Should You Toilet Train Your Cat?

Cat image/via ShutterstockBy: Valerie Trumps | Pet360.com

Owning a cat has its ups and downs, like not needing to walk her in the rain so she can do her business; however, cleaning the litter box is another story. Some cat owners eliminate (pun intended) this chore by toilet training their cat, but is doing so as good as it seems? And if it is, how is it done?

Arguments Against Toilet Training a Cat
Before diving into the easily won argument of why it's such a great thing to get rid of the litter box forever, let's look at why cat toilet training may not be as groovy as it sounds.

Instinct
Cats instinctively dig a hole in which to make their "deposit" and cover it up when they're done to hide the evidence from predators. Not doing so is unnatural to kitties.

Emotion-Caused Illness
Acting opposite of their instinct can cause psychological stress, one of the most common causes of urinary tract problems.

Spraying
When owners remove the litter box option, their cat may completely rebel from the toilet and "go" wherever they darn well please.

Harmful to Wildlife
Cats with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii should not be toilet trained, as human sewage systems do not destroy the parasite, which can make its way to the ocean and harm wildlife like Sea Otters. Talk to your vet about having your cat's feces tested.

Cat Toilet Training Tips

Timing
As with any training, the best time to toilet train your cat is when she's older than 3 months of age and when she's big enough to have the strength for holding herself steady.

Staging

Cat toilet training should be done gradually and in stages, starting with positioning the litter box right up against the base of the toilet.

Raise the Box
Put a big phone book under the litter box and, after a couple of days, add another phone book underneath. Continue adding more phone books, one every few days, until the litter box is even with the toilet.

Transition Time
Once she's accustomed to the toilet's height, take away the litter box and start using the graduating size seats.

Buy or Make Seats
Several pet supply companies sell a series of plastic "seats" with inner holes from about the size of a large grapefruit to the biggest, which is just a bit smaller than your actual toilet seat. Do-it-yourselfers can make their own by cutting holes of increasing diameters in a disposable roasting pan, held in place by putting down the actual toilet seat over the pan. Put litter into the pan, even when almost nothing is left from the biggest hole.

Go Slow
This tip cannot be emphasized enough. The entire process of toilet training a cat is ideally spread over the course of about 8 weeks. By cutting each subsequent hole only ¼ inch bigger than the last one, your cat gets used to the sound of water splashing and jumping up to go potty. Give her enough time to adjust to each larger hole.

Graduation Day
When there's not enough pan left to see the litter in it through the toilet seat, it's time for Kitty's graduation day. Take away the roasting pan, put some litter in the water of the toilet bowl, and get your camera ready.

Congratulate Yourself
And raise a toast to your toilet-trained feline as well. And laugh gleefully as you trash the litter box forever.

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