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Should You Toilet-Train Your Cat?

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Thinking about getting your cat to use the toilet? It sounds cool, but maybe keep the litter handy. 

Cats are brainy little creatures. They can learn tricks like giving a high five, hopping through hoops, and even tickling the ivories on a piano. 

And they can be taught to use a toilet instead of their litter box. Imagining your cat perched on the toilet might give you a chuckle. Fans of this method say it’s great because there’s less litter and mess. But just ’cause a kitty can, doesn’t always mean they should. Here’s the scoop from the experts. 

Why Some people Go the Toilet Route for Cats 

The whole toilet training thing for cats is kinda neat: If your kitty took care of business in the toilet and even gave it a flush, goodbye litter box cleaning! And honestly, who loves doing that? Plus, you wouldn’t have to keep a chunk of space just for their box. And you’d save some cash not buying litter all the time.

This trend really kicked off in 2011, when a cat toilet training kit showed up on Shark Tank. Loads of cat owners wanted to see if their furry pals would be into it. And nowadays, TikTok is full of clips showing cats getting potty trained, racking up tons of views.

Sure, every pet owner wishes for shortcuts. And who can blame them? But being a top-notch pet parent means sometimes doing the not-so-fun stuff. So, maybe keep that litter scoop close by.

Thinking of Toilet Training Your Cat? Maybe Think Again.

Getting your cat to do its thing in the toilet might sound neat, but it might not be the best call for your kitty’s well-being. Some experts, like Maria Delgado from UC Davis Vet School and Zazie Todd of Companion Animal Psychology, have some thoughts. Here’s their take on why it’s a no-go.

Cats can’t do their scratch and cover dance. “I see no benefits to being toilet trained for a cat,” Delgado mentions. “Cats naturally want to dig and scratch before and after they eliminate. Toilet training deprives them of these natural behaviors,”

Cats gotta twist and turn in odd ways. According to Delgado, cats have to be a bit of a gymnast to use the toilet. ” Toilet training forces cats to eliminate in uncomfortable, unnatural postures” she says.

Stress city, and maybe pee not where you want. “Often, people come to me after training their cat, and suddenly there’s pee on the bed,” says Delgado.

Kitty in the water! Todd’s got a point we can’t overlook: “Cats can slip and fall in.” Yup. Toilets are slippery. Cats aren’t big fans of getting drenched. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. 

You might miss signs of health issues. If your cat’s using the toilet, you can’t really keep an eye on what they’re, well, putting out. Todd notes, “If you’re keeping tabs on the litter box, you could spot things like lots of pee, which could be a sign of something like diabetes.” 

Some cats just can’t hang. While a young, spry cat might manage, older or heavier kitties might not have the same balance. “An older cat will face challenges in climbing up on a toilet” Todd adds. And that might lead them to pick another spot you won’t be thrilled about.

Skip the Toilet Training: Other Cat Solutions 

So, the toilet’s out for the kitty. But hey, there are cool ways to ditch the litter box mess. Ever think about an auto-litter box? It’ll mean less scoop work for you. But heads up, some cats are spooked by these fancy boxes, and they might dig into your wallet a bit. Trying out litters that kick dust and stink to the curb could be a sweet start. If you’re cool with the clean-up but not the look, maybe grab a box with a lid or one that’s sneaky, looking like furniture. And remember, leave the real toilet for us two-leggers. 

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