My first piece of advice when it comes to cats, toilets and litter boxes:
Step 1: Buy a litterbox and litter
Step 2: Let your cat use the litterbox
Step 3: Scoop the litterbox daily
Cleaning the litterbox is not the most fun part about living with cats. But consider this: toilets were made for humans. Humans sit on toilets and do their business.
Toilets were not designed for cats. We would never consider training dogs to use the toilet, right?
It’s not natural cat behavior
Cats use both urine and feces to mark their territory and communicate with other cats. Smelling the urine and feces of other cats can tell them who the other cats in the area are, and whether they are friend or foe. To a certain extent, this happens even in the litterbox. You might think that you are helping your cat by flushing your cat’s stinkies down the toilet, but cats need to smell themselves in their territory – it’s what they do. Additionally, the feline instinct generally drives cats to scratch substrates and bury their waste products. In the wild, they may do this to hide their presence from other predators or prey. It comes down to an instinct which is very much ingrained in survival – and not allowing cats to perform actions that secure their “perceived sense of survival” can cause stress and result in behavior problems…which, you guessed it, includes inappropriate elimination.
You may miss indicators of changes in your cat’s health
Urinary tract infections can be common in cats. By scooping litterboxes, you can tell if your cats are urinating more or less frequently, or if the volume of each “event” is changing. At the first sign of urinary changes, you’ll want to get your cat to the veterinarian to check for a urinary tract infection or other problem. However, if your cat is using the toilet, you will not be able to get this important information about your cat’s health and may miss out on the first clues that something is going wrong. Similarly, changes in fecal texture and consistency can also give you important clues about your cat’s health. You may be able to SEE poops in the toilet, but if they’re in water, what can you really be sure about?
Think about this: the toilet seat is generally slippery plastic that has a slight funnel shape to it to allow any splashes on the seat to flow towards the bowl instead of the outside edge of the toilet seat. It also has a huge hole in the middle of it! If you are a cat, you will need to jump up onto the toilet seat, being very careful not to slip and wind up in the toilet bowl water (which may have already been used, depending on whether or not your cat flushes, which most cats don’t do). Then, you have to keep your balance while standing with all four of your feet in a row while you precariously perch your butt over the hole. Then, you have to hold that position while you pee or poop. In a litterbox, the cat gets to have a firm footing on substrate that she won’t slip on, and she gets to place her paws wherever she needs to in order to maintain a stable and comfortable position for doing her business.
It only takes ONE time to spook your cat off of the toilet forever
Let’s say your cat needs to use the toilet and either executes a poor jump or slips during the process and ends up in the toilet bowl, soaking wet, and covered with you-know-what. It really does only take one bad experience for a cat to say to herself something like this… “I’m finding somewhere else to go!” And then you’ve got a real problem!
Your cat WILL find a better place to eliminate, and you won’t like it
Whether your cat has had a bad experience with the toilet, or if she’s getting physically uncomfortable using the toilet, or if it’s just causing her enough stress to start looking for alternative places to go, your cat will eventually stray from using the toilet. This is a problem because your kitty will find some place to meet her own needs, which could be a pile of clean laundry, the corner of your living room carpet, or your bed.
Please do your cat and yourself a favor and close the toilet lid for good and reacquaint your kitty with a litterbox!