Many cat owners suffer from the woes of a litter box: gritty floors, overwhelming smells, and frequent cleanings. Most owners assume this as a cost of owning a feline friend, however, it does not have to be that way after all. First popularized by the Ben Stiller movie Meet the Parents, training a cat to use a toilet as opposed to their litter box is more feasible than fantasy. With a simple tool and some patience, you can rid yourself of litter cleanups once and for all.
Why Do Cats Use Litter?
A litter box appeals to a cat’s natural instincts which is why they have been the most commonly used method of housetraining for felines. Even those lone, feral cats can be seen covering up their waste despite lacking a litter box. Naturally, cats want to cover their waste in order to hide the scent from potential predators. As a result, training a cat to use a litter box is extremely easy.
The rare exception is when a cat is trying to exert dominance over other felines and leave his waste uncovered as a marker of his territory. When cat’s spray, this is more of a behavioral issue that must be dealt with through training.
Selecting a Training Aid
While teaching your cat to use the toilet is doable without a training aid, it is much easier to do with one. These aids utilize a cat’s natural drive to get rid of the smell of his waste to your advantage to make training simpler. Although you do have multiple options when it comes to aids, the two most popular ones are CitiKitty and Litter Kwitter.
CitiKitty has a 3.1 out of 5-star rating on Amazon based on 1,900 reviews (as of this writing). The training kit was first seen on the ABC hit show Shark Tank in 2014 and has since been used by thousands to toilet train their cats. The company touts that the kit will work with any toilet seat size or shape and includes catnip to help train your feline.
Litter Kwitter, similarly, has 3.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, though the rating is based on only 690 reviews. Unlike your other option, Litter Kwitter was not featured on Shark Tank, however, it has been featured on networks and in publications like BBC, CNN, and Better Homes & Gardens. This aid comes with a training DVD and says that your cat could be toilet trained in just 8 weeks!
Though each system has its unique qualifications and benefits, when it comes down to functionality, they are nearly the same. We recommend doing your research and deciding which option might work best for you and your cat based on the training steps listed below.
How to Train a Cat to Use the Toilet
Regardless of which training aid you decide to use, the steps to teach your cat are the same. The training aid will help teach your cat balance and let them experience the sensation of using a toilet gradually.
- Start by filling the largest toilet insert, with no hole, with litter and placing it on the floor near your toilet. Allow your cat to get used to the new location of his litter.
- You will then move this insert to the toilet which gives your cat the opportunity to begin jumping onto the toilet. Again, use the same insert with no hole.
- As your cat becomes comfortable with this, fill the next insert (with the smallest hole), with litter and place it in the toilet. This is when your cat will experience going into the toilet for the first time.
- Continue monitoring your cats progress and switching the training aid trays as needed. Your cat will begin to learn to balance all four paws on the toilet seat, but it is a skill that needs to be mastered and takes some time.
- Finally, remove the tray and celebrate that you have a toilet trained cat!
Important Training Notes
As you move your cat to the more advanced training trays, it is important to note that you should decrease the amount of litter you are putting in the tray. You want to use the litter to entice your cat to go to the bathroom there, but not rely on it. Eventually, you will want to not fill the tray with any litter and see how your cat responds.
In addition, you must always be sure to leave the toilet seat up and the bathroom door open otherwise your cat will have no place to go when he needs to go.