Have you been wondering if you should toilet train your cat? Seen the videos of those cats using the toilet and feel like you should join the movement?
Don’t worry. You’re not hopelessly old school if you still lug the litter home. The biggest reason people toilet train their cats is they don’t have to clean the litter box ever again – and it does look impressive. Of course that sounds appealing – and of course, cats are clever, but don’t be overly swayed or fooled by those videos. It can take a lot of time to teach, it’s a messy process and doesn’t work with all cats.
But the biggest reason not to feel guilty that you’re still having your cat use a litter box – it’s better for your cat!
Top 4 reasons To Let Your Cat Pee How a Cat Should.
1. Forcing them to use a toilet goes against your cats natural instinct and inherent wild nature. A cat digs, eliminates and covers by instinct. This is why it’s so easy to teach them to use the box in the first place. A box filled with an appealing litter most closely resembles how a cat would choose to eliminate outdoors. Covering waste is how they prevent predators from finding where they live – it doesn’t matter that your cat is indoors, that instinct doesn’t go away. In those videos, you’ll see the poor cats pawing at the toilet lid, trying to cover the water with something. This is also sometimes when they fall in.
(Speaking of litter that appeals to your cat, in Raising Your Paws podcast episode 11, hear what the signs are that tell you your cat may not like the litter you are buying.)
2. Straddling the toilet can be difficult and stressful for cats. Especially for very young or old ones. Those seats can be slippery and not easy to negotiate especially if your cat is ill. If they fall in, even if they get out on their own, they may be panicked or soaked and if the toilet bowl was full, they will need a major bath, yuck. Remember, it can take only ONE traumatic experience for a cat to form a complete aversion to something. And if after a male human uses the bathroom and puts the toilet seat down, its a yay for a woman – bad news if you’re the cat. Nowhere to pee but on the rug. The process of eliminating should not be a stressful event.
3. The number of “bathrooms” and their locations are important for preventing elimination problems and creating security. If you have multiple cats, sometimes one cat may be nervous about walking through another cat’s territory to get to its box, so won’t use it, but you can always move the boxes to different places to solve that problem. Are you going to relocate your bathrooms? Elimination problems can also be caused by multiple cats not liking to share. (Listen to podcast episode 3 about this. ) No one likes a dirty toilet. If your cat doesn’t flush, no matter how many times you tell her to, there could be lingering odor from the solid waste, and other cats in the household may object to using the same toilet. Are you going to build new bathrooms for each cat? Of course not. That would be crazy.
4. You can monitor its habits of elimination. If your cat is sick or having some medical issues, your vet may want you to monitor the amount of urine your cat is producing. You can see this when you scoop the litter box – you cannot tell if there has been an increase or decrease when the urine is going into a toilet. Just so you know, a significant change in the volume of your cat’s pee, can be a red flag to a potential medical problem.
Also, if your cat ever needs to be hospitalized or boarded it will be in a cage with a traditional litter box. You may have to go through toilet training all over again when your kitty comes home. If you had kids, wasn’t that hard enough? You really want to do this with a feline?
Litter boxes and cats – like peanut butter and jelly. Compared to dogs, it’s ridiculous how easy it is. Why make it more complicated?
Source material for this blog posting comes from the certified cat behavior consultant, Pam Johnson-Bennett, in her book, Cat Wise. You can hear my interview with Pam in Raising Your Paws podcast episode 2. She shares the top truths about a cats nature that is really useful to know.
Not all barking is the same. Different sounding barks communicate different emotions and needs. If you’re trying to reduce the barking, recognizing what your dog is telling you is crucial. I’ll start with one that says your dog is excited.
Then, why do women sometimes have a harder time getting their dogs to obey them compared to men? Listen as Camilla Gray-Nelson, author of Lipstick and the Leash: Dog Training a Woman’s Way, explains the answer and tells you how to get control.
Next, if your cat is peeing outside its box, it might not like the brand of kitty litter you are buying. I’ll tell you the signs that indicate this may be the issue.
Resources for this episode.
Source for segment about barking. Barking: The Sound of a Language, by Turid Rugass.
Camilla Gray-Nelson’s websites:
Link to order her book, Lipstick and The Leash.
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