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I asked a question How do I manage a cat litter box to maximize hygiene? and received this answer suggesting to train my cat to use the toilet.

How can I train my cat to use the toilet?

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As mentioned in the answer of the other question, there are several reasons to toilet train your cat :

  • no more time and money spent on litter ;
  • ecofriendly (much less CO₂ and pollution and probably less water, since you don't need litter factories and transport of litter bags anymore — but you have to pay the bill for the toilet flush) ;
  • odor-free ;
  • much more hygienic as the cat don't have to walk in dirty litter anymore and you don't have to clean the litter box either.

You can find several commercial kits, books and DIY guides on the web. I guess they all use the same principle :

  1. First you have to train your cat to use his litter on the toilet seat. It's probably the easiest step. Some people recommend to start by putting the litter box aside the seat and to elevate it progressively, but you can choose to simply put directly the litter on the seat and show it to him. It may help to have a small stool or a pile of books to help him accessing the seat at first.

  2. Then you put a small hole at the center of the toilet seat, and increase the size of the hole until you can remove completely the temporary layer.

One of the most famous commercial kit advertises that you can achieve this in 8 weeks. Note that though some people report less, it seems that some cats are reluctant (or maybe their owners make errors ?) and it may take longer.

We've bought this kit (note that the price (~40 €) is much higher than the actual cost of the material, but as far as I'm concerned I decided that it was worth remunerating the inventor for the positive ecological impact induced by his kit, plus it's nothing in comparison to the cost of litter on a cat lifetime), but for now I don't have much feedback yet since our cat is ill (chronic diarrhea, which doesn't help…) so we're waiting for her to feel better before to switch to step two.

However I can already tell of some caveats to avoid and a few tips (though I guess most of them also apply to the use of litter boxes) :

  • never use bleach to clean around the toilet seat — cats feel the urge of urinating where you did, presumably because the chlorine remind them of cat urine ;
  • on the other hand, you may add a drop of bleach at the bottom of the litter box or in the toilet seat (depending on the step you're on) to attract the cat ;
  • always have the litter box clean — that is, remove feces and urine as soon as there are, and you may add a thin layer of new litter on top ;
  • not sure how efficient it is, but when the cat happens to "miss" the litter box or the toilet seat, we use white vinegar to remove the odor.

Finally, some people think toilet training should be avoided, arguing it's an unnatural behaviour for a cat. I guess they live in a world where cat food grow on trees… ;)

Update : The difference between the first and second steps of the famous kit we've bought seems to be too large for most cats — including ours. So if you go for the same kit, save some time and trouble : unless your cat is at ease at soon as you put the second stage on the toilet seat, go straight for the so-called "cardboard method" (or other alternatives). The idea is to close the hole with cardboard or other (strong enough) material, and to dig a small hole in it which you gradually increase. I would not advise to simply scotch it below the frame as some people seem to suggest, though : there is an edge on the white frame which you can use to support the material, I feel it's much safer this way.

Note that while not cancelling it as it's still easier to use, this inconvenient reduces the interest of such a kit with regards to a DIY solution.

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