Friday, July 10, 2009

Stay Tuned

The family actually bought a Litter Robot!!!

(achem... ours is in black.)

Concession Speech

Ok, people. I'm giving up.

The more I tried to do this, the more I realized that toilet training was just not in the cards for one of my cats.

I reluctantly put the litter box back out and hoped Rex would continue to flawlessly use the toilet like he did, but alas he was temped back to the box.

I have since taken the Litter Quitter off.

It was a sad day, but I knew that what I did is truly what will make Pascha happiest. And boy was she happy.

She hasn't had a mistake since, and that has in turn made the family happy.


I don't understand it.

Pascha was doing so, so well. But then she pooped on the downstairs kitchen floor.

The toilet was upstairs, and my mother would not allow the same apparatus downstairs.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt and cleaned the Litter Quitter until there was no chance she would avoid it because of its dirtiness.

A few days later, she did it again!

Fail. Fail.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pascha is Getting It

Each time it becomes more natural for her. This is awesome.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Well, I've officially moved to Dallas. The ride was long - Pascha went #2 twice in the car on the way, but fortunately with regards to the toilet training it seems that the Litter Quitter has been a huge success both in Austin and now in Dallas as well.

Because we had prior training, we started the cats out in Austin on the Yellow, intermediate ring. That worked wonderfully, and we kept them on it throuought the move so as not to change it up too quickly on them.

In Dallas, we introduced them to the house by keeping them in my bedroom and bathroom at first. The Litter Quitter was totally transferable (though it didn't fit as well on the toilet), but unfortunately so was my sink. Pascha instinctively found the sink and has only used that to pee in. The good news is that she seems to understand the difference between using the sink for pee and the toilet for poop. Honestly, if that's the way it has to be, I know it could be worse and so I'm alright with the outcome.

They've been in Dallas almost a week. Bathroom use is normal, instinctive, and they don't appear to want to go anywhere else (other than the sink for Pasch, of course). I yesterday moved them to the next level, and just discovered that it works well. Pascha let her foot slip in the toilet once, but it was before she used the bathroom and I still think she is pleased with how little the toilet releases smell. Time will only tell to know if this foot slip was devastating or not.

More later...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


There's been a whirlwind of things happening in the Pascha likes/dislikes the toilet realm. Let's just assume Rex is trained already, cause he is. For instance, I took a sample of his pee to the vet today, and all I had to do was place little cup under his stream and got, like, 40 mL. The nurses were pleased.

So as we discussed before, Pascha just doesn't know what to do with herself on that toilet when she pees, and has sometimes turned to the sink for her gratification. *Sigh* Yeah, OK, she really really likes to pee in the sink. Better the sink than the floor! But still, it's not the toilet.

For the record, she has pooped repeatedly in the toilet like a perfectly toilet trained cat. This is all about the pee. Yeah, I don't get it either.

So I got to thinking, "OK, I should make her more comfortable. Perhaps I should let her pee in the sink."


Well, I did, because it's still sanitary and easy to clean up. And she likes it. So I did and things went smoothly for a few days.

But then.

I walked into the bathroom one day and saw her pawing furiously in the sink (as she always does pre-pee) and I found her start to do something horrid. She started to get in position to poop in the sink!!!!

No Way! No! Not in my sink!

So, instinctively I picked her up and put her on the toilet and she was upset and her foot fell in the toilet and it was bad. She finally positioned herself on the toilet and did her thing, but that got me thinking that his sink allowance would not fly.

I came to the conclusion that this whole setup was bad for her, and maybe she needed to start over entirely.

I bought a Litter Kwitter with the additional intermediate rings (for stubborn cats). It hasn't arrived yet, and since I'm moving to Dallas in June I will begin to use it for her as soon as we move. New bathroom. Clean slate.

I like the fact that the Litter Quitter keeps it close to the rim. Right now the turkey roaster pan is so low down into the toilet it must be hard for her to know what to do. Hopefully this whole new approach will be easier, especially since she's already got half of it down. She just needs to know how to place her feet when she pees. Nothing else has worked. I'm hoping this will.

In the meantime I bought a new turkey roaster litter pan and have started placing it on the ground like a regular litter pan for when she needs to pee. Then I take it up, clean it, and place it in a cabinet so it won't always be there to use (cause, you know, I have nothing better to do!). I'd rather take it this many steps back than for her to go sideways thinking the sink is OK. When she hops in the sink or the bathtub I now turn the water on quickly and that usually keeps her out.

So that's what's been going on. I'll fill you in when we get the Litter Quitter or if anything traumatic/miraculous happens.

Oh yes - just one more thought: if, for some reason, I find her already pooping in the sink, I think I'm just going to let it sit there for a long time. Cats hate that. That's one reason why they like to poop in the toilet - the smell goes away really fast. If she poops in the sink shes going to have to endure that smell for a long, long time (cat time). That's my backup plan.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What may have been Missing

So, I recently discovered this other toilet training product called the Cat Seat by Feline Evolution. It uses a different tactic - it's a mountable toilet seat that you use on the ground at first, but train the cat to just use that on the ground and remove the litter until the cat is just using the pan with disposable bags. Once that's successful, begin lifting the pan eventually to the toilet, and the cat is already used to not having any litter. The training is done before they get to the toilet!

And it hit me - Pascha is having such a hard time transitioning because she is trying so hard to aim her urine over the litter. She won't put all fours on the seat because she wants to squat on that little patch of litter. Poor thing - and I am making it increasingly uncomfortable for her.

Rex is practically already trained. He could care less if there was a pan there or not. In order for this to work for both cats, however, I need to take extra care to make sure Pascha is comfortable.

There are a couple of ways I can do this:
1) Cut a similar hole - slightly smaller and reduce the litter before making the hole any bigger.
2) Wait until I move in May and start over after purchasing this Cat Seat
3) Put a tray - without a hole- in the toilet with a small amount of litter and gradually reduce the litter before putting any hole in the toilet. That way the hole will eventually be preferable to her peeing in the foil (with her feet nearby).

I'm deliberating and will make a decision soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slow and Steady

...will hopefully win this race.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"That I did not fail was due in part to patience...."
- Jane Goodall, talking about something most likely higher on the importance chain than toilet training cats, but nevertheless still relevant

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Rex: Couldn't be better. Puts ALL FOURS on the toilet seat without hesitation, even though the hole in the litter pan is not significantly bigger than before.

Pascha: Hit or Miss. Puts two paws on toilet all the time when she pees, and sometimes puts ALL FOURS on the toilet seat when she poos. This sounds good, but just yesterday she missed the toilet all together. I'm taking her to the vet.

General: This should work out in the end. If Pasch can get all fours up there sometimes, then I believe it's only a matter of time. We are already using about a fourth of the litter we used to. The cleanup has never been easier, and they are comfortable with the sounds and the view of the water in the toilet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


According to, potty training a human child can take between 3-6 months.

Why should a cat learn in any less time? Am I right!?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It worked!

Not only did Pascha jump into the toilet pan without hesitation after I moved the hole back a bit, but she also put her two front paws on the toilet seat! Usually I had to place them there carefully for her, so this is truly a good sign.

Also, in other news, Rex put all fours on the toilet seat the other day. He's practically already there.

Better Placement

Getting axious to set things in the right direction again, I decided it would maybe work to make more subtle changes more frequently. This change, though not as subtle, may make Pascha more comfortable seeing as there is more front room to stand. Let's see how this works, shall we?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Scaling Back a Bit

Not too much, but I think this will be better in the long run. Pascha has already moved the litter around in this one, which means she's not worried about getting wet. I have treats ready. I mostly want proof from her that she'll use this at least.

I'll keep this on for a little longer than a week and make the hole bigger more gradually.

As long as it takes!

It's Come to This

Hunt the Hunter (or misbehaving Pee-er)

Today, I will follow Pascha around to see when (and where) she decides to use the bathroom next. She's gotta poop somewhere. That somewhere better be in a toilet. I need to know she still uses it at all. This freewheeling, unruly behavior must stop right now, mostly because I don't really know how long it's been carrying on.

Also, I will convince her that peeing in the sink, bathtub, or any other non-toilet location will get her nothing but a nice faucet full of water. Using the toilet, however, will get her a delicious Wellness brand treat.

Go ahead, Pasch, show me what's up.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


So, I just walked into the bathroom only to find Pascha peeing in the sink. Trouble is, she only used to do that when the litter pan was really dirty and she would have had to step in something. This time, the pan is clean, and I have a worry that I may need to take the litter pan hole back a little bit.

I knew this progress was too good to be true. In order to make sure I know if she's using the toilet or not, I'm going to plug up the sink and the bathtub with water. I did this at first and it worked, but I assumed she was over it.

Guess Not!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Point of no Return?

This is what the litter pan looks like!!

They use this as if there was no hole in it. It's kind of surreal to watch.

I am going to change the shape of the hole from now on. I'm going to cut away at most of the back of the pan and then slowly cut to the front. This way they'll learn how to face the right direction each time since they won't be able to put their paws in the back of the toilet.


Putting things in Perspective

I just mopped my bathroom floor with (sigh) Litter Box Disinfectant and Deodorizer.

Still worth it? Yes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Foot in Water!


Today was "New litter pan Day" which means I cut a larger hole and replaced the old litter pans. Pictures to follow.

Unfortunately, I JUST stepped into the bathroom and found Rex had accidentally let his foot slip into the toilet!! This could be really bad. He jumped out and began kicking his leg. I cleaned his leg not knowing what was in the toilet, but the problem is that I was not sure if he had already gone or not!

If the cats become traumatized while using the toilet like this, then we could have a problem.

More later...


UPDATE: Ten minutes later - Ok, so apparently Rex had NOT used the toilet and just freaked out when his foot fell in. The good news is that I just watched him put three legs on the seat and do his business straight into the toilet. There was some splashing, and that's something I need to find a solution for, but he was does not appear traumatized. I immediately gave him a treat.

Location, Location, Location

As you may or may not know, there are hundreds of resources for cat toilet training. One incredible big I recently discovered is It's got a format I hope to mimic once this is all finished. I'd like to compile all the "progress" posts in chronological order, and have one main page for simplified easy-to-read instructions that contain angles I've discovered.

One thing this guy mentions that I hadn't previously thought about before invovled determining where the hole in the pan should be. Should it be in the front or the back of the pan? I never thought of this because my cats naturally face towards the front like I've seen all the other successfully trained cats do. But if you try and do this and your cat faces the tank instead, then his advice is really helpful!!

He basically talks about how the placement of the hole in the pan cannot only affect how quickly your cat catches on, but also where the cat will learn to naturally face AND this consideration could prevent splash-back!.

The blog has some pretty serious reproduction restrictions, so I'm not going to quote him here. But I do reccommend checking out his blog!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hole #3 and #4

I forgot to get a picture of hole #3, but I can assure you it also worked well. The cats weren't phased by it. It was slightly bigger than hole #2 and, well, slightly smaller than #4.

Hole #4 is frightening.

Below is Hole #4. Litter falls in the toilet like at waterfall. Litterfall? Whatever, I'm just glad I haven't, so far, had any plumbing problems. The cats have not used this yet. I just "installed" it. Wish me luck.

Hole #2

Worked like a charm.

Next one should be a little daunting though.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Pros and the Cons

Since cutting a hole into the litter pan, I have started developing some pros and cons. I will probably republish this again and again with updates. It'll be like a game.

Pro - Um, Pascha pooped and it literally (accidentally) went straight into the toilet. Cleanup consisted of flushing the toilet. Ahhh....

Con - Lifting the pan out of the toilet to go to the bathroom has now become a messy, no, much messier experience. I recommend getting an old flexible cutting board to place it on so you can easily put the spilled litter back in to the pan when needed.

Pro - Both cats are taking to this quite well. We'll see how that turns out when I cut the hole bigger soon.

Con - Duct tape likes to come off easily.

Pro - I forsee this being finished in a month

Con - I started this in November

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Next Big Step

So - It's been a little over a month since we put the litter pan inside the toilet. Things have worked out very smoothly, considering Chris or I clean it EVERY time they decide to use it. It's been a lot of work, but if all goes well it will be very worth it.

Some good news is that Rex has decided to start standing only on the toilet rim while the litter pan is still in the toilet! This means he's already getting comfortable using the toilet in this correct position. Hooray!!

Pascha is a little stubborn, and we'll have to watch her more closely during this next step.

Today is the day we cut the first hole into the litter pan. Since we doubled up, we cut a larger hole in the top pan, and a smaller hole in the bottom.

Here's the top pan. I duck taped the sides to protect them and keep them from making the hole larger by stepping on it.Here's the whole thing as of today.

I'll be posting again very soon to let you know how they react to this change.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking Good!

Haha, hopefully he'll end up standing on the toilet as opposed to in.

Big Day - Moving the Pan into the Toilet

So the basic process for this whole thing goes as follows:

1) Make the pan smaller and use flushable litter
2) Move the pan up the side of the toilet
3) Move the pan into the toilet
4) After a month, cut a small hole in the pan
5) After cat gets used to it, make the hole gradually bigger
6) Once the hole is practically gone, take the pan away

Of course, if it were this easy we wouldn't have books and blogs and things telling us in detail how this process works.

As of December 2oth or so, I decided it was time to move to step 3 - into the toilet!!

This sounds really fun and great - but certain things had to be considered:

1) My toilet seat is angled inward, making it hard for Rex especially to balance well on it.

Solution: I bought a new $20 toilet seat from Target. It had a flatter seat and was made with an antimicrobial plastic material. This made me feel a little better, and the cats have a much easier time standing on it.

2) A turkey roaster disposable pan is great for holding turkeys (or say, cats) when it's resting on something like a table. Once you suspend it, the risk of puncturing through can be higher. Cats stand on their toes when they poo, and the small surface area of their foot made me a bit nervous. I actually punctured my first one with the litter scooper and had to replace it.

Solution: Two turkey roasters, with the inner pan's rim folded in. This provided a stronger surface, and will help later with the hole puncturing process (more on that later).

3) Securing a litter pan - If you have a couple of toilets in the house then duct tape the hell out of that pan and don't worry about it. But what happens when you have only one. What are you supposed to do? Un-duct tape it each time you want to go to the bathroom? No.

Solution: Velcro strips! Oh man, how nice it is to just lift the pan out to use the toilet, knowing those Velcro strips can hold something like 40 lbs before they split. These have worked great. Just lift the toilet seat and place some strips on all four sides of the toilet rim, making sure to measure where they will meet up with the pan.

4) The newspapers next to the toilet seat - If you just take them away, then they will not recognize where the pan has gone.

Solution: Like everything else in this process, gradually take more and more away until they only need a couple for a step stool (if desired.)

Holiday Break

I've been sort of absent from this blog during the holidays - but I can assure you that I have not been absent from the toilet training process. No, sir.

To recap - the cats' litter box was right up next to the toilet last (check out that pic of Rex below), and certain issues needed to be resolved before we moved on.


Preference to use other places as litter box - Pascha has become ever-picky about the cleanliness of her pan/box. Before, when we had a huge litter box, we could be a little lazy and clean it out every other day and be fine. Now, if it is not entirely clean (and she will inspect), then she'll hop into the sink.

How I fixed this - I made sure to take note of when they used the box. Then, right afterwards I'd clean out the bad litter and spray a little pet litter refreshing spray. If Pascha went over to the box and used it immediately, I made sure to have a declious treat waiting for her. If she hopped up in the sink and started pawing, I put her in front of the pan until she used it. Then I'd also give her a treat. The trick is to stop getting her to expect that the box is dirty. As soon as she could reliably hop into the box knowing it would be clean, then the problem went away.

Messy Bathroom - The bathroom became a complete, disgusting mess ... real fast. Litter kicked everywhere. In order to keep this process healthy for me and the cats, I had to make sure the area around was in good condition. Don't just clean the pan, be prepared to sweep every day, and mop at least once a week in the bathroom. Keep deodorizers nearby.

Drinking Toilet water - Just one or two sprays of bitter apple in the toilet helped a lot. This problem will fix itself once the litter pan goes inside the toilet.