Toilet Training Cats: Why It Isn’t a Good Idea

  On the surface, toilet training sounds like a great idea for Ragdoll cat owners: no more smell, no more constant scooping and cleaning – what could be the downside? Toilet_Trained_Cat_13_Aug_2005 When I first got Charlie and Trigg, I requested a few of the cat toilet training kits that were on the market and decided to try and toilet train them.  It was a painful experience for me to watch – very un-cat like.  I couldn’t follow through with it.  I do know that some readers have their kitties toilet trained – and understand that there are always exceptions to the rule.  However, in general, if a reader contacts me asking about toilet training, I will tell them I am opposed to it.  I am opposed to it mainly because you can’t really keep an eye on their urine output if it is going into a bowl of water.  You really don’t have a concept of how much they are peeing. Actually, there are quite a few downsides, not the least of which is that toilet training doesn’t necessarily even get rid of odor problems. Here are a few reasons to steer clear of toilet training your kitty.

Toilet Training Cats Is Not the Perfect Solution

One major flaw with toilet training cats is that it might not even be effective at eliminating odors. Most people toilet train because they do not want to deal with litter box waste, but because a cat cannot flush, you might still have to deal with the smell in your bathroom anyway. There is also no guarantee that toilet training will always work. In order for your cat to always use the toilet, you will have to keep the door open and the lid up at all times – if you forget once your cat will be forced to go on the floor. Cats also might need to be retrained to use the toilet. For example, if you board your cat, they will probably use a standard litter box and would need to be retrained when they get home, which can be confusing. A bad experience with the toilet or even difficulty because of age or illness could also mean that your cat will no longer want to use the toilet, so it isn’t necessarily a permanent arrangement – and if a cat starts going in another spot without your knowledge, that habit could be even harder to break.

Health and Age Can Be Dangerous

As mentioned above, the heath and age of your cat affects their ability to use the toilet. The toilet is a slippery surface that the cat has to jump onto and then perch on while they do their business, which could be difficult for very young or very old cats. Imagine a cat starts to have muscle or joint issues as they age – using a toilet will not be comfortable for them. And of course if they have one incident that involves falling in the toilet, they might be so traumatized that they will not want to approach it again – not to mention the stressful experience they could have if they fall in and cannot get out while you aren’t home. There is another health reason you should not toilet train your cat: monitoring feces and urine is one of the quickest ways to detect cat heath problems, such as UTIs, which can be life threatening. When you scoop things out of the litter box, you notice changes in the volume or consistency of your cat’s waste, and this early detection could mean lifesaving treatment for a cat.

Toilet Training for Cats Is Just Not Natural

As Jackson Galaxy points out, toilet training a cat means they are not a “raw cat” anymore. Cats are already doing humans a huge favor by using a litter box instead of going wherever they want like they would in the wild, so asking them to also jump up and use a toilet is downright demeaning to them as animals. [embedyt][/embedyt] Cats also have a lot of natural instincts related to their bathroom routines, like the desire to dig and cover or to mark their territory. They are sensitive to where their litter boxes are, and they might not even want to share with other cats, so demanding that all of your cats use the toilet could be stressful for them, and going to the bathroom should feel safe for a cat. So for the physical and mental health of your kitty, it is better to stick to the litter box. In addition, litter boxes do not have to be smelly and unsightly if you get into regular routines of scooping every day, topping off litter, and occasionally scrubbing the whole litter box. Why do you use a litter box over a toilet? What tips do you have for good litter box routines?
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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. i tried many many years ago to do the toilet training thing and it didn’t work. i have had cats since then that would use the toilet , i never tried to train them. i was terrified once when i woke up to the sound of peeing in the toilet and thought someone was in my house (i lived alone). i got up and snuck to the bathroom door and looked around and one of my cats was peeing in the toilet! i never close my bathroom door because the cats always demand to come in. i totally believe that my cats saw me peeing and decided to try it. he continued to use the toilet for as long as he lived. not exclusively but he would often. a cat i have now (i have 3) .. he will pee in the toilet. it’s funny because he seems embarrassed about it if i catch him. i rarely see it but i’ll be in my bedroom and i can hear him. i wouldn’t ever again try to “train” a cat to use the toilet but i think it’s interesting that some of them choose to use it and i really think it’s because they are copying us.

    1. that is NUTS that you had a cat use the toilet without being trained – and yes, make sense that he watched you going on the toilet. so, have you considered using the litter box to see if they will use the litter box instead? ha ha ha – just kidding. i hope other readers weigh in about that though – i’d like to know if other cats do it without having been trained.

  2. Excellent post & topic, Jenny! Out of all the lovely kittehs I’ve had in my life I never once thought of trying to toilet train them just from the fact that it just seemed wrong (and very hard and quite scary for the poor kitty). <3

    I have no problem with litterbox maintenance (which has always ended up being one of my daily chores but I really don't mind it at all). I keep Miss PSB's litterboxes scooped two to three times a day and always monitor for clump size and quantity for what is natural for her. When I feel the litter needs to be replaced and the boxes need to be totally cleaned, I do that. Sometimes that is once a month and sometimes it is longer depending on my desire to do it. (Bad kitty momma!) 🙂 <3

    With the exception of one UTI when she was less than a year old (and a change in diet along with some treatment our vet recommended to us cleared that right up), we have never had any issue with her not using her litterboxes. I have two NVR Miss Litterboxes setup in our den and she seems very happy with that setup. (Would lurve to have a Litter Robot but we just don't have room for it and trying to clean that big thing inside a small apartment seems unimagineable…really need a backyard for that, in my opinion.) 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    1. Teresa Reid says:

      Miss Pink Sugarbelle is so lucky to have such a caring Mom as you to keep her potty simply spotless!

  3. I toilet trained Diva as a kitten and 8 years later, no issues. If she wants to show me something, she will sit at the door and holler like her head is on fire, and then when I come to the door, she runs to the toilet and poops. I take a look with her, and then flush. Since we both use the same toilet, I can tell by the aroma and colour of the urine, and the consistency of the feces.
    And when she had a uti, before I spoke cat, she peed on my bed. Since resolving that, there has only been one issue, and that is hogging most of the bed!!

    1. Sounds like you and Diva really communicate with one another, which is wonderful.

  4. Teresa Reid says:

    Completely agree. Let your cat be a cat and enjoy and love them for that.❤

      1. Teresa Reid says:

        Hehehe! Love you!

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