The 7 Best Cat Litter For Declawed Cats: A Detailed Review

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 05/25/23 •  16 min read
cat with sharp claws

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The Best Litter for Declawed Cats is the Pioneer Pet SmartCat Unscented Clumping Grass Litter.

Have you ever found yourself looking for information about the best cat litter for declawed cats?

My cat Lulu was declawed soon after she was given to me by my parents.

I’m sure you can imagine that she wasn’t too happy about this, and I must admit I wasn’t quite keen on the idea either.

However, she’s still alive and well and we’ve all managed to cope with her strange paws.

I probably should have done a little research at the time and worked out the best soft cat litter for declawed cats.

Declawed cats have it rough. That’s why they need the best cat litter after declawing to help make their lives more comfortable.

While a declawed cat can still use the regular litter, which is good for its general health, it’s not as ideal for them.

That’s because, unlike most cats that would cover up their business in the box after using it, declawed cats aren’t able to bury their business like before.

So what are your options when it comes to choosing the best cat litter for declawed cats? Let’s take a look at my top recommendations so you can find something your cat will enjoy using.

The Softest Cat Litter for Declawed Cats Top Picks

If you are pressed for time, here are the top 5 picks for the best-declawed cats’ litter that I recommend for your feline friends:

  1. Pioneer Pet SmartCat Unscented Clumping Grass Litter
  2. So Phresh Odor Control Paper Pellet Organic Cat Litter
  3. Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
  4. Okocat Natural Paper Dust-Free Litter
  5. Yesterday’s News Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter
  6. PrettyLitter
  7. World’s Best Cat Litter Scoopable Multiple Cat Clumping Formula

Why Would I Declaw My Cat?

We adore our felines. We sleep in the same bed as them, keep their images on our phones, cry when they’re sick, and mourn like no one else when they die.

However, an estimated 25% of cat guardians in the United States continue to have their cats undergo declawing.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, let me explain what declawing is.

Declawing is the amputation of a limb (either leg or foot) up to the first joint of a cat’s toes, using a guillotine, laser, or scalpel.

It’s not a good idea!

When cats are declawed, they suffer excruciating pain both right after surgery and due to long-term phantom pain.

The truth is that declawing is done purely for human convenience—to effectively mutilate a live animal to protect a couch.

To me, that is insane.

Living with an animal necessitates some compromise.

Despite this, many cats are declawed before they are even allowed to scratch an appropriate scratching post

No cat would ever choose to have its claws removed.

Cats need their claws intact.

There are numerous things they can do, including stretching, exercising, marking their territory, protecting, hunting, and playing.

All those things elevate their Mojo!


If the deed is already done…

You now need to educate yourself on how to live with your cat.

A good place, to begin with, is to use declawed cat litter for sensitive paws.

Top 9 Litter for Declawed Cats

1.    Pioneer Pet SmartCat Unscented Clumping Grass Litter

This is one of the ideal clumping cat litter to use after declawing your cat.

Key attributes:


• This clumping cat litter brand clumps very well and is easy to scoop

• Fragrance-free hence it lacks irritating smells

• It is soft-textured and gentle on your cat’s paws

• This clumping cat litter has minimal dust


• Due to the excellent clumping, you may need to use a metallic scoop with a firm handle.

• This clumping cat litter may track

2.    So Phresh Odor Control Paper Pellet Organic Cat Litter

Made from paper, this product is 100% farmed in the United States.



3.    Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

Fresh News Cat Litter is made from recycled paper 100%; which makes it suitable for environmentally conscious pet owners.

The fact that the paper pellets tend to maintain their original forms reveals how low-tracking this cat litter is.

This means that it won’t stick on your kitty’s paws whether she is declawed or has undergone any other kind of surgery.



4.    Okocat Natural Paper Dust-Free Litter

The Okocat Natural Cat Litter is very eco-friendly as it is manufactured from fallen pieces of timber.

Similarly, the soft and lightweight pellets make this brand just suitable for declawed cats. The pellets are dustless and highly effective for use among cats in their post-operative periods.



5.    Yesterday’s News Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter

Since it’s made from recycled paper, the product is effectively designed to present your kitty with a softer landing.

The cat litter is particularly free from dust and won’t clump. This makes it a great non-contaminant for declawed kitties.

The cat litter is about 3X more absorbent than other varieties. Nonetheless, regular changing must be done to enhance your level of hygiene.

This cleaning process is greatly essential for recently declawed kitties.



6.    PrettyLitter

PrettyLitter brings you the benefits of being lightweight and eco-friendly.

It can initiate color changes when the environmental pH changes due to the cat pee, alerting you that it’s time to change the cat litter.

Such a combo will minimize the chances that the kitty will be exposed to any form of health issues.

The absorbent silica gel used aids in moisture and odor control.



7.    World’s Best Cat Litter Scoopable Multiple Cat Clumping Formula

This fine, lightweight litter will just present the newly declawed kitties with the comfort they need under their paws.

The litter will create strong cohesive clumps which are just perfect for kitty.



cat litter pellets

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Litter for Declawed Cats

1.    Texture and Consistency:

If your cat was recently declawed, she’ll probably find it painful or difficult to sit in a box full of coarse-grained litter. For this reason, you’ll want to look for a brand that’s made with finer particles and doesn’t include any sharp crystals or pebbles.

2.    Deodorizing Properties:

Declawed cats are less able to cover up their waste and tend to urinate more often than their non-declawed counterparts. Hence, the best cat litter after surgery has to deodorize properties such as added baking soda.

3.    Chemical free:

Go for natural cat litter.

The best litter for declawed cats needs to be free from all forms of additives, artificial chemicals, and any other man-made products.

Examples of natural cat litter include corn, wood, grass, and paper.

4.    Dust-free:

While dustless litter is almost a myth, settle for declawed cat litter that has as minimal dust as possible.

You want to avoid dust particles entering the healing paws of your cat.

5.    Unscented litter:

Most declawed cats prefer unscented cat litter, but if your cat seems finicky about his litter, try a variety of brands.

How to help a declawed cat

If your cat has been declawed, you are likely to have questions about how to help them adjust to their new lifestyle.

Here’s some advice from the ASPCA on what you can do to help a declawed cat feel more comfortable:

1.    Offer Regular Nail Trims:

Depending on the extent of the nail removal and how well it was done, you may need to still offer regular nail trims. This will prevent ingrown nails and keep your cat’s nails in good shape.

2.    Avoid Hard Floors:

Many cats that are declawed prefer soft surfaces to walk on, such as carpets or area rugs. Hard floors may be uncomfortable for them, so try putting down rugs in areas where they tend to walk around.

3.    Use Soft Bedding:

Declawing can make it difficult for a cat to get comfortable when sleeping because the pads of their paws are tender and sensitive, so use soft bedding for your kitty to sleep on.

4.    Keep Them Indoors!

Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives than outdoor cats.

Because declawed cats can’t defend themselves against aggressive neighborhood cats or other natural threats, they are particularly at risk outdoors.

5.    Provide scratching posts:

Even though your cat no longer has claws, they still like to scratch! Cats have the instinct to stretch and scratch, so you must provide them with scratching posts.

6.    Provide a litter box:

Seems obvious, huh? A declawed cat might not like the sensation of litter on their paws, so provide them with a smooth-bottomed cat litter box.

Pain Relief for Declawed Cats

Most people who have had their cats declawed are unaware that it’s a very painful process that involves cutting off the front paws of their cats. Most people think declawing is just trimming their cat’s nails.

It can lead to complications like infections, nerve damage, and bone spurs.

Plus, it can lead to behavioral changes such as biting, litter box aversion, or excessive licking/chewing; all of which could be symptoms of pain.


Antibiotics and NSAIDs:

Most veterinarians prescribe antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).

In addition, NSAIDs can cause serious side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea

Prolonged use, can cause kidney failure or gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding.

For these reasons, it’s recommended that NSAIDs be used under close supervision by a veterinarian.

Laser therapy:

Laser therapy uses light energy to stimulate cell regeneration, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and improve circulation in the affected region.

Adopting a declawed cat

Adopting a declawed cat is a big responsibility.

When you adopt a declawed cat, keeping your new friend inside is important. Cats without claws can’t defend themselves from predators in the wild. They also can’t climb trees or scratch their way out of a dangerous situation.

These cats are more vulnerable to other cats, dogs, and wildlife.

If you have children in your household, it might be best to choose an adult declawed cat for adoption.

The pain and discomfort that accompanies this process can cause behavioral problems such as litter box avoidance in kittens that could make them unsuitable for homes with small children.

They are at risk for psychological problems, such as biting and stress.

While declawing is not recommended by most cat welfare organizations, some rescues take in cats that were already declawed before they were rescued or surrendered by their previous owners.

If you’re open to adopting a declawed cat, contact your local shelters and describe what you’re looking for.

Vet performing surgery on a cat

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do declaw cats need special litter?

Yes, declawed cats do need special litter.
Kittens or cats with toes amputated (usually at the first knuckle) are sometimes called “declawed.”
They need special consideration because they are not able to use the litter box like a normal cat.
Generally speaking, declawed cats do well with finer litter—granules are often gentler.
You’ll want to avoid clay litter, which can be rough on the pads of their feet.
A litter that is soft, non-abrasive, and dust-free will be the best choice for your cat.

What kind of cat litter should I use after declawing?

Cats prefer fine-grained and slightly gritty litter to dig their paws into and bury their waste in.

However, once your cat has been declawed, it becomes more difficult for him to dig his feet into the litter.

Regular clay litters will be too hard on their paws.

For this reason, switch cat litter until you find one that’s easier for him to use.

It is important to use declawed cat litter that is gentle on your cat’s paws and toes.

The best litter to use after declawing is the softest clumping litter available.

You’ll want to use a soft, shredded paper litter for the first week or two after declawing.

I recommend shredded newspaper or pelleted litter.

The shredded newspaper however has poor odor control and is very messy.

How long do cats have to use special litter after declawing?

If you are having your cat declawed, ask the veterinarian how long you should wait before changing the type of litter used.

Many will recommend using clumping litter for at least two weeks after healing has occurred.

For some cats, the wounds on the paws of some cats remain sensitive long after the usual healing period.

This depends on the extent of the declawing procedure that was done on them.

A few will even say to use it for the rest of your cat’s life.

Does declawing cause litter box problems?

Declawing is painful and can easily cause your cat to have a litter box aversion.

Studies reveal that cats that have been declawed are more likely to pee or poop outside the litter box and also suffer from back pain.

To prevent this, plan before the surgical procedure.

Mix some pelleted litter with his regular litter days before the surgical procedure. This will help him acclimatize to the new feel.

After the surgery, replace the litter with the pelleted litter until two weeks after the healing period or until your vet gives you the go-ahead.

How Do I Train My Declawed Cat to Use the Litter Box Again?

If your cat rejects the litter box after it has been declawed, follow these steps:

Pro tip: Mix some pelleted litter with his regular litter days before the surgical procedure. This will help him acclimatize to the new feel and avoid litter box aversion after declawing.

In a multi-cat household, isolate a specific litter box for your healing cat to avoid sharing.

How long cats paws are sore after declawing

Owners should expect their cat to be in pain for at least 14 days after surgery.

However, it may take up to three weeks for them to regain full use of their paws without pain.

Because they must keep their bandages on for at least five days, they may initially be hesitant to walk.

When your cat returns home, she will likely be groggy from the anesthetic and may not feel like moving around much.

This is a good thing as it will reduce the likelihood of her hurting herself.

A declawed cat is peeing outside the litter box

Declawed cats have a higher propensity to urinate and defecate outside the litter box than cats with claws.

They sometimes develop litter box aversion because they are in pain, they experience phantom pain (even though they no longer have claws), or they associate the litter box with pain.

If a cat has been declawed, he or she may not like the feeling of stepping on the litter; this is especially true if the cat was declawed while still young and doesn’t remember life with paws.

There are a few things you can try.

• I suggest you take him to a veterinarian for a checkup.

Urinary tract infections and bladder stones are common in declawed cats and can cause them to urinate outside the box.

• Once you’ve ruled out any medical problems, the next step is ensuring your litter box is clean enough. A cat’s sense of smell is far more sensitive than ours, so even if the box smells clean to us, it may not be up to your kitty’s standards. Make sure you scoop poop and pee at least twice a day and change all the litter every week or two.

• First, make sure the litter box is extra-clean; use warm water and soap to scrub out any stains or residue left in the bottom. Make sure it’s very dry before adding new litter.

• Second, try putting carpets or rugs in areas where your cat frequently urinates. The texture of the carpet underfoot may be more appealing than the clay litter, and it may be easier to clean up after. Kitty pee is full of bacteria, so you’ll want to either throw away the rugs or put them in the washing machine after each accident.

• Third, you could try using litter for declawed cats such as shredded newspaper (or even crumpled-up paper towels) instead of clay litter; this is what many people do for their ferrets, who don’t like clay either but tend to prefer something with more give underfoot.


Overall, most cat owners would agree that litter is a necessary evil of cat ownership.

No one wants to handle it, as no one wants to clean the litter box.

Declawing leaves your cat in a vulnerable state.

A recent study from Tufts University published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery sheds light on some complications which appear when cats are declawed.

More than half of the 139 cats reported in the study suffered from a botched surgery. Bone fragments remained in their paws disfiguring their paws permanently.

Declawed cats were more likely to have back pain, urine, or feces problems outside of the litterbox, and to be more aggressive.

Once the surgical procedure is done, litter for declawed cats should be introduced.

That said, there is a happy medium between brands, and with this guide, you can settle on the best cat litter for declawed cats for your family’s needs.

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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