Pet cats are awesome, but cleaning their litter boxes can be a drag. Wouldn’t it be great if you could teach your cat to use the toilet? No more stinky scooping and scrubbing – just a simple flush and your cat’s business is down the drain. With patience and a cooperative cat, it is possible to teach your feline to perch on the human commode, but forcing your cat to use the toilet may not be in the best interest of your pet… or the environment.
How to train your cat
Training itself is a relatively straightforward, if time-consuming process. There are several kits you can buy, or you can find some do-it-yourself instructions online, like these offered by PawNation. But the basic method boils down to placing a makeshift litter box inside the toilet and gradually decreasing the amount of litter each day, while at the same time, creating and slowly enlarging a hole in the pan. If your feline is so inclined, eventually he or she will get used to eliminating waste into the open toilet seat, and voilà, you’ve got a kitty that uses the commode.
What’s so wrong with that?
Well, for one, you’re forcing your cat to go against its nature, notes The Telegraph. Felines prefer to eliminate their waste in a sand-like substance, so that they can cover it afterwards. Even if you successfully train your cat to use the toilet, any disruption – such as a guest leaving the seat cover down – may cause them to start going somewhere else.
Also, if your feline is using the toilet, you may not be as sensitive to changes in his elimination habits, the vets at Manhattan Cat Specialists explain on their website. It can be easy to miss warning signs like blood, consistency or an increase of waste. Furthermore, leaping up and perching on a toilet seat isn’t so easy for a small creature: your cat could slip and hurt or traumatize itself by falling into the bowl.
Down the drain
And then there’s the environmental risk of toxoplasmosis, points out Catster. If your cat is infected, it can pass this parasite along through its feces. And if you’re flushing those feces down the toilet, it can get into the water system and cause problems for other creatures such as sea otters.
As a cat owner, life beyond the litter box can seem tempting, but you’ll want to keep your furball’s health and comfort in mind when deciding whether to give toilet training a go. There’s a reason you don’t see too many toilet-trained cats outside of the movies.