Plastic potty helps pussy pee
Monday, 2 May 2005
Cats can be trained to take themselves to the bathroom and use the toilet like humans, says the inventor of a pussy potty.
Australian designer Jo Lapidge says her system structures cat toilet-training into three stages using behaviour modification and a system of colour-coded rings.
The system, which is being commercially marketed, uses red, amber and green toilet seat-shaped rings that can be filled with kitty litter and placed over the toilet bowl.
Kitty graduates through the rings, which have holes of increasing size, until she is weaned off the litter and learns to balance on the toilet seat alone.
Why teach a cat to use a toilet?
Lapidge says the idea isn’t as silly as it sounds.
She says as well as eliminating the need for kitty litter in the house, it means the cat can stay indoors, which protects native wildlife.
Lapidge isn’t the first to come up with the idea but her innovative design has won her a place in the Fresh Innovators initiative, a campaign to highlight the work of emerging Australian inventors.
She says the final design came to her in a “flash of inspiration” after trying to toilet-train her own cat Doogal using pot-plant saucers and cheap plastic toilet seats cobbled together in her backyard.
Lapidge says her invention is sturdy, practical, easy to get on and off the toilet seat and helps owners break toilet-training into straightforward steps.
“It allows you and your cat to progress at its own pace,” she says.
Plastic wrap does the trick too
Dr Kersti Seksel, an Australian registered veterinary specialist in animal behaviour, says it isn’t difficult to train a cat to use the toilet and you don’t even need to fork out money for commercial products.
A roll of plastic wrapping and a bit of cardboard works just as well, she says.
You cover the toilet with plastic wrapping, place a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in the middle over the top, and sprinkle kitty litter into the hole.
Once the cat has finished toileting, it scratches the plastic wrapping as if it was digging to bury the waste. This rips the plastic wrapping, allowing the soiled kitty litter to drop into the toilet below.
“The first step is getting them up on the toilet once you get them on the toilet then you just change what the litter tray looks like then away you go,” she says.
But don’t expect the cat to flush the toilet, Seksel says.
“I’m sure there’ll be somebody who’ll says ‘yes my cat does’, but generally they don’t,” she says.
Seksel says based on her experience about 5% of cat owners would have toilet-trained moggies, particularly people who live in apartments.
“It’s not common but it’s not that strange,” she says.
Theoretically, many animals, including dogs and rabbits, can be trained to use the toilet, but there are physical limitations.
“The average great dane isn’t going to balance on a toilet seat,” she says.