Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats, Weeks 11-13

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Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats, Weeks 11-13

We went 10 weeks totally accident and stress free. Then week 11, and the glass bowl, happened. Wa Wa Wa Waaaaaa

I will freely admit, it was totally my fault. I got cocky, and I got lazy.

But, let me start at the beginning. 

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 Big Changes

Stress-Free-Toilet-Training-Week-11-1-PostAt the beginning of week 10, I decided that I was only going to feed dry food. I feed our Littles a good cat food and, now that the babies were 8 months old, I didn’t see the need to continue adding the wet to their dry. They were big boys and girls and didn’t need the soft food anymore. Seems harmless enough, right? 

Well, then I decided since I wasn’t adding the wet I could just stop feeding 3 times a day and just put out a feeder. And, that too, seemed okay, until….

Week 11, Day 1

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First glass bowl used at the beginning of week 11

We started week 11 the same as we had the last 10, by giving their bathroom a good scrubbing and adding a larger water bowl. Initially I used the bowl to the right rather than the one pictured above. It’s about the same size at the base, but wider at the top. Much wider at the top. While it still allowed room for litter, it didn’t leave much space between the bowl and the inside wall of the sitz bath

Atticus had no problem adjusting. He was the first to jump up and notice the change. Barely sniffing it, he quickly positioned himself at the front of the toilet seat and peed directly into the bowl. Easy as pie.

After cleaning up after Atticus, Lily jumped up to inspect the situation. For the first time, she wasn’t sure about it. At all. She just couldn’t get her footing down for some reason. It seemed odd to me that she was having such a problem with it since she had been positioning all fours on the toilet seat, on and off, for weeks now. But it didn’t seem to click for her this time. She had to dig and scratch around several times before finally going potty. I honestly think it was being able to see through the bowl that she was having so much trouble with. She would try to paw at the litter under the bowl and, in the process, get her paw wet. 

And then it was Jasmine’s turn.

For the first time since we started this method, Jasmine balked about using her mock toilet. In fact, she behaved exactly as she had when we were using the Litter Kwitter. She jumped up on her trainer, dug around, then meowed at me and jumped down. She would jump up and try to find a comfortable position to potty, but when she couldn’t fit to squat between the bowl and the sitz bath, and she would end up sticking her foot in the water, she would look at me and meow several times. She just didn’t get that she needed to perch on the side of the toilet seat like Atticus had been doing for weeks. 

This went on several times, for nearly 2 hours, in fact, before she finally stood all four paws on the toilet seat and pooped. The only problem was, she was facing toward the sitz bath and pooed on the lid of the tote. 

Okay, so she was going to need a little more time with this bowl to figure it out. No problem. 

But because Lily and Jasmine were being so weird with the new setup, I decided to go back to basics and lock us away after each nap and hard play. I needed to make sure they were going to use their trainer and not one of my house plants. 

It was definitely more challenging than the days and weeks before, but they all managed to use the mock toilet the rest of the day. Jasmine only peed, though. It appeared she may be back to holding her bowels, but I wasn’t sure yet.

Everything Turns to Poo

So, day 2 I wake up to find a pile of poo on my bathroom floor. I’ll admit it, when it saw it there, just between the base of the toilet and their mock toilet, my heart sank. We had gone months without any accidents, and now that I could actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, the bulb blows!

Immediately I assumed it was Jasmine since she seemed to be having trouble positioning her butt toward the water. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, though, since it was clear the others had been using the trainer. I simply picked it up, and went about the task of cleaning their trainer. There was poo and pee in the water bowl, and several clumps of pee in the litter. (I know y’all are totally jealous that you don’t get to start your mornings cleaning cat poo from a glass bowl!)

But now I was scared to let them out of the bathroom.

It was clear that the girls were having a problem with the new bowl, and it was also clear that at least one of them had no problem going on the floor. So, until I could see them all poo in their trainer, we would all stay in the bathroom. 

Battle Of The Wills

 4 hours later, they still hadn’t pooped. Seriously. 

I’ll admit, I left the bathroom after nearly an hour and a half, when they all decided it was nap time and curled up in their beds. I checked on them periodically, even sitting in there for long periods of time playing with them, but nothing was happening. Even Atticus was now balking at the new setup. 

By the end of the day, when, still, no one had gone potty, I relented and put the butter bowl back in. And it was no surprise when they all eagerly climbed up to do their business! 

But I didn’t like that solution. I really felt like we needed to keep moving forward. 

I decided that I would put the glass bowl back before going to bed and see how they managed overnight. 

Day 3

 Morning 3 looked encouraging! There wasn’t any poo on the floor, and there was a lot of evidence they had used the mock toilet. 

But the rest of day three was a bust. We spent a lot of time locked in the bathroom because Jasmine and Lily would jump up and scratch as though they needed to poo, but after digging and squatting a few times they would just give up and jump down. I had also noticed, over the past few days, that it was more difficult to predict their potty schedules now that they were self feeding. Because of that, I wanted to make sure they were limited to just the mock toilet when natured called. 

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

 On the forth morning I again found poop in the bathroom floor. And, again, it was in the same spot right between the base of the toilet and their mock toilet. 

Something had to give. We had come waaaay too far to get derailed this close to the end.

Deciding I’d made too many changes at this stage of the game, I needed to take away the feeder and go back to feeding 3x day. When I was doing that they weren’t  pooing overnight. Atticus and Lily typically pooped after breakfast and again after the last feeding of the day, and Jasmine pooped just once in the evenings. 

The other thing I did was relace the glass water bowl with one that didn’t flare out at the top. I just don’t think it left enough room between the water bowl and the inside wall of the sitz bath for the girls to access the litter. 

Then, the rest of that day, I kept a close eye on them and heavily monitored their potty habits. And while doing that I realized I had accused the wrong kitty of potty malpractice. All along I assumed it was Jasmine who had pooped on the floor, when it was Lily.

When I clean the mock toilet, I close the toilet lid to keep them from accessing it without the bowl in place. While I was doing this, Lily made a big show of needing to go potty. She jumped up on the mock toilet and tried to dig under the lid. I put her on the floor and hurried what I was doing. She jumped on the counters and looked in each sink as if thinking they might be an alternate spot, so I put her down again. As I was filling the new bowl with water, she went to that exact spot between the toilet and mock toilet, and began to scratch the floor and squat. I gave her a quick shove with my foot, and opened the lid to their trainer. As I was placing the water bowl back in she jumped up, dug and squatted. I’m not sure she even noticed the new bowl.

Final Thoughts

 Since going back to their regular feeding schedule of 3x/day, with wet food and dry, as well as changing out glass bowls, things have gone well. We’re currently entering week 12, and there have been no more accidents and everyone seems to be adjusting to the change. 

I have decided, though, that I’m going to stick with this glass bowl at least an extra week just to give them time to get settled again. I don’t want to push them along too quickly and end up with another accident. 

Hopefully, with making these changes, transitioning to a larger bowl in week 14 won’t be as difficult.  

Hopefully!

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Comments

2 Responses to “Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats, Weeks 11-13”

  1. Sarah
    April 9, 2013 at 2:44 am

    WHAT NEXT?!?!?! How is it going?

    • Melissa
      April 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

      We had to go an extra week with that bowl so we’ve just switched bowls again. I should be updating in about a week.

      Thanks for reading! It’s great knowing someone is actually interested! =)

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