Two common ways to train your cat to use the bathroom without a litter box are toilet training and outdoor litter training.
Toilet training is not a good idea because a cat’s natural instinct is to bury waste, and it could hurt wildlife.
Even though it’s safer to train a cat to use the litter box outside, it’s always a good idea to have at least one litter box inside the house.
You can teach your young kitten to use the toilet to go to the bathroom. If he can figure out how to use the toilet correctly, he won’t need a litterbox.
Is There Another Way To Solve The Litter Box Problem?
There’s a reason why teaching cats to use a litter box is so popular.
It is by far the easiest way to train your cat to use the bathroom, since cats will naturally use the box when they need to go to the bathroom.
So, you probably shouldn’t start toilet training without a litter box. Instead, let’s look at some other options.
Have You Tried An Automatic Litter Box?
Most people worry about not wanting to clean the litter box and how it smells.
I don’t think anyone likes to pick up cat poop or smell it, so you’re not the only one who wants to avoid it.
It might seem like the only option is to do everything outside, but modern automatic litter boxes can completely get rid of the need to scoop and, when used with good litter, can cut down on the smell by a lot.
Things weren’t always this way.
In reality, automatic litter boxes used to be awful, but the ones made today are quiet, cheap, and useful.
This isn’t just my opinion; over 6,500 people on Amazon have given my favourite automatic litter box from PetSafe five stars.
It not only “scoops” for you, but it does it often enough to make the smell go away.
Even though it costs a little more than a regular plastic litter box, it is still very cheap. It will also save you the time it takes to teach your cat to go outside to the bathroom and to clean the litter box.
Is it best for a litter box to clean itself? Of course not, but it can cut down on the number of times you have to scoop and keep odours away.
Have Your Tried A Sifting Litter Box?
You’ll still have to do things with the box, but you won’t be able to scoop in the usual way. Instead, the box sorts through the litter and puts any urine or feces on top, where they can be thrown away.
There are a lot of choices, but the Breeze Litter Box System is one of my top picks. It’s cheap, and you can read over 9,500 five-star reviews of it on Amazon.
This box is different from other sifting boxes because it is a full system, not just a box. Instead of scooping up the urine, it falls onto an absorbent pad that does a great job of reducing the smell.
Also, you’ll have less to pick up because you can just throw away the absorbent pad.
Have You Tried Changing Litter?
The last thing to think about is the trash. You’ll need a certain kind of litter box if you want to spend less time scooping, and buying good litter can help you deal with odors.
If it bothers you that the litter gets tracked all over the house, you should read our guide to wood pellet cat litter, which doesn’t track at all.
In any case, you should look into all of the alternatives to the box before giving it up completely.
What You Need To Know About Feline Bathroom Habits
Before we get into how to do it, let’s make sure we understand two things about why cats need to go to the bathroom.
Cats Need Regular Access
When some people think of a house without a litter box, they picture their cat standing by the door, letting them know when they need to go to the bathroom.
It is possible to do this, but it is not the norm. This is especially true if the cat has used a litter box before.
That’s why an outdoor cat enclosure, also called a “catio,” is the best solution. Your cat can go in and out of it whenever it wants, and you don’t have to worry about other animals getting in.
Cats Need The Right Material…To Poop On
Cats may be picky about what they use to go to the bathroom, but fine-particle litters work best in most situations.
“Of course, that makes sense, since cats used to live in the desert and bury their poop in the sand,” PreventativeVet.com says.
Even though I’ve also had good luck with wood pellet litter, the point is that your cat needs something to dig into.
How to Train a Cat to Go to the Bathroom Outside (Without A Litter Box)
So you’ve thought about how hard it might be to teach your child to use the toilet outside and are ready to try it. Do the following to teach your cat to go to the bathroom outside:
- Start out by moving one of your cat’s litter boxes outside. At least one should still be in your house. Let your cat look around and see what’s going on.
- As they get used to using the litter box outside, move it slowly to where it should be. Your cat will eventually go where it wants, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
- Once the litter box is in the right place and the cats are using it regularly, take it away and put a pile of litter right next to it. Put some of their fresh poop in the litter box to show them it’s okay to go there.
- As your cat starts to feel better, you can slowly take away the litter.
Keep in mind that your cat’s health could get worse if they aren’t comfortable when they go to the bathroom.
For your own comfort, don’t force your cat to go to the bathroom when you want it to. Also, don’t hurry through the steps. Cats need time to get used to new situations, so the longer they have, the better.
How to Choose the Best Cat Door
Most of the time, cat door inserts for sliding doors or windows are used to let cats go outside. They don’t cost too much and don’t require permanent changes to your property.
Cat doors that can be added to any door or fixed directly into walls are much more permanent options.
Some cats react very differently to flaps that are soft, solid, single, or double. We’ve found that cats with more anxiety tend to stay away from cat doors with two flaps.
How To Train A Cat To Use The Bathroom Outside (Using A Litter Box)
What if your cat uses a litter box now, but you want to move it outside?
The steps are mostly the same, but here’s a quick summary:
- Make sure your cat can get to their new bathroom spot easily and consistently.
- Leave the old litter box inside and put a new one in the new spot outside.
- Clean the litter box outside on a regular basis, preferably more than once a day.The litter box inside should be cleaned less often. Don’t make it too bad, but the goal is to get your cat to want to use the very clean litter box outside.
- When your cat starts using the outdoor litter box more often, spread a few clumps of the litter they like in the area. Slow down when you’re scooping for the outdoor box, and the piles will look more inviting. You can also get rid of the box that stays inside.
- When you see that your cat is always using the piles instead of the outdoor litter box, you can get rid of the heaps. If the dirt is soft enough to dig, you can stop making mounds and let your cat figure out where they are on their own.
How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Cat To Not Use A Box?
These steps may seem like they will take a long time, but in most cases, you can teach your cat to use outdoor litter mounds in just a few days.
Keep in mind that cats naturally want to bury their poop and use a clean area. So long as you give them that, the rest of the process should be pretty easy.
Why Toilet Training Isn’t A Great Option
We’ve talked about having your cat go outside and using a litter box. What about teaching your cat to use the same toilet as you?
Even though it’s possible, it’s not always the best choice.
Let’s look at some of the reasons for this.
It’s Time Intensive
If you thought it would take too long to teach your child to use the toilet outside, you may be disappointed to hear that it could take up to six weeks.
This is because the process involves slowly getting your cat to stop using litter and only use the toilet.
That’s not how your cat usually acts, so it will take him or her some time to learn. It will take more than a few days, but some cats will learn faster than others.
There’s A Real Risk To Wildlife
Researchers found that otters off the coast of California were dying from the same kind of toxoplasmosis that cats had.
The otters got sick because cat owners flushed sick cat poop, which eventually made its way to the coast.
Even if your cat never goes outside, the risk is not zero. In fact, one study found that 74% of cats had latent toxoplasmosis.
The Toilet Isn’t Always Easy To Reach…Or Safe
It might be hard for older cats or young kittens to get to the toilet. Depending on how your bathroom is built, your cat may need a lot of skill to jump to the toilet, and if they miss, they may end up in the toilet water.
This is not only gross, but it can be dangerous for cats, especially kittens, who might not be able to get out of the toilet quickly.
Are you really ready to go to the bathroom and see cat poop?
Even if you are, it’s possible your cat is not.
So, toilet training works best for singles or couples, not for families where more than one person uses the bathroom at once.
The Risks of Outdoor Potty Training Your Cat
The best way to get rid of litter boxes is to teach your cat to go to the bathroom outside, but this has some limits. It’s not as simple as emptying the litter box every few hours and opening the door.
Cats Need Constant Bathroom Access
Dogs don’t need to go to the bathroom as often as cats do. This means that your cat needs to be able to go outside all the time, or you need to keep at least one litter box inside.
If you make a cat “hold it,” it can lead to serious health problems. Most of the time, they will end up going somewhere else anyway.
It’s Not for Every Cat
Wild cats are very different from the cats we keep as pets.
Don’t force your cat to go outside if it doesn’t seem to want to. Not all cats can be trained to use the litter box outside.
Parasites and Your Garden
Cat poop can have parasites like T. gondii, roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms, to name a few.
When your cat goes outside, it can be hard, if not impossible, to control where they go to the bathroom.
If these dangerous parasites go into a vegetable or herb garden or wander near a water source like a stream, well, or wetland, they can spread.
When you’re taking care of your garden, wear gloves and wash your hands afterward. If you have edible plants, you should also thoroughly wash any crops you harvest.
If any of your neighbours have a garden, talk to them about what you want to do and make sure it’s okay. It is irresponsible to let your cat poop in your neighbor’s garden without telling them what will happen.
Should You Go Litter Box-Free?
Even if your cat is happy to go outside, you should keep at least one litter box inside just in case. There are a few good reasons to do that.
To start, cats in the wild use their urine to mark their territory. Putting a litter box inside can help your cat feel more at home.
Second, think about how letting your cat go outside often could bring in people you don’t want. Wild animals are much more likely to get in when it’s dark and quiet.
People who let their cats go outside during the day often choose to keep them inside at night.
Reason You Shouldn’t Toilet Train Your Cat
Another popular way to stop littering is to teach kids how to use the toilet. Even though it sounds good in theory, it’s not good for your cat or the environment.
1. Burying waste is an instinctual behavior
Cats don’t scratch and dig in the litter box to have fun or get exercise.
When they are in the wild, cats hide their scent by burying their waste. Even the most domesticated cats still have this important survival skill.
Even though it may be convenient for us and our cats may eventually learn to cooperate, teaching a cat to use the toilet goes against its deepest instincts.
2. It may harm wildlife
Unfortunately, many wastewater treatment plants are not set up to handle T. gondii. This means that the parasite could end up in local rivers and kill wildlife.
3. You may be flushing evidence of health problems
When you flush a cat’s pee, you may be getting rid of important information about possible health problems. Small changes in how often and how much you pee can help doctors figure out what’s wrong with you early on.
Keeping a close eye on your cat’s urine can help you find out if he or she has diabetes, kidney disease, or a blockage in the urinary tract. When you flush your poop, it may be harder to notice other signs of health problems, like bloody poop.
Cats shouldn’t go in the toilet. They must be nimble enough to hop onto the toilet seat and graceful enough not to fall in while doing so.
Even if your cat has its own bathroom, there will be times when it can’t use the toilet. If Dad sometimes spends 20 minutes on the toilet, your cat may have to “hold it,” which is very bad for cats, or go somewhere else (which will probably be your pillow).
Going litter-free may sound good in theory, but it has a lot of bad points. Toilet training your cat could make them feel bad about themselves and hurt the environment.
Even if you train your cat to go outside, it’s best to keep at least one litter box inside. No matter what you choose, remember that your cat’s comfort is the most important thing.
Don’t make them get used to their new bathroom if they don’t want to. It’s not hard to scoop the litter box.
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