Cat Litter Box DIY: Fun and Simple, I’m Not Kitten!


To DIY a cat litter box is a straightforward task. It will be in the long run easier to clean as your cats wont scatter all that loose stuff hither and yon.

That seems to be par for the course with traditional flat pans. Which are fine (and preferable) for kittens or cats who are debilitated in some way, but most healthy adult cats  will take to this design very well. Cats love to climb, and they love privacy. And this concept brings both of those into alignment!

All you need is a large Sterilite/Rubbermaid tote just like those used for household storage, and a few other choice tools, and I will see you shortly! Scrap that messy litter pan and do THIS instead!

I put together 2 of these, Yes, I know that all the cat experts say “one litter box per cat, plus an extra” By that logic, I should have 4, but I find that two is enough. Buddy, the oldest, sometimes goes outside. So by that, I mean, he also “goes” outside too. Lol…Anyway, let’s get started!

Storage Tote Litter Box Materials

No “Kitten” Around; This is Easy!

First thing you’ll need is a fairly large Rubbermaid tote -you know those that have a lid. I used the 18 gallon size. Also I want to emphasize the Rubbermaid brands, as the plastic they are made of  (polyproplylene) is more flexible to cut which you;ll be doing. Other brands are made of a hard plastic that will crack under pressure or sharp tools, so skip them.

Other tools include:

  • An x-acto or craft knife
  • A paper plate
  • Some fine-medium grit sandpaper
  • Permanent marker

Top or Side Entry?

First you’ll want to decide on a top or side entry design. I chose top entry, and I think you should too, but I have seen some people decide to cut the opening on the box side. Or front. I don’t know why that is, I would think it would make it more likely to lead to scattered litter fragments, but maybe their cats prefer it?? I don’t know.

If you do decide to make it side/front entry, I would be sure and make the starting point at least 10″ off the bottom, so the litter, depending on how deep it will be, will be less likely to get tracked.. You may want to use a tape measure, mark the spot with your marker.

The paper plate can be used to mark a round entrance hole in the litter box. If you’d prefer a square hole, you could use a small box.

Pin to Your DIY/Craft Board

litterbox diy

Storage Container Litter Box Tutorial

Place the object – whether round paper plate, or square box – on top of the box lid, now proceed to trace around it, as I am doing here. if you’re making a side entry box you may want to take the cardboard box and cut the bottom out to make it easier to go around it.

rubbermaid cat litter box

Now take the sharp knife and cut around the traced line until you reach the starting point – you have just finished creating the entrance hole. It may have some “jaggies” around the edges left from cutting – using the piece of sandpaper, you can sand the sharp edges off.

This part is strictly optional, but you can also put some tape around the perimeter of the hole – eventually the cats’ comings and goings will cause it to wear off, but it can be a nice finishing touch. You can also take some of that tape and use it to decorate the front. Yeah, the cats don’t care, it’s just something fun to do.

diy mess free cat litter box

One last clever hack – I drilled two small holes in one side and threaded some wire into it to create a holder for the “pooper scooper” You can see it more easily in the first  and the pinnable image. Thought I’d pass that along, I was being creative and figure I might as well find a neat place to stash that thing. Feel free to steal that one. You’re welcome 🙂

Next comes the fun part, filling it up with litter. A box this size, generally you need enough litter so that it’s at least 4-5″ in depth if not deeper as cats love digging around. The more the better. This here is my favorite brand (Tidy Cats) and it comes in the 8.5 pound size, which is usually adequate.

This “lightweight” kind, is a little dusty, but of course, the tote keeps it concealed. I also get the nice five-gallon sized pails, which will definitely fill up a box this size – and as a bonus, they’re great for planting veggies in!

making a cat box from rubbermaid tote filling up

At the very least, as your cats come and go (no pun intended!) a few stray granules will be left behind but they usually stay on the top lid as the cats exit. But that should be the end of the tracking problem. You have just made the best, yet simplest cat box in the world.

My guys love it as much as their scratching posts. Your furbabies will love you for it, they will have plenty of room, they won’t feel like they are being “watched” (who does that?) and all those litter granules will stay where they belong. Have fun!!

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