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.