Would you let your guests crap in a box on your floor? No? Then why would you let your cats? Here’s how to get them using the toilet like civilized members of the family.

Aside from the risks of toxoplasmosis and other diseases transmitted by cat feces, there’s significant labor for the owner involved in maintaining a litter box. Being inherently lazy, I decided it would be easier to just toilet-train the cat. There are commercial solutions available (CitiKitty is a good one), but I found it’s easy to make an equivalent device from a few items at the dollar store.

One big advantage to doing it yourself is that you can cater the process to your cat’s learning curve, which can vary widely from animal to animal.

Functional Overview

The system is a toilet lid with a flat-bottomed bowl attached to its underside. It starts out just like a regular cat box, except nestled in your toilet. Over time you can cut away more and more of the bowl (where your cat will be standing), thus forcing the cat to adapt to standing on the lid and squatting over the hole that contained the bowl. During the training process a dustpan or another bowl can be used to catch the litter when you need to use the toilet.

In designing this system I tried to make it as easy for the cat to use it as possible. One issue many cats have is that squatting on the toilet seat (not the lid) is a slippery, sloped, and narrow proposition. If your cat is at all standoffish about this (mine sure was), then this system ought to work better. As an added advantage, this system allows you to put the lid down so you don’t sit on whatever your cat has tracked in on their paws. The components should cost you roughly $10.

Note: Don’t toilet-train if you live near a body of water where river or sea otters live. Cat feces can contain a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii that is known to kill otters.