Anyone who has a cat understands just how much of a hassle the litter box can be. It can be a full-time job keeping up with your cat between constantly cleaning the box and cleaning tracked litter throughout your house. Many cat owners choose to toilet train their cats to combat this and eliminate the need for a litter box. By teaching your cat to go to the bathroom in the toilet, you can create a cost-effective, safe, and hygienic solution for your cat. Toilet training is a gradual process and usually takes about six weeks to complete.
What is Toilet Training?
Most cat owners will utilize a litter box for their cats to use as a restroom. Litter boxes, though, can be an eyesore, become smelly, and spill out to other parts of your home. Toilet training for your cat is a way to teach your cat to use the toilet in the bathroom. Toilet training doesn't require litter or a litter box, allowing you to simply flush your cat's waste away like you would your own. The toilet training process is easy and effective, and most cats will eventually learn to use the toilet instead of a traditional litter box.
How Do I Train My Cat?
Training your cat to use the toilet is gradual but can usually be completed in just a few months. To train your cat to use the toilet, you should:
Step 1: Move Litter Box
You'll want to move the litter box into the bathroom you want your cat to use. Try to place the litter box close to the toilet, on the floor.
Step 2: Raise Litter Box
Gradually start to raise the litter box higher until it is the same height as the toilet. Every time you raise the litter box, you'll want to remove some litter. Once the litter box is the height of the toilet, gradually move the box closer to the toilet one inch at a time until the litter box is directly over the toilet.
Step 3: Training Toilet
You'll need to create a "training box" for your cat positioned directly over the toilet. You can purchase a training box or make your own using some waxed paper with a bit of flushable litter scattered over the top. Secure the waxed paper over the toilet by trapping the edges with the toilet seat. Always be sure that the training box is secure enough to handle your cat's weight.
There are also several commercially available training boxes you can purchase for your cat. These litter boxes will fit inside the toilet seat and have various sizes with larger holes. By switching between the sizes, you can eventually teach your cat to eliminate directly in the toilet.
Step 4: Cut Hole
Cut a small hole in the waxed paper once your cat is comfortable using the homemade training box. Gradually create a larger hole until the entire toilet is exposed.
Step 5: Flush and Reward
Always be sure to flush the toilet after your cat goes to the bathroom. You can use treats as prizes to encourage and reinforce good behavior.
With patience and gradual progression, you can teach your cat to use the toilet. Expect the entire toilet training process to take about six weeks. It is important to understand that not every cat is well suited to be toilet trained. If your cat is not taking to the training or seems to be stressed by moving the litter box, you should stop the training process and return to a conventional litter box. Understanding your cat's needs and overall health and wellness is pivotal to toilet training.
What Are the Benefits of Toilet Training?
Toilet training your cat has several benefits that make this habit desirable for many cat owners. Toilet training is the perfect way to eliminate a smelly and unsightly litter box. Plus, compared to buying litter every week, teaching your cat to use the toilet is more economical. Toilet training your cat can help reduce the "cat smell" in your home and can be a wonderful solution if you have small children at home that may want to play in the litter box.
There are arguments that eliminating the litter box is a great way to keep your cat healthier too. By not digging through dusty and sandy litter, you can improve your cat's health and prevent your cat from breathing in toxic fumes from the litter. Plus, you can eliminate artificial scents and fragrances from your cat's litter by simply having your cat use the toilet.
Are There Negatives to Toilet Training Your Cat?
Of course, some argue that toilet training your cat breaks natural behaviors your cat has. By not allowing your cat to eliminate and bury waste, you're breaking instinctual behaviors. Another downside to toilet training your cat is that you are now sharing your bathroom with your cat. You'll always need to have the bathroom door open, so your cat has access to the restroom. Further, toilet training your cat can create an awkward situation for guests in your home if the cat forgets to flush!