Tidy Cat

How does cat toilet-training work? Our pet-sitting blogger finds out.

By Julie Mignery

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Toilet Training Cats
Toilet Training Cats
I recently spent a few hours with a friend and her two children, ages 6 and 2. When the older one told me she was going to potty train her brother all by herself I was impressed by her confidence. It’s definitely not a job I would have volunteered for when I was 6 (or ever, to be honest).

Then something unexpected happened. I met a cat named Cosmo, who possesses a skill that’s pretty uncommon among his kind. Instead of using a litterbox he uses the toilet in his very own bathroom. I even saw him use it on the night my client Sarah introduced him to me.

Like the old-fashioned litterbox? Get advice and info here >>


I couldn’t wait to see him do it again! I was a bit concerned the night before I was to start my weekend assignment when I received a message from Sarah. Cosmo had pooped in the sink recently, so she was going to set up a litterbox in her other bathroom, just in case. Apparently he prefers a clean bowl, so if his toilet hasn’t been flushed — he can’t do it himself — he sometimes seeks out other receptacles.

See what a cat behavior expert says about toilet-training cats >>


But I shouldn’t have worried. Each day I arrived to find a clean sink, an untouched litterbox, a toilet that needed flushing and a proud-of-himself kitty. While setting down his water bowl one day I hear d a distinctive sound that could only mean one thing. I grabbed my phone and ran to the bathroom to capture the moment.


Cosmo has got me thinking. He’s a pretty cool cat and I’m one of his biggest fans, but he doesn’t seem smarter than most of the other cats I know. After all, he still chases his tail and falls off of things.

I asked Sarah about his training and she told me it began when he was about 8 months old (he turned 1 in April). She fitted the toilet with a training tray at first to give him lots of room to place his paws and slowly widened the hole until she could remove the tray completely after about 3 months. So if Cosmo could be potty trained in such a short time at such a young age, why do I know all these 2-year-old humans who are still wearing diapers? Toddlers really should get cracking. Horses start walking the day they’re born and birds start singing pretty songs soon after they hatch. I’ve seen dogs competing in dance competitions and now kittens are mastering toilets at 1. It won’t be long now ‘til pets take over the world.

Read more Cat-Sitter Confessions >>


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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

10/19/2013 11:27:24 PM

Very handy!

Bree    Lodi, CA

9/30/2013 4:06:14 PM

i so wish that would happen to my cat! but he would probably be too scared to go on because he hates water.

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