Downsides of Litter Free Household?
June 10, 2012 12:13 PM   Subscribe

I want to toilet train our cat using CityKitty (previously on AskMe). Besides the potential for accidents, what are the downsides that I might be missing?

Like everyone else, we think our cat is, you know, amazing, and shouldn't have any trouble learning to use the toilet. I'm mostly wondering about things like: what if we want to go back to using the litter box for some reason after this? Is that possible? What are the reasons this isn't as awesome as I think it is?

We live in a 2 bedroom/1 bath pretty small apartment, so the cat will be sharing the bathroom with the two of us.

Let me know how this went at your house.
posted by robot vacuum to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Flushing cat poop is reportedly really, really bad (end of article) for the environment, wildlife, and possibly humans. Please reconsider this!
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Flushing cat poop is reportedly really, really bad (end of article) for the environment, wildlife, and possibly humans. Please reconsider this!

According to the CDC, toxoplasmosis is contagious a few weeks after infection, and eventually the infection goes away. Unfortunately, from what I've read, it's possible for cats to become reinfected, though I can't find information on how likely that is. The first article you linked to says cats can be tested, but the CDC doesn't recommend it. In addition, the study it was based off is now a decade old and not as conclusive as the article makes it out to be.

OP: I would lean toward *not* doing this because otters are freaking awesome. I'm skeptical of how bad housecat feces is, since strictly indoor kitties aren't as likely to have parasites, but I'd err on the side of caution.
posted by plaintiff6r at 6:01 PM on June 10, 2012

Training your cat to use the toilet involves turning your toilet into a litter box first and then slowly making it more water-like. Since you're a one toilet house, you will need to pull the litter pan (plus included water dish in later steps) out of the toilet every time any human needs to use the toilet. Even in the middle of the night, even when it's urgent. You will then need to put the little pan back every single time, again even in the middle of the night. This stage will last weeks/months.

You will also need to monitor the toilet when guests use it, even after the litter pan is removed, to make sure that no one puts the lid down (or you could remove the lid, I suppose).

In our house, the glacial pace at which cats are willing to accept change became a deal breaker for the impatient helper monkeys.

P.S. I debated about answering this as you have not yet filled your half of the contract, i.e. pictures of the beast in question.
posted by anaelith at 6:41 PM on June 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the links and info. This was definitely a downside I had not considered, nor had it even crossed my mind to consider. Cat (and humans) would be really upset if his poop harmed otters or other critters or plant life. But especially otters.
posted by robot vacuum at 6:44 PM on June 10, 2012

Response by poster: Oh gosh, I shouldn't need prompting to share photos of Cat
posted by robot vacuum at 7:13 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I know that occasionally, when cats learn how to flush the toilet, it becomes a real fun game, to the tune of thousands of extra gallons of water for kitty entertainment.
posted by rockindata at 7:46 PM on June 10, 2012

My mother is currently doing this with her two previously litter-trained cats - she started last summer, about this time. As of yet, they are at the straddling-the-seat-with-holes-punched-in-a-bowl-on-top-of-the-toilet basin portion of the experience. Success rate hovers around 85% accuracy - missed marks have been hitting the bathroom floor. My father does NOT find the situation even remotely tenable - thankfully, there is another washroom for his use.
The other downside is that the cats seem to be a bit confused about appropriate elimination - resulting in couch surprises.

Retrospectively, I think this could have worked out with an old or artificial toilet being constructed, in a space that wouldn't compromise daily use by yourselves or your guests.

(On a more personal note, my mom is a "never say die" kinda trooper, and is determined that come hell or high water, those cats are GONNA USE DAT TOILET! Sadly, its been almost a year, and the benefits of current moderate success don't really make up for the misses. From her descriptions of cat behaviour, at times they seem stressed by the need to both defecate AND perform the task of getting on the toilet... resulting in inappropriate elimination.
I guess I am trying to say that it is OK to try the process and conclude that it doesn't necessarily work for one's own cat in a particular situation)
posted by NorthernAutumn at 11:30 PM on June 10, 2012

You do not want to share your only toilet with a cat who has no litter box as a backup. What if you both have to go at the same time? You could hold it but I guarantee the cat will find something soft to pee on and then you will be sad.
posted by crankylex at 11:26 AM on June 11, 2012

Response by poster: Well, especially since Cat is really in charge of the household, crankylex. And NorthernAutumn, it seems to me that I would sound exactly like your mother if I was expressing the same sentiment regarding the cats and the toilet.

Thanks for sharing experiences and tips. I can see now that this, like most things, is probably way less exciting than I first thought.
posted by robot vacuum at 6:30 PM on June 11, 2012

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