After your feline family member gets declawed, she'll require a little extra TLC at home. She'll need a litter box after surgery and can safely use cat litter, but you may need to make a few adjustments. Set up a safe recovery area and litter box before she returns home.
Declawing your furry friend is a big procedure. During surgery, your veterinarian removes the last joint of each toe, including the nail. Typically vets only perform the surgery on the front two paws, but in some cases they can declaw all four paws. While you can declaw your kitty at any age, ideally the surgery is performed between the ages of 3 to 5 months, according to the Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital. Kittens tend to heal more quickly than adult cats.
Using the Litter Box
Your little purring pal will need a litter box with litter after surgery, just like she did before the procedure. For the first seven days following surgery, her fragile little paws will be a little sore and you'll want to provide a different type of litter for her. Shredded newspaper or cat litter pellets made from recycled newspaper are soft, comfortable materials for her to dig through in the litter box. It might help to get her acclimated to using newspaper as litter before the scheduled surgery.
Some kitties are finicky when it comes to litter and might not want to use the litter box if it has newspaper or pellets. If this is the case, you can safely return to her usual litter to keep her content. Fine-grained litters also have a soft feel for picky felines, explains the Humane Society of the United States. Use a clumping litter as an alternative to newspaper-type litters, since it has very tiny grains that are gentle for her sutured paws.
It may take several days for your fuzzy pal to recover. Put together a safe area for her, such as the master bedroom. Since it may be a little painful for her to walk, aim to keep her bed, food and water relatively close together so she doesn't have to walk too far. Her litter box can be in the same room, but keep it on the opposite side as the food. Clean out her litter box frequently to minimize contaminating her open wounds. Lastly, keep her potty area away from noisy areas, especially while recovering from anesthesia right after surgery. Excessive noise, from the laundry room, bathroom or other high-traffic area, might scare her during this fragile stage and she can wind up having accidents outside of the litter box.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.