How to Toilet Train Your Cat — A Step-By-Step Guide
Cats make wonderful pets, but cleaning up after them can be a real pain in the posterior. Thankfully, training them to use a human toilet is very achievable. Instead of having to deal with a foul-smelling litter box, here's how to toilet train your cat in a few simple steps.
First off, though, here's a little entertainment to prove that I'm not some totally nutty cat lover (at least, I don't think I am, although I do love kitties!). Just witness the pooping peeing bundle of furry joy that is my cat... (Click the play button to start the movie.)
That's Miki, my beloved tabby, doing #1 in the human toilet all on her own. And the thing is, anyone can teach their cat to do this. It doesn't require a cat of superkitty intelligence to pull off these amazing feats of excretion (which, in Miki's case, was extremely fortunate... as much as I love her, she's not the brightest bulb on the tree!). I've also helped to train countless other cats for friends and family, so I know it can be done with just about any cat. (Some of those same friends call me "The Poo Whisperer" now, which I wasn't too thrilled about at first, but I have to admit, it is catchy.)
Training your cat doesn't have to be difficult, although admittedly, it was for me when I started with Miki. There's actually quite a bit of information out there about training your cat... and while some of it is quite sensible, a lot of it is impractical, unnecessary, or simply doesn't work. Even the commercial kits I've tried have severe shortcomings — partly because they don't provide the toilet training tips and techniques that are required to be successful, and partly because the contraptions themselves are poorly designed and don't support the cat's weight properly.
With so many differing methods and so much misinformation out there, it was a lengthy process before I figured out what works and what doesn't. I even read everything I could about feline behavioral therapy and the psychology that governs their bathroom behavior.
Transitioning Your Cat to Use the Human Toilet: The Basics
The basic concept behind toilet training your cat is to get your cat accustomed to seeing the toilet as an appropriate place to go potty. Our goal is to transition your cat from digging and pooping into a box of sand to doing her business into a big bowl of water. If this sounds like a big change for kitty, well, you're right, it is!
The key to training is to split up the process into several stages in order to make the transition as easy as possible for both you and your cat. At each stage, the cat will learn a little something new, but we'll keep the changes in each stage to a minimum to keep things manageable for her. We'll also provide "bridges" between each stage whenever necessary — cues that the cat can understand to help her move from one stage to the next. And of course, we'll move slowly with the training and only go as fast as our kitty is comfortable with.
The 5 Stages of Toilet Training
Our transition from litter box to toilet consists of 5 stages. In each stage, we'll make a small change to the potty set-up, give your cat time to adjust, and then make another small change. And if at any time your cat gets confused, or decides that the whole thing isn't worth it and poops in the bathtub, that's a sure sign that you're pushing her too fast; back up a stage or two to give her more time to get used to it before proceeding any further.
Before starting each stage, make sure that your cat has done #1 and #2 at least once. It's best to proceed to the next stage right after your cat does #2. This will allow your cat to start the next stage with a #1, which is easier for cats to manage than #2, making it a bit simpler for them to get comfortable with the change.