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      #1  
    Old December 15th 2008, 01:51 AM
    Elgalad Elgalad is offline
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    Location: Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Patience is the Key

    Greetings!

    I adopted my two kittens almost 6 months ago; they were both about 3-4 months old. Pluto (the male) is a very clever, outgoing cat while Persephone (the female) is much more reserved. They weren't from the same litter, but made friends fairly easily.

    I ordered the Litter Kwitter right away when I brought them home and got it within a week or so. Until it arrived, I used a small little box in the bathroom which they both took too immediately. I decided to start out using a litter that clumps and is also flushable, to make it easier to dispose of. It's made out of wheat and has very little dust. Expensive ~ but since I plan to eventually use None of it, I figured it was worth it.

    The first stage (Red) was easy for both kitties. I put it on a litter mat next to the bathtub right where their litter box had been and they both had no problem using it. I left it there about a week to make sure they knew it was the correct place to .. No accidents, whatsoever! I also made sure to praise them when they used it so they would view it as a positive experience. Neither of them is very shy about me being around while they do their business, which is good..

    Over the next few days I slowly moved it closer to the toilet and then put it on top of some small boxes to start raising it up onto the same level as the toilet itself. The kitties were naturally curious about it moving around, but they both kept using it like champs. Still no accidents.. but Persephone would often stand directly in the middle of the litter kwitter on the litter itself and pee straight backwards, sometimes over the side of the LK itself. This wasn't a big concern when she was smaller, but as she grew, her range 'increased'..

    Finally (after about a week of transition), I put the LK right up on the toilet itself and the kitties used it like they had been born to it. Pluto had his first accident one day when he pooped in my bedroom next to the bed. I think maybe he just got excited and lost control because the two had been chasing around the house.. I scolded him (a bad idea which I realized immediately, since I had never talked harshly to him before) and started keeping my bedroom doors shut during the day, opening them only at night when we all went to bed. This 'accident' was never repeated.

    I first tried to change over to the Amber stage about 2 weeks later since the kitties had both been so successful on the Red. Pluto took Right to it, curious as all heck what was in the HOLE there.. He would stick his head right down in there, even when I was flushing. He quickly caught on (like in only a DAY!) that he should squat over the hole and poop and pee into it. I was ecstatic when I saw that and figured this process would be over soon..

    Until Persephone had her first accident. Right in front of me in the living room she turned around and pee'd right up against the wall. I kept my cool and went and got some enzyme spray I have just for emergencies like that (to kill the odor and clean it up) and blocked the spot she had used with a floor fan so she couldn't get back to it. Then she did it again, down in the basement this time. I knew something was up, and I noticed she was limping.. I got pretty freaked about that, and examined her closely. She didn't have any broken bones and while she let me handle her (gently!) she did have a tender spot on her hind paw near the joint. Apparently she must have sprained her leg jumping down from a high perch, and because of that, she was unable to jump up onto the LK/toilet as easily.

    Well, I built a set of 'stepping' stairs for her to get up to the toilet, but I also physically helped her the first few days so she didn't have to strain her poor leg getting up there and it could heal. An unfortunate side effect of this was, that when I was setting her onto the LK, she slipped and her leg (the injured one!) slipped right through the hole into the water. Needless to say, she got kind of gun-shy so I went back to the Red stage again.

    Eventually she recovered, but I wanted her to regain her full confidence before trying Amber again. I did after another month, and all seemed well. Until she started her old trick again of standing IN the litter and shooting over the side.
    I was growing very frustrated because I am gone 9 or 10 hours each day for work and the kitties are alone here. If she made a mess during that time, Pluto wouldn't go near the LK or worse, he would sometimes go up onto it and try to 'cover the mess' spreading litter Everywhere..

    I calmed myself down after reading some suggestions here on the forums and came up with a new game plan. I noticed the times of day that she usually did her business and started sitting in the bathroom with a magazine to wait for her at those times. When she jumped up and started her routine, I would quickly (and gently!) move her closer to the edge, positioning her paws correctly. She HATED this at first and would growl at me and sometimes give up and leave the bathroom without going. But I stuck to it and she always came back to try again. I also made it a point to praise her Highly and give her a treat every time she finished going into the LK center or the hole itself. She started getting used to and even enjoying the shared 'moments' together.

    And yet, she STILL couldn't seem to figure out how to position herself correctly on her own. I always had to help. I noticed that sometimes when Pluto was going (almost 100% in the hole every time, that cat is a prodigy) she would watch and notice me rewarding him with praise but still it just didn't seem to 'click' in her brain what I wanted her to do.

    We did this for a month and a half. I tried going to the Green phase, thinking that maybe her positioning problem would resolve itself, but while Pluto got it on the very first try (this cat is a genius), Persephone slipped and almost fell into the hole. I caught her just in time, but went back to the Amber again.

    Dang this was frustrating. I thought she'd Never get it. My family thought I was nuts too, because I had gotten so used to sitting and waiting her out and then helping her 'go', they said I probably spent more time in the restroom than out visiting with them over the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Another month passed and I noticed Perspehone was starting to position herself differently. It looked like she was trying to get in the 'pose', but one of her back paws just wouldn't make it over the top of the hole unless I lifted it a little. I took the chance and changed over to the Green phase again. This was about 3 days ago.

    SUCCESS! Now I know I shouldn't celebrate completely, because there's still the White phase and then "No LK at all" to get through, but I firmly believe that going from Amber to Green has been the hardest and Will be the hardest part of this whole adventure. It's been 3, no 4 days now, and both kitties have gone IN the hole, no accidents, nothing streamed over the side of the toilet, no accidental baths, nada. They both let me watch them and seem very proud of 'getting it right'. Truthfully, they got me pegged and know they're gonna get tasty treats when I see them hit the bullseye, heh.

    I'm convinced it'll be downhill from here. Once they both get their balance perfected, the White stage (I'm hoping!) will be a snap, and then we can all throw the litter out forever!

    Wow, this has turned out to be a long post.. sorry!

    The point I'm trying to make is I guess, Don't give up! You may have to be incredibly patient, almost to superhuman extremes, but Stick with it! The day your kitty finally masters this, you will turn cartwheels and All the work and patience will be Well worth it.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.

    BTW, I don't know if it's alright or not, but I wanted to put up a couple of pics of my little angels..



    Pluto the Prodigy


    Princess Seph-Seph, the Ninja Assassin


    Good luck everyone and Hang in there!
    -Elgalad
    __________________
    "When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even." -- Percy B. Shelley
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      #2  
    Old December 15th 2008, 04:08 AM
    jwkuan jwkuan is offline
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    Elgalad,
    I have two cats just like yours! Funny thing is that my boy is a tuxedo cat and my girl is a tabby cat. They are both 9+ months old now. I adopted them when they were 2 months old from the same litter. I started training my cats in September. My male cat, Tux is a smart cat and did not have much problems using the LK while my female cat, Coco is stubborn and constantly uses the bathroom as her toilet when we hit the amber stage.
    Tux can now use the green tray with no litter. I am still working with Coco on the amber tray. Her position is not good with #1! Her #2 is always in the hole but she still prefers the floor if I don't escort her!!
    This makes me believe certain type of cats get it right the way. And for other cats, it takes time.
    I'm very happy to hear your successful story. Now I definitely believe all cats can be trained to use the toilet with time and patience!
    Congratulations to you and your cat!!
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