While it is true that some people toilet train cats, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or suitable for all kitties. I have to admit the idea sounds attractive, but before we throw our litter boxes out the door, let’s explore the good, the bad and the smelly.
Of course advantages include ditching: the litter box, cat litter, scooping poop or cleaning up litter on the floor. But could we be buying into new problems? Cats are created to pee and poop on the ground (or your sandbox) then cover it up. Cats aren’t wired for using the toilet (neither are some humans it seems, but that’s another issue), so right off the bat you are entering into a situation where you are asking your cat to depart from its natural way of “going” and adjust to your way of “going.” Aren’t you glad the situation is not reversed?
A Means to an End
There are several ways to toilet train your cat, including a toilet training kit that can be purchased at your local pet store. Other techniques use positive reinforcement, including clicker training or treating. Experts agree that one of the major components needed is patience. You cannot rush your cat through this process or it will not work. At best you will be sent back to step one, at worst you may have created a behavior problem.
One of the most popular training methods is a contraption called the “Litter Kwitter.” The Litter Kwitter involves using a series of trays that attach to the toilet rim, beginning with a tray with litter and no hole placed over the open toilet. The second step is a tray with a small hole and litter around the hole in the tray. The hole in the tray gets larger and the amount of litter less, until you have neither tray nor litter.
A Homemade Solution
Most other methods feature a series of training steps that gradually move your cat from the litter box onto the toilet itself, beginning with the litter box beside the toilet on the floor, then moving it higher and higher using books or boxes to gradually lift the litter box to the height of the bowl itself. Once kitty has progressed to this level, the litter box is moved gradually onto the toilet lid and the amount of litter reduced until the box is 100% resting on the toilet lid with very little litter.
Next a shallow tray, or a piece of paper with a small amount of kitty litter, is placed over the toilet, completely blocking the hole. Over the next few days (or weeks if that is what it takes) a hole is made in the tray and gradually increased until the cat is using the toilet successfully.
Also Reference – How Tailio Turns Your Cat’s Litter Box Into A Health Monitor
Something to Consider
Be prepared ahead of time for the possibility that your cat may never take to toilet training. Cat behaviorists warn that this training can be stressful for your cat, so be kind to your kitty and be prepared to move slowly, or abandon your dream of no more litter box if it becomes obvious that he or she isn’t going to go for your solution to banish the (litter) box. In addition to the fact that using the toilet is unnatural for cats, an older cat with health problems, such as arthritis or other conditions, including old age, may be unable to jump onto the toilet seat. Toilet seats are slippery for kitty, and using the toilet requires your cat to balance over the water with all 4 paws close together on the toilet rim. Smaller cats or kittens may slip and fall into the water. At best, your cat will be frightened. Kittens or smaller cats may not be able to rescue themselves and have to spend several hours in their own waste products and some may even drown.
No pet parent wants to subject his or her cat to a situation that can harmful. In the end, each pet parent must decide for himself if toilet training is the right move. If you think this is something you wish to explore, educate yourself on the best method based on your cat’s personality and proceed with care. In the end, kitty may not cooperate and the litter box may be back to stay. You won’t know until you try.
If you cat still does not use the toilet here are some choices for the best cat litter.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com