Cat On Toilet
Sometimes I get a request from a client wanting to train their cat to use their toilet so they can remove the litter boxes from their house. I then talk to the client for a bit about how training their cat to use the toilet is an idea which will cause more trouble than good.
Toilets were designed for humans to use and are not practical for cats or any other animal. In this article I will analyze the top 5 reasons that you want to avoid training your cat to use the toilet and why using the litter box is a better choice.
At the end of this article I will list alternatives to toilet training your cat if your are wanting to do this to keep children or dogs out of the litter box.
Using The Toilet Is Not Natural For Cats
Cats have the innate need to bury their waste products. Cats use both feces and urine to communicate with other cats in addition to marking their territory. Having the opportunity to smell the feces or urine of another cat can tell them plenty of information such as who they are and if they are a friend or not.
It might seem like flushing feces and urine down your toilet is saving your cat work but cats need to smell themselves in their home. The same innate drive that tells them to eliminate their waste also drives their need to scratch their litter in order to eliminate the waste.
Cats inherit the instinct to bury waste from their ancestors who did the same while living in the wild. Burying waste outside is done primarily to hide their identify and presence from potential predators or prey. This behavior was developed to ensure their survival. Not allowing your cat to bury their waste can cause them to be insecure or stressed which can result in behavior problems. Even if there are no predators or prey, the survival mechanisms are ingrained in cats.
You Lose Every Indicator Of Your Cat’s Health
Urinary tract infections and obstructions are life threatning to cats and can cause death quickly if not noticed. Scooping the litter boxes everyday can give you an idea if they are urinating normally or not. You can tell if they are going less frequently or more frequently. Even the color of urine or feces is a big sign of medical problems.
If your cat is using the toilet then there is no accurate way to assess the health of your cat. Changes in fecal matter is another important clue of your cat’s health which will be hard to judge if you allow your cat to use the toilet. I like to know for sure if there are round worms, tape worms or a constipation issue because these are medical issues that are best solved quickly rather than later.
Your Cat Will Be Stressed Out
The toilet can be a dangerous and stressful place if you consider how slippery the plastic is paired with the funnel shape. If your cat was to jump on the toilet seat wrong then he could fall into the toilet water.
Even if your cat is a pro jumper, the pressure on him to keep the balance while going to the bathroom can be tough. The cat will not have the firm footing that he would have in his litter box which would provide him so much more security. Your cat would not have to focus so much on maintaining stability while urinating.
Consider that your cat would not even be able to use to the toilet as he grows up due to joint pain or stress as he ages. This would mean you would have to put an older cat through the stress of being retrained to a litter box in his golden years. It is best to give them a litter box right at the beginning.
One Time Is All It Takes
Only one time of falling into the toilet or off the toilet while eliminaitng can traumatize your cat. It is likely that your cat will go on the carpet or on the floor instead of using the toilet if this happens.
Just because you provide the toilet and your cat decides to use it does not mean he is happy about the arrangement. Your cat will be quick to show you that he is not happy with it if it turns out to be stressful or terrifying to him.
Your Cat Might Decide The Carpet Is Better
You might decide to switch to a litter box if he falls to use the toilet correctly but this is a dangerous game to play to begin with. Your cat might have already decided that he will will use the carpet because it is much more safe than what you have provided in the past. It is comfortable and offers safe footing. The carpet is also not slippery or has a funnel leading to what they perceive as dangerous. This can lead to carpets being ruined or furniture being destroyed by urine.
Inappropriate urination can be costly and difficult to fix after your cat has decided not to use the litter box. 90% of my behavior consultations are inappropriate urination which resulted from inadequate litter box placement or them deciding to toilet train their cat.
I highly suggest that you close the toilet lid for your cat and get him used to using a proper litter box again. Make sure to choose a properly sized box and suitable locations which encourage routine use.
Alternatives To Toilet Training
I am going to offer you some alternatives you can use if your dog or children have a habit of getting into the litter box and making a mess. Read the below articles for my alternative ideas to integrating a toilet for your cat. Supplementary articles can be found below.