Green Little Cat

toilet training

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: