Cat revolution from Down Under
Like many mothers, Jo Lapidge Fredricks was convinced to get a kitten at the pleading of her 6- and 9-year-old children. But the Sydney, Australia, resident soon was reminded that to have a cat was to have a “stinking litter tray,” as she put it. That is until inspiration struck – inspiration in the form of the Ben Stiller comedy, “Meet the Fockers.” Those who’ve seen the popular flick might guess what’s coming next. Fredricks, who describes herself as “quite handy,” invented and developed the Litter Kwitter, the Original World Famous Cat Toilet Training System. Sound like a joke? It’s not. Fredricks has sold 20,000 units in her home country since December and – get this – breeders in Australia are now selling toilet-trained cats thanks to the Litter Kwitter.
How it works: The system uses three color-coded discs, beginning with red, which is filled with litter and is first placed near the toilet, then under the seat. Once the cat understands where to go, owners move on to using the amber disk, which has a hole in the middle and litter around the outsides. Finally, the green disk has an even bigger hole, wherein the cat’s waste goes into the toilet. Fredricks began working on the system with her feline and now Litter Kwitter spokescat, Doogie. She said while moving forward with the design she incorporated the advice of animal behaviorists, veterinarians and breeders. She learned, through putting herself in the cat’s place, about the complexity’s of a cat’s mind.”Take a cat in the wild,” Fredricks said. “The dominant cat will not bury its waste because it marks the territory, and the odor keeps the underlings in check. And the underlings bury (their waste) in deference to the dominant cat.” She said domestic cats bury their waste so the odor doesn’t attract predators.Fredricks’ training system modifies the cat’s behavior to understand that although they aren’t physically burying it, the scent of their waste is buried under the water in the toilet. For most cats, she said, it takes about eight weeks to learn, although Doogie was toilet-trained in two weeks.
Fredricks’ invention first gained attention when she won an innovative design award in Australia last April. She said the general public’s reaction was, “I want one now and I don’t care how much it costs.” (The suggested retail price is $89.) She said she had a waiting list before the product was even made. Fredricks used this attention to test products on 45 cats across the country with interested owners.Fredricks said there are other benefits to a toilet-trained cat.”It’s far more hygienic to have a cat use a toilet,” she said. “Its paws never touch its feces.” Also, in Australia where felines are an introduced species, keeping cats indoors is encouraged because they kill local wildlife and their litter waste clogs the sewer systems.
Fredricks’ response to whether she’s working on training her cat to flush, “Cat’s have staff. That’s my job to flush.”The product was released in America March 21 and is available at PetSmart and online at http://www.litterkwitter.com.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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