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can you train a cat to use the toilet
Pets

Pet Parenting 101: Can You Train a Cat to Use the Toilet?

Do you happen to remember Jynx, Robert De Niro’s tomcat in Meet the Parents? It’s been more than twenty years since the movie aired, but this toilet-trained cat might still be cracking you up — although he “can’t lift the seat” because he “lacks the strength and the opposable thumbs.”

Back in the 2000s, you may have found the idea of toilet training your kitty pretty weird. Now, however, you find yourself considering it. So, can you train a cat to use the toilet? If so, what would the pros and cons of that be? Stick around to find out.

Can You Train a Cat to Use the Toilet?

Can You

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You might be tired of changing your cat’s litter box every single day. And your cat’s habit of scattering clay all around the place might be equally bothersome. If that’s the case, it has probably occurred to you to teach your kitty to use the toilet. After all, that would save you the trouble of constantly cleaning after your furry friend.

But is toilet training a cat even possible? Lucky for you, it is. Still, you’ll find there are some pros and cons to doing so. And, you’ll need to consider some relevant factors.

Things to Consider Before Toilet Training Your Cat

Consider

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1. Do You Think Your Cat Will Cooperate?

You must already know just how difficult it is to teach your kitty new tricks. Unlike dogs, cats don’t enjoy following our orders — quite the contrary. So, the only way in which your cat would cooperate is by getting bribed. Do you have catnip or any other favorite treat of theirs at your fingertips?

Also, your toilet training situation might depend on your kitty’s unique personality. Is your cat naturally inquisitive and likes challenges? Or is your furry friend only after 24/7 naps and food? You’ll see how older, less vital cats might not be in the mood to change their toilet habits.

2. Do You Think Your Family Will Cooperate?

Another factor to consider is the behavior of the people you live with. Would they be patient enough until your cat learns how to use the toilet? Do you think they would also help you clean after your cat in the beginning? Or would they not care about any of it?

You might also need to advise your family to leave the bathroom door open at all times. Otherwise, your kitty might urinate elsewhere. And somebody will also have to take on the job of flushing the toilet when you’re not around. But as you’ll see, your cat might be able to do that, too.

So, do you think your cat will end up learning to use the toilet and even flush? Before we delve deeper into that, let’s see about the benefits and downsides of toilet training your kitty.

Pros of Toilet Training Your Cat

Pros

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1. You and Your Family Won’t Be Exposed to Parasites

Have you heard about toxoplasmosis? As a cat owner, there are some things you should know about this infectious disease. It stems from a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that lives inside your cat’s bowels for about two weeks. Then, it leaves the cat’s organism through feces that ends up in your cat’s litter box.

So, if your kitty has been a host for this parasite, its litter will now be full of T. gondii eggs. This way, you’re very likely to get infected when cleaning your cat’s litter. You might even develop some severe symptoms like encephalitis, and your pregnancy might be compromised.

On the other hand, if the cat uses your bathroom, you can always flush the parasites down the toilet.

2. It’s Cheaper Than Litter

You already know just how costly keeping a pet might be. Especially if your buddy enjoys more than a couple of snacks a day, you might already be struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, cats aren’t that into expensive toys — quite the opposite. Surprise them with a plastic bag or a box, and they’ll be good to go.

However, your cat’s litter toilet might be the one draining your wallet. Depending on the exact type of litter you’re using, you might be paying $200-480 a year. On the other hand, water is much less expensive. Even if you have to flush after your cat more than once a day, it will still pay off.

3. You’ll Get Rid of Dusty Clay

You probably haven’t thought much about what cat litter is made of. It contains dusty clay that can cause respiratory problems in your cat. Also, litter is potentially carcinogenic for both cats and people. Because of that, switching from a litter box to a toilet would prove better for everyone’s health.

This way, you’ll also manage to keep the place much cleaner. There won’t be any more clay pieces messing up your carpets. And, more importantly, the stench after your cat has done their business won’t linger around. Overall, you’ll be looking at a cleaner and safer place for your family, your pets, and yourself.

Cons of Toilet Training Your Cat

Cons

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1. Your Cat’s Behavior Might Change

When it comes to toilet training your cat, you should consider just how attached cats are to their litter boxes. Much like dogs, your feline friends also love to mark their territory. Sorry to break it to you, but some people even say that cats get used to places, not people. So, when you take away its scent marks, your kitty might end up feeling confused.

As a result, it can also start behaving differently than usual. You may even see your cat openly protesting about being forced to do their business in your toilet. Your pet might end up urinating and defecating all over your place. It can also start spraying your toilet seat, scratching it, or throwing stuff inside the toilet.

2. Your Toilet Might Not Be the Cleanest of Places

You’ve already seen how your kitty’s behavior can change when you force it to use the toilet — toilet seat spraying included. But the truth is, this can also happen involuntarily. Your cat might not have the best aim in the beginning, and its pee might get everywhere. Because of that, your toilet won’t be as sanitary as it used to be.

So, it’s necessary to advise your family on how to behave when this happens. At least in the first couple of weeks, someone will need to clean up all the mess your cat will make. We’re talking about stuff like flushing and disinfecting the toilet seat/lid. Also, you might need to pick up all the dirt your cat brings inside your bathroom, including its shedded fur.

3. It Would Be Difficult to Tell Whether Your Cat’s Sick

When it comes to your pet’s health, this is arguably the most important thing to consider. You might already know that you can tell when there’s something wrong with your kitty just by inspecting its feces.

By simply looking at their litter box, you can know whether your pet has diarrhea. You might also find out that your cat hasn’t defecated at all in a long time.

Based on your little discovery, you can decide if your kitty needs to see a vet. On the other hand, you won’t have such privileges with a toilet-trained cat. You won’t be able to examine their feces that easily, or even at all. For that reason, litter might sound like a more beneficial alternative.

4. But What About the Environment?

Now that you know how toilet training your cat affects your household, let’s see what it does to the environment. For starters, it seems better than the widely-used clumping cat litter.

That’s because this litter isn’t biodegradable, which means it only enables further pollution. Also, even collecting the materials needed for clay and crystal litter harms vegetation.

However, things aren’t all that black-and-white. The gray area is that flushing your cat’s feces down the toilet might negatively impact the environment, too. Once again, toxoplasmosis is to blame, as well as the country’s sewage policies. If your cat’s infected excrements from your toilet go directly to rivers, aquatic life might be in danger.

The only way you can avoid this is to keep your feline friend indoors. That’s because your cat won’t be at risk of catching this parasite, and its feces should be safe.

To protect the environment, you can also opt for biodegradable litter made from recycled paper or corn. However, you should know that the more environmentally friendly the litter is, the more expensive it gets.

Are you still up for toilet training your fluffy pet? If so, here’s how you can do it.

How to Toilet Train Your Cat

How to

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The first thing you need to know about toilet training your kitty is that it will be time-consuming. Your cat might not be able to forget about its beloved litter that quickly. So, at least at first, giving your cat both options might prove beneficial. You’ll end up saving some money, and your cat will enjoy the luxury of having two bathrooms.

Then, you can move your pet’s litter box to the spot right next to the toilet. This way, your feline friend would feel at home in their new bathroom. After that, you might need to lift the litter box gradually to a somewhat higher position. Keep doing that until it reaches the level of your toilet seat.

Try moving your cat’s litter closer to the toilet each day. Finally, put the litter box over the toilet seat and wait until your cat uses it. Then, wait some more, because you want your cat to get used to it. If your kitty doesn’t have a problem urinating and defecating at this altitude, get ready to put its litter box away.

At first, you can only replace it with a training kit of some sort. After a while, your kitty will be ready to do its business directly in the toilet. Remember to give your pet a treat whenever it accomplishes this task. This way, it will relate using the toilet with positive emotions, and its overall behavior will be better.

But what about flushing? You should know that it is possible to teach your cat to flush, too. However, some cats like it a bit too much. As a result, you may end up with unpleasantly high water bills.


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turtles that stay small
Pets

6 Cute Pet Turtles That Stay Small and Look Cute Forever

Turtles make for wholesome pets, anybody who has owned one, be it big or small. They spend their whole lives eating, resting, and swimming around in their tank. Turtles can also be surprisingly playful and have a very soothing presence. They are very easy to care for, and they also live for much longer than your average pet.

Although they’re not that active, turtles do need a relatively large space compared to their size so that they can freely explore at their own pace. If you’re short on room, here are some breed suggestions for turtles that stay small and look cute forever.

Benefits Of Turtles That Stay Small

Benefits Of Turtles

1. Affordability

Small turtles used to cost a dime. While that time has passed, small turtles are still relatively inexpensive compared to large turtles. Small turtles are less expensive to purchase and care for because you won’t need to invest in a giant aquarium or expansive filtration system.

Small turtles only require the most basic setup — a tank that gives them room to swim around, filters, turtle grub, and the occasional replacement bulb. All of this can fit comfortably within the average spending budget of a college student, let alone an adult.

2. Less Work Overall

Small turtles are easier to clean or groom. It is also easy to clean their tanks as small turtles produce less waste. They’re easy to take to the vet for checkups and can accompany you on roads as well. The cherry on the cake? They only need to be fed every alternative day.

3. Easy To Feed

Most reptiles and amphibians are notorious for giving pet owners a headache when it comes to feeding. They’re irregular, demanding at times, and have mood swings. Their food can also be tricky to acquire at times.

Turtles, on the other hand, are much easier to feed. Most of them are vegetarians and can easily sustain themselves on fruits, leafy green vegetables, and a pet store turtle feed containing essential nutrients. You could also incorporate turtle food pellets or feeder fish if needed.

Lists Of Turtles That Stay Small

#1. Mississippi Mud Turtle (4 inches)

Mud Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Mississippi mud turtles only grow up to 4 inches as an adult. They’re small, dark brown, and semi-aquatic freshwater species so you would need to purchase a mini-aquarium for them. They’re endemic to the United States and are commonly found inhabiting marshlands, swamps, slow-moving rivers, and ponds.

Care and Environment

Given the proper care, these adorable critters can live for up to 50 years. Fortunately, all they need to subsist is a small tank with enough room for swimming. Turtles are usually lazy but they still need to exercise every now and then. An aquarium with room to swim can help stimulate them.

Diet

Mud turtles are omnivorous, so they can eat snails, fishes, insects, and other types of protein, as well as leafy vegetables like parsley and lettuce. The foods they eat are usually low in calcium so you will need to dust a calcium mineral supplement on their food once a week.

#2. Bog Turtle (3–4 inches)

Bog Turtle

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Size And Appearance

Bog turtles grow up to be 3-4 inches in height and are North America’s smallest turtle. They’re a critically endangered species of semi-aquatic turtles so it may be difficult to acquire one today. They are recognizable by the unique orange patch on either side of their head and by their mud-brown shells.

Bog turtles are most commonly found in mountain bogs, wetlands, and deep mucky soils.

Care

To mimic its natural environment, you should provide bog turtles with a muddy aquarium to help them stay cool and adapt faster since they’re wild animals. They’re incredibly smart pets that know when to come out and ask for food. However, they’re also very territorial.

So if you’re considering purchasing two males, it’s best to keep them apart. Otherwise, they may end up fighting over territory.

Diet

Bog turtles are omnivorous and can enjoy feasting upon many things. They can eat slugs, mice, millipedes, voles, and even nestling birds. You can feed them commercial turtle food pellets and the occasional house pest like cockroaches or crickets for some protein. They also enjoy seeds and berries.

#3. Common Musk Turtle (2–4.5 inches)

Musk Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Common musk turtles grow between 2 and 4.5 inches in length. Their physiology and color are quite similar to those of mud turtles, so it can be difficult to tell them apart.

However, one distinguishing feature the musk turtle carries is the ridge on the back of their shells that starts around the middle. Mud turtles, on the other hand, have a smoother, flatter shell.

Care

A 20-gallon aquarium would be more than enough for your musk turtle to live like a king. However, since they’re freshwater turtles, you need to install a filtration system or add a canister filter. You will also need heating and a UVB light, which will help in their healthy growth as your turtle’s living indoors.

Diet

Wild musk turtles eat an array of insects like worms, aquatic nymphs, or dragonflies, but a good commercial turtle food can also provide most of the important nutrients. They can subsist on turtle food for a long time, but to provide more stimulation, you should mix things up once in a while with shrimp, worms, or common insects.

#4. Michigan Spotted Turtle (3–4 inches)

Spotted Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Michigan spotted turtles grow up to 3 inches in length. They’re semi-aquatic and are found in marshy meadows, bogs, swamps, ponds, and all small bodies of water. They can be identified easily by the yellow spots on their shells.

Care

Although they’re not aquatic, spotted turtles do enjoy swimming. So you should consider purchasing a 55-gallon tank. You need to have a balance of land and water in the tank. You will also need to invest in a filtration system to keep the water crystal clear and add heating lights to promote healthy growth.

Diet

Spotted turtles are omnivorous. They can live on commercial food although you should supplement it once in a while with insects or leafy vegetables. They will also require a weekly calcium supplement since their diets don’t give them enough calcium.

#5. Reeve’s Turtle (6 Inches)

Reeve’s Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Reeve’s turtles originate from East Asia and can grow up to 6 inches in size. They don’t have many signature traits so they’re hard to identify. Their upper shell is usually black in color with shades of brown, olive green, and a moderate amount of yellow.

Care

With the right care, Reeve’s turtles can live for up to 25 years in captivity. They’re not adept swimmers, so a single baby reeve’s turtle won’t need more than 15 gallons of swimming space in shallow waters.

One important thing the habitat must-have is a basking area, which you’ll have to provide by investing in heating lights since you’re raising them indoors.

Diet

Reeve’s turtles in the wild feed on both animal and plant matter. They eat fish, worms, insects, and green leafy vegetables with equal enthusiasm.

#6. Diamondback Terrapins (5–9 inches)

Diamondback Terrapins

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Size and Appearance

Diamondback Terrapins are the largest turtles on this list since they can grow up to 9 inches in size. They have a very unique trichromatic pattern of beige, brown, and black streaks on their shell. Their skin is also covered in dark uneven spots and streaks.

Care

Knowing how large they can get compared to the other turtles, ideally, you should go for a 70-gallon tank with a powerful filtration system. Diamondback Terrapins are fun to have as pets but require extra care because they’re more prone to shell diseases and fungal problems.

Make sure you invest in quality filters and UV lights to help their bodies produce enough Vitamin D3 to help fight off those diseases.

Diet

Diamondback Terrapins are poor hunters, so it’s best not to feed them live foods they’d have to chase. Like the other turtles, they too can subsist on commercial pet food along with the occasional protein snack like snails or worms. They’re almost strictly carnivorous so they may not respond to vegetables.