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I've been working for a while to train my cat to use the human toilet, and the process is taking much longer than I'd hoped. There is already a general question on the topic, but I have a specific problem with the process.

My cat took fine to going in the toilet (which currently has a dish in it to hold litter). It only took him a few days to get into the habit. In particular he has no trouble peeing in the toilet--even when I take away the bowl he doesn't have a problem peeing right into the water.

But poop is another matter--he really seems determined to poop only if there's litter there. I've tried to slowly reduce the amount of litter in the bowl until there's none. And even when we reach "none" he'll go once or twice without litter before deciding it's not worth it anymore, and opts to go on the floor next to the toilet (while still peeing in the right place).

I don't really understand the behavior--after all, the floor doesn't have litter either so I don't really know why he cares. He's never had this issue when using the normal litterbox either. Any ideas?

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    Could he be getting splashed when solids drop into the bowl? How finicky is he about getting wet? – Monica Cellio Jun 22 '14 at 5:03
  • I've wondered that myself. I don't know. – Iguananaut Jun 25 '14 at 16:26
  • Try replacing the level floor with sand into a tilted one, so the poo slides down into the water. No loud splash, or coming back to find a pile of poo. It might work. – Oldcat Jun 25 '14 at 22:34
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    While this is not directly related to your question I feel it is important to mention that (in general) it is not recommended to allow your cat to use a toilet (or even flush litter) due to a parasite known as T. gondii which can have serious environmental impact in some areas. I can't speak to your specific situation because there are things that can be done to mitigate the risk, but future visitors to this question may need to be aware of the risk. – Dan Herbert Jun 26 '14 at 2:18
  • Flushing litter is a terrible idea for many reasons, but the question of whether cats should use the toilet is debatable and off topic here. – Iguananaut Jun 26 '14 at 15:25
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Sounds like it "doesn't feel right" to him.

Perhaps if you really want this you need to cycle it several times. Go gradually to no litter, then have him poop without litter once or twice, then a little litter, then no litter once or twice....

Cats are picky in their bathroom habits, I can understand I am too. What your cat does may not always be rational or well thought out, but it feels right to him.

  • I feel like we have tried that cycle a few times, but it wasn't really planned that way. I'll try taking out for a while, and then maybe add a little back in before he makes a "mistake", then reducing it again and see how that goes. – Iguananaut Jun 21 '14 at 20:52
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    Keep in mind that it just might not work. I think if you retry the cycle a bunch of times you might increase your chances, but there are no guarantees. It might be like if someone replaced your toilet with a squat toilet- you might just choose to go elsewhere too. – Dan S Jun 22 '14 at 16:22
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Cats have an instinctual need to bury their feces (pee does not need to be buried). When there's a small amount of litter available does he try to cover it, or leave it uncovered? Sometimes a cat will dig nearby on a flat surface even when there is no substrate available, so this may be why the floor is okay but the toliet isn't (my cats will sometimes "dig" on the tile floor to bury unwanted food).

Cats can also be disturbed when using the box if something uncomfortable happens while they are using it. He may be splashed by water, or have a balancing problem (pooping requires more muscles than peeing) that upsets him after the first time, so he goes on the floor in the future. It may be instructive to observe him pooping with the litter pan in place to see if he uses it for balance or positioning at all.

  • I don't think balancing is an issue; I've seen him go before and it doesn't make a difference either way the way I have things set up. But the need to dig/bury is sort of the "behavioral" reason I was looking for as to why there was a difference at all. I'll have to see what I can do about that... – Iguananaut Jun 30 '14 at 18:42
  • @Iguananaut I've read about people gluing litter on the seat, if it's a toliet they don't use, to give the cat more of a substrate feel. We use cat genies, which have a lot of the benefits of toliet training, while still giving them the substrate that they want to dig in. – Zaralynda Jun 30 '14 at 20:28
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My cat is trained to go into the toilet. From experience, I can tell you that it takes a while, and you should be ready to find poop in places you don't want it, at least during the training process. I used something like this:

enter image description here

(city kitty to be exact)

It had rings, you fill it with cat litter. Then cut the rings away, once a week is a good time frame. The beginning of the process should go pretty smoothly, especially if someone is frequently at home. They behave when they know someone is around (at least my cat did). The challenge is getting the cat to continue to poop in the toilet after the whole thing is removed. This was the most frustrating part for me as well. When on the last ring, and you are having difficulty slowly use less and less cat litter. The last ring probably took me over a month, of going back and forth with it. In retrospect, I should have just left it on the last ring for 1 month straight.

Once you remove the last ring and it continues to use the toilet, I would recommend spending some extra time at home. Meaning come home after work instead of going out with co-workers, don't stay out late. Do this for maybe a couple of weeks. And perhaps a month of not spending a night away is a good idea. Also, don't move the cat to a new environment during this time.

In the end tho, it's well worth it. My cat now goes in the toilet with no issues. If it has to go and the bathroom is occupied it even waits till its free. If it really really has to go, it will meow its way in :).

Now, what if you move? Don't worry, you don't have to go through the entire process again. I started from the last ring and left it on for about one week. Once I removed it, the cat continued to go with no issues :).

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