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Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 7

I was still waiting for Furball to use the cat toilet training tray since I moved the CitiKitty onto the top of the toilet.  He was whining a little more than usual in the morning and kept pacing around the house.

I was a little concerned.  When I checked the toilet, the tray was still unadorned from any excrements.  I enjoyed writing that sentence!

After watching Furball seem a little more anxious than normal, I thought I’d try showing him the box one more time.  This time, instead of placing him directly on the tray, I put him on the stool beside the toilet.  This allowed him the opportunity to stand on a familiar object, yet explore the toilet seat.

He gave the tray a couple of sniffs.  Then he gingerly stepped up and walked on the pan a bit.  I held my breath.  He went into the familiar cat squat and I left him to do his business.

A giant sigh of relief!

My Observations:

Yes, as Amazon reviewers have noted, the CitiKitty pan is flimsy as compared to the Litter Kwitter.  I noticed it giving a bit under Furball’s paws.  He weighs about 12.5 lbs.  At no point however, did it seem like the tray would not hold him or that it would break off from the toilet.  It moved, but seemed secure.  Like what you would expect from buildings built to withstand earthquakes.

Furball also stood exclusively on the pan and did not put his paws on the toilet seat.  I could see how punching out the rings too fast would cause issues.  I’m just happy he’s using the tray on the toilet.  I’ll give him as much time as he needs before punching out the first ring.  The first ring is quite small, so I’m not too concerned.  My biggest concern was that he wouldn’t use the tray when it was moved to the toilet.

Out of habit, I went to use the bathroom a few times, but stopped when I saw the cat litter tray sitting on the toilet.  I used the other washroom instead.  I could see how if you only had one bathroom this would be a pain in the butt.  It’s not that big a deal to move the tray, but I really didn’t want to be handling a pan full of litter every time I needed to go.

Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 6

On Day 6, I moved the CitiKitty cat toilet training kit tray back onto the toilet.  I put down the new flat toilet seat.  I picked up Furball, placed him on the toilet so that he could see where his new “box” had moved to.  He jumped off immediately, but that was to be expected.  I picked him up one more time to show him and then I waited.

And waited…

And waited…

And waited…

The expected #2 never arrived, so I put a footstool right infront of the toilet.  Furball likes to sit on the stool in the kitchen.  Kinda ironic I needed to add a stool in expectation of a stool.

Again, I waited…

And waited…

And waited…

And waited…

By the end of the day, the cat litter tray sat pristinely on the toilet.  Well, as pristine as a litter tray can be.  Actually, it wasn’t that pristine.  I left remnants of his previous #1 coated litter in the pan.  I figured the smell of cat pee would alert him to where his box went.

Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 5

On Day 4, I was going to move Furball’s CitiKitty litter pan onto the toilet.  I lifted up the toilet seat, placed the tray on the bowl and lowered the seat back down on it.  Then I picked up Furball and placed him on the seat to show him where his new “litter box” had relocated to.

As his paws skidded on the seat, I realized I’d have to go back a step.  Our toilet seat is the “French curve” style where it slopes gently inwards.  Personally I hate it, but that’s what the house came with and it was brand new so it didn’t make sense to get rid of it.  Why would you want your butt to slide into the toilet?

I’d seen Furball balancing delicately on the seat before, but I figured with the cat toilet training, it would be hard for him to stand on the sloping seat and squat over the tray.  If you’re going to toilet train your cat, why set them up for failure?

I put the CitiKitty tray back to the spot beside the toilet and left it there for another day.  On Day 5, I finally got around to swapping the French curve seat with the flat seat in the upstairs bathroom.  Who knew it was so hard to align a toilet seat perfectly over the bowl?

I did learn why some toilet seats slide around on the bowl.  The screws are loose.  Flip up the caps by the seat hinges, and use a large flathead screwdriver to tighten the screws.  Reach behind the bowl and under the screws to find the bolts.  Hold onto them while you tighten the screws.



Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 1

IMG_5615On Day 1 of Furball’s cat toilet training, I took the CitiKitty kit and placed the plastic tray insert on the ground next to the toilet.  According to the instruction booklet (which is printed on 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled paper), the first step is to place your litter box next to the toilet.

Furball’s box has always been next to the toilet so I was already onto Step 2.  The second step was to actually put the tray insert into the toilet and show it to your cat.  I decided to go slower since everything I’ve read about cat toilet training suggests that going slowly is the best thing to do.

As a result, I put the tray insert on the floor where Furball’s litter box used to be.  The plastic made a scratchy scraping sound on the floor, so I carefully folded up a piece of newspaper and put it underneath as a buffer.  I thought the scrape (like nails on a chalkboard) might freak out the cat.

I also didn’t put only fresh litter in the tray.  I put a bit of his stink-o-factor litter from the box.  It made sense to me that he’d recognize what it was if there was some of his business in it.  The tray felt like it might move around when he walked on it, so I also wedged it between the litter scoop and the toilet brush to keep it from sliding.

I was expecting a big mess of litter all over the bathroom since the tray is quite shallow.  Much to my surprise and delight, when Furball used the “box”, there was just a wet spot in the tray and a few stray bits of litter.  Later in the day, when he did #2, he left a few logs sitting on top.

I guess I’m lucky that my cat is rather lazy when it comes to burying his stuff.  I’m unlucky in that for 8 years, I’ve had to put up with stinky cat boxes since he won’t cover it up half the time.  On the other hand, this might make cat toilet training really easy.

CitiKitty’s in the House – Time to Toilet Train My Cat

CitiKittyFurball’s days of using eco-friendly cat litter may be numbered. Recently, Ewa, one of my blog readers, wrote in to recommend toilet training your cat as an alternative to using kitty litter. It made a lot of sense to me when I calculated that Furball was going through at least 200 lbs of litter a year. I also knew he was toxoplasmosis-free, so I wasn’t concerned about flushing his waste.

Ewa wrote that she was using the Litter Kwitter cat toilet training system and thought this was the best system as it seemed more durable and allowed you to go back a step in the training process. Without it being said, she was probably comparing Litter Kwitter to CitiKitty.

After I read her email, I looked at reviews on Amazon for Litter Kwitter and CitiKitty. There seemed to be a number of reviews that concurred with Ewa.   I thought about buying the Litter Kwitter, but balked at the hefty price tag. Also, when I read feedback on toilet training your cat, it seemed like the bathroom would be one giant mess of litter, feces and urine until the cat was trained, which could take months. With the demands of a new baby in the house, I hesitated.

After I posted Ewa’s tips on toilet training your cat, I got an email from CitiKitty. They offered to send me one of their cat toilet training kits for evaluation. They also told me some interesting facts about their product. It’s green!

They use recycled plastic and 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled (50{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} post-consumer-waste) paper for the instructional materials that come with the kit. The product and its packaging is made in the U.S. unlike Litter Kwitter, which Amazon reviewers said was made in China. Litter Kwitter also comes with an instructional DVD, which seems a little unnecessary.

As with anything “green”, you need to weigh the pros and cons of the resources used to make the cat toilet training kit vs. the resources and waste from cat litter.

One of the major complaints about CitiKitty in the Amazon reviews was that once you punched out a ring, you couldn’t go back if your cat got freaked out by the bigger hole. Well, I just received the CitiKitty cat toilet training kit today, and I noticed there’s an extra ring set included that does allow you to backtrack.

My mother-in-law is going to be visiting for six weeks to see her grandchild and give us a helping hand. I figure this would be the only and best time to attempt to toilet train my cat, Furball.  Grandma will able to look after the baby in case I need to do a major bathroom clean every day. As well, the baby isn’t crawling yet, so he won’t be exposed to any stray cat litter.

I’ll keep you all posted at how successful the process of toilet training my cat is. The one thing I gathered from the reviews is that you need to go slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowly.

Tips on Toilet Training Your Cat

Cat toilet training and toilet training your catOne of our readers wrote in to recommend toilet training your cat as an alternative to using kitty litter.  While switching to eco-friendly cat litter is much more positive for the environment than clay-based litters (See related posts at bottom of this article for more details), it may not be the greenest option.  I just read on the Internet that the average cat goes through something like 440 lbs of litter a year.

I thought to myself that the number was a bit high until I looked at the cat litter bag in the bathroom and saw that it was indeed a 40 lb bag.  We probably go through a bag every other month and I really stretch out its use. I’ll blog about how to do this in the future.  Regardless, that would still add up to 240 lbs of litter going into the garbage each year. If you factor in that there are over 80 million household cats in the United States, even if only half of them were using 250 lbs a year, that would be 20 billion pounds of litter a year.  I had to check the calculator twice to make sure I had the right number because it was so high!  I had made an estimate before that had astounded me, but it was only 3 billion.  Now, I’m looking at a number 7x higher.

That made me give more serious thought to idea of toilet training my cat.  Admittedly, it does seem strange at first, but the more you think about it, the more sense it makes.

Fortunately, Green Little Cat has some very intelligent readers who are passionate about the environment.  Ewa wrote in to tell me that she has started the toilet training process with her cat, Netto.  It does take patience and a few months to make the transition.  She’s going to check in with us when Netto is fully toilet-trained.

In the mean time, here are some tips she offered based on her experience to date:

  • Buy a toilet training system! She chose Litter anti fungal Kwitter since it seemed like the best one on the market. It is more expensive than others, but since you don’t need to break it to make the hole larger it allows you to go back to an earlier step if you realize your cat was not ready to move forward. It also seems sturdier than other brands.
  • Use a separate toilet for your cat if possible. She has a small apartment with only one bathroom and sometimes it’s annoying when you wake up in the morning and have to start cleaning because the cat made a mess during the night. (Poo and pee on the Litter Kwitter and cat litter all over the floor…)
  • Take your time and make sure your cat is comfortable with every step forward. She tried to get her cat to “get used to it” by sticking by the changes even though the cat didn’t like it and that was not a good approach. Instead the cat started peeing in the bathroom sink (a problem Ewa now has to solve) and had a few “accidents” on the bed. To make the changes easier on her cat Ewa decided to buy the two extra trays from Litter Kwitter that give you 5 trays in total instead of only 3 and now the cat accepts the changes without a problem since they’re more subtle.
  • Use a litter that your cat is comfortable with that is also flushable. She’s using one made of pine shavings and it works really well. No smell, her cat likes it and it doesn’t muck up the toilet when the cat digs it into the toilet.
  • Have patience! She started toilet training Netto in March (!) and she has gone through a long process of different techniques etc. Ewa’s friends and her husband think she’s crazy since she is still confident it will work, but now they’re doing really well. You just have to be attentive to your cat and what he needs rather than trying to force him to do something. That will never work with a cat!

Thanks Ewa for sharing and being so honest about the experience!

I do have to add a caveat if you live in the state of California like I do.  Toxoplasmosis parasites from cat waste are killing the local sea otters.  Apparently the waste eventually ends up in the ocean and the parasite is harmful to sea otters.  All litter bags in California carry a warning sticker saying not to flush cat waste into the toilet.  Be aware of whether your cat may be affected by this parasite.  They will not exhibit any symptoms.  It’s spread by eating raw flesh such as rodents so if your cat has ever been outdoors, then they are at risk.

I personally know Furball’s entire history and he’s been kept indoors his whole life and has never been allowed outside or has eaten raw meat.  I was confident enough to clean his litter box while I was pregnant so I’m honestly quite sure that his waste is toxoplasmosis-free.  This may not be true for your cat, so please take this into consideration if you are thinking about trying the toilet training route.

Here’s a YouTube video I found on the Litter Kwitter system:

How to Make Recycled Newspaper Cat Litter

Recently, I came across a recipe for making your own recycled newspaper cat litter.  Naturally, since I’m a big DIY proponent, I couldn’t resist trying out the instructions for making kitty litter out of recycled newspaper.  The litter recipe was the invention of Allie Larkin and is posted on her blog, Allie’s Answers.

My first concern about making litter from newsprint was the ink on the paper.  Was it safe for my cat and me and was it safe to rinse it down the drain?  Good old Wikipedia had the answers under an article about Soy Ink.  It cited a 2004 article from Graphics Arts Online that states, “Currently, about a third of the nation’s daily and weekly newspapers print with soy inks, including about 95{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of the 1,500-plus high-circulation dailies. Soy inks have become the prime source for newspaper color printing, with publishers citing their performance on press, vibrant colors, and environmental friendliness (no volatile organic compounds). Though black soy news inks cost slightly more than their conventional counterparts, publishers still find them competitive because of the extra coverage they afford.”  To be extra sure, you could always contact your local newspaper and ask them.

This was actually a moot point for my experiment in making my own cat litter because I have newsprint packing paper that I can use.  I have literally been reusing the same packing paper for over 4 years through 3 moves and I’m planning to keep reusing it for the next time I move, maybe in a few years.  However, some pieces have become so tattered that they’re really not that good for packing stuff anymore.  I used these sheets of newsprint to try out the cat litter recipe.

Since there’s no ink on my packing paper, I skipped the first two steps that entail washing off the ink.  For my test batch, I used the equivalent of 1.5 full sheets of a newspaper.  Allie’s instructions call for a paper shredder, but I don’t have one, so I tried tearing the paper into strips.  I found that by stacking 4 sheets together and following the grain of the newspaper, it was relatively simple to tear it into strips about 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide.


Next I added some warm water and my big pile of shredded paper shrank down into a wet mass.  I dumped it into a collander, squeezed out the water and using my hands, mixed in about 1/4 cup of baking soda.  The newsprint shrank down to a small ball.

Allie suggests crumbling the newspaper mixture onto a screen and leaving it to dry for a few days.  I also don’t happen to have a screen, so I tried improvising by using a really old towel that was beyond donating except to an animal shelter.  It’s about 90 degrees outside, so I spread out the towel in the sun.  Then, I put a layer of mesh fabric on top of it.  The mesh is leftover from a DIY Hallowe’en costume where my husband went as a beekeeper.  We knew if we kept the mesh, we’d find a use for it one day.

I crumbled the newsprint, which took a bit longer than I expected.  I think I was crumbling too small based on Allie’s photo on her blog, so you should try making bigger “crumbs” if you’re going to make your own recycled newspaper cat litter.

Next, I waited for about a day for the do-it-yourself cat litter to dry.  In the end, the recipe yielded about 3 to 4 cups of recycled newspaper cat litter.  The final texture came out a bit like wood shavings.  Allie’s looked more like little balls, so I’m wondering if I didn’t add enough baking soda or conversely, added too much.

I tossed it into Furball’s box, mixed it up with his organic wheatgrass litter, and waited to see how he would react.  Because it was such a small amount and he had used recycled newspaper litter before, I wasn’t too concerned about the homemade litter upsetting his normal routine.  He did his business as usual.

I can’t really comment on how the homemade litter made from newsprint was for controlling odors because I made such a small amount.  It also won’t fit neatly through the standard litter scoop.  However, if you’ve got the time, want to save some money and are hardcore green, making your own litter may be a great option — especially if you know people who have a newspaper subscription (try friends/neighbours/the library).  Why not give it a try?

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