best litter for declawed cats

Is There A Best Litter For Declawed Cats?

​Why Do Cats That Have Been Declawed Need Special Litter?

The cat or kitten no longer has claws, therefore it is more difficult​ for the cat to dig in the litter.
In addition special litter is recommended after the declawing operation to prevent infection.

The best kitty litter for declawed cats and th​is includes newly declawed​ cats and cats that have been declawed for some time, is ​litter in which they can still dig and have some traction, ​despite the fact they no longer have claws. ​

​In a hurry? Head straight to Recommendations (link ​in the Contents) for a ​quick summary of what we currently recommend.

What is the best litter to use when kitty comes home from the vet?

Cats like to cover their waste in the cat litter tray​ however after surgery, it will be painful to dig in the litter.  

​The recommendation is to use ​paper pellet litter for at least a week after returning home to lessen the chance of getting an infection and to make it easier for the cat to cover his waste.

​Litter that is dusty can stick to the paws and may result in infection.

As litter box avoidance ​is often a problem with declawed cats it is therefore worth considering the expense of purchasing pelleted litter as part of the cost allocated for having surgery.

​While the paws ​are still in the healing process it is important to change the litter daily to prevent contamination. 

Litter Reviews for Declawed Cats

You can help by choosing a litter that is soft but not too soft and is easy for kitty to dig in the litter, without the aid of claws.

 Yesterday's News - Paper Pellet Unscented Cat Litter

This is an unscented litter made from soft, recycled paper pellets that are perfect for sensitive paws.

​This is often the recommended litter by veterinarians post surgery because there is no clay in this litter or fine particle​that may enter the wound and cause ​infection. ​

Here are what people are saying about this litter being used for declawed cats.

Yesterday's News paper pellet litter will assist with keeping the area free of contamination while the ​paws are healing.

Having to deal with a contaminated wound is not desirable, so all steps should be taken to ensure basic safe health practices ​even if it means temporarily changing the normal litter used.

​One question about this litter ​refers to the ink used in the paper and whether it is safe.
The product website says that most publishers print these days using safe inks, which are often soy based.  Any inks are neutralized in the processing of this product.
There are also no chemicals in this litter, so environmentally it’s a responsible choice for your cat and for the environment.

​Newspaper can be added to the compost pile for the same reasons as above, regarding the ink used. Just tear the paper up a little or a lot. Kids love doing this - permission to make a mess and you have the job done.

You might think that paper is not going to soak up urine but it does and there is minimal tracking.

If you love this litter but want more odor control, a deodorizer can be added. A deodorizer is suitable for using with any litter.

This popular cat litter deodorizer is easy to use.

Just sprinkle the deodorizer over the top of the litter. It can be used when the litter ​is changed for fresh litter and even between litter changes.

And... this litter is dust free.  Many people like it for that reason alone, even if they do not have cats that have been declawed. No dust is a big plus if you are looking for a non allergenic litter.

How Long To Keep Using Yesterday's News After Declawing?

Following surgery, the paws will be sore and you'll need to provide a cat litter that is dust free. This will help prevent infection.
Your cat will take around 14 days to recover from the surgery. After this time you may want to ​use a different litter or return to a litter that you have used prior to surgery. ​

Once the paws have healed, if kitty is a little unsure about which litter to use, have both types available and he will make the choice.  

Ideally start using the recycled newspaper litter before surgery so that the cat has some time ​to get used to using a different litter.

ökocat Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Litter

This litter is super soft, lightweight and made from fine wood granules which makes it perfect for declawed cats, kittens and senior cats.

It is a soft clumping litter and is unscented. For best results and for odor control it is recommended that scooping is done daily. Clumping litter is easy to scoop as the the cats waste clumps and can be easily scooped from the litter tray.  This litter is unscented therefore it is recommended that scooping is done at least once daily for odor control or add a litter deodorizer as mentioned above.

Cats have a far more powerful sense of smell than humans and your ​cat may dislike the smell of scented litter. ​

As this is a light litter, it may track, so ideally use a litter mat in front of the box to catch any litter on paws.

This litter is made from fine wood granules and is biodegradable​. ​

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight Litter

This is a lightweight, fine textured litter which therfore ​makes it easier on paws than ordinary litter. As declawed cats can often reject the litter box altogether this is a factor to consider.

The fact that it is lightweight also means that it is easy to carry and to pour into the litter tray.

Even when litter is delivered, it still needs to be stored and poured so the fact that it is lightweight is a big plus for anyone with a bad back who needs to be aware of lifting and carrying heavy things or for people who have multiple cats.

​This litter has a good reputation for being very low in dust production which can be an issue with some lightweight litters.

This product is unscented. Arm and Hammer do also make a scented litter if that is your preference. ​

As the needs of a declawed cat is your primary concern it may be necessary to try several litters before deciding on what works best in your situation.

What ​Can You Do If Your Declawed Cat Is Rejecting The Litter Box?

You may already be aware that cats will often reject the litter box after being declawed, so some stealth work may be necessary to coax your kitty back to the box.

  • If your declawed cat is sharing a litter box with other cats, try giving the cat its own litter box.
  • If practical, try changing the location of the box where there are no obstructions. By obstructions, it may be the cat has to pass by somewhere he doesn’t really want to. It may be the dog's bowl or something that is scary to the cat.  Put yourself in your cat's shoes (please no meowing) and check out the navigation to the box.
    Does it seem okay?
  • Use a soft litter. Your cat doesn’t have claws to dig in the litter, so it stands to reason that the litter needs to be nice and soft. What you don't want is for the cat to associate the litter box with pain, so use a soft litter that still has enough substance for your cat to get some traction.
  • Consider using an attractant if the rejection of the box continues and you have tried other methods.The attractant has a scent that attracts cats and can be used with any sort of litter.

All of the points mentioned above are easy to implement, however there is no substitute for paying a visit to the vet to​ identify if there is a medical issue contributing to litter box avoidance. 

Unfortunately declawed cats often have litter box problems so it may take some investigating and trial and error to solve the problem.

​Why Are Cats Declawed?

​You may be wondering why cats are declawed?

Cats are most commonly declawed to prevent damage to household property. It is a highly contentious issue and is not common practice or even legal (unless necessary for the health of the cat) in some parts of the world.

This is a good article around this emotive issue which points out why cats should not be declawed and this article from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals outlines their position statement on declawing cats.

Many declawed cats end up in shelters because declawed cats frequently develop problems using a litter box. This is a sad situation however I applaud anyone who decides to adopt one of these abandoned cats.
Whatever we might personally think of the procedure, it is most important that we treat all of our kitties with the care and love they need.

For litter box advice including: choosing the size of the litter box, disposing of cat litter, how to clean a litter box, using or not using litter box liners  and much more ... read our comprehensive guide.

Why Cats Need Their Claws

Cats need claws to walk, run and to balance. They love to jump up to high places and they use their claws for traction, support and stability​. That’s what ​claws are designed to do.

Cats use their claws when running up and down trees and to escape when needed.  

litter for cats that have been declawed

Cats need their claws

​Health Issues With Declawing Cats

Declawing cats can cause health problems, for example the wound can get get infected which then needs further veterinarian care. Declawed cats often have litter box avoidance issues which leads to peeing and pooping anywhere and that can lead to abandonment which is the reason why many declawed cats end up in cat shelters.

Declawing may sound to some as though it is removing the claws from a cat, however it is far more than that.  It is amputation of the claw and surrounding bone.

To put this in human perspective, it would be like cutting our fingers off at the knuckle.  This can cause problems with balance, walking and running and leaves the cat unable to defend itself.

Cats use their claws to cover eliminations.  Having no claws to do this is just sad for the cat.

​Cats Clawing at Furniture

Those same claws can cause havoc and ruin furniture, which seems to ​be a significant reason for ​people wanting to declaw a cat.  A cat can be trained to use a scratching post and even ignore furniture if you are prepared to put some effort into this.

When we bought some leather sofas we were not prepared for the clawing fest that suddenly took place. ​

keep cat off leather couch

​Read how we solved the problem of the cat scratching the leather couches.

A scratching post is an excellent way for a cat to use its claws to scratch.  Give your cat a scratching post when he is a kitten and he will ​become accustomed to using it for scratching. There are some amazing cat scratching posts ranging from a super simple post to some quite intricate pieces of furniture.

​Follow this information which explains exactly how to trim the claws of a cat.  If ​you do not feel comfortable with this, take your cat to the vet for a claw trim.


We greatly narrowed the field for this review as the problem and the litter type is specific to cats that have been declawed.

​The litters reviewed ​also make good choices for cats that have not been declawed so if you have a declawed cat and a cat that has not been declawed they can both use the same litter.

​We highly recommend Purina's Yesterday's News for declawed cats post surgery or when paws are in the healing stages. It will lessen the chance of an infection developing as there are no fine particles with this litter,

Okocat Soft Step Natural Wood clumping litter is an excellent product for ongoing care of declawed cats.

​Remember that dec​lawed cats need a soft litter but not so soft that they can't get traction when digging.  There needs to be a happy balance and okocat will give ​ that balance.