About Relaxed Cat

Toilet Training Cat Coach/Support

Reader Email: Wet Paw Help

Training Advice
Hello,

I have recently successfully completed training my cat to use the toilet following your excellent guide!

It took about 6 months all up – and i really understand how much of great feeling it is to accomplish this.
One question i have is that my cat goes down into the bowl after doing his business and this has my wife panicking since his paws would become full of urine and other nasties which he then walks around the house with – so she has banned him from any of the bedrooms!
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Is there any way to stop him from doing this behaviour that you may know of?
Our toilet is very similar to the one shown on your website.
Regards, Khaled
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pondering[1]Khaled~
Congratulations on training accident-free!
Usually “digging” in the toilet water happens before the cat uses the facility, so wet paws are no big deal if the toilet is kept clean.
However, you can deflect water digging by adding a small amount (2 TBS) of white vinegar to the toilet water after every flush. Cats hate the smell, and after you break kitty of the habit you can stop applying the vinegar. Repeat when necessary, but don’t overuse (the toilet must still be approachable).
Cheers, Relaxed Cat
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Reader Email: Can I Toilet Train an 8-Week-Old Kitten?

Training Advice

Training Advice

“Hello, I have to say, your website is awesome. I learned so much and I appreciate all the time you took to compile the information, type up all your experiences and post the videos. Your videos have given me the confidence to give this a try. The only problem I may have is with my kitty. He is brand new and we are picking him up on Sunday. Should we bring him home to a small litter box beside the toilet or the mock toilet high up off the floor with steps? I know you haven’t had any personal experience but I really want to make the first step in the right direction with the kitten and not confuse the little guy in three weeks time. I would really appreciate your opinion. Kind regards, Ewa”

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pondering[1]Congratulations on your new baby. That’s so exciting.
8-weeks is very young, and your kitten won’t have any trouble training if you wait until 12-weeks. At 8-weeks, he’s still learning about litter. Fun fact: cats don’t even learn complex cat-language until 11-weeks.
It’s more important not to have accidents than it is to start immediately, and at 8-weeks, his bowel control is very hit-and-miss.
If you still want to try, make it really easy to access the mock toilet by creating steps or a ramp. I’d also confine baby to a crate or safe room with the mock toilet until you’re sure he knows where it is, can get up and down easily, and wants to use it. Make sure the lid is secure, so it doesn’t fall on him and don’t give him access to the real toilet.
kitten-on-white1
To help the transition, start with the same litter he used at the breeder’s. Be on hand for lots of encouragement and love, as he’ll be particularly stressed the first few days.
If he’s capable and calm, it may be that he can start earlier. Keep it fun and safe, and be open to modifying your plan based on his reaction.  Let us know how it goes.
Cheers, Relaxed Cat

Paw Placement

You’re worried because your cat doesn’t put her paws on the seat.

Take a deep breath, and let it go.

Owners who “assist” cats with paw placement unduly stress the animal.

You: “Let me just move your paw a little . . .”

Cat: “Don’t touch me! I’m peeing!”

You’re already encouraging your cat by crowding her with water containers, and she’s patiently putting up with it. Practice excellent loo etiquette by leaving the cat to her own paw placement. She’ll figure it out before Step 8.

Happy training!

Tinkles that Warm the Heart

A little something to encourage you.

With his mock toilet out for cleaning, Gustav, a kitten beginning Step 7, used the loo instead (caught on video)! This is the kind of toilet security you want for your animal.

Gustav’s owner will continue through the other steps before graduating, to ensure Gustav stays relaxed and accident-free.

And you can do it, too! Your patient scooping, flushing, treats, & praise will pay off.

For more on Gustav, click the tab labeled “Example 1.”

Innocent Accidents

You did everything right, your cat was comfortable, yet she started having accidents?

Before you weep into your pillow, take her to the vet.

It can be hard to identify a sick cat, but accidents are a robust clue. Think painful infection, inflamed urinary tract, or developing kidney, liver, or thyroid problems.

For more on innocent accidents, see this at Cornell University.

Adult Cats vs Kittens

Toilet training is easier with kittens. No doubt. They’re more malleable.

So how do you ease your reticent adult cat(s) into toilet training?

Make S.L.O.W. Changes

1. Litter must be flushable and odorless, but let your adult cat learn to love the new litter before you change anything else. Start with 1/4 new and 3/4 old, then 1/2 new and 1/2 old, then 3/4 new and 1/4 old, etc.

2. The location of the litter needs to be next to the toilet. Keep the old litter box in its original location while you also provide a new one next to the toilet. Move the cat(s) slowly to the bathroom. You know your cat(s) best and will know when they’re okay with the change.

3. Take note: the sitz bath in the mock toilet is quite small compared to some standard litter boxes. You may want to get your adult cat adjusted to a smaller box before you introduce the mock toilet.

4. Finally, the height of the mock toilet can be annoying for some cats. Consider adding a stool. If your cat is not mollified by treats, praise, and encouragement, consider starting with a mock toilet that’s 6 inches instead of 12.

5. As always, keep your litter box pristine. Cats are repelled from dirty boxes, and that could spell disaster during this change. You’ll be going through a lot of litter during training, but it will all be worth it when you don’t have to buy litter later. Litter Love keeps your cat coming back, so fill ‘er up!

Moving Houses During/After Training

Your cat’s been chugging along without any accidents, and it’s time to move your family across the country. Make sure the cat transitions well by following five steps:

1. Use a black light to search the carpet for urine marks from previous animals. Your cat may be drawn to “mark” those areas and claim them if they’re not well cleaned (enzyme cleaner ) and covered (inaccessible).

2. Put the same toilet seat the cat used in the old house on the new toilet.

3. Introduce the cat to the house slowly over several days, opening it up in stages like you do for a kitten (starting with the bathroom).

4. Sit in the bathroom with the cat on the first day to make sure she’s happy to use the new facility.

5. Continue to reward and praise your cat for using the toilet.

Adding a Second Cat

Your original cat is already trained, and it’s time to bring home Junior. What do you do? First, don’t panic. Your original feline is not going to forget how to use the toilet. So what can you expect?

1. Via observation, Junior will learn to use the toilet faster by watching Senior.

2. Your original cat may want to use Junior’s Mock Toilet (to establish territory and for the love of litter).

If you’re bothered by the trained cat wasting your litter, keep the Mock Toilet lid down when the new cat isn’t using it. This takes more monitoring, but if you’re lucky to have a communicating cat who meows before using the facilities, it isn’t difficult. If your cats are on regular bathroom schedules, it’s also easy. Some people even choose to add motion detector alarms, so they know when their cats are in the bathroom.

If you don’t mind your original cat using the Mock Toilet, you’re in for more cleaning, but your training should still be breezy as Senior teaches Junior how it all goes down!

(Note: A new cat should be introduced into the household slowly over a two week period to avoid territorial urine spraying.)

Vacation Strategies

You’re halfway through training your cat to use the toilet, and it’s time for a family trip to Cancun. What do you do?

1. Fill the mock toilet with deep litter (no water),  even if your cat is traveling with you. Clean as usual. Don’t try to continue training during a period of change. Stress = smelly, yellow carpet.

2. When you return home, replace the water container. All should be well. Continue on!

3. However, if she’s resistant to using the Mock Toilet (crying, scratching on the floor, jumping up and down from the Mock Toilet), don’t wait for an accident. Do a mini re-training by returning to the test tube stage. Move up one stage per day until you’ve progressed to the pre-vacation point.

It’s easy, and you got a great tan. Could life be better?