Cat Toilet Training: Is It Realistic (Or Even Safe)?
Toilet training for a cat? Who would have ever thought we would see the day when someone thought that was a good idea. However, in today’s modern world, it seems almost anything is possible. While it may seem like something out of a Hollywood movie, after all, we all saw the cat on “Meet the Parents” do it, right? It seems that many cat parents have tried this, and many have met with great success. However, is it truly realistic to have your cat using your toilet? For that matter, is it even safe for you and your cat for your cat to share the same toilet? There are many, many experts out there, who do not recommend teaching your cat to use the toilet in your home, after all, that is what litter boxes are made for.
This, of course, has sparked a huge debate between cat owners, as to who is right and who is wrong. Many cat parents fall firmly on the side of never having to change another stinky litter box, while others say they are not, and I repeat not, sharing their toilet with a cat. Of course, there are pros and cons to teaching your cat to use the bathroom in a toilet bowl, the biggest advantage being you no longer have to deal with an icky, stinky litter box every day. The biggest disadvantage comes if you have only one bathroom, and really would prefer not to go after the family cat.
So, which side of the fence do you fall on in the debate of cat toilet training? If you still aren’t sure, then this blog is for you. We will go into the pros and cons, the possible safety risks, and even give you some tips on how to get the job done if this is indeed the way you choose to go. Ready to hop into this blog on what toilet training your cat is realistic or even safe? Then, let’s begin.
Where Did the Idea of Toilet Training a Cat Come From?
It seems that the idea to toilet train a cat occurred to Jo Lapidge after she saw the cat in Ben Stillers popular film, “Meet the Parents,” use the commode and then flush. Jo invented what is now called the Litter Kwitter, which is designed to replace the cat’s litter box. It is possible to toilet train a cat without this device, but many cat owners have said, that the Litter Kwitter, makes potty training a cat easier than potty training a child. I’m not sure how true that is, but we are still going to delve into this one a little deeper and see what comes out on the other side.
The Advantages of Toilet Training Your Cat
While it may be hard to believe for some of us, this toilet training the cat thing seems to really work. Read on below for a few of the advantages to be revealed.
You Save Money
One of the biggest advantages of toilet training your cat is the amount of money you can save when you stop having to buy cat litter and the supplies that go with it. The amount of money you spend in a year is quite a bit, and over a cat’s lifetime, it adds up to even more money spent.
No More Lugging Heavy Bags and Boxes
Most cat litter weighs upwards of 25 pounds a box, according to the size you get. These can be quite heavy when you’re lugging them into your home. If you toilet train, then you no longer have to carry these heavy items on a weekly basis.
No More Urine Odor
If you are like the rest of us, you play the dickens trying to get that distinctive odor of urine out of the spot where you have your cat’s litter box. Training your cat, also means you no longer have to worry about the little darling tracking litter on his feet from the litter box through the living room and onto your couch. Of course, you can vacuum up this mess, but who wants to, when you can train your cat to use your bathroom instead?
No Risk of Contracting Parasites
If you are no longer changing the litter in your cat’s box, then you don’t run the risk of contracting parasites or infectious diseases that are associated with changing cat feces. This is one of the top advantages, but if you think about it, that same cat is going to be dropping his urine and feces into the toilet you and your family use, so…which is better?
The Disadvantages of Toilet Training Your Cat
Now, that we have looked into the advantages of toilet training your cat, it’s time to look into the disadvantages. Here we go.
It is Time-Consuming
As you might have already imagined, toilet training a cat isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. It is also quite time-consuming and requires extreme patience from the pet parent doing the training. You also need to have an open mind, which can be a little hard when it comes to something like putting your cat on the toilet.
Leaves Scratches Behind
Most cats instinctively scratch around trying to cover their urine or feces up after using the litter box. If they do the same thing, when using the toilet, you could end up with deep scratches on your toilet bowl, the lid, and on the wall behind and beside it.
Can Result in a Stressed-Out Cat
Most cats are creatures of habit and like their own little routines. If your cat isn’t a kitten and has been using the litter box their entire lives, then the switch from the litter box to the toilet may be a problem for them. This could result in anxiety for the cat and accidents happening all around your home.
If They Fall in Once, it’s All Over
As most of us cat owners already know, cat’s aren’t comfortable around water. Not only that, but they are not used to the height of the toilet or the size. You have to be really careful when training them because if the cat falls into the toilet even once, your training days are over.
These are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of toilet training your cat, and did I mention the idea of going to the bathroom after your cat is a little disturbing? You will have to weigh the pros and cons and then make the right decision for you, based on what you find. Right now, we are going to delve into the reasons that cats should not be trained to use the toilet, according to some experts.
Top Reasons Not to Toilet Train Your Cat
There are quite a few perfectly good reasons that it’s not a good idea to try and toilet train your cat. Let’s take a look at them below.
It’s Not Natural for a Cat to Use a Toilet
Plain and simple, it’s not natural for cats to use the toilet. Cats are very particular creatures that have evolved into very specific behaviors for very specific reasons. Cats use their urine and feces to actually mark their territory and communicate with any other cats in the area. This lets them know if other cats are nearby and if they are friendly or if the other cat is someone they are going to have to fight. Covering up their urine and feces is also a defense mechanism, even in the litter box. Taking these things away from your cat, by flushing them away, can confuse them and lead to behavior problems that you don’t want to deal with, including using the bathroom everywhere in the house, but the toilet.
A Litter Box Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Cat’s Health
Urinary tract infections are something that is common in many cats. When you change the litter box, you can tell if your cat is going more often than they usually do, or if they are going much less. Then, at the first sign of an infection, you can schedule an appointment with the vet to treat it. However, if your cat is using the toilet, the evidence is flushed away, and you cease to be able to keep on top of your cat’s health.
The Physical Stress Can Harm Your Cat
The physical stress of using a toilet, can take a lot of wear and tear on your cat. It’s not like they are like me and you, and can simply sit on the toilet to do their business. Your cat has to jump up onto the slippery plastic oval, straddle a big gaping hole, on all fours, by the way, then they have to hold steady to do their business. That would be a nightmare to anyone. In a litter box, your cat has a firm place to stand and grip until their business is done. Remember, cats do not flush the toilet, so if your cat slips into dirty feces and urine, guess who has to clean said cat up.
On top of that, as cats get older, they often develop muscle and joint pain. It could be painful for your cat to try and jump up on the toilet, which means you are in for some big messes to clean up once again.
The Danger to Humans
There are also other dangers associated with toilet training your cat, and these dangers are to water life and humans. Remember, the toxoplasma we talked about at the beginning of the blog? Well, it doesn’t just go away when you flush the toilet, it filters into streams and other bodies of water, killing seals and other water life. It can also infect humans if your cat happens to miss and his feces lands on your toilet seat. Once you and your family sit down, well we won’t talk about the rest or the outcome of that little scenario.
Other Reasons not to Toilet Train Your Cat
Here are a few of the other reasons you might want to avoid toilet training your cat and just settle for changing that litter box instead.
- Access is needed by your cat to potty. What happens if the door to the bathroom is closed? Kitty certainly can’t open it himself, leaving you with another mess on your hands to clean up.
- Think about it, if you want to take your cat on vacation or a business trip with you, if you have a litter box, you can travel. I don’t think your grandmother is going to want the cat using her toilet, so your cat can never go with you if he is trained to use only a toilet. Just saying.
Now, if you want to teach your feline pal to use the toilet, here are a few tips for getting you headed in the right direction.
- Use flushable litter to try and make the transition
- You can also place your cat’s litter box next to the toilet, then gradually raise it a little at the time until they see the toilet they are supposed to be using.
- Put the litter box on top of your toilet seat so the cat gets used to it being there
- Once they are used to that, replace the litter box with a training kit of your choice
- Remove the cat litter box and your cat should be ready to go
Of course, it’s going to take quite a bit more time and patience than this, but it is a step in the right direction to get you started. There are also many books and articles online to help you in your quest to toilet train your feline pal.
These are just a few of the pros and cons and other information that you need to know to make an informed decision about whether to toilet train your cat. Good luck, whichever way you decide to go!
- All Pet News: Toilet Training Your Cat: Pros and Cons
- Preventive Vet: 7 Reasons NOT to Toilet Train Your Cat
- Wide Open Pets: How to Toilet Train Your Cat in 5 Easy Steps