[ASC-media] You love your cat. You hate his litter tray

Sarah Brooker sarah at scienceinpublic.com
Sun May 1 22:52:44 EST 2005


Sydney inventor learns from Mr Jinx, and teaches cats to use the toilet!

Jo Lapidge was watching the Robert DeNiro comedy 'Meet the Fockers' with Mr
Jinx, a toilet-trained cat.  "It was such a funny scene," she said. "But
then I thought what a great idea! What if I really could train my cat? How
would I do it?"

Jo decided to create a device to make it easy for anyone to train their own
Mr Jinx - and the result is the Litter-KwitterTM Cat Toilet-Training System.
"The system takes a three stage approach to make it easy for cats of any age
- and their owners - to make the transition from litter tray to toilet" she
explains.

The invention is a godsend for cat owners who want to protect native animals
by keeping their cats indoors - but hate the smelly litter tray. And it will
reduce the risk of spreading dangerous germs around the house.

Developed with assistance from leading vets, the Litter-KwitterTM Cat
Toilet-Training System leads your cat through a simple behaviour
modification using three colour-coded training discs. 

The red, amber & green discs slot into a seat-like device that sits securely
on the floor like a normal litter tray, then up onto the porcelain rim of
the toilet. The Litter-Kwitter system gradually teaches your cat to seek out
the bathroom, hop onto the toilet and position himself over the hole to go
just like everyone else. 

"The core idea is to introduce an increasing hole with reducing amounts of
litter to wean your cat off the litter habit & improve his balancing skills"
Jo explains. "The discs allow your cat to progress at his own pace to build
his confidence and ability".

Although it sounds comical, the idea of a toilet-trained cat has a more
serious side.
The RSPCA tells us to raise indoor-cats and many cat owners spend $200 on
litter per year doing just that. The other half has cats that get into all
sorts of trouble - they attack the wildlife, they dig up the neighbour's
garden, they settle midnight disputes noisily, and they wander off to become
strays. They'd be so much happier indoors but most people say they let them
out "to do their business".

The problem is that an indoor-cat needs an indoor toilet. The cat goes in
the litter tray & buries its waste in the litter - just like in the garden.
But when the cat does this in the tray it gets the waste on its paws then
treads it around the house - a germ danger for the family, especially
children & pregnant women. 

Dr Randolph Baral and Dr Melissa Catt of the Paddington Cat Hospital in
Sydney, agree, "Training your cat to use the toilet means less mess, less
time spent cleaning up and is more hygienic for the owners than manually
removing solid waste from the litter," they said.

Jo's innovation has won her a place at Fresh Innovators-a national
initiative to bring the work of 16 early-career inventers to public
attention. After training in Sydney, the Innovators are talking to the
media, schools and business about their ideas. One of the 16 will win a
study tour to the UK courtesy of the British Council Australia.

For further information contact Jo on 02 9453 2216 or email jo at lapidge.com
and visit www.freshinnovators.org or www.litterkwitter.com.au 

Media contacts for Fresh Innovators: Niall Byrne 0417 131 977 and Sarah
Brooker 0413 332 489



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