Training a cat to use the toilet is entirely dependent on the personality of the individual cat (i.e., how social the cat is & his response to praise). Depending on the individual cat's personality has a direct correlation to how long it will take to toilet train the cat which may take between 2 weeks and up to 3 months.
Feline toilet training is based on a simple method – gradually moving your cat's litter box closer and closer to the toilet with the end result of placing a bowl with cat litter inside the toilet and then finally removing it altogether when you cat is comfortable .
Toilet is a step-by-step process consisting of small changes which are made ONLY when your cat is entirely comfortable with the current situation. Each step may take anywhere between 2 days or 3 or more weeks before moving on to the next step in the cat toilet training. Sometimes, you may have to take a step back to make the cat comfortable and then move on when the cat is once again ready to move on to the next step. Please note: cat toilet training takes a lot of patience!
Cat Toilet Training Steps
- Gradually start moving your cat's litter box nearer to the toilet until finally it is right next to the toilet. Make sure throughout this process that the cat is always comfortable and sure of where its litter box is located.
- Start elevating the cat's litter box. Put something that will not slip under the litter box (a bath carpet). A good rate to increase the height of the litter box each day would be about 2 inches – be very cognizant of the signs that your cat may not be comfortable with the height of its litter box and adjust the litter box accordingly. Raise the litter box up over time until it reaches a level height of the toilet bowl. During this process, it is very important to keep the toilet lid open and the seat down, because the cat will get used to it and might even start climbing on the toilet seat in order to reach its litter box.
- Move the litter box over to the open toilet seat. Leave the litter box on the open toilet until the cat is comfortable with this.
- Purchase a metal bowl or tray which has small draining holes that fits snugly inside the toilet bowl. Fill the bowl with the FLUSHABLE cat litter. After you are positive that your cat is comfortable with using the toilet in this manner, you can remove the bowl/litter box entirely as the cat is very close to being a toilet trained cat.
- When your cat is using the "metal litter box/bowl" inside the toilet, be attentive to where is paws are. The goal is to teach him to squat with all four paws on the toilet seat rim. You move the cat while it is using the toilet and praise it (or reward it) when it is sitting in the correct position. More often than not, when making the transition, the cat will first sit entirely inside the metal bowl, then with their front paws on the toilet seat, and then finally it will sit with all four paws on the toilet.
- At this point, start using less and less cat litter as at this stage, serious cat urine odor can develop – so be sure to clean the bowl every time your cat uses it. Because cats instinctively scratch in the sand (or cat litter) to cover up the serious cat urine odor (and you are using less cat litter), they might not want to use the toilet any more – so make sure to clean after every use. Using flushable cat litter makes cleaning the bowl really easy – throw the litter in the toilet and flush, rinse out the bowl, and refill with the correct amount of litter, and replace in the toilet bowl. Tip: place newspaper on the floor to help keep the room clean if you have a cat who is an over-zealous scratcher. Please note: Pay attention to the cat's behavior – if the cat stops using the bowl inside the toilet – that is a signal to you that you are going too fast for the cat – take a step or two back.
- When the water level in the metal bowl reaches about 1.5 inches AND the cat has no problem using it, then AND only then, is it time to remove the bowl for good. The cat should now be toilet trained. Always remember to leave the toilet seat up for the cat and to flush regularly.
Disadvantages To Toilet Training Cats
Some people believe that it goes against a cat's natural instincts to scratch and cover up their messes/smell.
Toilet seats can also be slippery and there could be a risk of your cat injuring itself. Even if the cat does not fall in, he may become anxious whenever he uses the toilet and it could become an unpleasant task.
Having the cat use a litter box is easier to monitor so that you can tell if the cat becomes ill (i.e., urinary crystals, etc.).
If you move to another home, it may be difficult for the cat to get used to another "toilet". For some cats this presents no problems and they become acclimated to the new one right away. With a litter box, you just move it to the new home.
Some people do not like the idea of "sharing" a bathroom with a cat.
Things to Remember When Toilet Training A Cat
Important – Toilet training must be done gradually in order for it to be done successfully. You must be very patient and do not rush a cat on to the next step until you are sure that the cat if completely comfortable with the current step.
Just like toilet training a child – make it as easy as can for the cat – remember to keep the toilet set up and the bathroom door open.
If friends come to visit, please make sure to let them know about the cat and make sure that they leave the door open and the seat up, after they use the bathroom.
Make sure that you flush the toilet regularly and keep it clean – cats do not like smelly or dirty toilets (just like they did not like their litter boxes dirty).