Cat Toilet Training Made Easy

Cat toilet training might seem like a pipe dream, but it's entirely possible if you go about it in the right way. Cat toilet training, if successful, can totally eliminate the need to clean the litter box. Here's how to go about it:

Step One: Train Yourself

Your cat can easily learn to use the toilet, but he'll never be about to lift the lid or lower the seat. Remember, you'll need to leave the lid up and the seat down always, so that your cat has access to the bowl. During the training process, your cat will become accustomed to walking on the toilet seat. Put up a notice if you're worried that you (or your houseguests) might overlook this crucial step.

Step Two: Make Your Bathroom Your Cat's Bathroom

Move your cat's litter box right next to the toilet, and leave it there undisturbed until he's accustomed to the change. Then, gradually begin raising the level of the litter box--you can use old magazines, phone books, or even pieces of cardboard to lift it up--by about two inches per day, until your cat's litter pan is on a level with the toilet bowl.

Step Three: Begin the Transition

Next, place the cat litter box directly on top of the toilet seat, and leave it there for two or three days until your cat becomes accustomed to this change. If your cat has problems adjusting, split this stage in two by first leaving the litter box halfway over the seat for a few days.

By now, your cat should be familiar with walking on the open toilet, because you've been keeping your lid up and your seat down. Measure the diameter of your toilet bowl, then acquire a metal mixing bowl of that diameter.

Step Four: Teach Proper Technique

Now, you'll remove the litter box altogether. Place the metal mixing bowl in the toilet, with a few inches of litter in the bottom. You'll need to leave it there for a few weeks.

Before you can remove the bowl, you'll need to teach your cat the proper posture. Your cat should perch on the toilet seat, with his front feet in the middle and his hind feet on either side.

To do this, you'll need to catch your cat on the toilet as often as possible. The position he naturally assumes will dictate how fast he learns the proper posture; if he's got his front feet on the seat and his hind feet in the bowl, simply lift his hind feet, one at a time, into the proper position. Repeat this as often as possible until your cat learns to do it on his own.

If your cat poses with all four feet in the mixing bowl, you'll have a harder job. First, you'll need to teach him to place his front feet on the seat; once he's got that, you can move on to teaching him where to put his hind feet. Be patient, and keep at it until your cat leaves his feet where you put them. You can offer treats and praise to reward and encourage your cat.

Step Five: Remove the Bowl

You won't just want to remove the bowl all at once. You'll need to slowly decrease the amount of litter over a period of two or three days. Once all the litter is gone, begin gradually filling the bowl with water, again, over a two to three day period, until the bowl is full. If your cat has problems at this stage, simply slow down the process to give him more time to adjust.

Once your cat is comfortable with using the mixing bowl full of water, you can remove the bowl altogether.