I know what you’re thinking: Why is she writing about this? But anyone who has a cat, knows what a pain the litter box is. You have to clean it up and empty it constantly. Also, cats are notoriously cleanly creatures, and in the case of my cat, she is extremely self-conscious about the mess she makes in the bathroom. Also, while the cost is minimal, I’ve been cutting the budget around the house, and perhaps cutting out cat litter, (and the cleaning products to clean up after it) is a way to further eliminate spending. There is also that little thing about cat litter being horrible for the environment, even the wheat based product I use. For all those reasons, I decided to embark on this journey.
So I have been looking into this quite a lot. Most sites only want to sell you a kit, and frankly as a recent graduate, I just don’t have the money for that.
Then I found these simple (and free) instructions here.
Place your cat’s usual litter box next to the toilet. Allow him several days or even a week to become accustomed to the new location.
Over the course of a week or two, elevate the litter box a few inches at a time until it is the height of the toiletseat. You can use telephone books, stacks of magazines or newspapers, anything that will add height (but not fall over) as your cat is using the box. If the stack falls, it can make your cat hesitant about using the box altogether, let alone one that is off the floor. Allow your cat time enough to get used to the elevated height.
Once the box is the correct height, place it directly on the toilet, with the lid up but the seat down. Remove whatever materials you used to elevate the box. Let your cat get used to the location.
“Once your cat has learned to do his business at the height of the toilet, place an aluminum roasting pan over the toilet but under the seat,” says Brotman.
Tape it in place with the duct tape to prevent it from sliding around. From now on, you must leave the seat down and the toilet lid up. A word of caution though: avoid using an automatic toilet bowl cleaners. Chances are your cat won’t drink from the same toilet in which he eliminates, but if he does, he could become ill from any chemicals in the water.
Your cat will be used to digging in the litter to deposit wastes, so place a small amount of litter in the aluminum baking pan. Poke a small hole in the center of the roasting pan to allow liquid to drain away. “Gradually enlarge the hole in the pan,” says Brotman. “The litter will eventually start to fall through.” (By the way, it’s best to use flushable litter at this stage of the proceedings).
As the hole becomes larger, your cat will be unable to stand in the pan. When that occurs, he will balance himself on the seat. When you notice your cat is comfortable with standing on the toilet seat, take the roasting pan away. At this point, your cat should be able to eliminate into the toilet without the training aids.
The time it takes to learn to use the toilet is different for each cat. If your cat is reluctant at any stage of training, go back a step or two. “Don’t freak out,” says Brotman. “Slow down and go back a little bit. You have to be patient.”
If you would like to read more details about toilet training your cat and see photographs of a cat who was successfully trained, check out How To Toilet Train Your Cat: The Education of Mango by Eric Brotman, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-9707327-0-8) from Bird Brain Press, Inc. The book can be purchased by calling 909.498.7570 or by ordering it online at Birdbrainpress.com.
So far, I’ve raised the height of the litter box to almost the height of the toilet, using phone books discarded by my neighbors. Soon it will be time to introduce Kitty to the actual use of the toilet (as opposed to the drinking water she now thinks it’s for.) I will keep you updated, if of course, you’d like me to.