How To Stop Litter Getting Stuck In Cat Paws

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Cat litter… it can have a habit of seemingly ending up EVERYWHERE, right?! Especially if you’re finding cat litter stuck in paws – thats a recipe for a house-hold spreading! So why does your cat keep getting litter stuck in their paws? And what can you do to resolve the issue of litter stuck in cat paws?! Well my friends, in this post, we’re going to break it all down, offering (thankfully!) plenty of solutions for how to stop litter getting stuck in cat paws! So let’s start from the top, shall we?

Why Does Cat Litter Get Stuck In Paws?

First up, you may be wondering – why does cat litter get stuck in paws? Well, think of it in the same way that sand gets stuck to feet… 

Naturally, some grains of sand will get stuck to your feet when you tread on it, right? 

This can be thin-grain sand, thick grain sand, or even gravely sand. Generally small stones won’t get stuck as easily (which is why the bigger pellet cat litter is pretty good), but when any of the “sand” gets wet…


So without it sounding too grim, it’s the inevitable “splashes” that comes from when your cat goes to their “toilet” that generally makes the cat litter get stuck in their paws and / or surrounding fur. 

Any moisture will act like soft glue, making it stick. So what do you do? How can you stop litter getting stuck in cats paws to reduce the mess that it then makes around the house AND keep your cat healthy? Well…

How To Stop Litter Getting Stuck In Cat Paws

How To Stop (Or Reduce!) Litter Getting Stuck In Cat Paws

Here’s what you need to do if you want to stop (or reduce the amount of!) cat litter getting stuck in paws…

1) Pick Your Litter Wisely!

So there’s two main types of cat litter: clumping and non-clumping. Now:

  • Clumping litter is often finer than non-clumping litter, this is part of what makes it clump. It gets wet, goes a little sticky, clumps together, expands, then hardens as it dries. It also takes a couple of hours or so to dry completely, which is why – even if it’s just damp when your cat goes back in – it can get stuck to their paws fairly easily.
  • Non-clumping cat litter doesn’t clump and expand. Instead, it absorbs. It can still stick to cats fur, however it’s generally much easier to remove.

So as mentioned above with the sand example, I personally would always opt for non-clumping cat litter instead of clumping, when it comes to stopping litter getting stuck in cats paws.

2) Keep Their Box As Clean As Possible

Next up, if you want to reduce the amount of cat litter stuck in your pet’s paws, you want to keep their cat litter tray as clean as possible, and clean it little and often.

You only need to completely empty a cat litter tray once a week. But every day – you should be checking for anything that you do need to get out.

See, adult cats typically have one to two bowel movements daily. Whats more – depending on a kittens age – kittens may need to go 4-12 times a day! That’s A LOT, by anyone’s standards.

Now we’re not saying you have to follow them around and clean the cat litter straight after every time. (Yikes, imagine that!) But the faster you can remove the things you need to, the less moisture is in the box. Consequently, this means the less your cat is then able to tread in when they do go in it again.

3) Clean Around The Box

Now when you’re cleaning out your cat litter box, don’t forget to also keep on top of around the box. After all, this is just as much of a culprit when it comes to cat litter getting stuck in paws!

Removing any scatterings of litter in the immediate vicinity of the box helps control litter tracking. In fact, if you can sweep a few times a day (like we said, little and often), you’ll find it becomes far less of a problem.

Non-electric Roller Vacuums are said to be great for this. They effectively collect big bigs, little bits and cat hairs, without any worries about blockages.

You can also set up a Robot Hoover to do the hard work for you. (Now what a godsend that would be!)

Why is my cat so messy?

4) The Bigger The Box, The Better!

What else can you do to stop / reduce cat litter getting stuck in paws? Well, buy a bigger cat litter box!

Why does this make a difference? Well the bigger it is, the more room they have to “do their business” and the less likely they are to tread in it once the deed is done.

They will also have more space and room to properly cover it, so will be thanking you (if they could!) for making it easier for them! On a similar note…

5) The Taller The Better Too

If you opt for a wide and deep litter box, this then also reduces the amount they throw out of the box. This then also reduces the amount they tread in as they leave.

We have this cat litter tray for our Maine Coon, but the ones with high side extensions also work great.

6) Trim The Hair Around Their Paws

We’re flying through this list now! Feeling more confident about how to stop (or reduce) litter getting stuck in your cat’s paws? I hope so!

So what else can you do? Well, a little extra grooming certainly won’t go-amiss! This is especially important if you have a long-haired cat (like us!)

Just carefully trim around their paws and ankles with a small pair of pet grooming scissors. This, again, creates less surface area / material for the litter to stick to!

FUN FACT: Did you know you can get any extra things that you need, with free delivery, as soon as the same day, with a FREE Amazon Prime Trial? Uh huh, you can thank me later!

7) Make Full Use Of Mats

Ah, mats – they’re basically your best friend when it comes to cat litter! See, there’s plenty on the market, designed specifically to catch the litter stuck to your cat’s paws when he / she exits their litter box.

You can choose from rubber mats with grooves to mesh mats, right the way to soft mats… that are more like rugs than anything! CatGuru’s Cat Litter Mat is my favourite when it comes to soft mats. And – the great thing is – these are machine washable too. But anything is better than nothing!

Just place the mat somewhere where you know your cat will have to walk to go to and from the litter tray. The longer the “run” the better, as it then gives more time for the cat litter to dislodge from their paws.

cat litter stuck in paws

8) Clean It When You Notice It

Now of course, if you notice cat litter stuck in your cat’s paws – clean it.

This won’t prevent the fact that it happens, but it means that more and more can’t build up… Plus it means that your cat isn’t ingesting the litter when they try to clean it themselves!

By also cleaning your cats paws for them, you’re able to better monitor what is and isn’t working, out of the things that you try.

To clean litter from your cats paws, simply take a wet washcloth and gently rub the area where the litter is caused. Just remember not to use any soaps as your cat will lick their paws afterwards and be met with a rather unpleasant taste!

9) Focus On Cat Litter Training

Now, if your cat is scratching or digging in their litter tray, this is fairly normal behaviour. After all, it’s their instinct to mark then cover their territory.

However, the less they “play” in their litter tray, the less mess they’ll make and the less litter will get stuck in their paws.

Also, it’s worth being aware that excessive playing in their litter tray is usually not a good sign. (Here’s what it can mean.) So it’s important to keep an eye on them for that reason too.

Ultimately, you want them to know how to use their cat litter tray properly, do the “deed” then come out and clean!

This leads me onto my final tip…

10) Talk To Your Vets!

If you are struggling to not only stop litter getting stuck in your cats paws, but also remove it, then talk to your vets! They’ll be able to offer helpful advice, recommendations and guidance; plus put your mind at ease about what is and isn’t normal.

That’s All For This One

So there we have it – our quick guide for what to do with litter getting stuck in cat paws, including (most importantly!) how to stop to! I hope you’ve found this valuable…

Thanks for reading. Be sure to browse our articles for more!

Litter Stuck In Cat Paws
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Ell is the Founder of Totally Purrfect & Cat Mom to Cody, The Maine Coon. Her areas of expertise lie in Cat Care, Enrichment & Training.

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