You have to wonder what the Neanderthals would have thought about this month’s product. I mean – what human in their right mind would have thought thousands of years ago that they would eventually be sharing even their homes, let alone their bathrooms, with a cat? After all, these are the people who spent years running away from fearsome, long toothed saber cats, and spent hours thinking of the best place for their fire in the cave to keep the beasts out. And now we are sharing our homes with miniaturized versions of the same wild animals.
This month we’re talking about a product that is all the rage in large cities, and soon to be sweeping the nation in rural areas as well. It’s a product that we may initially have mixed feelings about as humans, because it personifies our pets even more than we do already. It is a product called CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit and it is designed to train our cats how to use the toilet.
Why do I think it’s one of the neatest things out there? Because it reinforces my theory that felines are indeed smarter than most people. They have a remarkable learning curve, even better than 99% of the children out there, and they can learn to use this product as young as three-months-old. Have any of you ever attempted to potty-train a three-month-old human? Not a pretty sight, my friend. Go ahead – take that diaper off and see what happens… But, with a cat – anything is possible.
OK – as many of you know, I’m an avid cat lover. What I am NOT is an idiot. My parents will be very proud to see that college was not wasted on me. You see, besides my English classes, I took a couple of math classes (I even took algebra three times – not by choice), and after a few quick computations (with the aid of a calculator) I quickly deduced that training 15 cats to use a toilet in my household meant, essentially, that I would never (ever) get into a bathroom in my house again. In fact, it made me think of my childhood all over again. (My brother and I once put each into the hospital twice in one night by accidentally walking into the bathroom on each other. But that’s a long story, although it is quite humorous, so if you really need to hear it, let me know and I’ll try to fit it in at a later date). But, I regress…
At any rate, with these math results firmly implanted in my head, I opted to have a very good friend of mine who has only two lovely cats (Maki and Nunchaku) to review this product for me. Being the good sport she is, and always one to try new things, Jennifer McIntyre (photojournalist extraordinaire) agreed to the task.
CitiKitty , whose customer service is absolutely wonderful, by the way, was anxious to help out in way they could. They were quick to answer questions about the product both by email and phone, and when we received the kit, it came with a complete list of instructions. The kit itself is relatively simple. It consists of a large piece of heavy-duty plastic that is remarkably similar to the lid of a toilet. This “lid” has 3 rings on the inside that will eventually be removed – one per week. The plastic is very strong – strong enough to hold at least 25 lbs, and from what I understand – even more if necessary. This lid is placed on top of the toilet bowl, flushable litter is added, and the cat box is removed from the home. The cat quickly learns that it is now using the toilet as its litter box. At the end of each week, a ring is removed.
You might think that it is highly unnatural for a cat to use a toilet. And you’re right. For humans, it is. I mean, it took thousands of years of evolution for US to learn how to use indoor plumbing (and some of us still struggle with it), but for a cat – it appears they like it. They just haven’t really been given the opportunity to try it. We’re always yelling at the dog to quit drinking out of the toilet bowl, and really – what cat in their right mind is going to share a toilet bowl with a dog? But, once you explain to them what the bowl is really for, the cats seem to take to it with ease. After all, they used to be royalty, remember?
Now – about my friend’s experiences with CitiKitty. Maki took to it with ease and after only three weeks is nearly completely potty trained. Nanchuku was a bit more of a struggle. However, he is also an indoor/outdoor cat, and from the people I’ve done research on – this is a recurring theme. Those who allowed their cats to roam outdoors as well as indoors found that the cats preferred to use the outdoors. This seems to be more prevalent with those who were owners of feral cats, and those who allowed cats to be indoor/outdoor. But, for those caretakers who keep their cats indoors, this is a revolutionary product.
Think about it – you will save hundreds of dollars on cat litter each year. You will never have to clean another litter box. Never will another person walk into your home, sniff the air and rudely ask, “So, you have cats, huh?” That is all at an end. It’s over. And Maki is living proof of this wondrous miracle.
Maki, Jennifer’s acrobatic, very intelligent feline, who has taken to being potty trained with no more than a slight urging by my friend, is the poster child of success. Saber cats the world over would be proud of their toilet-trained ancestors. And now you can be proud too!