This is what I’d call cat trivia: sort of interesting but not much use to mainstream cat owners.
Clifford Brooks has written a book about a foolproof way of training domestic cats to use human toilets. You have seen the pictures of cats balanced precariously on the rim of a toilet seat looking at the camera slightly bemused as if to say “why the hell am I up here?”
His book is called Toilet Train Your Cat, Plain and Simple. His theory is that domestic cats should be domesticated enough by now (10,000 years in the making) to grasp the technicalities of using the human toilet. Needless to say he is a big believer in the capabilities of domestic cats.
Brooks’s book seems to be part of a trend at the moment of self-help kits for cat owners to relieve themselves of the tyranny of the dreaded litter tray and the daily necessity to clean it. Frankly I don’t see the bother. I can clean a litter tray in 60 seconds and do a good job of it.
Brooks has trained all of his cats over 25 years to use the toilet. He says that a cat using a human toilet is grown up behaviour!
The surprising news is that Brooks’ friends who have children and who have trained their cats to use the toilet as directed by Brooks say that cats learn faster than kids. The process is similar to training human children “except it is faster for cats”.
I am at a disadvantage because I have never had children and therefore never had the pleasure of training a toddler to use an adult toilet. For cats, Brooks advocates the following technique:
A bowl is placed in the lavatory. It is filled with cat litter. The amount is steadily decreased – then with an ever increased size of hole. Training should start after the cat is six-months-of-age.
“It takes time and patience but it pays off” says Brooks. The process should be slow. Some believe it can be done in 21 days but this may be a fallacy. It you push the training along too hard the cat feels like they are being pushed to do it rather than wanting to do it. This leads to an uncooperative attitude to put it mildly.
There is an interesting downside to toilet training your cat Brooks says. When the training has been successfully concluded and the owner feels the urge to do to the bathroom (or ‘loo’ in England) she may find that her cat jumps ahead of her to use the lavatory before her. She’ll have to wait. Why does this happen? It has baffled Mr Brooks.
I have briefly though about this. It must be to do with friendship and bonding. The scents (to put is politely) that humans produce when on the loo (or just before hand) are attractive to cats. They want to participate and be part of the action. When a cat owner wants to go the cat picks up this desire and wants to participate to the extent that he/she wants to go to the loo themselves. It is joining in and following mother cat. The reason will be something along those lines, I believe.
Stephanie Medeiros did the illustrations for the book. They look brilliant.