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C2009-46

Dear Christopher Cat

Can I train my cats to use the toilet?

Christopher Responds

You can, but the real question is: Should you?

Years ago, a cat in my extended family learned to use the toilet. Her humans were impressed until they discovered that she sometimes left the seat wet, a shock at night in their dimly lit bathroom.

Toilet training also presents problems for us cats. As part of our elimination behavior, we instinctively paw at the litter and then cover our excrement.

Depriving us of our natural habit is stressful, and some cats denied their litter boxes react by soiling a soft bathroom rug or pile of clothes instead.

Furthermore, as we get older, many of us develop arthritis. I am too stiff to hop up and balance on an open toilet seat, and I’m afraid I’d slip into the bowl.

Nevertheless, if you’re intent on toilet training your cat, you’ll find dozens of Web sites with instructions. Just be patient, and recognize the process requires time.

On the other hand, if you’re simply tired of cleaning the litter box, investigate a self-scooping litter box, such as Litter Robot (www.litter-robot.com), or a self-cleaning system you connect to your home plumbing, such as CatGenie (www.catgenie.com).

In short, toilet training your cats may make life easier for you, but it’s no gift to your cats.

 

 

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