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Toilet Training vs Kitty Litterx

Guest Article by Lin Komula

By Lin Komula

Toilet training Cat

Melodee has readily trained to use the toilet. (Not the author's cat)

Photo submitted by Monica
Most cat owners have one thing in common: cat litter! We must consider the types of cat when we choose kitty litter or decide to "toilet potty train" them. For instance, there are sheltered indoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and strictly outdoor cats. This, of course, brings us to the types of cat involved: the pampered ones that have no idea that they are cats, the cats that only eat cat food, and those that are happy to be fed at all. The kind of cat owner must also be examined. There are the "kitty parents" that spoil their precious pet more than their own offspring, those that pleasantly enjoy their cats' company, and those that are only tolerant of the beasts that think they own the house and know the world revolves around them. Kitty litter is a staple in most cats' lives. Many issues must be thought through prior to the kitty litter versus toilet trainingdecision.

Kitty litter is available in many different forms: clay, recycled paper, wood, sand, and dirt. Clay is the cheapest and has no special qualities to offer. Recycled paper is available in many forms: clumping, non-clumping, and non-tracking formula. The clumping formula allows easier clean up. Non-clumping is just that: it is primarily used when you have more than one cat. But the non-clumping has powerful odor and bacterial eaters. Non-tracking formula supposedly helps clean up by not sticking to the cat's paws – a great theory that doesn't work. Wood kitty litter is claimed to neutralize odor and lasts longer. Sand and dirt fall into the same category, both available in most back yards for free.

Now, we are ready to analyze the cat. First, the sheltered, spoiled and pampered indoor cat. This is the category in which my beast is placed. Having a pampered cat in a house, it is very important to have a house not smell like you have a cat. The sheltered cat has two options: a litter box or a human toilet, the latter is not the normal choice of most cats. Then again, the pampered cat may decide a potted plant is more to their liking for a "potty." This cat is the choice candidate for toilet training. Intelligence is not necessary for training, which was extremely helpful in my cat's case. My cat's intelligence is very questionable.

Second, we have the indoor/outdoor cat that is treated like a pet and not a human. The indoor/outdoor cat may have different ideas about the litter box. I have known this type of cat to be torturing birds outside and then when the need arises, run into the house to use the litter box. Other indoor/outdoor cats would rather only use the dirt outside, while others prefer to play outside, then run inside to potty in the plants. These types of cats have been known to use "thy neighbor's yard" as a litter box as well.

Finally, the strictly outdoor cat must be analyzed. This cat falls into many subcategories: the wife's cat, the kid's cat, the farm mouser cat, or the stray cat. A litter box is not of concern in this case. In this case, a neighbor's yard or a child's sandbox is their choice of litter box.

In order to make a decision on litter vs toilet training, we must look at the types of cat owners. First, consider the cat owners that treat their pampered pet better than their own offspring. These people love their cat and want the best for him or her. The price or type of kitty litter is not a concern since they want only the best for their precious pet. I fall into this category, but I chose to toilet train my cat, Baby, three and half years ago. (I will later explain the toilet training process for those who would like to try it.)

Then, we have the owners that do enjoy the cats, but the cats are treated as such – animals. This kind of owner may or may not want to deal with the hassle of toilet training. This stereotype has most likely already toilet trained a child and is not too fond of going through the process with a pet. Kitty litter in a box is quite acceptable. Possibly using the flushable, clumping formula is easier and it can be scooped into the toilet. This is especially acceptable when the child is old enough to empty the litter box.

The "enjoy the cat" type owner, or at least their children, could benefit from an automatic cleaning box. This can be purchased for $70-$100 at any Target or Wal-Mart or pet shop. The automatic cleaning type has a rake type of assembly that scoops the litter droppings into an area with a storage bag. If you have a cat that has a lower level of intelligence, like mine, this may not be a good choice. I have not used this type of gadget, but I can only imagine my cat playing with the "start/clean now" button and getting a paw or his tail stuck in the contraption.

Now, to analyze those who can barely tolerate cats. Spend money on cat litter? No chance! Toilet train the cat/beast? No way, that would mean the cat would have to come into the house. Why hassle with the cat in the house or kitty litter, when "thy neighbor’s yard" is so convenient?

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