I get it. Cleaning the litterbox is the least fun part of taking care of our cats. There are also a few bathroom training kits for felines around and no lack of cute and amusing videos of kitties using the toilet. So it may be appealing or seem "natural" to teach your cat how to "go" in the bathroom. Especially if you do not want to clean litterboxes, you have a small area at home, or just because the thought of your cat going in the toilet bowl appears peculiarly funny.
However, consider this: toilets were not developed for cats.
Whatever your reasons for wishing to toilet train your cat, there are numerous reasons NOT to do it that you should consider.
1. It's Not A Natural Cat Behavior
Cats have evolved certain behaviors for specific tasks, and eliminating their waste is one of these. Cats use both feces and urine to mark territories and communicate with other cats. Detecting the urine and feces of other cats lets them know who the other cats in the area are and whether they are pals or not. To a particular degree, this happens in the litterbox. You could think that you are helping your cat by flushing their stinkies down the toilet, but felines need to smell themselves in their area--it's how they are wired.
Furthermore, the reason we set litterboxes, to begin with, is that cats instinctually bury their waste. In the wild, this is an essential means to fend off predators by hiding their scent. However, even if your cat isn't in the wild, it does not mean that you do not have the instinct to bury their wastes. Pay attention when your cat goes into the litter box. You'll hear them scraping and burying their waste even if you're down the hall.
If you take away their litter and change it with a toilet, you erase an opportunity to enact their instinct to bury. Even when toilet trained, cats will still dig in some areas to act these instincts out, but the inability to hide their waste can cause added stress, leading to potty mishaps or other stress-related troubles.
2. You May Miss Out On Indicators Of Changes In Your Feline's Health
Urinary tract infections can be typical (and can be lethal) in cats. By scooping litterboxes, you can know if your secretions are changing. A change in the regularity or quantity of pee your cat is producing can be an essential indication of an entire host of medical problems that go beyond just a urinary tract infection. Here's a partial listing of kitty health problems that can be gone along with by a modification in regularity and volume of pee:
- Kidney dysfunction
- Bladder swelling (cystitis)
- Urinary (urethral) blockage (this set can be swift and fatal!)
At the initial indication of urinary system changes, you'll want to get your cat to the vet to look for a urinary tract infection or other problem. Nevertheless, let us say your feline is making use of the bathroom. In that case, you will not have the opportunity to observe these vital details about your feline's health might miss early signs that something is not right with your kitty. Likewise, adjustments in fecal structure and uniformity can also provide you crucial hints about your cat's health. You may be able to look at their poops in the toilet, but being in the water, how can you be sure about anything?
3. The Terrible Toxo
Are you aware of Toxoplasma gondii or the illness it triggers: "Toxoplasmosis" (a.k.a. "Toxo")? Toxo is an awful parasite that cats can end up being contaminated with when they eat a mouse, rat, bird, or other wild animals. Indoor-only felines are at lower risk. However, even they aren't entirely risk-free from Toxo, as rats are rather skilled at sneaking inside homes. Though not all infected felines will show indicators of the condition, they all will all have Toxoplasma oocysts in their poop for some time. And unfortunately, the regular wastewater treatments that flushed water goes through don't eliminate these oocysts. Suggesting that the parasite and the disease it causes can end up in local lakes, rivers, streams, and various other bodies of water, where they can infect and other water-dwelling wild animals.
4. Physical Stress and Anxiety
Think of this: the toilet seat is generally flimsy plastic with a small funnel shape to any sprays to move in the direction of the dish instead of the outside of the seat. It also has a big opening in the center of it! If you are a cat, they will need to jump up onto the commode seat, being very careful not to slide and end up in the water. Then, they have to maintain their balance while standing on all fours, all while precariously perching their butt over the opening. After that, you have to hold that position while you pee or poop. Yikes!
In a litterbox, the feline gets to have a firm footing, and they can place their tootsies wherever they need to keep a steady and comfortable position while doing their thing. Another point to consider is your cat's age. As felines age, they typically develop joint discomfort in their hips, legs, as well as back. Do you think that this might impact successfully doing the above process to safely urinate or excrete? It sure does! This leads me to my following reason:
5. It Only Takes ONCE To Scare Your Cat Off Of The Toilet Forever
Let us say your cat requires using the commode and either jumped shortly or slides during the process and ends up in the bathroom dish, making him wet and covered with you-know-what. It does just take one disappointment for a feline to say this to themselves: "I'm over this shiznit! I want somewhere else to go!" And then you've got real trouble.
And what happens next can be very tough and expensive to deal with. After that, what do you have? A stressed-out cat an unhappy owner.
6. Travel Difficulties
Suppose you'll want to take your toilet-trained cat on vacation or go on a trip with close friends. You may be having difficulty finding people that are fine with your cat sharing the toilet. And even if they're okay with it, do you think they'll have a dedicated commode for your pet cat or constantly bear in mind to maintain the cover-up?
And also, what if your feline needs to stay at a boarding facility or gets ill and requires to stay at the vet? Unless your toilet-trained cat is likewise also trained and comfortable using a litter box, anticipate significant issues there, as well.
Please do your cat and yourself a favor and close the toilet lid completely and reacquaint your cat with litterboxes. If you want to learn more about litterbox placement in the home configuration, you may want to read our blog that talks about it. Nobody likes cleaning litterboxes, but having a worry-free feline who understands precisely how to use them is so much better, wouldn't you agree?