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  • Toilet Training Cats – Yes, it Can Be Done!

    May 14
    Panther, a cat using toilet, photographed in S...

    Image via Wikipedia

    For many owners, daily litter box duties are one of the less pleasant aspects of caring for a cat.  Some cats love to dig and scratch in the litter, and can fling it outside the box and onto to the floor.  And it’s very easy for the cat to get litter stuck in his paws and track it all over the house.  Then, there’s the scooping and cleaning….

    So for some people who have the time and patience to put into it, toilet training cats is an ideal solution.  Be aware from the start that this won’t happen right away, and that you will need to be watchful and diligent as you go through the process.  But in the end, won’t it be wonderful to have a cat who willingly uses the toilet?  No more litter boxes, no more cleaning, no more litter tracked all over the floor.  Sound great?  Read on!

    If at all possible, have the family use a separate bathroom while you are training your cat.  This may not be an option for you, but if it is, it will make things that much easier.

    The first step will be to move your cat’s litter box into the bathroom and next to the toilet.  It will be important for all family members to be sure that they always leave the toilet seat down and the lid up, so that your cat will become accustomed to being next to the open toilet.  Next, begin slowly raising the litter box up to the level of the toilet by placing newspapers or other flat and stable items underneath.  Be sure not to use anything slippery, as this could scare your cat and defeat all your good efforts!  Do this gradually over a period of many days.  At first your cat will climb into the box, but as it gets higher up, he will probably jump onto the toilet seat before stepping into the box.  When this happens you are on your way!

    Once the litter box has been raised to the level of the toilet seat, the real work begins.  At this point, get a metal bowl that fits inside the toilet bowl and under the seat.  Make sure it doesn’t slide around when your cat jumps up on the seat.  You can use tape or another method to get it to stay if necessary.  Fill the bowl halfway with litter, so that it is similar to the litter box.  Remove the actual litter box from the bathroom at this point.  When your cat jumps up on the toilet bowl, he will see the litter in the bowl and should begin to use it for elimination.  Now, gradually reduce the amount of litter in the bowl (warning – this is the most unpleasant part of the process of toilet training cats – it will get VERY smelly for a while, hang in there!).  Encourage your cat to stand on the toilet seat instead of in the bowl, by gently moving his paws onto the seat.  Be sure the seat isn’t too slippery for him to stand on.  A cushioned toilet seat may be a good investment at this point!

    Finally, when you have reduced the amount of litter in the bowl to nothing, start putting in water, little by little so your cat can get used to it gradually.  Once you are filling the bowl part way with water, remove the bowl from the toilet altogether so that your cat stands on the seat and does his business directly into the toilet.

    Hopefully this will be a smooth process for you, but there are lots of things that can go wrong and your cat may refuse to cooperate.  There are some very useful resources on toilet training cats that you may want to refer to in this case.  One good one can be found in Mike Whyte’s book “Thinking Outside the Box”, a book on litter box issues with cats, that includes a chapter on toilet training along with how to deal with some of the potential pitfalls.  The techniques for toilet training cats are wonderful, and if you are having any other litter box issues with your cat, this guide is indispensible!

    all the best to you and your feline friends,

    Beth

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