Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old Cat, New Trick?

31 Days of Order - Day 24

The reactions to my declaration about training the indoor cats to use the toilet were varied.

My kids thought it was funny and cool. My husband wasn't too keen on the idea. Many of my cat-loving friends were cheering me on hoping they could do the same with their cats. My very dear friend who just so happens to be a counselor told me she worried about me having gone crazy. (Love you, too, Janet.) A handful of people said, "Ewww - gross!" Some simply stared at me.

Before I tell you our progress to date, allow me to introduce you to my indoor cats.

This is Hershey....

...and this is Snickers.

Hershey, the reigning queen, sits around like this most of the time. 
She is calm and in control. She can take you or leave you.
However, she is a fierce protector and great family cat.
Once she jumped on the back of a large dog that was barking threateningly at me and
she always joins us when we play in the yard.

 Snickers is high strung and generally freaked out.
She meows loudly and bolts whenever slightly startled.

As you can see, Snickers is not cuddly. Not in the least.

Okay. Enough chatter. Here is the progress report.

  1. Put the new litter in the old box. Check. No problem. A week went by.
  2. Put the new pan up on the toilet. Check. No problem.
    1. At this point there were no accidents.
    2. After a few days I began to suspect that Hershey was not using it, but going outside.
  3. Removed the first disk in the pan of litter, leaving a small hole in the middle.
    1. Hershey definitely not using it; going outside. (And this is the cat who will come in from playing outside to use the litter box inside.)
    2. Snickers was NOT happy about the hole in the pan.
      1. The first night there was nothing in the pan, but the next morning I found that the back door rug had been wet on.
      2. The second night she paced and yowled. She ran into the bathroom and upstairs, then back down again, meowing wildly the entire time. I finally picked her up, talking calmly, set her in the litter pan on the toilet and closed her in the bathroom. It got quiet for a minute, then she meowed again so I checked on her. I could tell from the - uhhh - smell that she had done something, but there was nothing in the pan. She opted for the sheet that was on the floor. Sigh!
      3. The third night, same routine. More pacing, yowling, and running up and downstairs. This time she made herself at home in the sink of one of the upstairs bathrooms and wet in it. Even after that she continued to roam the house hollering. 
      4. I felt sorry for her and caved in. Bringing the litter box back into the house, I refilled it, showed it to her and she promptly made use of the familiar facilities. Peace and calm came over the household.
So, that's that. The grand experiment didn't work on my cats. Oh well, it was worth a try. Guess I'll be heading to the home improvement store for supplies to convert the cabinet under the sink to a litter box holder. I can live with that!

Have you ever tried to train your animal to do something unique? How did it go?

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This post is part of my 31 Days of Order series. See the rest of the posts here
To find other bloggers also writing for 31 Days this month on a variety of topics, click here.


  1. Cats are creatures of habit i think. My late cat Emily was a hoot. You couldn't change anything, not even her litter without it being an "event". Once I couldn't get the clay one I normally do, and got the clumping kind. I came home from work and she she used it as a sand box and dumped it out and played in it. UGH...Did this a few times and I gave up.

    1. It's funny she played in the clay litter. You are right, they are creatures of habit. I have changed their food and litter many times and they never complained, but drew the line at the toilet pan thingy. Could have been worse. :-)

  2. it cracks me up you tried to train your cats... seriously...i'm laughing over here.
    i've been trying to train Snoopy for 5 years... just to be a good dog. to varied success...mostly failure. he makes me feel like a bad dog trainer. just yesterday he swiped a pepper from right in front of us without us knowing. he gets into the trash daily, knowing he's not supposed to. IF i see him and yell "Snoopy!" he simply looks at me with this look of disgust...drops what's in his mouth from the trash...and walks off with this attitude dripping off of him of "screw you". that dog.

    1. Yeah, Snoopy definitely has his own personality. Maybe you should change his name to Lassie - wait, Lassie was a girl - I mean, to a famous well-behaved male dog's name. His famous namesake is also pretty independent and drips with attitude.... ;-)

  3. Awwww Snickers looks just like my old cat...but my old cat was a nasty piece of work when she wanted to be. We tried snapping her out of that habit, but we ended up with the next door neighbour showing up with his Alsatian (the cat attached to the side of it all claws and teeth).

    Behavioural therapy fail!

    1. Hahaha - kitties are not known for submitting to "behavioral therapy!" :-)

  4. Cats have a definite mind of their own and maybe it would have worked if you were trying to train a kitten, but an old cat is set in its ways. I give you credit for trying.


    1. Kathy, you are probably right; it was too much to ask of my middle-aged and senior kitties. :-)


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