When my boss asked me what my New Year’s resolution is, I just laughed and said I have too many to count. That was merely a cover up for the fact that my New Year’s resolution is to toilet train my cats.
Dave purchased a cat toilet training kit called the CitiKitty. It is a shallow, plastic tray that fits over your toilet bowl that you fill with litter. It comes with more pictures of cats crouching on toilets than I have ever seen in my life. Once the cats get used to this disorienting new routine, you punch increasingly larger holes into the tray to transition the cats into using nothing but the naked toilet. If the CitiKitty doesn’t work out as planned, I can perhaps fashion the litter box into a makeshift game of Skee-Ball.
Initially, I had mixed feelings about it. Before we bought the kit, I was afraid that we would be wasting time and money on a system that my little rebels would stubbornly refuse to conform to. I imagined Olive urinating freely on the bathmat and Penny pouting and wondering why there was a tray of litter obscuring her perceived water bowl. But the possibility of never having to scoop the clumps from another litter box was far too seductive.
We set up the CitiKitty on the toilet and filled it with Swheat Scoop cat litter. The packaging instructions suggested that we remove anything the cat might find enticing to urinate on instead of the toilet, such as rugs or towels. We know from experience that Olive finds bathmats irresistible, so we hid them all. The instructions also said to sprinkle a bit of catnip onto the top of the litter to entice the cats onto the toilet seat.
1. Olive and Penny smell the toilet seat. Olive digs in the litter. Penny smells Olive’s butt.
2. After Dave sprinkles the catnip, Penny proceeds to eat mouthfuls of spiked Swheat Scoop.
3. Penny’s behavior becomes irrational. She appears frozen in a voluptuous pose on the carpet. Then, she stomps away with a wild, paranoid glint in her eye. Penny overexerts herself chasing a feather on a stick and nearly ruptures her spine.
4. Olive walks the empty space where her litter box once was. She yowls mournfully, as though for a lost friend.
5. Penny is the first to pee in the CitiKitty. We use positive reinforcement and barrage her with praise and cat treats. Then Olive comes over and we give her treats, too, for no reason. Then Penny swoops in and eats Olive’s treats. She knows she deserves it.
At this stage, the cats seem confused and disoriented. Their water bowl has been replaced with a tray of litter and they mourn the absence of their litter box. Nonetheless, they are testing the waters.