It is easier to first have a kitten use a regular litter box before graduating to a human toilet. Mother cats do help train their kittens, but felines in general naturally gravitate to material they can easily dig when nature calls. Most kittens and cats therefore have no problem finding the litter box and using it, as long as there is not a problem with the box’s placement, an underlying health issue, a behavioral problem or other complication.
Keep in mind that cats are also very driven by odors, so if they mess on your carpet or another undesirable spot, they might return to that area unless it’s properly cleaned. To prevent that, use an enzyme-based product that can help break down the waste material.
Assuming your kitten is litter box savvy and close to adulthood, you can now consider toilet training your pet. Jenn Spencer, author of the blog Cat Toilet Training, shares that the advantages of doing this are many. The benefits are “first financial, since cat owners will not need to purchase litter once their cat is potty trained to use a toilet,” she says. “Besides that, you will never have the dirty job of cleaning out a litter box again, which is typically the least favorite chore in a cat household. Another advantage of toilet training your cat is the elimination of unpleasant smells from your house, since you can simply flush it away and not have to let it sit in a dirty litter box for a few days.”
Spencer and other experts explain that training your cat to use the toilet requires several gradual steps. To simplify the process, buy a training system, such as Litter Kwitter. It includes four training discs that, over a period of time, transition the top of your toilet from a more standard litter box setup for your cat to basically just the toilet itself. The goal is to get your cat to jump on the toilet seat and take care of its business as we do (minus the jumping, of course!).
Whichever method you use, Spencer says to never force your cat to move to the next step in the training process until it is comfortable with the step you are working on. It might take a few extra weeks for your pet to get the hang of being toilet trained, but it will certainly be worth it in the long run.
Image via Thinkstock