But yes, we are potty training the cat. Why, you ask? Well, many reasons, but basically, in the long run, if this works out, it will save me time and money, reduce waste, and is healthier for the cat. How? Well, let's take a look at cat litter. It requires that I clean a litter box every day or two. That takes time that I'd rather spend doing...um, anything else, really. Cat litter also costs money. It's not crazy expensive, but money is money, and I like to save it where I can. Of course, when I clean out the box, the used litter has to be disposed of (read: sent to the landfill), so cutting out the litter box will cut out this waste, and the waste of the packaging for the litter. Not to mention that cat litter is really heavy, so I'm cutting out all the energy of transporting it from wherever it is made to my home. Plus, another big consideration is that the method for extracting the clay used to make cat litter is strip mining. Not cool. Finally, there are reasons to think that the fine dust particles in cat litter is harmful to your cat, and possibly even you.
So yep, I'm potty training the cat. Well, I'm trying anyway. I'll save you the long drawn out details of how it all works, but somebody got me this wonderful little system as a gift...it's actually a pretty simple solution, wouldn't you agree?
If nothing else, I figure this is good practice for if we ever have kids.
Edit: One reader was right to point out that there is some concern that cat feces (specifically, the germ named Toxoplasma gondii, the same thing they warn pregnant women about when dealing with cat litter boxes) may be responsible for killing sea otters here in California. She is absolutely right, this is a concern, although at least one source mentions that things like a colony of 40 - 50 feral cats in Monterey and storm drain runoff contaminated by cats who do their business outdoors, are at least of equal concern at this point as household sewage. That's not really a good answer though - as long as we don't really know where the problem is stemming from, we can't just cross our fingers and hope it's not something we're doing. I checked the American Veterinary Medical Association website, and I'm no scientist, but I think this system will be safe for my cat, since he never goes outside, and he eats only packaged food. Here is what the AVMA has to say:
For indoor cats, the most likely source is uncooked meat scraps. When a cat eats meat or other tissues from infected animals, it becomes infected with T. gondii and can excrete millions of oocysts in its feces each day. This release of oocysts can continue for more than two weeks. After the initial infection and shedding period, most cats will not pass oocysts in their feces again, even if re-infected.