DIY Cat Litter Box Idea – Dump That Smelly Flat Pan and Make a Nice Box Instead!
I don’t mean to muddy the waters by talking about pet products, but you’d be surprised at how well pets and creativity mix. Ever seen a cat play with an ordinary object with much more relish than something heavily advertised as a “must-have” toy? You’ll see where I’m going with this in a moment.
Anyway I have never liked those standard cat litter pans you see in the pet product section of any store, you know the kind that is about 6″ deep and somehow resembles the plastic version of a turkey roasting pan? Cats make such a mess with them when they do their “business” and cover it up, with the way they dig in there like nobody’s business and scatter that loose litter every which a way.
Now why are these pans called “litter boxes” exactly?? Nothing that remotely resembles a box in any way shape or form.
For all intents and purposes, cat litter boxes that resemble, well, boxes…you know, a box-shaped thingy with an enter and exit opening in them, these are the best kind to get, because they give cats privacy, which they love, and they keep that awful mess contained easily.
But I found a way to make one of these instead of springing for whatever they cost. A few years ago I saw a gal on Youtube do a demo video of using one of those big Sterilite totes to make a nice cat box for her cats that was exactly what I am espousing here. She cut a round hole in the lid and presto, cats can come and go as they please, do their thing, and no messy tracking. So I kind of “borrowed” that idea (which was probably the whole intent anyway) and replicated 2 of them for my cats too.
Our youngest cat was 3-4 months of age and having a hard time climbing in so I ended up giving him a shorter litter box using the 10 gal size as opposed to the 18, but he’s a year old now and with the lid on there is not much room to dig around and cats love to dig. So I ended up putting two of these 10 gal totes together by turning the second one upside down on top of the other, and then I cut a round hole using the bottom of a coffee can to make it exact.
I cut the hole using (carefully now) an X-acto knife. There are some grooves on the bottom but you can easily go right over and through.
There are 2 holes going through the side “gripper” handle parts of each tote. I ran some wire through them and secured it. It is loose enough on one side so when the time comes to do a whole change-out with fresh litter I can easily move that side of the tote up for easy access.
I lined the round cutout area with duct tape so the entry-exit opening for the cats would be nice and smooth and they wouldn’t get any rough plastic scratches or discomfort as they go in and come out.
And walla, that was a snap! No “kitten” it was that easy to make!
These are Rubbermaid Rough Totes, 10 gal apiece; they are made of polyethelene so that cutting through them was not difficult but these are still pretty tough. I don’t think you can do this with that other brand (Sterilite) that has this hard plastic that will crack if you attempt what I did (just a word to the wise – disregard the Sterilite and get a Rubbermaid)
You could easily use one large 18-20 gal size tote and just create an opening in the lid that can be round or square. At $16.97 each, compared to what you might spend on what of those modular cube designs that are about $50 and up. And yes, here is mine:
I even drilled two small holes on the side and with a little wire fashioned into a “hook” -I had a handy hanger for that all-too important scoop! Personally I think I like this design the best.
I had one of those “self-cleaning” boxes that you kind of roll over and there’s a tray that collects the cats’ business, but I thought it was a sham, not very impressed.
So far, this has worked great, the only bad news to tell you is that this is not a self-cleaning box; however, it does all of the above, not so messy, not so stinky, and doesn’t look like an obvious flat litter pan. For that alone, try this sometime! It will probably take you 30 minutes tops and your furbabies will love you for it.