TRAIN YOUR CAT TO USE THE TOILET
Amaze your friends with the aid of a simple training kit for your cat. This is a shallow pan that fits under the toilet seat and covers the bowl. Concentric perforations allow you to incrementally enlarge the opening while kitty learns that going like mom and dad is safe and sanitary. This takes patience, and some work, but the reward is great, and your cat will have more self confidence.
The training device works as a solid pan over the toilet bowl which becomes her litter box. Use “flushable” unscented litter like ExquisiCat Natural Wheat or SWheat Scoop in Pinky’s regular litter box and place it in the bathroom next to the toilet. Give her some time to establish a new routine. Sprinkle a small amount of kitty litter into the training pan, including some soiled litter from her own box so she gets the scent and knows what to do. Use “flushable” unscented litter like ExquisiCat Natural Wheat or SWheat Scoop.
Note that so called “flushable” litter, while not as destructive to your system as clay litter, does not dissolve and should only be used in trivial amounts in your septic system. You only need a little sprinkling daily to train your cat, just for the need to scrape her feet. After Pinky has been trained you will not need to use any litter at all. Don’t use litter made from newsprint in a septic tank because it won’t dissolve in your field.
Watch the bathroom for her entrance so you can reward her. They typically have to go mid-morning and early evening. Keeping a log of her daily habits is helpful. A baby monitor or surveillance video camera is outstanding and we couldn’t have trained seven cats without one. It sometimes happens that the cat enters la salle de bain , finds her familiar litter box missing and immediately jumps onto the toilet. A couple of ours did that, but the rest took some coaching.
More commonly the person in charge of training Pinky has to sit in the bathroom with a supply of her most favorite food (shrimp, sliced roast beef, whatever works). You attract her attention by holding her treat over the toilet seat. As mentioned, a little used litter soaked with her own pee is worth a thousand words. Tape the seat lid up so it can’t suddenly fall on Pinky and ruin all your hard work. This has to be as cat friendly as possible. When she finally mounts the seat, even for an instant, reward and praise her. Be patient. The cat has to believe that she thought this up all by herself. Clever kitty!
Some cats will positively refuse to cooperate. In this case she must associate jumping up on the toilet seat with the most delicious reward you can think of. Make her an offer she can’t refuse: shrimp, roast beef, and the pièce de résistance: katsuobushi, shaved dried bonito, the skipjack tuna that enhances Japanese food. No cat who likes fish can resist this. (much cheaper on Amazon or an Asian grocery than at the pet store) Tempt Pinky to jump up on the toilet and reward her when she does. The rest should come naturally when she feels the familiar sand under her feet.
Be vigilant of indiscretions. We have confined our cats to the upper hallway in the morning and evening when they are most likely to want to go. And you might consider rolling up the oriental carpets for the first week or so. If Pinky disgraces herself keep calm and remember that you are asking her to do something beyond her natural instincts. So be patient.
About one week, after she has become accustomed to using the training seat, you can remove the first ring in the center. Start to reduce the litter to a minimum to save your pipes, and also to train Pinky that she isn’t going to need it any more. Keep praising and rewarding her for her good behavior. She will be so happy for the attention that she will spontaneously jump onto the toilet seat when you are around.
I video monitored the bathroom from my desk downstairs. When a cat performed I would rush upstairs with a treat. They would all hear my feet on the stairs and gather at the bathroom door. Pretty soon I would see a couple of clowns would standing on the toilet seat mugging the camera to get my attention. Downstairs I noticed that when the motion detector light came on ($25 at Home Depot) Tiger actually turned to watch the monitor screen. You find out that your cat is pretty darned smart.
You can find woeful stories on the kitty forums, particularly in a multiple cat household when two cooperate and the other pees on the floor. Of seven cats that we trained, six cooperated beautifully and the fearful one with socializing problems drove us crazy. We rolled up the carpets for a while.
We try to remind ourselves that we are asking him to do something that goes against his natural instincts.
Using the toilet is more sanitary than the sand box allows you to monitor their health. Eddy developed an infection with blood in his urine which we saw and were able to treat immediately. When Tiger mysteriously had a case of round worms we were able to see that only one cat was affected and make sure the Strongid had done its work.
When we fostered another litter of five kittens and brought the mother cat inside from the woods, we had to go back to using litter boxes. With such a convenience in the bathroom, some of our cats found it easier to use the nearby sandbox. However three of the brightest actually prefer to do their thing in the toilet. When the kittens have been adopted and the sand boxes put away, these guys will resume their trained behavior and the trash cans will become considerably lighter. Sooner rather than later, I hope.