KITTENS

DIY Cat Litter Box: Seven Simple Steps to a Mess-Free Kitty Litter Box

Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Owning a cat is a big responsibility as owners need to allocate resources for many supplies that their cats need. For instance, they would have to purchase cat litter boxes to make sure their cats have somewhere to hygienically and safely deposit their waste. Unfortunately, these boxes could cost so much money. But who says cat owners can’t make a DIY cat litter box themselves? Not just as a solution for cat owners on a budget, this could also be an avenue through which you can show how much you love your cat.

Even if you are a self-confessed not-crafty person, you will be able to create a cat litter box that your cat will love if you follow our simple step-by-step guide. Better yet, you won’t have to shell out a lot of cash for the materials since we make sure that most of the materials needed are common and could usually be found around the house. Read on and surprise yourself with how a few tweaks here and there can save you a lot of cash and time.

Modified Kentwood Nightstand into Bench for hiding a Litter Box

In this article, you will find now just a complete guide on how to make your own cat litter box using affordable materials, but you will also learn about all the different types of cat litter boxes available out there so you can make any necessary adjustments to your work of art. Just in case you’re still not convinced that DIY is the way to go, we’re going to list out the many benefits of making a cat litter box at home. Ready?

Benefits of DIY Cat Litter Boxes

True enough, raising cats is not a walk in the park. One indicator of a well-raised cat is their toilet manner. Cat owners can choose between letting their pets do their business inside the house or outside.

The world outside is not the friendliest for cats. Great dangers like other animals, people, and vehicles could pose a threat to your beloved pet. To spare your cat from these dangers, the soundest choice for homeowners is to teach their cats to poo and pee in a litter box instead.

DIY Cat Litter Box Furniture Black

Now that we agree that most cat owners need a litter box, it comes down to choosing between buying one at the store or making one at home. If you think that it is more convenient and beneficial to opt for a store-bought litter box than to do it yourself, then you will be surprised to know the different benefits that one could enjoy if they could spare some time and effort to let their crafty side out. Here are some DIY cat litter box benefits cat owners can enjoy:

Less Costly

The convenience that these boxes give pet owners is undeniable, but cat litter boxes are not free. Whether you decide to go to a brick-and-mortar store or to buy one online, a typical cat litter box’s price could range from $12 to $80 each. The automatic self-cleaning ones cost $100 or more. That’s a lot of money for the box alone.

A cat sitting in a DIY cat litter box

Why spend a lot on a litter box when you can make your own? With just a box, a plate for tracing, and a pair of scissors, you can create your own litter box at only a fraction of the price of commercially-produced ones.

The Chance to Reuse Things

Disposing things that you no longer use, aside from being inconvenient, is quite expensive. Each year, you throw away things with little to no damage at all simply because you do not see any use for them anymore and they’re left gathering dust in the attic.

Pallet Wood Litter Box Bench

Instead of letting some plastic boxes go to waste, turn them into useful things instead. By using them to make DIY cat litter boxes, not only will you reduce the stuff you have in these rooms, but you will also save the environment by trying your hands at recycling. Look around and be surprised that there are actually a ton of things you can reuse or recycle.

Personalize Your Cat’s Stuff

It is always cute to have personalized items at home, and those cat stuff are no exception. By making your own litter box, you can add some personal touches to their things. Better yet, it does not entail any added cost at all.

Image showing a nice litter cabinet

Another benefit of personalization is that you can turn that cat litter box into something that adds to the beauty of your interior decor. Commercial litter boxes come with pre-determined colors that might not blend well with the surroundings. But with DIY cat litter boxes, you can have your aesthetic pick.

Unleash Your Creativity

Many people shy away from the thought of creating useful things because of the fear that they are not creative enough. Here’s the deal: anyone can be crafty! Who knows? You might just discover a new hobby out of this simple task. Remember, don’t say you can’t do it before you give it a try.

Types of Cat Litter Boxes

Admit it. You consider waste cleaning to be the no-fun part of being a cat owner. No one would honestly say that they enjoy dealing with fecal matters. Thank goodness for cat litter boxes! Most cat owners are spared from the dirty work since the design of these litter boxes makes cleanup easy.

Cat litter boxes come in many different material options—metallic, plastic, fiberglass, or a composite of different materials. The important consideration in choosing the litter box material is its strength. This is especially true if you have just adopted a kitten. Every pet owner needs sturdy litter boxes that can accommodate their growing pets.

Close-up image of a plastic cat litter box

With so many cat litter box options, it is important to look for ones that suit the need of your pet and your own requirements. Does your cat prefer an open-air, uncovered box or does he prefer the covered one? Litter boxes could be classified according to the following types:

Open Litter Pans

Open litter pans are the most basic and least expensive of all the designs available in the market. Most of the pans of this type are made of plastic—although there are also some disposable models around. This type is usually rectangular in shape with a tray and outwardly sloped sides.

Cats may prefer open litter pans because these are well-ventilated. However, owners need to be mindful that the waste is more visible. As a result, owners might have to clean the box more frequently.

Image showing an Open Litter Pans

Another common disadvantage of open litter pans is the low walls that may not be able to completely contain the litter if the cat tends to dig or scratch. In some cases, the walls could end up covered with urine or poop. As a way to resolve the problem, some choose designs with detachable rims that help in catching the litter.

Hooded Cat Litter Boxes

Probably one of the most common types available in the market, the hooded litter box comes in a variety of shape, color, material, and price. This type’s distinguishing feature is the hood or dome that covers the litter pan. The pet will enter through the opening in the cover.

Image showing a Covered Litter Box

This type of cat litter box is more hygienic for people around the house because the waste is enclosed and less visible. Cleaning it is not a problem as one can simply lift the cover off of the tray, clean it, and change the litter. Covered litter boxes are easy to maintain and promote a healthier environment for the pet and his hoomans.

Top-Entry Litter Boxes

As the name suggests, top-entry litter boxes have an opening on the top of the box. The pet has to climb on top of the box and creep into the hole to do his business. This design is only good if the cat is in tip-top shape. Obese and elderly cats may not be able to use this type of litter box properly.

Image of a Top-Entry Litter Box and a cat

Apart from being hygienic, top-entry litter boxes are also helpful in deterring other pets and children from scooping the contents of the litter box. A good tip if you are using top-entry litter boxes: keep a light source nearby so the cat can see what he is doing while inside the litter box. Cats can see well in the dark, but having a light source near their litter box would still come in handy.

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

With the advancement of technology, a different kind of litter box is now available. This one features an electric combing mechanism that can automatically scoop the clumps from the litter box and then have these sealed and disposed of in a container. The device determines if the cat is done using the box through infrared sensors or pressure pads.

Automatic Kitty Litter Boxe and a cat near it

Although this is the most expensive type, most pet owners would love this because it spares them all the hassle associated with cleaning after their cat’s mess. In more advanced models, the box is connected to the house’s faucet and drain, so it is cleaned automatically.

Even those not connected to the faucet only need very minimal supervision or effort from the owner. For instance, there are those that only need to be shaken to expel the clumps in the litter. Regardless of what model one gets, there is no denying that this cat litter box type is the most convenient one available.

Seven Steps to Craft Your Own Cat Litter Box

In this project, you can choose to create a simple litter box or a semi-automatic self-cleaning one. You can find materials inside your own home or buy new ones from a nearby hardware store. If you opt to create a semi-automatic one, keep the mechanism manual handy when installing it into the box.

A cat sitting in a wooden kitty liter box in the yard

As this is a project for your pet, make sure that the materials are sturdy enough. Take into consideration factors like the pet’s height, weight, and age. Young adult cats can pretty much use any type of litter box, but kittens, older ones, or obese cats may have some special needs that your project should meet.

To get started with your project, make sure that you prepare the following tools and materials:

  • 2 pieces of identical plastic storage (choose the size according to the size of your cat)

  • A thick plastic tray about the same size as the plastic storage

  • Litter sand

  • A simple mechanism with timer (optional)

  • Paint and other materials for personalization (optional)

  • Scissor or saw cutter

  • Plastic plate or other circular items and a marking pen for tracing

  • Hole saw cutter

  • All-purpose glue

  • Sandpaper

Step 1

Take one of the identical plastic storages and pierce small holes into the whole width of the container using a hole saw cutter. The holes should be around 6 inches in height off of the floor. Make sure that the holes are big enough for air to pass through it. This part will serve as the receptacle.

Step 2

Take the plastic tray and also drill small holes into it. This will serve as the floor of the box. This design is perfect if you are looking to come up with a top-entry litter box.

A man Take the plastic tray and also drilling small holes into a plastic box

Alternatively, you can cut a 4 x 4 inches square on one side for the disposal of waste from the floor of the pan to the receptacle. This second option is for when you are looking to come up with a semi-automatic self-cleaning litter box.

Step 3

Take the last plastic storage and choose between tracing an opening above or trace a half circle on one side. This will serve as the cat’s point of entry into the litter box. Use a large plastic plate for tracing. Take into consideration the size of your cat or the length of time you intend to use the litter box.

Image showing the cat’s point of entry into the litter box

If you have a kitten and plan to use the litter box for a longer period of time, make the opening larger. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to make the hole bigger after you’re done with the whole box.

Step 4

Using the scissors or saw cutter to cut the traced circle or half circle for the entry. To be safe, wear safety gloves to protect your hands from the pointy or rough edges that result when cutting plastic. Also, watch out for raw edges that can cut your cat’s skin. Using sandpaper, smoothen the rough edges.

Step 5

Fit the plastic tray into the receptacle. Make sure that it fits snugly. Secure it using all-purpose glue. Do the same for the other plastic tray with the entry hole. Add the litter sand, and your litter box is good to go. If you wish to make some more improvements to the litter box, however, here are two extra steps that you can add.

Step 6

One problem that many cat owners face is addressing the eyesore of having cat litter boxes lying around. Understandably, you want your home to look nice and free of things that will gross some people out. In crafting your own litter box, you have the option of improving the design so it will add to your abode’s elegance instead of detract from it.

Image showing bench litter box

You can opt to paint the box in different colors or add a cute cat design. You can also add some ribbons, yarns, or letters that spell your cat’s name for a more personalized feel. Feel free to squeeze some creative juices. Your cat and visitors may just love it.

Step 7

This is the perfect step for those who want to test their basic robotic skills. A simple sifting mechanism for particle segregation is readily available in hardware stores, and you can add this to your own self-cleaning cat litter box.

Just connect it to a timing mechanism which can be activated by pressing a button, and you are good to go. Although it is not as smart as the features offered by the hefty self-cleaning litter boxes in the market, this is a much cheaper alternative. Having this makes it easier for you to plan the litter box cleaning schedule.

a cat litter cabinet that would force yout cat to have to walk along

Observe how your cat will react in using the litter box. Be prepared to notice some discomfort and be ready to address these. You may have come up with a good litter box but also be open to doing a few tweaks here and there as your cat may find issues with the box. Make the necessary adjustments such as widening the opening a bit more in places where you can. In time, your cat will feel at home in the homemade box.

Wrap Up

A litter box is also called by different names such as litter tray, sandbox, catbox, or litter pan. It is used to collect the waste of cats (or of other animals like rabbits, micropigs, and others) that are free to roam around the house. The litter box is a very important pet stuff to have around the house as it eases waste disposal.

The market is teeming with different cat litter box options. You can get any type of litter box depending on your needs, budget, and household requirements. Or, you can choose to get your crafty hands ready for some do-it-yourself magic your cat will thank you for.

A cat getting out of the litter box

Are you excited to see how you can save, get crafty, and provide for the needs of your cat? A few steps are all it takes for one cat owner to express their love for their pet. You need not have ace crafting skills to get the desired outcome as the steps are very simple and doable.

What kind of litter box do you use in your house? Did you make it yourself or did you buy it from the stores? If you made it yourself, please share any tips and tricks with us by placing a comment in the box below.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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