Cats are known for their enduring independent attitude. Most people falsely believe that cats are not able to be trained to the degree of dogs. Granted most cats do not suffer from the co-depend neediness as their canine counterparts, but they are much more trainable then perceived.
Pumpkin, a ten month old orange American Short hair has mastered the task of playing fetch. To most of Pumpkin’s admirers, namely my friends, his skill is nothing more then a parlor trick and is purely entertaining. For Pumpkin and myself, it is a bonding game we play to re-enforce our human to feline relationship.
Most Cats can be taught how to play fetch. I learned that Pumpkin had the ability when he was 10 weeks old and picked a ball up in his mouth. Pumpkin was a natural. He chased the ball, picked it up, and dropped it after moving it to another location. I only needed to encourage him to bring the ball all the way back to me. With the introduction of treat re-enforcement, Pumpkin is now a fetcher that can give Spot a run for the money. You may wonder if this is a testament to a cat’s ability or a result of his owner’s laziness to not want to get up to play, honestly, it’s both.
I am now considering embarking on a new frontier for both Pumpkin and myself: Toilet Training. It has come to my attention that some cats can be taught to abandon their litter pans and use the toilet just like you and me. This revelation cures the only down side to feline ownership: Poop scooping a litter pan daily. Hallelujah! I’m ready to sign Pumpkin up.
During my research, I have found there are two ways to go about toilet training a cat. The first way is to buy a commercially available kit or for the more adventurous sole, you can fashion an at home version. Both systems work on the same principles: There are three stages. Stage one is to make your cat think the toilet is a litter pan. Stage two is to remove the litter. Stage three is your cat using the toilet with no apparatus attached.
Of course like everything else in the world there is controversy on the issue of whether or not toilet training is good for cats. Believe it or not, there are anti-toilet training cat activists as there are pro-toilet training cat activists.
The anti- toilet fraction claims that it is un-natural to force a cat to defecate like a human. They point out that it will be difficult for aging cats to jump up on the toilet and it deprives cats of their innate need to burry their waste. They claim it puts your cats at risk because it is near impossible to monitor urine production and changes in bowl movements without litter. Honestly, I don’t spend much time searching the litter pan. Besides, everyone should be bringing there cat to the veterinary twice a year for wellness check ups.
The pro-toilet activists are advocating that toilet training eliminates the danger that lurks in the litter pan. By toilet training cats, there is no litter to track around the house. Litter pans are full of bacteria and most people are lax when it comes to scooping and changing. It saves money, and is more sanitary. There are even special cat toilet seats that can be purchase to make the process easier and safer.
I must admit that toilet training seems to benefit me more then my dear sweet Pumpkin. And as selfish as it seems, I am willing to give Pumpkin the chance to give it the old college try after discussing it with our veterinary. I’m not sure if he’ll take to it at first. But then again, he really didn’t care for the first time I brushed his teeth either. Perhaps we will end up with a compromise, if he refuses. There is always the automatic litter pan. But if he does decide toilet training is for him, I’ll have one more reason to tell my canine loving friends why my cat is far superior then their dogs. After all, I’ve never heard of a dog using the toilet.