THE CARDBOARD METHOD! (With Pictures!)
This is for those struggling to transition their cats from red to amber .. don't worry, it's a very rare cat that simply accepts the transition! It's simply too big of a leap for most and many are distrusting of the water to start with. A cat feels most vunerable when it's going to the toilet (as they 'freeze' up.. you can literally pick up a cat mid poo and it will stay in that position!), so it's not surprising they need to feel like their litter area is safe.
Additionally, let me say: You will probably NOT complete this training in 8 weeks. For a small minority, yes, you may be lucky enough to own a cat who simply 'gets it'. Most of us won't! Six months to a year (or more) seems to be the average for most of the forum users. While this sounds like a long time to us, it's not to your cat.. and hey, sixteen or more years of cleaning out a litterbox sounds a lot longer!
I should also point out the LK people make the 'MultiKat Kit'.. which is basically the same idea as this! (One extra disk per stage so that the hole isn't so big so fast).
Things I have learned, and some useful suggestions!
- DO NOT STRESS if your cat isn't going 'in the hole'. As long as they are using the LK and not peeing over the side onto your floor or onto the white seat/back of the toilet, they're doing great. Keep a visual in your head of 'well.. if the LK wasn't there, then...'
- CATS HATE CHANGE. You will need to outwit them, and any changes you make need to be done at a pace that your cat(s) will barely notice. Fast changes will mean issues.
- You CAN do this in a one bathroom place.. but it is not very convenient. You will have to remove the LK everytime yourself or others want to use the toilet - fortunately the LK does lift off easily.
- If you have multiple cats, train them to share a litter box BEFORE you start LK training. Your couch/bed/carpets/clothes will thank you.
- Transition them onto flushable litter BEFORE you start LK training - best to do it when you have the litter box next to the toilet. This was our biggest mistake the first time we trained our original cat - you need to find a flushable litter they like, that is similar to the original one, and SLOWLY change it.
- Think about changing their feeding habits.. try and find a time to feed them when you're home so you can help supervise when they're about to go.
- Keep the LK CLEAN. This is VERY important - you want your cat to associate the LK with a good, clean place to go. This is particularly tough to do on the red stage when you're at work, but try and do it as best you can.. this is one of the reasons why trying to change their mealtimes so they go when you're home is a wise idea. Of course, it should be noted: Being cats, they're all different, and some may actually prefer to have a bit of their scent left on the LK as a guide - it'll be up to you to take note of how comfortably your cat seems to be using it.
- Don't skimp on litter. There's not much room in the LK anyway, so give them plenty. Only when your cats are comfortably using the Green Tray should you start thinking about reducing it. Reducing litter before they're ready can be risky. If you have a second toilet, some LK users actually leave their cats at the Green Stage for good, as going from Green to nothing is the hardest part.. and most of the time green stage is clean, easy and pretty much as good as being fully graduated!
- Try to keep a schedule of who has gone and what time. You'll feel obsessive for doing it, but it will help you know which cat is most likely to need to go at what time, and how often.
- If your cat seems anxious, then 'Feliway' apparently does help some felines. It releases 'friendly' pheremones into the air and if placed in the bathroom, can help your kitty feel more relaxed.
- Give them a little stool next to your toilet to start with, so that they can inspect the LK from a 'safe distance' before climbing onto it. It also makes it easier for them to jump up.
- When training, if you leave your toilet seat on, make sure you tape the lid securely to the toilet so it doesn't come crashing down on your cat. This kind of scary hurt/fear could be a deal breaker.
- The toilet seat can also be used to help correct positioning. Tape it down into place over the LK white rim if you feel your cat could use a bit of extra guidance - this seems to help some felines.
- Block them from your bedroom when unsupervised. This seems to be the first port of call for a cat unsure about the LK. Why risk it?
- Move all rugs and towels in your bathroom out of reach of your cats. If there's something soft to 'dig' in, they WILL use it.
- Treats work! If you catch your cat using the LK, regardless of the stage, treat them after! If they are difficult and don't like anything in particular, reward them with playtime instead.. this worked well for us!
- NEVER lose your temper. Shouting at your cat will just make them anxious.. they won't necessarily understand why they're being scolded, just that it only happens after they have peed/pooped.. this can result in them holding it in, which in turn can evolve into a UTI. If your cat goes somewhere it shouldn't, give it the cold shoulder until the cat realises your disappointment.
- Your bathroom will probably become their safe room. I made a habit of fussing my cats whenever they jumped up on the toilet, and would sometimes treat them simply for jumping up there too. They then associated the toilet with safety, cuddles, treats, and good things.
- If your cat seems anxious on the toilet, don't be afraid to reassure them. Calmly talk to them and a few pats can be enough to give them the confidence to go.
- If you catch your cat digging somewhere it shouldn't, quickly take them to the bathroom and put them on the toilet. You may have to do this several times! (known as 'the potty dance'!) This will help your cat understand that you want it to go in the toilet.. although doesn't guarantee they will!
- Be prepared for accidents. You WILL have them at some point, and when you do, think about going back a little. Try not to let it affect you, and move on. All of us have to deal with it.. mistakes are just part of the learning process. Just be sure to clean the area with enzymatic cleaner, as a cat will often return to the same spot.
- Your cat will probably play with the water - while gross to us, it's best to let them just get on with it unless it looks like they're going to fall in.. (toilet water is apparently sterile enough for us to drink, but I don't think I'm gonna be the one to sample it!) If your cat attempts to drink from it, try to discourage that behaviour - a cat is less likely to toilet in an area it drinks/eats from. (Has to be a good thing!)
- This link also has many suggestions! http://www.litterkwitter.com/forums/...ead.php?t=2345
You should only attempt this once your cat is using the red stage without complaint or accident, is happily using flushable litter, and is jumping up and down from the toilet freely.
The Cardboard Method!
Note: This guide was made pretty quickly to show the steps of how to use the 'cardboard method'.. but I believe it seems much better if you can get a thin, firm cutting board instead. It's sturdier, doesn't have to be replaced and is way easier to clean, even if it's a little harder to widen. Can buy them at Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/MIU-Flexible-C...8145992&sr=8-4, and apparently most Walmarts stock them also. (Click this thread for a picture of what you're going for.)
Please see the end of page 4 and page 5 of this thread if you'd like to literally see the method 'in action!' with a couple of beautiful maine coon cats! As you can see, cardboard is simply the cheapest method, but not necessarily the best one. As mentioned above, I would thoroughly recommend either a cheap plastic cutting board or the corrugated plastic that LaComete found, since they are both easier to clean and will not need replacing even half as often as duct-taped cardboard!
You will need:
- The LK System (Although some people have successfully managed to toilet train their cats just by using the cardboard method on the underside of their toilet seat.. The LK does make it a bit cleaner and easier, however!)
- LOTS of cardboard! Feel free to 'double up' with it to make it stronger. (Or, preferably, corrugated plastic or a thin cutting board).
- A big roll of thick, tough duct tape (NOT brown tape as shown, it's all I had to hand at the time!)
- A pen!
- A LOT of patience.
Rocky's Mum: If you have a heavier cat, then it is easier to cut your choice of material and wrap it in duct tape to fit INTO the white insert and secure from underneath with tape before placing the disks on top. This will -hopefully- support the weight of your cat.
Last edited by Kimura : September 28th 2011 at 07:40 PM.