How To Get Litter Out Of Cat's Paws

How To Get Litter Out Of Cat’s Paws

One thing about being a cat owner is that dealing with cat litter boxes is an inevitability and a daily chore. Most cat owners have probably experienced tracks of kitty litter around the house, on your furniture, on top of the kitchen counters, and maybe even in your bed. 

Although many cat owners are used to this, some may wonder how to reduce cat litter tracking around the home, and more specifically, how to get litter out of a cat’s paws. Depending on the cat litter you use, especially clay litters, chances are your cat has more than once been bothered by cat litter granules stuck between her paw pads and on her paws. This article will discuss why this happens, and offer several solutions and preventative measures for litter sticking to their feet.

How Do I Clean My Cat’s Paws?

cat pawsClumping litters are especially notorious for getting stuck in a cat’s paws. These cat litters are made of small, absorbent particles that can get stuck to your cat’s paws easily, especially if wet. If the cat litter hardens, your cat may try to lick or chew it off, and this can cause some issues for the kitty’s digestive system if ingested. Below are some steps that can help you clean cat litter from your feline friend’s paws:

1. First, gather some tools.

Most cats are not very patient when you are handling their paws, so it’s important to be prepared. Materials that are good to have are a towel and a damp washcloth.

2. Next, wrap your cat in a towel.

Gently pick up your kitty, moving slowly and confidently. Then carefully wrap her in a big, thick towel leaving the paw or paws that have sticky kitty litter exposed. Cats do much better when held like a football in a big towel. You can also pet your cat, and try to keep her calm.

3. Wipe the cat litter from your cat’s feet gently with a damp towel.

Using a warm, damp washcloth, gently extend your cat’s paw, and wipe away the kitty litter from in between the pads and around the paws. You can also use your fingers to break up cat litter particles and loosen them from the paw pads. If you are doing more than one paw, start cleaning the front paws and then move to the back paws. When you are done, you can let go of each paw, and release your cat. If your cat likes water, you can try bathing them in a bathtub if the litter has really hardened on.

Tips on Preventing Litter From Sticking to Paws

There are a few things you can try to prevent cat litter debris from sticking to your cat’s paws, and these include the following:

Try a different litter

cat holding their paws upClumping cat litter is perhaps the worst offender for getting stuck between your cat’s paws, and you may consider changing your cat litter. Try choosing low-dust, non-clumping clay litter, or consider recycled paper pellet litter or pine pellet litter. You can also select a litter with larger granules that are less likely to stick to your cat’s paws in contrast to fine-grained, clumping litter. This can also help reduce the tracking of litter granules through the house as well. Definitely don’t go with a litter that clumps to reduce sticking.

Get a bigger litter box

Sometimes, upgrading to a bigger litter box can help your cat reduce clingy litter granules by giving her more room to scratch and cover her “deposits,” and dislodge litter between her paws. It’s best to select a litter box that is one to two times the length of your cat, and larger cats may need even more room. Selecting a larger size box also helps your cat to turn around, and less likely to stand in her waste, increasing the likelihood of litter sticking to her paws. If you want to go DIY, you can use a storage tub as a large litter box.

Use a litter mat

Another solution is trying a litter mat. These mats are typically made of plastic or silicone and are designed to help trap loose litter granules. Simply place the mat outside the entrance to the litter box, so that your cat has to walk over it to get into and out of the box. These mats come in a variety of styles and colors and can help keep litter out of your cat’s paws.

Keep your cat’s paws clean

If your cat allows, you can also wipe your cat’s paws and pads regularly with a warm, damp washcloth. By using the towel wrap technique described above, you can clean your kitty’s paws regularly, making sure to gently wipe kitty litter away from the top of your cat’s paw and paw pad, and clean in between the toes.

Trim the hair around your cat’s paws

Trimming the hair around your cat’s paw pads can also prevent cat litter granules from getting trapped in the hairs (this can be especially true in long-haired cats). If your cat permits, you can try very carefully to trim the hair around the paws using a pair of small pet grooming scissors. If you are worried about trimming the hair this way, you can always contact a groomer or your veterinarian for assistance.

Keep the litter box clean

Another solution is to regularly clean the litter box, which limits the chances of your cat’s paws being encrusted with litter. It’s recommended to clean litter boxes daily, and completely change the cat litter in the litter box once to twice per week, or as needed. You’ll probably have to clean more often if you have a multiple-cat household. You can also clean the box each week with warm, soapy water.


Getting cat litter granules out of a cat’s paws can be challenging, however, using the techniques described above, the ordeal need not be a stressful one for either you or your cat. Trying different types of litters such as pellet litters, or non-clumping litters can help, as can using a larger litter box and litter mats.  You can also experiment with different cat litter brands. 

Keeping your cat’s paws clean with regular cleaning with a washcloth can also help. However, if you have any questions about keeping litter out of your cat’s paws, and how to keep them clean, consult a groomer or your veterinarian. They are sure to offer some tips, and may even offer to do the cleaning for you.