Toilet training your cat may sound like a convenient alternative to the litter box, but don’t be in a rush to get rid of that box without knowing what you and your cat will be facing. There are serious negatives to toilet training and too many people jump on the toilet training band wagon without fully understanding potential downsides to this technique. I have done many consultations for cat behavior problems as a result of owners attempting to train their cats to exclusively eliminate in the toilet. The cats end up stressed out and confused, and the human family members almost always wind up very frustrated. What is supposed to be the answer to the dreaded litter box set-up may end up creating a major behavior problem.
Nobody Likes a Litter Box That Stinks
One common reason people are attracted to the idea of toilet training their cats is because they’re fed up with dealing with litter box mess and smell. Many people don’t want to come in contact with what comes out of the rear end of a cat even if that only means scooping the waste a couple of times a day. In reality, litter boxes don’t have to be messy and smelly. A big reason why they are is they don’t get scooped and cleaned enough. Too any times it’s the cat parent who drops the ball in terms of litter box maintenance. Would you want to use an unflushed toilet? Well, an uncleaned litter box is the feline equivalent to that. Litter granules can only absorb so much urine. A clean and odor-free litter box takes a consistent but easy routine. Scoop out the waste twice a day, periodically top off the box with fresh litter to maintain a consistent level, and then thoroughly scrub the box monthly. Follow that routine and no one will even know there’s a litter box in the room.
Why Toilet Training Isn’t the Best Idea For Your Cat
When the cat eliminates in the toilet you can’t accurately see whether there’s a change in urine or feces volume. You also can’t detect a change in elimination habits. If the urine is going into the toilet as opposed to a litter box, you can’t tell whether there has been an increase or decrease in volume. A change in volume is a big red flag to a potential medical problem. When you scoop the litter box you’re alerted to changes in urine clumps. Early detection may make a huge difference in how successfully potential illness is treated.
Toilet training goes against a cat’s natural instinct to dig, eliminate, and cover.