Can Declawed Cats Use Clay Litter?

Did your kitty just get declawed? When you bring home a pet after a declawing procedure, you want to ensure their environment is as comfortable as possible. One particular area that needs your attention is the litter box. You should be questioning your choice of litter with a declawed cat, and we're here to help you with those questions. We've gathered our research to explain the relationship between clay litter and declawed cats and potential problems you may run into.

Declawed cats should not use clay litter. Clay-based litters are uncomfortable for your cat due to the hard material. Furthermore, these hard litters can get stuck in your cat's incisions, causing complications. 

If clay litters shouldn't be used, which type of litter does your cat need? Keep reading as we tell you what type of cat litter is best for declawed cats and when your pet can go back to using regular litter.

A cat standing up his litter box, Can Declawed Cats Use Clay Litter?

Risks Of Using Clay Litter

The following days after your cat gets declawed, they will experience discomfort and pain in their paws. As their caretaker, you want to ensure you are doing everything to make your companion comfy.

A cute ginger cat walking outside his cute litter box

Using clay litter will add to their pain as this litter is rough and can create quite a bit of dust. If walking into the litter box becomes a painful experience for your kitty, they may start avoiding their box altogether.

A cute cat walking inside his black litter box

Clay litter, and the dust it gives off, has the potential to get stuck in the incisions on your cat's paws. When this happens, the risk for infection, excess inflammation, and pain dramatically increase.

Do You Have To Use Special Litter After Declawing?

If clay litter is a no-go, what litter should you be using after your cat gets declawed? The softer, the better. You want to move towards cat litter that gives off little to no dust and provides the softest surface possible.

A cat looking at the camera while standing on top of his litter box

There isn't one particular litter that all owners use, rather a selection of suitable litters you can choose from. We will touch on some specific types of litter recommendations for your declawed kitty.

Read more on our blog post, “Cat Litter Substitutes — 10 Things You May Have Never Considered”.

What Type Of Cat Litter Is Best For Declawed Cats?

When searching for the right cat litter for your declawed cat, you want something soft, unscented, and not dusty. Luckily, there are plenty of commercial brands of cat litter made for this purpose of comfort. Let's look at the details of a couple of recommended brands.

Yesterday's News Original Formula

This cat litter formula is crafted from recycled paper fibers. Recycled paper fibers are said to be 3x softer than traditional clay litters, creating max comfort for your kitty. Yesterday's News is unscented and low tracking. You need to keep up with daily cleaning, as this litter is non-clumping and has low odor control.

You can find a 24-pound bag of Yesterday's News here on Amazon.

sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Litter

This multi-cat natural litter is made from wheat starch, giving it the ability to clump and be soft on the paws. sWheat Scoop is free of perfumes and dye and gives off minimal dust particles.  This litter is entirely biodegradable and easy to clean but has a medium softness compared to other products mentioned here.

Amazon offers a box of this multi-cat litter here. 

Small Pet Select Recycled Pelleted Paper Litter

Small Pet Select is another recycled paper litter. This is an environmentally friendly litter that contains all-natural odor blocks and low amounts of dust.  These paper pellets provide great absorption and a soft layer for your cat's litter box.

Have a look at this non-toxic litter here on Amazon.

Okocat Natural Paper Cat Litter

Okocat provides a paper litter that is quick to absorb and fights odors using a plant-based formula. This formula is crafted to specifically combat the scent of ammonia. This is a non-clumping litter made without fragrance or other harmful chemicals.

You can purchase this paper litter here on Amazon. 

SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter

SmartCat all-natural litter is a soft, grass-based litter.  This product is popular for comfort and its ability to eliminate odors. This is a clumping litter that is 99% dust-free. One downside is this litter is noted to have some tracking.

Amazon offers a bag of this biodegradable litter here. 

These are just a handful of litter options you can use for your declawed cat. Some of our furry friends can be picky; experiment with different soft, all-natural litters until you find the one your cat likes most.

Read more on our blog post, “9 Types Of Cat Litter Pellets”.

How Long Should A Cat Use Paper Litter After Declawing?

The incisions on your kitty's paws should be almost healed about 7-10 days after their procedure. Even with healed incisions, their paws may have some sensitivities. To play it safe, you should plan to use a paper or other declaw-safe litter for two weeks after declawing.

A small scoop inside a small cat litter box

When Can A Declawed Cat Use Regular Litter?

A declawed cat uses regular litter again two weeks after their procedure. This timetable is pending healing went as planned, and there were no complications during or after their procedure. There are slight variations; some owners report going back to regular litter as soon as ten days post-procedure, and others waited a couple of days after the recommended two weeks to be safe.

Maybe your cat loves the soft litter they have been getting after being declawed. If the softer litter works for both you and your cat, there is no harm in using these litters indefinitely. In most cases, the litters you use after your cat is declawed are all-natural and biodegrade. Continued use of these products can be beneficial for both your cat and the planet.

A Siamese cat playin on the big globe model

Read more on our blog post, “The 7 Types Of Cat Litter Every Cat Owner Must Know”.

Does Declawing A Cat Cause Litter Box Problems?

When going forth with a declawing procedure, there are risks to be aware of.  This is a painful procedure that can have lasting effects on your cat in some cases. One consequence of declawing can be behavior issues, such as inappropriate urination.

A domestic cat standing up and looking inside his litter box

After a cat is declawed, going into the litter box can cause them quite a bit of pain. Even with soft litter, if the litter or pellets hit the incisions at the right angle, it can make your cat feel like they are walking on shards of glass.

Your cat will begin to associate increased pain with their box. This association gives them an aversion to using their box, ultimately leading to them urinating just about anywhere else.

Is There A Way To Correct These Issues?

If you notice your cat having these litter box issues after a declawing procedure, there are steps you can take to correct this. Pain management is the most important. You can work with your Veterinarian to create a pain management plan for your companion while they are adjusting and healing. Experiment with different litters to find which is the most comfortable for them.

A domestic cat licking his paws inside his litter box

You may have to completely switch out their litter box and move this new box to a new location. You want to remove any association of pain from the litter box to get them going in again.

A cat peeping outside his litter box

Try making the act of going to the bathroom in the litter box as positive as you can. This can include providing your cat's favorite treats when they go in or come out of their box, keeping the litter box fresh and clean at all times, and any other positive reinforcement your kitty responds to.

Concluding Thoughts

Clay litter is not to be used with declawed cats until they are fully healed from their procedure. Using clay litter too early can be uncomfortable for your kitty and may cause complications that lead to a longer healing time. Paper-based litter, or other soft materials, are the best options for declawed cats. You want to find soft, unscented, all-natural litters for declawed cats.

Luckily, there are endless commercial brands to choose from. We hope you found this article helpful when it comes to getting the right litter for your kitty, allowing them to be as comfortable as possible.

Need a new litter box for your declawed cat? Have a look through our blog post, “The 10 Types Of Litter Boxes Every Cat Owner Should Know."