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How to Toilet Train Your Cat

By: Karen Commings

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Every cat lover who saw the movie Meet the Parents envies Robert DeNiro's character, whose seal point Himalayan cat, Mr. Jinx, used the toilet to eliminate his wastes. Think of the convenience: no more hoisting bags of litter into and out of the car, no more scooping waste from the litter box and throwing it into the trash, and no more smell when Rocko makes a hefty deposit in (or outside of) his box. With the exception of flushing, a toilet-trained cat eliminates all of the problems associated with managing pet poop.

Many cats instinctively bury their waste to hide the scent from potential predators. When you toilet train your cat, you condition him to abandon those instincts in favor of simply dropping his waste into a water-filled container. On the other hand, cats are clean-freaks, so the absence of odors associated with a litter box may well fit in with their natural predilection. "Toilet training makes a cat more secure because the smell goes away," says Eric Brotman, Ph.D., author of How To Toilet Train Your Cat: The Education of Mango (Bird Brain Press). "It fits in with their hard-wiring."

If you have a cat that is over the age of 6 months and knows how to use a litter box, you can toilet train him. Younger cats are more easily trained, but age is no obstacle. "If the cat doesn't have problems using a litter box, there is no reason he can't learn a new behavior," says Brotman.

The equipment one needs to toilet train a cat is minimal. "A tin roasting pan and duct tape," says Brotman, "and the cat, of course." Although there are kitty toilet-training kits on the market, a kit is not necessary to succeed, and, if your cat is larger than the litter box supplied in the kit, it may actually impede progress.

Cats can be trained in as little as 3 weeks, but it may take longer. "It's variable," says Brotman. "It depends on the cat's inclination and the owner's commitment and understanding. It can take 3 to 4 months, but the average is about 3 to 4 weeks."

To toilet train your cat, follow the simple steps below. If at any time your cat appears reluctant to move on, go back a step or two, and start again. Don't force your cat to do something he is uncomfortable with.

See the next page for more details on How to Toilet Train Your Cat.

ADDITIONAL LINKS

For more information on traditional litter box training, please read Litter Box Training Your Cat.

If your cat is not using the litter box, pleae read Inappropriate Elimination in Cats.

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