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Declawing is most commonly done in the form of a surgical procedure called an onychectomy.

This surgery involves the amputation of the bones from which cats’ claws grow to remove the claws and prevent regrowth.

Declawing can be a painful and life-altering procedure for your cat.

Infection and tissue necrosis may occur following the surgery, as well as short or long term pain, nerve damage, back problems, or even lameness.

Nonetheless, there are some medical conditions for which declawing may be the only remedy.

These conditions include, but are not limited to, a severe infection of the nail beds, irreversible claw damage, or even tumors.

If your cat has been declawed, you will need to make some adjustments, starting with their kitty litter. Declawed cats need soft, non-irritating cat litter that won’t hurt their newly declawed paws.

We’ve done some research and made a list of the 5 best cat litter brands for after declawing to minimize your companion’s discomfort and encourage a quick recovery.

We’ve also constructed a buyers guide and FAQ section for further information.

In a hurry? Check out our top choice:

PURINA Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

  • Made from paper, wood, and cardboard
  • Soft on cats’ paws
  • High absorbency
  • 99.7% dust-free
  • Free from synthetic fragrances
  • Superior odor control

1. PURINA Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

Purina Yesterday's News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter, Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter - 26.4 lb. Bag
The Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter from Purina comes highly recommended by veterinarians and is one of the best eco-friendly cat litters on the market. It’s also the best choice for use during the active healing process after declawing surgery.

This litter is made from cardboard, wood shaving, and recycled paper. These materials are not only sustainable and eco-friendly but they also provide a softer texture that will be easier on your cat’s paws.

In fact, paper cat litter is the most widely recommended type of litter after declawing because of its dust-free and non-abrasive properties.

The benefits of this paper-based litter don’t stop there either. This litter is up to 3 times more absorbent than standard clay-based litters. It’s also completely fragrance-free, which reduces the risk of chemical irritation after declawing.

Despite its lack of fragrance, however, Purina’s Yesterday’s News litter provides effective odor control.

This litter is 99.7% free of dust and small particles. Whilst this is great news for your floors and carpets because it means less tracking, it also means that your cat’s paws are less likely to become irritated or infected after declawing.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly paper, wood, and cardboard materials
  • Soft, non-abrasive texture
  • Highly absorbent
  • Effective odor control
  • Fragrance-free
  • 99.7% dust-free

Cons

  • Granule shape can make scooping difficult

2. ökocat Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter

ökocat Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Litter, Medium
Next up for consideration is ökocat’s Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter.

This litter consists of natural wood fiber and is free from any potential irritants, including synthetic chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and GMOs. This means that you won’t have to worry about anything in this litter irritating your cat’s paws after declawing.

The super-soft texture of this litter will minimize any potential discomfort in using the litter box after declawing. Although the litter will be soft on your cat’s paws, it clumps firmly on contact with liquid for easier scooping.

Ökocat’s litter is 99% dust-free for reduced tracking and a decreased likelihood of foreign-object-related infection or irritation.

However, wood shavings can still be a little too harsh for the first few weeks after surgery, so it’s best to save this formula for later in the recovery period.

Whilst this litter is fragrance-free, the wood fibers naturally eliminate unpleasant odors by preventing bonding between waste and enzymes. This drastically reduces the production of ammonia and strong odors.

Pros

  • Natural wood fiber material
  • Free from synthetic chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and GMOs
  • Super-soft texture for increased comfort
  • 99% dust-free
  • Hard-clumping for easy scooping
  • Natural odor-control

Cons

  • Less affordable than some other litters

3. World’s Best Cat Litter Extra Strength 

World's Best Cat Litter Extra Strength (Red Bag), 6350 GR
World’s Best Extra Strength Cat Litter is made from compressed, concentrated whole-kernel corn granules.

These granules are naturally highly absorbent, lightweight, and provide excellent odor control in the absence of any perfumes or other synthetic chemicals. This is a great litter for maintaining a fresh-smelling home environment whilst ensuring the comfort of your cat.

This cat litter is 99% dust-free for the protection of your cat’s paws and your floors. It also clumps quickly so that it can be scooped and removed easily.

World’s Best cat litter is flushable and septic-safe, which is not only convenient but also better for the environment.

Finally, one of the biggest selling points of this litter for after declawing is that it contains a plant-based additive to naturally attract your cat to their litter box.

Because this additive is plant-based rather than synthetic, it is safe for your cat. It may also help to encourage a cat who is reluctant to use the litter box after declawing.

Although corn is preferable to clay as a litter material for after declawing, it should still be restricted to use after a full recovery from surgery has been made since corn kernels can be a little too hard on newly declawed paws.

Pros

  • Made from whole-kernel corn granules
  • Highly absorbent
  • Lightweight
  • Controls odor
  • Quick-clumping
  • Free of synthetic perfumes and chemicals
  • Flushable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Contains plant-based additive to draw your cat to the litter box

Cons

  • The litter itself has a very strong smell

4. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter

Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter, Unscented, 26-lb bag
Naturally Fresh has developed a litter formula made from walnut shells which is perfect for declawed cats whose surgical wounds have healed, but whose paws may still be very painful.

Because it is made from natural walnut shell material, this litter is 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly so you can take good care of your cat and the planet.

This formula contains no harmful chemicals or silica dust to make it extra gentle on your cat’s paws and lungs.

Because this litter is highly absorbent with up to 3 times the absorbency of normal clay litter. It clumps firmly and easily for effortless cleanup.

Naturally Fresh’s litter neutralizes odor naturally rather than through chemicals, keeping your home smelling fresh and clean without compromising on your own or your cat’s respiratory or dermatological health.

Pros

  • Natural walnut shell material
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Silica dust-free
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Absorbent and tight-clumping
  • Natural odor neutralization

Cons

  • Some customers report large quantities of dust

5. Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter, 18 pound bag
Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter is a veterinarian-formulated, clay-based litter that is suitable for after declawing.

This litter formula does not contain any perfume, deodorant, or synthetic chemicals, making it suitable for sensitive paws. However, it provides effective odor control nonetheless.

The formula is 99.9% dust free and heavy for low tracking and reduced irritation risk. It’s also hard clumping to facilitate easy scooping and waste removal.

Conveniently, this litter is suitable for use in mechanical litter boxes. A mechanical litter box in itself may help to avoid infection after declawing by making waste removal more effective, so a compatible litter like this one is an excellent choice.

Dr. Elsey’s donates a portion of their profit each year to philanthropic organizations such as rescue shelters and groups, so this is a great cat litter to purchase if you want to contribute to animal welfare.

Please be aware, however, that because this is a clay-based litter, it should only be used once wounds from surgery have healed, as it is likely to be too abrasive immediately after surgery.

Pros

  • 99.9% dust-free
  • Heavy
  • Easy clumping
  • Effective odor control
  • Free from synthetic chemicals
  • Compatible with mechanical litter boxes
  • A portion of the profit goes to animal welfare organizations

Cons

  • Clay-based material may be uncomfortable even after healing

Buyer’s Guide

Materials

The materials used in cat litter formulae are usually the primary factor in differentiating regular litter from litter that is suitable for recently declawed cats.

When choosing a cat litter for after declawing, it’s important to consider the materials used so that you can make sure it will be safe and comfortable for your pet.

Primarily, a cat litter for after declawing should be soft and gentle on your cat’s paws. The material should also be naturally sourced, dust-free, and free of synthetic chemicals to reduce the risk of irritation or infection.

The absence of dust and chemicals from cat litter after declawing isn’t just important for healing paws – it’s also healthier for your cat’s respiratory system, as well as your own.

It’s also a good idea to look for material that is eco-friendly and biodegradable to avoid contributing to environmental damage during the disposal process.

Recycled paper and cardboard is a good choice of material because it is both soft and biodegradable, catering to your cat’s comfort and the health of the planet.

Paper litter is a great option for use during the actual healing process because it doesn’t form hard clumps, which may hurt your cat’s paws.

Other plant-based litter materials include wood shavings, corn kernels, and walnut shells. These materials are highly absorbent, non-toxic, and eco-friendly.

They are also less abrasive than clay litter, but should generally only be used once surgical wounds have fully healed.

Once your cat’s paws have healed, you may be able to start using a clay-based litter. However, this may not be possible for all declawed cats.

If you choose to opt for a clay-based litter after healing, you should choose one that is dust-free and free of synthetic chemicals to be safe.

Scent

This subheading is actually a little misleading because it’s not scent you need to focus on with post-declawing cat litter, but lack thereof.

Fragranced cat litters can be great for masking the unpleasant odors that come with the territory, but they can be highly irritating on declawed paws.

When choosing a cat litter for after declawing, you should only consider unscented products to minimize the risk of chemical irritation.

Thankfully, the materials used in the cat litters listed above are highly absorbent and neutralize odor naturally, so you won’t be left without any odor control.

Clumping

Clumping can be a difficult factor to navigate in cat litter after declawing.

On the one hand, non-clumping litter is likely to be softer and more gentle on your cat’s paws as they heal from the surgery. On the other hand, clumping makes waste removal easier, especially when it comes to urine, reducing the potential for infection and irritation.

Generally, non-clumping litter is recommended directly after surgery because clumping litter may simply be too painful for your cat to use during the immediate healing process.

Once the wounds have healed sufficiently, you may be able to gradually switch to a clumping litter. However, if you aren’t experiencing any issues with the new, softer litter, you don’t necessarily need to do this.

Any litter switches should ideally be done gradually to avoid shock or confusion (see FAQ section).

Additives

Like artificial fragrances, additives should generally be avoided in litter for after declawing. Your cat’s paws will be extremely sensitive and prone to infection after the surgery, so it’s best to avoid any extra additives as a precaution.

There is one potential exception to this rule, however, and that is the use of natural, plant-based additives for litter attraction.

After declawing, you may find that your cat is reluctant to use their litter box due to discomfort. This discomfort can sometimes be managed with pain medication, but another method of encouraging your cat to use their litter box is to draw them to it using their sense of smell.

Some cat litter brands use natural, plant-based additives to draw cats towards their litter box. This may help to prompt your cat to start using their litter box again after the surgery.

Litter Box Compatibility

This point won’t be relevant to everyone, but if you use anything other than a standard litter box, this is definitely worth considering.

Mechanical or sifting litter boxes have become more and more popular in recent years. These litter boxes help to make waste removal easier and faster. They also reduce the chances of any waste being missed during the cleaning process.

This kind of litter box can be really helpful for the weeks following declawing surgery since more effective waste removal means a lower risk of infection.

However, these boxes may not be compatible with all kinds of cat litter. Non-clumping litter, for example, is difficult to use with mechanical or sifting litter boxes.

If you are using a sifting or mechanical litter box, you should make sure that you choose a compatible cat litter. Compatibility may be indicated in the product information of either the box or the litter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I switch my cat’s litter after declawing?

Normally, it is advisable to switch your cat’s litter gradually so that they can become accustomed to the new litter in a way that won’t shock, confuse, or upset them.

This is particularly important for declawed cats. After declawing surgery, cats are often more anxious than usual due to a combination of discomfort and stress. They are also more likely to urinate in the wrong place.

If you know in advance that your cat is going to be declawed, it’s a good idea to begin the transition process early. Introduce a little more of the new litter to the current litter each day. By the time the surgery takes place, your cat should hopefully be accustomed to their new litter.

This is also the recommended procedure for switching from softer, non-clumping litter to clumping litter after the surgical healing process.

However, it may be the case that your cat has had to undergo unexpected declawing surgery for a medical emergency.

In this case, although it’s not ideal, the switch may need to take place all at once since your cat’s old litter is likely to be unsuitable for use straight after the surgery.

If you have had to make an abrupt change to your cat’s litter, do your best to keep the rest of their environment as calm and normal as possible.

Natural, plant-based additives in certain litter brands may encourage your cat to use their new litter. Implementing a treat reward system may also help to encourage good litter box use and alleviate anxiety.

How long after declawing can I switch back to my regular litter?

Veterinarians recommend using softer, dust-free, unscented litter for at least 2 weeks after declawing surgery, although the healing process can last for up to 6 weeks.

You should monitor your cat and consult your veterinary practitioner throughout the healing process so that you know when your cat is ready for this change. Again, if you do change the litter after surgery, try to make this a gradual shift.

However, please bear in mind that the side effects of declawing can often be long-term. Many cats experience chronic pain as a result of the change to their paw structure.

Arthritis and nerve damage are, unfortunately, also common in cats after declawing. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared for the fact that your cat may require softer, less abrasive litter on a long-term basis.

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