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Should You Toilet Train a Cat? 6 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

cat flushing toilet

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Teaching your cat to use the toilet would likely make your life easier and save you money. It would be nice to not have to deal with the litter box and its contents ever again! But while you know that it’s possible to toilet train your cat, should you?

Although some people have successfully toilet-trained their cats, it’s not recommended for several reasons. One of the main reasons is cat feces carry a health risk and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.

Here, we dig deeper into the reasons that toilet training a cat is not a good idea and if there are any other options.

Why Toilet Train a Cat?

There are a few obvious reasons that toilet training a cat seems like a good idea. Cleaning the litter box is an ongoing and frequent chore. Toilet training means eliminating the need to buy litter and getting rid of the litter box altogether.

The price of cat litter can also add up over time, so not worrying about the money, the time, and the unpleasantness of cleaning the litter and freeing up the space that the litter box normally inhabits are all big motivators.

But just because something is easier, cheaper, and more convenient for us doesn’t mean we should do it. The most crucial factor in all of this is your cat.

The 6 Reasons Why Toilet Training a Bad Idea

Black and white cat on toilet seat
Black and white cat on toilet seat(Image Credit: Rosiesugrue, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

In the long run, teaching a cat to use the toilet is a bad idea. There are many reasons for this, which we go through here.

1. Goes Against a Cat’s Nature

We all know that cats bury their poop, but have you ever wondered why? Cats are descendants of desert-dwelling cats that would bury their waste in the desert sand. This behavior continues today, as it is particularly important for cats living in the wild to hide any signs or smells of their waste from predators.

This instinct is so strong that all cats bury their waste as soon as they reach about 3 weeks of age. Cats will sometimes spend a long period of time digging around, and toilet training a cat takes away these natural instincts entirely.

2. Can Lead to Stress

If a cat can’t do the usual scratching and burying of their waste, this can lead to stress and eventual behavioral problems. Some cats might start depositing their business in other spots that will be less than ideal to deal with, such as on your bed or in your shoes.

cat in front of toilet flushable litter
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

3. Might Miss Potential Health Issues

This is a crucial point. A change in the feces or a larger or smaller urine output can point to a health problem. If your cat is eliminating in a toilet, you won’t see their waste and thus, will be unable to keep on top of any potential problems.

You could miss signs of:
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Inflammation of the bladder (cystitis)
  • Kidney disease
  • Urinary tract obstruction

If left unnoticed and consequently untreated, most of these conditions can be fatal.

4. Access Issues

When you gotta go, you gotta go! After you or one of your family members uses the bathroom, someone might forget to keep the door open or will leave the toilet seat down! Not only does the lid need to always be up, but the seat also always needs to be down to make a place for your cat to perch.

If any of these situations happen, your cat will become stressed and be forced to find somewhere else to do their business.

5. Issues With Traveling

If you plan on taking your cat with you on vacation, you need to ensure that your hosts are fine with a cat that uses the toilet. Also, everyone will need to remember to leave the door and toilet lid open.

If you’re going away on vacation and need to find a pet sitter or plan on boarding your cat, the toileting will be an issue. Your cat will be expected to use a litter box in these situations, which can set your cat’s training back, and you’ll have a cat that will be doubly stressed.

6. Mobility Problems

This is an issue in several ways. First, if you have a senior cat or one with mobility issues, jumping onto the toilet will be a problem. This also includes cats that have just had surgery and cats with arthritis or that are overweight.

Second, for a cat to physically use the toilet, they have to assume an unusual body position, which can be unnatural and uncomfortable for most cats.

Finally, when they’re jumping onto the toilet seat, there’s always the chance that they might fall into the water. The toilet seat can be slippery and most cats dislike getting wet. This can also lead to a setback in the toilet training.

What About The Water Sytems?

toilet area
Image By: Hakim Santoso, Pexels

This is another reason that toilet training your cat is a bad idea.

This also means the parasites are eventually introduced into other bodies of water, where they can endanger aquatic life, like sea otters and seals.

What Are the Other Options?

If you don’t like dealing with your cat’s litter box, the only option that you have is to find a system that you find easier to use. Certain automatic litter boxes can make the whole cleaning ordeal much easier. But bear in mind that they are quite expensive, and some require a specific kind of litter, which might also be pricey. Also, some cats might be afraid to use them because of the noise and movement, although it doesn’t start working until your cat has left the box.

Also, ensure that you’re using good litter. Cats prefer a sandier texture, and if you can get a litter that ticks every box (odor control, excellent clumping, dust free, etc.), it will make changing their litter that much easier.

Finally, if your issue with the litter box is its appearance, take a look at these attractive cat litter box furniture enclosures. These can also be pricey, but you can build one yourself! This way, the litter box is hidden from view — just be sure it’s still easy for you and your cat to access!


Overall, it’s not a good idea to train your cat to use the toilet. There are far too many reasons that you should stick with the traditional litter box. Also, no one should ever put their own convenience over their cat’s wellbeing.

Work on finding a system and litter that works for you both. Part of caring for a pet will always come with inconveniences, but these are far less important than how fulfilling it is to be a cat parent.

Featured Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

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