May 04, 2005

Potty Training Your Cat


Sometimes when I read news articles I'm astounded that they act like the idea is new and never been tried before. Take this story for example:

Flush Kitty

The line for the toilet is about to get longer.

Fed up with the mess created by kitty litter and inspired by the cat "Mr Jinks" in the Hollywood film "Meet the Fockers," an Australian woman has invented a toilet training system for cats called the "Litter-Kwitter."

Excuse me, this is nothing new. This idea has been around for a very long time. In fact, I tried to potty train my cats about 10 years ago. That is how un new this idea is.

Anyone who has a cat knows that cleaning the litter box is one of the most unfun chores to do as it stinks, is messy and it seems you have to do it every other day. Therefore, I decided one day that I had had enough and it was time for the felines to do something for themselves instead of laying around the house and demanding food from me. I also got fed up with cat litter that claimed not only to cut down on odors but to make litter clean up a breeze with their clumping formula. According to them, all you would have to do is simply scoop out the clump of wet litter and the kitty roca leaving you with a nice, clean litter box of remaining, unused litter.

Do these idiots even have cats?

Not once, in the entire time I've ever had a cat has the clumping litter worked the way they said it would. First off, I have one cat who thinks the litter box is a giant sand lot for him to play in and second, if they haven't shit all over the sides of the litter pan, the "clump" rarely stays a clump when scooping it out. What happens is that the clump, upon a mere touch from the scooper, disintegrates into millions of random particles of dirty litter and soils the rest of the pan. I have always had to throw out the entire litter, used or not.

So, since my cats were not about to parade around in training pants, I decided it was time to toilet train them. I bought the little disc that goes in the toilet and read the instructions on how to conquer this task.

It was going to take some time as the steps were to be done gradually so that the cats could get used to their litter box being in a new place. I was to slowly move their litter box towards the toilet so that eventually it was sitting right at the base of the bowl. Then I was to gradually elevate the litter box to the lip of the bowl using telephone books or whatever I could find around the house. Eventually the litter box would be even with the toilet bowl and I was then to put the disc under the seat of the bowl and put litter in it while the litter box sat at the same level.

As the cats grew accustomed to jumping up on the seat of the toilet, I was to remove the litter box completely and leave them only the litter filled disc to use.

I'll interrupt here to tell you that every single one of these steps worked like it should. My cats were becoming little champions in their toilet training and I envisioned a happy future and lifestyle, free of the confines of cat litter, litter boxes, poo on the carpet and loss of funds. I was ecstatic. I praised the cats and they stuck their tails straight up in the air, prancing around proudly. It was a great time in my household, cats and human living in perfect odor free harmony and peace. I kissed them, they licked me. I petted them, they rubbed their heads on me. We laughed together, shared together, enjoyed each other's company; the sun was shining, all was right with the world.


One of the cats fell in.

The horror and chaos that ensued was of Biblical proportions and despite chasing down a wet kitty and trying to console it and dry it off, I was now the enemy. I had played a terribly cruel joke on them and they decided to let me know for quite some time afterwards that I was no longer their beacon of light, their best friend, their compadre.

I was the evil, vile human who caused them this angst and I was going to pay for it.

Despite the toys and cat nip and other such tricks I used to try to convince them to give it another try, they were having none of it. They either did their business in my bathtub or all over the bathroom rugs. I perservered with my efforts but I found myself cleaning the bath rugs every other day and since that cost me just as much as cat litter and was more trouble than cleaning a cat litter pan, I eventually switched back and have never tried to toilet train them again.

It took awhile for them to allow me in their little cat circle again and we get along rather well to this day but I don't think they have ever truly forgiven me.

Now what was supposed to happen, (in a dream world), was that eventually the cats would learn to balance themselves on the seat of the toilet. Once they had learned this, you would remove the disc leaving you free of cat litter and pans for the rest of your life. Kitty would dump his/her business directly into the water while perched on the seat and you would just flush it upon arriving home from work.

That's how it is supposed to happen.

You can go ahead and try to toilet train your cats. It does sound like a great idea on paper doesn't it? However, please heed this warning. Just because a few cats will accomplish this task doesn't necessarily mean that yours will and if they don't? You will pay.

Posted by S. Faolan Wolf at May 4, 2005 01:36 PM

Yeah - I heard of that idea years ago too. My cats have a litter box for night time when they are shut in, and I have to throw out all the litter - if they actually manage to aim right. One of my cats fell in the toilet once - I think she was trying to drink from it!

Posted by: Ruth at May 4, 2005 07:24 PM

I too tried that "toilet training" the kitty thing. Oh how high my dreams were. My cat also took to crapping in the tub, sink, and on the tile out of spite. Now I just stick with scooping the shit box, but I had to get one with a lid because kitty doesn't have good "squatting" aim.

Posted by: mary at May 5, 2005 01:03 AM

My cat likes the window sill above the toilet. Recipe for disaster. I heard the unmistakable sound of the lid falling and out of the bathroom streaked a dripping cat. Yep, he was Mr. Cool that day.

Even without the trauma of past toilet experiences, were I to take away his litter box, he'd have nothing to fuss over every time he goes by the damn thing. The litter has to be just so, and apparently the requirements are altered hourly. Talk about anal retentive behavior.

Posted by: Jeffro at May 5, 2005 02:39 AM

My cats, despite my efforts to teach them a posh upbringing, still seem to regard the toilet as:

A) something their Mommy sits on from time to time that necessitates them needing to pet at that exact moment.

B) the drinking fountain

That said, I hate the cat box issues. I hate cleaning them, and I hate that no matter how hard you combat it, you always wind up with tiny cat trails of litter going to and from the boxes.

Good thing we love the felines, eh?

Posted by: Helen at May 6, 2005 03:21 AM

Man, I really wish I could have done that with my cat. Too late now, she's 11 years old and would probably have a heart attack if I tried.

Posted by: Janet at May 6, 2005 06:59 PM
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