If you dislike cleaning the litter box, cat toilet training might be the answer to your problem. This unique solution isn't without it's challenges, though, so learn what you need to consider if you go this route.
About Cat Toilet Training
If you're not familiar with the concept of cat toilet training, the whole idea may seem a little silly and impractical, but the fact is some people have found it a great alternative to the traditional litter box. You never need to clean the cat box again, you save money you would have spent on litter and you reduce the amount of litter going into landfills. Sounds good when you think of it that way, doesn't it?
The entire process involves gradually moving your cat's litter box into position with your toilet and encouraging your cat to make the switch. Cat toilet training is generally accomplished within three to four weeks, but each situation is different, and some cats complete their toilet training quicker than others.
Things to Consider
Aside from the convenience cat toilet training offers us, we need to consider whether our cat is up to the task.
Cats with physical disabilities and/or injuries may not find jumping up and balancing on a toilet seat a comfortable thing to do. Elderly cats may simply find this activity beyond their ability, and young kittens may need to develop more coordination before any training attempts are made.
The key is to assess your individual pet's abilities and make the decision whether to train based on your cat's needs, not your own desires.
If you've decided to go ahead with your pet's training, there are various cat toilet training kits on the market that come complete with instructions. However, you can accomplish training at home without making any special purchases. Here's how.
There are two things you must keep in mind:
- Always keep the bathroom door open when the room is not in use. Your cat needs full- time access.
- Always keep the lid up and the seat down. Your cat can't do this for himself, and he can't use the toilet without it.
Relocate the Litter Box
Cats are creatures of habit, so relocating a litter box to the bathroom should be a gradual process. If you move the box too abruptly, your cat may become upset and begin having house accidents.Move it a foot at a time or a room at a time, whichever your cat tolerates best. It is simply essential to get it into the bathroom for the training to proceed.
Raise the Box
Once you've successfully relocated the litter box, it's time to begin gradually raising it off the floor. Your cat is used to stepping in, but if he's going to eventually jump up to the toilet seat, he needs to become acclimated a little at a time.A stack of newspapers is an ideal tool for raising the box a few inches at a time. Anything more than this and your cat may refuse to make the leap. Remember, all steps must be taken gradually if you want to succeed.
Eventually, the box will be raised to the same level as the toilet seat. From here you are halfway home.
Place the Box over the Seat
Once your cat is accustomed to using his box at the same level as the toilet, it's time to place the box over the seat and remove the stack of newspapers. Allow your cat some time to get used to the new position.
Replace the Box
This step is the trickiest step of all.
You will need a very sturdy bowl that is large enough to fit inside the toilet seat without slipping through the rim. Metal mixing bowls work well for this purpose.
Fill the bowl with about two inches of litter. Expect that your cat may be a bit wary of the new shape, and if he refuses to use it, you can go back a step and place the litter box over the seat until he settles in again.
Eventually he should accept the new receptacle and begin doing his business in it.
Teach Your Cat to Perch
At first, your cat will likely climb all the way into the bowl to eliminate, but you need to teach him the proper way to perch on the toilet seat if you ever hope to remove the bowl completely.Begin by placing your cat's front paws on the seat. This may not be easy, but if you give him a small treat as a reward he will learn to cooperate.
Next, encourage him to put his rear feet on the seat as well. This sounds difficult, but in fact most cats naturally adopt the perched position, so you may just need to do a little adjusting to teach him a secure placement.
Reduce the Litter
This is the messy step, but quite necessary before you can remove the bowl altogether.
Reduce the amount of litter used each day until you are down to just a few spoonfuls. This will wean your cat away from the need to scratch and cover his eliminations.
You will need to pay a good deal of attention to your cat's schedule at this point and quickly clean away all of his deposits so he will be willing to use the bowl the next time.
Remove the Bowl
Now we've hit the home stetch. Once your cat is successfully using the nearly empty bowl and perching securely on the seat, you can remove the bowl altogether. At this point your feline should be willing to use the toilet by himself, and your mission is accomplished.
Cat toilet training can be accomplished, and it can make your life easier. Just think how lovely it would be to never clean a litter box again. However, convenience should never take precedence over your cat's welfare, so be sure he is physically able to do what you ask.
Also be prepared to back up a step if your feline needs a little more time to adjust. Your patience will eventually pay off.
- Citikitty.com, cat toilet training kits.