America Has The Best Toilets For Cats

Everything in America is the biggest. I has to be because they are the biggest people. Their fridges are awesome. You could live inside one of their washing machines quite comfortably.

Seriously though, America does have some seriously large household machinery and personally I love it. I love the America devices. Ours seem quite puny by comparison. The American machines can be a bit clunky but they are very functional.

I am guessing to a certain extent, but I am going to presume that on average the American toilet has a stronger flush and a bigger outlet pipe that European loos (English for toilet). Don’t take that the wrong way, please..! That can create problems, although in general it makes life easier. One problem relates to cats – at last I have got to the subject of cats. I will also dangerously presume that more cat owners in America than in other countries flush their cat litter down the toilet. It is highly convenient to do that.

Toilet trained Singapura cat

Toilet trained Singapura cat. The way to go if you have 3 months to train her/him. Photo by deborahdegolyer

Some cat litter is designed to be flushable but…is it really as good as the sales blurb says it is? And in any case a lot people in America have such superb toilets with vacuum flush systems and oversize piping and gallons of water etc. that they can successfully flush down clay clumping litter or almost anything else for a long time without apparent plumbing problems.

So I have concluded that Americans like to flush used cat litter down the toilet because the toilet and the plumbing and the drain can take it and because it is extremely convenient. It also helps the garbage people because it removes cat litter from other household waste.

Lucky Americans. Not so lucky, though, if you are a sea otter or some other marine wildlife living near the outlet for processed waste because sewage processing plants cannot at present (I am informed) remove the protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis and which can be in the feces of the domestic cat.

There is, therefore, an environmental issue here. Also I will guess that the average decent American plumber would advise against chucking used cat litter down the toilet.

As for me, it never crossed my mind. I wonder why? It just seems unnatural to do it. Also it seems like a disaster waiting to happen on the plumbing front. Clumping litter is clay. Clay and water = cement. I am almost certain that very few people in Europe flush cat litter down the toilet.

What do you do? Are you a litter flusher? If so how do you justify it?

Photo on Flickr. The Singapura is a rare cat breed and the smallest purebred cat.

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America Has The Best Toilets For Cats — 14 Comments

  1. How very interesting!
    Yes everything in America appears larger than life to me and a lady I correspond with over there can’t believe how most of us live in our small houses in such close proximity to our neighbours. We must look such a small tightly packed country to them. She also can’t believe we know our neighbours names and chat with them and are interested in each others lives, that we know our neighbours cats and dogs names too and care about them also.
    We never put cat litter down our toilet, we don’t use much ourselves, our litter trays are only for emergency use as our boyz have their corner of the garden always dug over so they can use what comes natural to cats and all animals but humans, but even when looking after an ex friend’s 15 indoor cats we always bagged the dirty litter and put it in the outside bin.
    I should think even the best of plumbing must clog up eventually and as you say Michael the tainted water must eventually reach the sea and be a danger to the creatures living in it.

    • You have the best system. My Cbarlie also uses the outdoor toilet. He must have learned that from previous experience. He does not know what litter is! He would be in serious trouble if he went next door but he doesn’t. He uses a certain part of the garden and no one complains but there are a lot of people who could complain. I think a cat going to the toilet outside is natural. We should accept it without complaint. All my previous cats have used litter and I have disposed of it in the regular rubbish bins. These are large bins on wheels in London. I bag it up over about 2 weeks (a large bag) and then seal it and dispose of it. I used wood chip litter.

  2. I would never consider putting litter down the toilet. Any plumber would cringe at the suggestion. And, I know ALL of my neighbors. We all help out if someone is away from home for a while. This weekend, I’m feeding and watering chickens (and gathering the eggs!) and feeding a cat. I bake and share food with the elderly woman next door and sometimes do her shopping. This is a huge country. Generalizations don’t fit everywhere.

    Fortunately, only one of the four cats in my life use litter. And he is sloppy about it. He might be out in the garden comfortably lounging, then run inside to use the litter! He must have been an indoor cat in his former life.

    dw

    • I am pleased to read your comment, Dorothy. It just seems that based on what I read that a lot of people put litter down the toilet, which as you say seems mad. It is difficult to get a feel for the mentality on litter disposal. It may that the product that is designed to be disposed down the toilet has put that idea into the minds of some people who formerly only thought about bagging it up and putting into rubbish (garbage) disposal.

      I never heard about it until I discovered it online. I honestly think that almost no one in the UK or Europe disposes of used litter by putting it down the toilet.

      • I wish I could get my Lilly to stay in my garden but I can’t, she goes accross the street and i dont want her to get run over so I have had to lock her in now. Red couldn’t be locked in sadly. You are very lucky if you have a cat who you can let out safely. I am currently torn about this. Lilly and Red used to never use a litter box and always go outside. My outdoor/indoor cat in Canada was the same. Never used a litter box.

  3. Alot of the best cat stuff is only available in the US. Just go to the moderncat website – most of the new cat furniture and toilets etc are only available over there. It’s a shame actually because I would like some of the things I see on there. Things are bigger and better over there. I have a collection of about 150 pre and post war deluxe American bicycles, and I can tell you, like the cars, they just dont compare to the small utilitarian style of things in Europe.

    I have started using this new silica litter which is much lighter and organic, although it appears to be totally artificial. It also has much less dust and absorbs odor more than other kinds. Infact its so great, just a bit pricey is all.

    I’ve never even thought of flushing it down the toilet. Literally never crossed my mind. But in keeping with the US way of life, this would be the easiest thing to do as part of the deluxe lifestyle of things over there. Deluxe is a good word to describe the way things work over there. All that big plumbing and free delivery when you order food – it’s all just easier and cheaper. But there is a positive creative element that comes with it. I guess because materials and services are so plentiful in the US, people have made and designed many more things without too many limits. In the cat world this is just great. You can get all sorts of cat toilets over there from the automatic ones to ones that come in stylish wooden furniture to suite your deco. I like the choice and its hard not to like the price even though there is certainly something terrible about everything being so extremely cheap. Take Walmart for that example. Just terrible, you wouldnt catch me dead walking through a shop like that knowing what I do about it. But, as I said, there are alot of independent small US companies making great new things for cats. These new cardboard scratch lounges for example. Cats love them. When they finally reached Europe they were tiny and useless for the most part. I really want the new scratch lounge from ‘Brawny Cat’ – you look on their site. Its a fantastic thing, much bigger and better than anything over here. And it doesnt appear to have downsides like being made in China or sweatshops. Its US made by a small company, and if you live in the US of course they will deliver it for free. I have sen some fantastic large and cleverly designed cat toilets on the moderncat site too. America has the best toilets most probably. I dont think the Europeans have even gotten so far absorbed into the possibilities of good cat furniture and accessories. I just found one great European thingt called the ‘cat trapeze’ – a very nice, useful and clever thing which cats would love. I saw it on the moderncat site and they said that for now its not available in the US and there were alot of unhappy comments at the bottom. Over there people are just used to getting the best choice of everything I suppose. I did live in Canada for 8 years and I can tell you for sure that the lifestyle over there by comparisim to London where I was living before, was so much easier and more plentiful and cheaper. That can be very addictive and it also has some very bad sides to it, including the effect on the environment. When I lived in London in the late 90’s we had to pay if we had mor than 2 garbage bags full of rubbish at the end of the week. Pay to dispose of it I mean. In Toronto, where I lived, I aquired everything I needed from what people threw out, from a top notch sound system and desktop computer, bicycle …couch, you name it. I was shocked at what people throw out over there. They have apparently gotten a bit more strict in recent years. But life is cheaper, you can upgrade your stuff more often and just chuck out the old one. Crazy man. The environment suffers to no end because of this. I read once in Time magazine that the whole world is developing towards acheiving the American standard of living. They said that to sustain this in 1975 we would have needed 4 more planet Earths. In the US people and Canada, people get through alot more ‘stuff’ and have alot more space. You can keep more things because you have more space. Its the standard and its very nice I must say. When I brought my 150 or so bicycle collection to Europe, the price of the space I need to keep it in is 4 times what I paid in Toronto for storage.

    Personally I got tired of this mentality and the sheltered -ness of always having space and what you want, so I moved back to Europe, because I missed the social aspects and people who are much more cosmopolitan due to having to share space in a way you just dont need to over there.

    But I do miss the bigger better cat toilets. I dont want ten of them and 20 cats in a huge place to live, but I do want the choice to get the one I want. And in North America (lets not forget Canada here) – there is alot of fantastic creativity and variety and ‘progression’ in the world of materialism which I find to be of great value. Afterall, my cats are happier with a well designed cat toilet and a nice big cat tree with the right bits on it. I so much want to get that scratcher lounge from Brawny Cat which I mentioned. Its a great example of something that would add greatly to the quality of any indoor cat’s life, and you certainly can’t find them over here in Europe!

  4. It doesn’t matter how much choice and how much bigger and more luxurious things are for cats in the USA if all the cats there can’t enjoy a healthy fulfilled life with their claws.
    Cats to some people are possessions, like everything else they own and I’m sure given the choice all cats would choose to sleep in an old cardboard box and use the cheapest litter and keep their claws, rather than have all the de luxe stuff there is available.
    I’m glad to be in tiny England where our vets don’t make money out of the suffering of animals, it must be so horrible for the people who hate declawing that it’s still legal there.

    • I totally agree with you on that one Ruth. Nothing matters in the face of something like declawing. It must be stopped.

  5. I used World’s Best cat litter, which is corn based and flushable– supposedly. Not if your house was built in the 1920’s, or so I was informed by the young man from Roto Rooter who came to unclog the main in the basement. The drain down there was backing up whenever I did laundry. Turns out Roto Rooter is really expensive, but they have this catchy jingle, so i immediately thought of them. A couple of days later this plumber named Frank put a flyer on my door. He would have done it for a quarter of the price! Plumber Frank needs a catchy jingle!

    Interesting article and comments about products and selection in America. I’ve never been anywhere else, so I didn’t know there was a difference. I’m interested in Marc’s bicycle collection. I have the same bicycle my parents bought for me in 1976. It was pretty big for me then. It’s a three speed, nothing fancy– I think they got it at K-Mart. A lot of my family and friends laugh at me and tell me how much better a new bike would be. There is the attitude that new is always better and if you keep using something that’s old, you must be weird. I guess the flowered basket that I still have in there is a bit strange, but I can put a lot of stuff in it, so to me it’s functional.

    There are about a million different cat toys you can buy, and I used to splurge on Monty, but he likes natural things for toys. Outside I throw black walnuts and he chases them. He’ll also go for little stones or short sticks if I throw them. He isn’t as into the little toy balls I bought from the grocery store.

  6. In India, housing is a premium asset and exorbitantly expensive in city’s like Mumbai. In Mumbai, the flat system (apartments in American language) is the prevelant mode of accomodation and costliest in the world when considering the average per-capita income of the average Indian. My pets, both dogs and now cats were always trained to use our bathroom for their toilet requirements which we then flushed down the drain. The dogs would be taken for their daily outings and hence rarely used the “Bathroom Toilet” unlike my present cats Matahari and matata who are totally confined to my one-bedroom flat. My cats could be one of the luckiest pair having an entire house-hold at their disposal unlike some pet cats that are confined to cages most of the time.I am highly impressed by the Singapura cat show in the photo that uses the “Toilet seat” akin to a human, fantastic training on part of its owner. My advice to Flat owners is to try to train your cats to utilise the toilets or bathrooms, much better than using a “Cat litter Box” that requires lots of personal maintenance, especially in big city’s.

  7. Rudolph, thanks for writing about India! It’s interesting to hear what life is like there. One of my favorite professors at school was from India. He said when he first came to Wisconsin he had to wear his coat, hat and mittens even when he was teaching, because he was so cold all the time in the winter. It must be very hot in India! Do you have air conditioning? How do your animals cope with the heat?

    I think a litter box or using the outside for a toilet is better for a cat, since this is more natural. But using the human toilet is probably more sanitary, since waste is flushed away and the human never has to scoop the litter box. It’s really important to wash hands with soap and water after scooping or cleaning a cat’s litter box. Here in America we can buy this waterless hand sanitizing gel, which is alcohol based, but this does not kill all germs and people should not rely in it after doing things in the bathroom or after scooping litter boxes. I know it doesn’t kill C-Diff, a nasty bacteria that causes lots of problems in hospitals and nursing homes.

    After hearing about the small homes in India I feel like my boy, Monty, is especially lucky! He’s lucky in any case since he was feral when I caught him. We have a duplex, with my sister in the upstairs apartment, so our living space is probably somewhat small compared to many in America, since we have half a house, essentially. But Monty also enjoys a large (by urban standards) fenced yard and he explores in our basement, which is semi-finished. It has one area with furnishings, but much of it is filled with dark corners filled with cobwebs, especially under the stairs where it’s very hard to access that area with the vacuum cleaner. My sister’s cat Kobe sometimes goes in the basement– we time it so the cats don’t meet– and he plays on an upper outdoor porch outside her apartment. We tried him in the backyard before we had Monty, but it frightened him. Sometimes he sits up on his porch and watches Monty play in the backyard. Monty will go potty outside in autumn when there are leaves on the ground. He likes to bury it in leaves– or if we let the grass get too long back there, then he will go in the long grass and kind of cover it up with the long grass. Mostly he prefers his litter box and will request to come in and use it.

  8. Hello Ruth.India is a complicated Country to explain to a foreigner, especially Westerners.Your School India has a climatic variation ranging from Desert land to some of the coldest regions in the World.i am from Mumbai city, the financial capital and one of the World’s most densely populated city’s and also having the highest number of Indian billionaires.The World’s costliest private Apartment is owned by an Indian in Mumbai,Industrialist Mukesh.Ambani while simultaneously ,one of the World’s largest slums Dharavi is also in Mumbai!Most people would wonder, how can the World’s wealthiest and poorest co-exist in the same city? Thats India for you, a Country difficult to describe but has to be experienced to understand.Same applies for “Pet Ownership” and “Pet Care” with some of the costliest pets on show and the best of veterinary care availableincluding cats and exotic birds.

  9. Thanks, Rudolph for the interesting information! I don’t get to travel much, so it’s fun to converse with people from other parts of the world.

    The United States of America is starting to have the same types of issues of a great disparity in wealth. I think it’s been like that for awhile. We, like India, also have very poor people and better off and very wealthy all living within a few miles of each other, but segregated from each other. I live ten minutes from the ghetto, but you’d never know it looking around my neighborhood. We are supposed to have a classless society, but more and more it is becoming a situation where it is very difficult to move between classes. The progressive tax code makes it hard because as soon as you start to earn a little bit more money the government takes a lot more in taxes. The higher tax doesn’t hurt those already wealthy, but it prevents middle class people from becoming wealthy. If I work four days a week instead of the usual two or three I may as well not have bothered. The fourth day’s wages pretty much go entirely to taxes, because the higher income bumps me up into the next tax bracket. But my husband and I are doing well in a bad economy, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

    The first time I experienced going into the poorer areas of the city I was very upset by it. Twenty some years ago I used to give a friend a ride home from work sometimes and at first I only saw his neighborhood at night. One day I gave him a ride in to work and saw the reality in the bright light of day and it was just terrible– so run down, trash strewn all over, unkempt properties which were falling apart, no lawns, just tall weeds everywhere and a feeling of hopelessness. I asked another friend why anyone would live there and she said because that’s where he could afford the rent. Also, there is a lot of racism and if minorities try to live anywhere but in certain neighborhoods they often face outright hatred. Twice in my twenties I invited black friends from work or college to come to my aunt and uncle’s house on the south side with me and they said no, because they were afraid to go into a white south side neighborhood. My second cousin Justin’s mom is white, but his dad is black. When Justin was a little boy (cute as button) handing out Halloween candy on my aunt’s front porch a woman came by with her daughter and gave Justin such a look of hatred that I just couldn’t comprehend it. How could anyone hate a cute little boy?

    I’d never seen blatant racism like that before and it shocked and frightened me. Justin went on to work as an actor and I still see reruns of him on this Saturday morning kid’s show he used to be on. That little boy that woman hated comes right into her living room via the t.v. Does she hate him when he’s on t.v. teaching her children about the outdoors? Or just when he’s in “her” neighborhood? I just don’t get it.

    So America is a land of plenty and opportunity, but it isn’t equally available to everyone. If you attended an inner city school you will need two more years of remedial schooling just to take college level courses, which you really need to get a good job. If you’re born in a certain neighborhood and non-white, there are hurdles in your way that require exceptional courage and stamina to be overcome. And government assistance is easier to get than a job and pays more, so many people choose not to work– not because they are lazy, but because they are sensible! But not having work to do is bad for the human spirit and contributes to the feeling of hopelessness and a suspicion that they and any contributions they might make to American society are just not wanted.

    And as Ruth states, it’s not equal for pets in the US either. Some are loved, like my Monty, but we put millions to death in “shelters” and even those cats lucky enough to have a home may end up declawed– their toe ends sacrificed to our god of materialism. Even poor people can decide their humble furnishings are more important than the health and well being of the animals in their care.

  10. Michael,
    If water treatment plants aren’t set up to handle toxoplasmosis then it isn’t just flushing used litter that’s the issue. The cat’s feces would be carrying the protozoan in question. So the cat pooping on the toilet is not a good idea.

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