As I'm sure everyone knows, I'm an unemployed bum right now. Well... I'm a semi, kind-of, sort-of employed bum. This means that I've been spending lots of time home with no one to talk to but the cats. The cats like this, they actually follow me around the house and sit near where I sit (Isis subtly, the boys try to sit ON me). For what ever reason, I got the crazed idea this week that I was going to potty train the cats.
The cats are already litter box trained of course, they don't need lessons in that... well, Isis could use a refresher since she doesn't like to share... but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fact that I really don't want to take my life in my hands every time I empty the litter box. Um... not an exaggeration, as ammonia can kill me. What's cat pee mostly made of? Ammonia. It's a very dangerous thing for me to do, and usual results in me having a massive headache at the very least.
I don't know what caused this, but on Tuesday, I decided to go to Petco and get one of these things:
I don't always have the best ideas...
I came home from Petco carrying this big box, an industrial sized thing of cat pee cleaner (I was assuming this was going to go terrible right from the start, I wanted to be prepared), a huge roll of small (and cheap) trash bags, and some disposable litter (what we were using wasn't really, and it was Very Expensive). David just said "um... what the hell is that?!" To which I responded "it's potty training stuff." He gave me the you're crazy look, and I explained it was for the cats. He smiled, nodded, then went into the bedroom.
The "Litter Kwitter" (the pain of typing "quitter" with a KW is enormous!) is basically a litter box that fits down over your toilet with trays that have increasingly larger holes in them. The idea is to train them gradually, starting with no hole, so they think it's a normal litter box and get used to jumping up there, then from there, you increase the size of the hole until you don't need the thing at all anymore.
Once home, I set to work. I removed all the other litter boxes in the house (scrubbed them, soaked them in the pee cleaner), steam cleaned the areas where they were, and put the new "litter box" on the floor. So far, it's gone surprisingly well. Sure, there were moments of confusion in which the cats glared at me with a very clear thought bubble above their heads that said "where do I PEE?!" , and of course, one of the boys had some aim issues, but so far... I'm kind of shocked. They're doing well! MUCH better than I ever expected.
Also, I didn't know when I bought the thing that training more than one cat at a time is EXTREMELY HARD. Of course, I tend to do that a lot with lots of things. I only find out later, after I've started that whatever it is I'm trying to do is VERY HARD, and you're supposed to start with much easier things. I usually find out later, after I've done whatever it is, and someone says to me "oh, you know, that's the hardest [insert thing here]."
So far, my cats are making me proud. It's been less than a week, but they've already figured out the basic idea, they've realized that if they go in the right spot, they get treats... they're doing well, even though there are three of them, and that's supposed to be really hard.
Clearly, this is an excellent use of all of my time home alone. Following around the cats, and making sure they get lots of treats and praise for going potty. Last night, I spent a good twenty minutes feeding Boo treats so he could learn where the new potty was (up on the toilet, not the floor). David thinks I've gone insane, but even he's been coming home, and praising the kitties too. Hey, all of you parents out there know that potty training isn't easy! Now try doing it with three kids at the same time who don't understand what you're saying to them at all, and are REALLY confused why you took away their dipey!
In a couple weeks (when we switch to the insert with a hole in the middle) I'll probably be cursing this stupid invention, and ready to rip my hair out because the cats don't want to cooperate, but so far, it's going well, and I'm surprised that this is actually possible with MY cats. Sure, Boo's smart, he's like the cat Einstein, but he's also stubborn. Pan is adorable, lovable, but not the brightest crayon in the box*, and Isis... well, she's a bit of a priss. She thinks she's queen of everything.
Now, I must go back to working on Monkeys. I have some that I'm trying to get done before June so that I can put them in the shop, and I have some special orders I'm working on as well. If you're wondering, all monkey stuff is safely locked away where kitties can't get to it at all. The cats don't have any interest in sock monkeys or where they're kept. They much prefer staring at the spot under the dishwasher. I haven't figured this out yet because there's NOTHING there. No bugs, nothing. I think they're hearing the dishwasher next door or something.
Love to everyone,
*This is sort of true, except he's the only cat that actually talks. He knows what he's saying too, he has "words" for down, up, food, pet me, and can even say "fuck you". That last one was the result of me playing Lily Allen too much. Oops.
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Aahh the joys of training kittehs to use a kitteh box. I never found it all that hard to be honest... just perserverence... I had two littlers of babies that took to it pretty easily. [TobiMac]
5/19/2011 10:33:23 PM
I've always wondered how difficult it is to train a cat to use the toilet! Glad it's going so well -- and I bet it will continue to go well now that they have the hang of it. Smart kitties!
I love the expression on the face of the cat in the photo. He looks like he's thinking, "Have.You lost.Your MIND?!?" [edna million]
5/19/2011 10:41:23 PM
wow, I can't even imagine trying to potty train pets. [Wolfsmanda]
5/19/2011 11:28:57 PM
I think if I get a cat, I'd like to potty train them. Then again, I'd probably need to potty train my potty trained kids, since their aim SUCKS. [B+]
5/20/2011 2:44:47 AM
good for you and the patience to teach these cats. i have one cat that has words for nap and food. that's all that matters to her i guess lol [+Pelican]
5/20/2011 7:33:13 AM
Oh what a great idea this will be when the cats all have finally mastered it!!! [FRIDAY'S CHILD]
5/20/2011 10:06:36 AM
Oh, John, I so feel for you. I'm glad it's going so well, however. We've only got one workable bathroom here, and as MUCH as I would love to potty train the three cats here, I also don't want to have to remove the thing everytime I have to use the bathroom. And knowing my husband, he'd have a hissy fit if he came home from work at 2am and found a litter box on his toilet and cats using his potty. He already hates them. lol But kudos to you. I'm REALLY impressed that you've made such great use of your free time. [Cariña]
5/20/2011 4:52:07 PM
Cute little tidbit from my life for you. My sister made her first sock monkey a few months ago while she was in rehab, and they are currently displaying all the ladies' sock monkeys at the Art Institute of Chicago. We're going on Monday to see her monkey on display and hopefully get some pictures. [Cariña]