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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

One smart pussy

It is not civilisation's biggest problem but, thanks to the ingenuity of a Sydney woman, a solution is in the can.Here kitty kitty

In January, Jo Lapidge bought her children, Ben and Sophie, a Burmese kitten. "We only had Doogal a week before I was regretting getting him," Mrs Lapidge said yesterday, recalling the smell of his litter tray and the work keeping it clean.

Then she saw the movie Meet the Fockers, featuring a cat trained to use its owner's toilet. "I thought, 'Right, I'm going to train my cat to use the toilet'."

There were plenty of potty training devices for children, but Mrs Lapidge could not find anything similar for cats. So, after two months of tinkering on 15 prototypes, she developed her first invention, Litter-Kwitter, a system of colour-coded rings.

The first step is to replace the litter tray with a red disc. Once the cat is doing its business in the middle, the disc is mounted on the toilet bowl.

When leaping onto the red disc has been mastered, it is replaced with an amber ring that has a small hole, getting kitty used to balancing over the water.

As progress is made, a green ring with a bigger hole is introduced. Finally, the rings are removed, leaving the cat to balance on the normal toilet seat.

There was little risk of drowning, Mrs Lapidge said: "Cats are very nimble."

She believed kittens could be trained in eight weeks. "Training Doogal was a lot easier than my son," she said.

Mrs Lapidge, who is seeking a manufacturer, is confident she has a commercial success, expecting her invention to sell for $80 to $140, compared with the $4000 needed for a litter tray over the course of a cat's life.

She has won a place in Fresh Innovators, a national campaign highlighting new inventors, but confesses Doogal can't flush.

Now if only we could get men to do the same thing…



Source:
http://www.smh.com.au/

posted by Opus at 13:21

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