soft as sand, and its clumping power is so strong, which makes it easier for you to scoop and clean up wastes instantly.

This litter is also formulated to show no mercy to the annoying odors from urine and feces. Its excellent odor control can be attributed to its ultra-absorbent capacity and super-fast clumping power, thereby not giving odors the chance to be released in the air.

It is also virtually dust-free, so you can breathe well knowing that you and your cat are breathing clean air that is free from irritants and harmful dust particles.

8. Frisco All Natural Clumping Grass Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 19
Made with 100% natural grass ingredients with no added chemicals, dyes or fragrances. This gives it a more natural smell and feel that kitties prefer.

Cats can be fussy with what touches their paws, and this fastidious attitude can even be exacerbated for declawed cats with sensitive paws.

And as cat parents, we should adapt to our cat’s condition and provide them with comfort and security, which includes ensuring that they are at ease with their litter box.

Frisco Unscented Multi-Cat Scoopable Natural Grass Cat Litter is gentle not just on your cat’s nose, but more importantly, on his extra-sensitive paws.

Made from 100% natural grass, this litter is soft and gentle to your cat’s tender paws, and its light weight makes it easier for you to sift through.

With solid clumping action, this grass litter makes fast-forming clamps for easier scooping. Hence, you can easily keep up with your cat’s high standard for a clean litter box.

Being an all-natural grass litter, this eco-friendly choice is also free from added chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.

What’s more, it offers excellent odor control and absorbency, which is crucial in maintaining a litter box area that is conducive for your cat’s private business.

9. World's Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 20
This powerful litter instantaneously traps odors left behind by your feline friend, and forms tight, easy-to-scoop clumps on contact.

If you are looking for an easy-to-scoop and flushable clumping litter that is both gentle on your cat’s paws and to the environment, then, World’s Best Multiple Cats Unscented Cat Litter is one of your best bets.

It is made from renewable corn kernels compressed into fine granules that are soft enough for your cat’s sensitive paws.

This corn litter is also ultra-absorbent to trap odors, and clumps so fast, which makes cleaning easier for you.

As a result, your cat would experience less discomfort and more relief, and you will end up reducing your cleaning time and dropping your cat litter budget.  

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 21

What to Look for When Buying Cat Litter for a Declawed Cat?

Ensuring your cat’s comfort while using his litter box is of prime importance, especially during the immediate post-operative period. This moment can either make or break your cat’s affinity to the litter box.

Hence, you must not choose just a decent litter that could provide your cat with an area to do his business.

But more importantly, you should provide him with an appropriate litter that addresses his pain and discomfort, especially during the first few days and weeks after his surgery.

Below are the important considerations when buying a cat litter for declawed cats:

Look for Softer Litter Materials

Clay is without a doubt, one of the most popular cat litter options in the market. However, because of its hard consistency, it can be harsh on your cat’s paws, especially if he just had his surgery. Veterinarians recommend the use of paper litters for newly declawed cats, as these are soft to the paws.

Paper litter is also non-clumping, so the paper pellets won’t get stuck in between your cat’s paws, and it is also virtually dust-free. Hence, it’s also good for cats with allergies and breathing issues.

Go for a Low-Dust Formula

Dust won’t just affect and compromise your cat’s breathing, as well as yours, but it can also irritate your cat’s surgical site. Hence, choosing a low-dust cat litter is another important consideration when shopping for a declawed cat litter.

Choose Between Clumping or Non-Clumping Cat Litter

Clumping is a convenient choice for cat parents, as it simplifies the cleaning process of the litter box. However, your cat’s comfort should take precedence over other factors since it can affect his interest to use the litter box next time.

Clumping cat litter can easily get in between your cat’s paws. Hence, it can be painful and it can even irritate his healing wounds.

When your cat has no other cat litter option, he would resort to doing his business somewhere else than letting himself endure the pain and discomfort from using the clumping clay cat litter.

Once your cat’s wounds have completely healed, you can always shift back to a clumping cat litter.

Choose a Low-Odor or Unscented Cat Litter

For some reason, aside from having sensitive paws, newly declawed cats also have an extra-sensitive nose.

Whether it is due to the discomfort brought by the operation or not, using litter with a strong odor is one of the ways that discourage declawed cats from using their litter box.

And if you insist on having a scented cat litter, it can help to choose one that carries mild and natural scents such as lavender.

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 22

Why Do Declawed Cats Refuse to Use Their Litter Boxes After Surgery?

Feline experts believe that there are two main reasons why cats refuse to use their litter boxes after surgery – and these are due to physical pain and mental stress.

The presence of pain from the surgical site is the most obvious reason why cats avoid using their litter boxes, especially during the immediate post-operative period.

And this can be expected considering that the aftereffects of the surgery include pain, swelling, and tenderness from the surgical site.

Hence, as mentioned earlier, to alleviate his pain and discomfort, it’s crucial to choose an appropriate cat litter that features soft materials, such as recycled papers.

Mental stress is a lesser obvious reason for cat litter avoidance after declawing surgery, but it can happen.

And you can better understand this by looking at the world from the eyes or perspective of your cat. As we know, cats perceive and move through the world with their claws and paws.

Just like mutilated humans, without these essential body parts, cats can also feel incomplete and different.

Hence, the stress brought by this sudden change in their body can contribute to the odd, yet, highly-possible post-op behaviors, such as cat litter avoidance or refusal.

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 11

What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box?

Whether you had your cat declawed or you rescued a declawed feline, and he ended up not using his litter box, the first thing that you have to do is talk to your veterinarian.

You can expect him to do a thorough assessment of your cat’s condition, and to rule out regrowth of nails or damages that need to be treated surgically or medically.

After the initial assessment, your vet will most likely prescribe pain medications and recommend an appropriate cat litter.

As mentioned earlier, cat litter avoidance is most commonly caused by the pain on the site that is exacerbated by the use of inappropriate cat litter.

If you won’t notice improvements in your cat’s behavior after taking his pain meds and changing his cat litter, your vet might discuss with you the possibility of exploring alternatives to cat litters temporarily.

He/she may advise you to use absorbent pads in the meantime, instead of using cat litter.

Once your cat’s surgical wounds have completely healed and his pain has greatly reduced, your cat may resume using a cat litter that is gentle enough on his paws.

Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats and What Should You Do If Your Declawed Cat Won’t Use His Cat Litter Box? 24

Can declawed cats use the litter box?

Declawed cats often stop using their litter boxes. They may associate the pain they feel in their paws when trying to cover their waste with the litter box itself. They seek a less painful place for elimination, such as the carpet or bathtub or even the bed or piles of laundry.

Will my cat hate me after being declawed?

After being declawed, your cat may experience increased aggressiveness — without her claws, she may bite when she feels cornered. And the pain associated with the procedure may result in urinating and defecating outside the litter box. She may also become more anxious and shy.

How long are cats paws sore after declaw?

Your pet may be reluctant to walk around, jump up on things or act sore. Some degree of discomfort is expected. In younger cats, pain experienced after the declaw procedure should lessen within 10 days and lameness (limping) should improve within one week. In older cats, this time frame may be longer.

What kind of litter should I use after my cat is declawed?

We recommend removing any clay-based or clumping litter from your litter box as this type of litter can get stuck in the incisions and cause complications. You may tear pieces of newspaper into strips or buy a paper-based kitty litter.

  • October 21, 2021
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.