Is Toilet Training Cats A Wise Idea?

If you have been thinking about getting a cat, but just the thought of having to deal with litter box chores is simply appalling; not to worry! All you have to do is to learn how to train your kitty to use the toilet!

Cat on toilet
Cat on toilet
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cats trained to “do their business” using a toilet instead of a litter box makes it so much easier to own a kitty. Just think! No more outrageous litterbox odors wafting throughout the house. No longer will all those dreary and obnoxious chores, such as scooping out stinky litter boxes, washing, drying and refilling them with fresh litter; or having to carry home heavy bags of litter up the stairs will be necessary. I tell you having a cat that is perfectly potty- trained is a cat that will endear himself to you beyond your wildest dreams forever!

Toilet training cats
Toilet training cats
Toilet training cats
Toilet training cats

At least that is what some feline “experts” are telling people who simply cannot abide the thought of having to take all the proper and essential litter box care that the diminutive wild predatory animal they have willingly taken into their home requires. No matter how hard I try, it’s impossible for me to understand the suggestions that some supposed feline “experts” are making that are so contradictory to the species’ instinctual needs.

Many cats, both wild and domesticated bury their waste instinctively to conceal themselves from potential predatory animals. Dr. Eric Brotman, Ph.D., the author of “How to Toilet Train Your Cat: The Education of Mango” (Bird Brain Press), says,

“Toilet Training makes a cat more secure because the smell goes away. It fits in with their hard-wiring.”

However the learned doctor may not be giving sufficient credence to the importance of the cats’ instinctual hard-wired drive to bury their waste. How can a cat feel more secure when their instinctual drive to bury their waste has been thwarted by having to sit on a toilet seat?

Arnold Plotnick, DVM, renowned feline-only veterinarian at Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York City, thinks that toilet training a cat is extremely unwise. He says,

“Cats should not be made or expected to use a toilet designed for people. It is completely unnatural for them. Cats instinctually dig and bury their urine and feces. Toilet training robs them of this instinct.”

Dr. Plotnick continues, pointing out that toilet seats are slippery. A cat might lose his balance and fall into the toilet. Cats have to jump up onto a toilet seat. Although this may not be a problem for younger cats, elderly, sick or arthritic cats may find this very painful. Why should these cats have to experience pain and discomfort when having to eliminate? Should “bathroom” time be stressful for cats? Stress can also lead to feline behavioral problems.

Additionally, it is essential for kitty guardians to monitor their cat’s daily output. Are there traces of blood in the urine or stool? It’s easy to observe this in the litter box. Dr. Plotnick says,

“Toilet training makes it impossible to see the urine output, and the water in the toilet may change the consistency of the feces, making it difficult to assess diarrhea.”

When cats are using the toilet, owners may miss important signs of serious illness.

While toilet training kitties may at first glance appear to be more convenient for owners; it certainly isn’t for the cats. If litter box chores are too disagreeable, perhaps having a cat isn’t the best choice for a pet.

What are your thoughts about toilet training cats? Share them in a comment.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

11 thoughts on “Is Toilet Training Cats A Wise Idea?”

  1. If one has the time and IF the toilet is spotless, then one can train their cat to use the toilet. The bathroom should be spotless, cleaned constantly after human use. Humans are gross.

  2. Oh gosh….guilty of once having a cat that was toilet trained, but…..she trained herself. She followed us into the bathroom and sat and observed us. One day she just did it herself with no urging. Jo knew about Dustbunny, She was way to smart for everyone. Her thing was the flushing part and loved to watch the water swirl away into the great unknown. We finally had to rig the toilet so she wouldn’t run the well dry.
    Some wild cats do use moving water for urination. Personally I would prefer to clean litter pans. That way you have a handle on what is coming out of your cat and can keep track of their habits. Thanks for an interesting article.

  3. Interesting article and pix, Jo! I agree with Dr. Plotnick and also with cat behaviorist extraordinaire, Jackson Galaxy (The Cat Daddy) — not only is toilet training absolutely unnatural for cats, it also makes it much more difficult to assess any health issues. Those who don’t want to deal with litter boxes should stick to inanimate objects. Life IS messy. Cleaning it up is also part of life.

  4. Although it might have some appeal to cat guardians, who are just focused on making their life easier, I think there are more downsides to this that they aren’t considering:

    1. Cat poop gives clues to their health, just as ours does. Cleaning the box
    can alert us to problems before they escalate.
    2. There will be accidents such as displaced poop (on floor) or
    displaced cat (in toilet)
    3. Cat and human may need the toilet at the same time. If human chases cat
    off, this can cause distress and avoidance of toilet
    4. Environmental issues about poop sewage is pumped out to sea.
    5. Unnatural and against their instincts
    6. This is solely for the convenience of the human and not the cat.

    My son’s wife and mother-in-law think that cats are dirty, so he trained the
    cat to go in the toilet. But displaced poop caused distress, so it was discontinued.
    They also make him bathe the cat weekly.

    There’s a new litter box being promoted on Kickstarter, that may be available for
    sale in June 2016. I love the design, and have shared the details with you in a
    separate email. It’s called the Luuup Liter Box. It’s being called the World’s
    Best Litter Box. It’s a redesign of a previous one that sold millions, which I’d
    never heard of. Check it out, and let us know your thoughts.

    I think it’s genius, and far surpasses more expensive boxes in the $50-200+ range.

  5. “Cats trained to “do their business” using a toilet instead of a litter box makes it so much easier to own a kitty. ”
    I am not sure about this. Can a cat learn how to flush and do it only once? If not, you have a dirty smelly toilet for hours every day. If a cat learns how to flush too, then the cat may just like flushing enough that your water bill becomes so much higher. I am not even talking about possible accidents. If my 85-year old father’s aim isn’t precise, can I count on my cats to do better?

    Additionally, I personally wouldn’t cherish sitting on a toilet seat where my cat just was especially as the cat might miss.

  6. Thanks for this Jo. Good thoughts. There is another issue: sometimes cat poo contains toxoplasmosis. This appears to have some environmental issues at sea when sewage is pumped out to sea.

    Apparently otters too can be affected. Although I have defended the cat on this issue.

    1. This issue seems to be with cat poo thrown down the toilet as well, I admit to doing it, but given as my cats are indoor-only, there isn’t much chance of them having toxo at this point. In general, infected cats shed the virus for only a couple of weeks, so an indoor only cat wouldn’t have it except for the first couple of weeks. I suspect people who train their cats to use the toilets have indoor-only cats since cats that go outside have other places to do their business, and it takes more than first two weeks a person has the cat to teach it to use the toilet. I have other issues with toilet training their cat – I actually agree with the article here, but I don’t think toxo is an issue.

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