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How to Teach a Cat to Flush the Toilet
So, you’ve successfully taught your cat to use the human toilet instead of their litter tray. Perhaps you are now considering the next step to making your kitty fully self-sufficient when it comes to their toilet habits. Even though flushing the toilet is much easier than cleaning a litter tray, it would be even simpler still if your feline could take responsibility for flushing the toilet after themselves
But first, a word of warning, your cat could start wasting a lot of water once they’ve learned to flush the toilet. All animals, not just kitties, will often start doing tricks when they want something from you. So, they might start to think that flushing the toilet in the morning will get you to give them their breakfast a little earlier.
However, if you’re determined nonetheless to teach your cat to flush the toilet, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your cat’s favorite treat and head to the bathroom!
Steps for Teaching a Cat to Flush the Toilet
Let’s start with the toilet lid closed, as this will make flushing easier for your cat in the beginning. Guide your cat up onto the toilet seat with a treat or lift them up. Now, for the first step, you want to teach your kitty to lift their paw towards the flush lever. If your cat already knows the “paw” trick, just ask him to do it several times in the direction of the lever.
If your kitty doesn’t know how to “paw," no worries! You can try to encourage them to reach towards the lever by holding a treat over it. If that doesn’t work, you can lift their paw up and onto the lever. Every time your cat’s paw moves in the direction of the flush lever, either with you lifting it or on their own, reward your feline with a treat and lots of praise.
You will probably need to teach this step gradually. Firstly, reward your kitty for putting even a little bit of their weight on the lever. Over time, wait until they put more and more pressure on the lever to give them the treat. Eventually, they will push the lever fully down and flush the toilet!
Once your kitty has gotten the hang of flushing the toilet, you can start to add a vocal command. To do this, all you have to do it say “flush” every time you get your cat to flush the toilet, following the above steps. Eventually, you will have to guide your cat less and less until all you have to do is say “flush” and your feline will run to clear the toilet.
Getting your cat to flush after they actually use the toilet is a little more difficult, but certainly not impossible. All you have to do is get them into the habit of flushing. Whenever you see your cat going to the toilet, wait until they are finished and then ask them to flush. Over time, they will get into the habit of flushing the toilet after they use it.
How Long Does It Take to Teach a Cat to Flush the Toilet?
Flushing the toilet is quite a complex trick for your cat to learn as it has several steps. Firstly, your feline has to learn to jump up onto the toilet. Then they have to put their paw on the flush lever with enough pressure to actually flush the toilet. Once your cat has perfected this, they then have to get into the habit of flushing after they use the toilet.
All in all, teaching your cat to flush the toilet consistently after they use it could take a very long time. Patience will be the key to teaching your cat this useful trick. Stick to short training sessions (2-5 minutes) to keep your kitty interested and be prepared to take a step or two back if they start to get confused.
Your feline friend’s age and personality will also play a role in how long it takes to teach them to flush the toilet. Younger cats and kittens love learning new tricks and may figure it out in just one training session. On the other hand, older and lazier cats are generally less interested in learning something new. But, for the right treat, even the most aloof kitty can learn to flush the toilet!
Just like lazy cats, hyperactive felines also get bored with training sessions very quickly. Short lessons once or twice a day are essential to keep your active kitty’s interest when teaching them a new trick.
If you enjoy teaching your kitty new tricks, consider adding clicker training to your toolkit. It will drastically speed up your cat’s learning and will make it easier to start teaching new tricks. The basic premise of clicker training is to teach your cat to associate a particular sound (or click) with a treat. Once they have made this association, all you have to do is click and treat at the exact moment your cat does the behavior you’re looking for. For example, when they put their paw on the flush handle and push down on it!
Can All Cats Learn to Flush the Toilet?
Flush levers aren’t designed for cats and, as such, not every feline will be physically able to flush the toilet. The main problem they will run into it putting enough pressure on the lever to actually flush the toilet. Lots of cats are too light to push down on the lever. Short cats and kittens may not even be tall enough to reach the lever properly.
If your cat can reach the lever, it could still be too slippery for them to grip onto. Flush levers are most often made of plain metal. As such, your kitty’s paws might slip off the lever as they try to push it downwards. If you run into this problem, consider buying an accessible toilet handle. These levers are much wider than the standard and may be easier for your kitty to push on.
Some kitties might find it impossible to flush the toilet due to mobility issues. Cats with arthritis or other issues in their joints could struggle to reach the flush lever. Oftentimes, these felines will also struggle to use the human toilet because balancing on the toilet seat is extremely difficult. So, flushing the toilet is not a necessary trick to teach them.
But, if your kitty has none of the above issues and they are already using the toilet instead of their litter tray, teaching them to flush after themselves is incredibly useful. It will save you time and will prevent any kitty droppings from getting stuck to the side of the toilet! Plus, it just makes your kitty even more impressive and self-sufficient.