42: Game Over

42: Game Over

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Game Over

Not-so-fun fact: More than ten percent of cats will develop an “elimination problem.”

I was reading a story in a magazine when I turned the page and found myself face-to-face with the answer to my prayers. “Toilet Train Your Cat in Less than a Month!” the ad screamed. The story forgotten, I placed an order.

When the package came, I was disappointed. Basically, it was a flimsy plastic tray shaped like a bedpan that fit over the rim and under the seat of the toilet. Somehow, I was expecting more. But they said it would work, so I got started.

The instructions said to put a bit of litter in the tray so the cat would know where he was supposed to do his business. The concept was that he would recognize how flimsy it was and perch on the edge of the seat instead of putting his weight on the tray, thus training him to use the toilet instead of a box. Sounded reasonable…

When I showed him the new facilities, my Siamese cat, Phaze, was less than impressed. He gave me a “You’ve got to be kidding!” look and swished his tail, but I was firm as I told him, “No, you go HERE now.” To make it perfectly clear, I moved his litter box onto the balcony where he wouldn’t see it.

Phaze wasn’t thrilled, but he tried it. I cringed as I watched him put his full ten-pound weight on the tray. I could hear the thin plastic crinkling, but somehow it held.

About a week into the endeavor, I came home to find potting soil on the floor and a surprise in my potted plant. Phaze had found an alternative. I cleaned up the mess and moved the plant to the balcony. Phaze followed me out, and when he did, he spied his litter box.

I have never seen a cat so excited! He danced; he pranced; he leaped with joy! If he could talk, he would have been saying, “Mom, we found it! We found my litter box! Look! There it is!” He was not a happy kitty when I made him go back into the apartment and the litter box stayed outside.

The instructions said to gradually decrease the amount of litter in the tray. I did, although Phaze looked more confused each time. He was also still sitting directly in the tray. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get him to understand that he was supposed to perch on the edge.

A week later, the inevitable happened. I heard a splash in the bathroom, and when I rushed in, Phaze was climbing out of the toilet. His back half was wet, and his front half was furious. He shook himself off, glared at me with disgust, and squatted on the floor.

That concluded our experiment. Game over.

~Linda Sabourin

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