The toilet trained cat; cat lovers have always dreamed about it and some owners say that have done it, but personally I don’t know anyone who has been successful at toilet training a cat. If you are considering toilet training your cat here are some things you should consider before proceeding.
First let’s talk about age. The younger the cat the easier it will be. The same may be said for all animal training. Toilet training is easier for a cat up until the age of three years old, while they are still considered young. An older cat may be trained to used the toilet but, and this is a big but, it depends on the cat’s temperament; if it is social, easily scared, easily pleased, calm, trusting or not trusting etc.
Of course the positive qualities in the cat’s temperament is what is needed to successfully toilet train your cat, but it doesn’t end there. The cat may not be stubborn but it may not be very intelligent as well, and that is another factor to consider before you begin to frustrate both your pet and yourself in this wild adventure.
Cats that are used to following commands will have a much easier time of accepting toilet training than a cat that has always been left to do as it will. You will however have to be very patient with an older cat.
Training more than one cat at a time is a feat in and of itself. If one of them has an accident and messes in the wrong place, it is hard to keep track on which one it was. The detective work needed to find which cat did it, becomes even more of a problem when you are not home to catch the culprit in the act. Even if you are home, the more cats you have the harder it is to keep tabs on them.
Confining cats to separate rooms and letting them out to go to the toilet one by one, is an option, but defeats the purpose of having pets in the first place. This practice does not help your cats to feel they are members of the family.
If you have figured out which cat is the one messing up, you can confine that one until it is trained, but then again you do not want to confine the cat for more than a couple of hours at a time.
If you have a mother cat and kittens, retraining the mother cat may be a good way to help with kitten training as the mother cat will model the behavior and the kittens will learn from her.
Before going out and a getting the trainer kits, the books, the videos and all the information about toilet training your cat, consider these additional factors before you make your decision to pursue the training.
Toilet training a cat is not natural, it goes against the cat’s natural instinct to eliminate, dig, and cover the waste. In the wild, cats cover their waste so that predators do not know that they are around and therefore cannot hunt them.
If you succeed in getting your cat to use an alien way of eliminating, you must remember to keep the toilet lid up. If not, you have just prevented the cat from access to the toilet. It will soil on the floor or carpet and you may find that you will have to start the retraining process all over again.
Though some people claim they have taught their cat to flush the toilet by adding a string and a weight, for the most part, cats don’t flush the toilet and their elimination might sit in the toilet for quite some time before a human is home and can flush it. This would cause annoying odor.
After buying the toilet training kit, you will eventually want to get rid of it and then the cat must use the toilet. The toilet can be slippery and the cat may not be able to have a firm grip upon it. Older cats, fat cats, small kittens, arthritic or otherwise ill cats may not be able to jump and position themselves properly upon the bowl.
Then there is the question of traveling. Cats may not be comfortable using someone’s toilet no more than a human is comfortable of doing the same thing.
If your cat falls into the toilet he will be stressed and afraid to go back to it. He will have to deal with being stressed on his own if you are not home. If he falls into a dirty toilet full of urine and waste he will need to be bathed and that will further traumatize him.
When you travel, have your cat boarded, or is hospitalized, more often than not, he will be using a litter box. Once he gets into the habit of using one, he may have to be toilet trained all over again when he gets home.
Before toilet training your cat think about whether or not all these factors will bring stress to you and your family members, rather than making your lives easier. If these issues present a problem, do what people have been doing for centuries, stick to the good old litter box.