How To Remove Clumping Litter From Cat’s Paw

The absorbent pieces of clumping litter can get stuck to your cat's paws easily. It is better for you to remove them than have your cat lick their paws clean. In this article, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to remove clumping litter from your cat's paws. 

To remove clumping litter from your cat's paw, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your supplies
  2. Get your cat comfortable
  3. Loosen the litter
  4. Gently wipe away litter particles
  5. Reward your cat

These are the basic steps to removing clumping litter from the paw of your cat. Keep reading as we detail each of these steps with some additional tips and tricks.

A cat on a litter box, How To Remove Clumping Litter From Cat's Paw

How To Remove Clumping Litter From Your Cat's Paw

Noticing litter on your cat's paws before it hardens is ideal, but not always the case. Once the clumping litter hardens, it is more difficult to get off, but not impossible. With a bit of patience and effort, you can get your cat comfortable again. 

Owner cleaning kitten paws

Let's break down each step in removing litter from your cat's paws. 

1. Gather Your Supplies

First, you will want to gather everything you need before you start handling your cat. Having everything ready helps the process move smoothly and quickly. You will need the following supplies before you begin:

  • Blanket or your cat's favorite bed
  • Damp washcloth
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Dry towel
  • Cat treats
  • +/- Pet-friendly antiseptic 

You only require antiseptic if you are worried the dry litter clumps have created open wounds or skin irritation on your cat's paws.  Pet-friendly antiseptics include Betadine, Chlorhexidine, and Witch Hazel.

Find Chlorhexidine wipes for cats here on Amazon.

2. Get Your Cat Comfortable

Once you've gathered your supplies, it is time to get your cat. You want your cat to be as comfortable as possible to reduce stress. How you handle or pick up your cat can change depending on the individual. 

With some cats, less is more is a better approach. In this case, you can let your cat sit near you or in your lap and gently pick up their paw. 

On the other hand, some cats enjoy a snug hold or may require one because they want to run away or squirm out of your hands. If you have a cat like this, you can wrap them up in a blanket or soft cat bed. 

Gray kitten wrapped in a towel on the hands

If your cat is in this blanket or bed burrito, you will slowly bring the affected paw out and securely keep the body and other limbs in the wrap. 

3. Loosen The Litter

Next, get a cloth damp with warm water. Make sure the water is not too hold or too cold. Again, making this process as comfortable for your cat as possible is important for reducing stress for you and your pet. 

Gently press or wrap your cat's paw in the cloth and allow the warm water to soak the litter. Wetting the litter softens it, making it easier to gently wipe away in the next step. 

4. Gently Wipe Away Litter Particles

With the litter particles soaked through and soft, they will be much easier to remove. Use your dry towel to start wiping the paw, do this slowly.

If some particles do not come away easily, do not wipe or pull on these particles harder. Be patient in this step, as you may have to repeat step three to soften the litter further. 

Owner cleaning dirty kitten paws after using litter box

When all litter pieces have been removed, thoroughly dry your cat's paws and check them for wounds or skin irritation. If you notice either of these conditions, you can apply antiseptic to the paw. 

It is best to follow up with your Veterinarian for additional treatments and monitoring concerning wounds. 

5. Reward Your Cat

Finally, after your cat's paws are clean and free of debris, it is time to give a reward. At this point, give your cat their favorite treat or toy and some extra love. 

Making this process a positive experience will help make cleaning the paws of litter much easier in the future.

human hand feeding cat with raw meat beef

Why Does Litter Get Stuck In My Cat's Paws?

Litter getting stuck in your cat's paws is annoying for them and you, as it can then get tracked through the house.  Understanding why it happens can help you reduce or prevent this from occurring. 

Litter gets stuck in your cat's paw if they are standing on soiled or wet litter for some time. This can happen more with overweight cats or if the litter box is too small. 

Read more on our blog post, "Why Do Some Cats Eat Litter? [And How To Stop It]"

Can Litter Hurt Cats' Paws?

Litter can hurt cats' paws. Clumping litter being stuck in the paws can create skin irritation, rash, and in some cases, larger wounds. This irritation may encourage your cat to excessively lick their paws, increasing the risk of infections. 

Cute tabby cat sitting on the floor and washing itself

Furthermore, recently declawed cats have increased sensitivity to litter. If you have a kitty that has recently gone through this procedure, they should not be using clumping litter at all.

Outside excessive licking, your cat may also experience limp or general symptoms of discomfort if their paws are hurting. 

Learn more on our blog post, "Can Declawed Cats Use Clay Litter?"

How Do You Keep Cat Litter From Sticking?

There are plenty of prevention tips for keeping cat litter from sticking to your cat's paws. Proper prevention can save you the time and stress of removing litter from your furry friend. 

First, be mindful of what type of litter you are using. Non-clumping, low dust litter is less likely to get stuck in your cat's paws. 

Is clumping litter a better option for you and your cat? Don't worry. If you want to stick to clumping litter, look for quick clumping. These litters dry more quickly, reducing the chance of litter sticking to your cat's paws. 

Next, you can lay a mat outside your cat's litter box. This will help catch litter from your cat's paws as they go in and out of the box.

Find a mat here on Amazon.

Last, ensure your litter box is large enough. The container should be large enough for your cat to turn around comfortably. This allows the room they need to not stand on their waste. 

Within your litter box, you want to check that you have an adequate amount of litter and keep up with regular cleanings. 

How Often Should You Replace Clumping Cat Litter?

Exactly how often you need to replace clumping cat litter can depend on your cat's habits, how many cats you have, and the number of litter boxes you have. 

On average, a cat owner should replace their clumping cat litter entirely at least every month. However, you should check and remove clumps daily to keep the litter fresh and your cat happy. 

Why Is Non-Clumping Cat Litter Better?

Most cat owners jump to clumping litter for its convenience, but there are many benefits to using non-clumping cat litter. 

When purchasing non-clumping litter, you have far more options to choose from regarding materials. You can go green by selecting biodegradable cat litters made from recycled paper, pine, or nuts. 

Amazon offers biodegradable litter here.

This type of litter does need to be replaced entirely once a week. Some owners prefer these as it decreases the need for daily maintenance, making this litter more low maintenance. 

Additionally, non-clumping cat litter gives off less dust, is more lightweight, and is far less likely to get stuck in your cat's paws. On top of all this, these non-clumping litters are more economically-friendly and will save you a bit on pet expenses. 

White cat in cat's litter box

Each type of litter will have pros and cons. Work with your cat to see the best option for both you and them. You may need to experiment with a few brands and types of litter before you find the perfect match. 

Learn more on our blog post, "How Does Non-Clumping Clay Litter Work?"

In Summary 

Removing clumping cat litter from your cat's paws should be done slowly and gently. Keeping stress low and practicing patience are important. We hope you found this article helpful when removing litter from your furry friend, and maybe you found a trick or two to decrease these occurrences. 

Are you searching for additional litter options for your furry friend? Have a look through our blog post, "The 7 Types Of Cat Litter Every Cat Owner Must Know".