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Can You Teach Your Cat to Use the Toilet?


cat in toiletFelines are a lot smarter than some people give them credit. When people think of smart pets, they always tend to gravitate toward dogs, purely because dogs are easier to train. Cats, however, can still learn a great many things, one of which is the ability to use the toilet rather than the litter box. Wait, what? Can a cat really learn to use the toilet? Yes, and here’s how.

Before starting, there are two things you’ll need to consider before moving forward here. The first is that the process it takes to teach a cat how to do their business in a toilet built for humans is not going to happen instantly and will actually take weeks- even months- before the desired results, so those expecting something to happen instantly are going to be extremely disappointed. The other thing to consider is that throughout the process, you may be rather inconvenienced, plus your bathroom may smell more strongly than usual.

If you can handle having some patience and understand that in order to have a cleaner house you have to let certain parts of it become initially indecent, then perhaps you’re ready to move onto the first step, which is to begin moving your cat’s litter box closer and closer to the toilet. A lot of the time this won’t take too much since many people keep their kitty’s litter in the bathroom anyway, but make sure your cat at least knows where the litter tray has been relocated to. Typically they’ll figure it out on their own, but just make it apparent.

Once the cat has gotten used to the idea of heading into the restroom, time to begin the real tricky parts. You’ll want to gradually raise the litter box higher and higher over the course of a week or two until it is the height of the toilet seat, making sure that wherever it’s located is still easily reachable by your cat and can actually be used.

From here, you’ll want to move the tray onto the toilet itself, right over the bowl. This is where the real inconvenience for you starts as you’ll have to move the tray whenever you’d like to use the bathroom, but it’s here where you can make or break this plan. It’s always where things can really start going wrong for your cat and where you’ll begin to see real resistance.

But of course it’ll get more complicated still as you remove the tray and switch to a bowl within the toilet bowl. What you’ll want to do is put a bowl that fits inside the toilet bowl, fill it with cat litter, and encourage your cat to get used to this new sensation. Once more, you’ll slowly start weaning your cat off of litter by reducing the amount of litter in the bowl little by little, then filling it with water little by little until you finally just remove the bowl and let your cat switch to the preferred method.

During this part you may also need to show your cat how to properly sit on the seat. Their natural instinct is to sit or stand in the litter, but they can’t do that with water, so they’ll need to learn to balance on the seat. During the litter-filled bowl portion, they’ll typically start completely inside the bowl, then start resting their front paws on the seat, and eventually hover over the bowl completely (or at least that’s the goal). It’s this step that gets the smelliest as less litter will mean less odor reduction. The toilet itself will ultimately cover up the odor entirely, but in the intermediate steps it may not be wonderfully pleasant just yet.

Also, getting your cat to perform the balancing act is a hard step to master. Your cat may be entirely unwilling to make the sacrifice and so may need to go back a step or two. Plus, even if they master the technique needed, they might not be happy doing so as it goes entirely against their instincts and can thus make them rather anxious. You’ll have to decide whether that’s worth it to you or not.

Furthermore, there will be a continued need on your part to fulfill your end of the bargain, which requires you to keep the bathroom door open and the toilet lid up at all times, lest your cat need to go but find that he cannot because you’ve carelessly shut the door. There’s also the trouble of cats not really being capable of flushing when finished, so chances are every single time anyone comes in to use the restroom, a nice little present will be waiting for them. If you can handle that, then by all means give this training method a try.

Cats are smart creatures when we give them a chance. They can learn to do all sorts of things, and being taught to use the toilet is just one. It may take some time and a lot of patience, but the end results can be pretty interesting.



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