DIY Cat Box Cabinet

Avatar Katelyn | May 23, 2013 3659 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

In our last laundry room post, I mentioned a DIY project Evan and I tackled back when we were still in the apartment. This project was all about hiding poop. Cat poop. And litter and stuff. The scourge of the clean freak cat owner.

Being in an apartment meant we had no good place to hide Mochi’s litter box. Our laundry room/pantry only had a couple square feet of floor space, and shoving it into the corner of our only bathroom where guests would see it was not ideal either. Especially because Mochi, bless her little crazy heart, spazzes out after each time she goes potty and bursts out her litter box in a mad dash trailing a flurry of litter-bits behind her like pebbly cat star dust. This meant litter was EVERYWHERE. All. The. Time.

We weren’t sure what to do about our little Pooper. But then we saw this

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Ikea + jigsaw + kitty door = a cat box cabinet! We immediately scoured the internet and found all sorts of tutorials. In addition to the one above, we got inspiration from here, here, and here. We sort of took what we liked from each and created our own kitty litter containment center. Here it is in all it’s glory! (hanging out in it’s old home in the apartment)

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

We chose a two-compartment Besta unit at IKEA as our base since it’s our cabinet of choice (we used it for our media center and wanted everything to be cohesive). We discarded the extra shelves that came with it and bought a full-height cabinet door for the left side, and a drawer and shorter cabinet door for the right side. We also ordered this kitty door to add to one side so Mochi could get in and out.

Before putting the unit together, we grabbed the side piece we wanted to put the door into and traced an outline to give us a where-to-cut guide.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Then we took it out onto our balcony (in the middle of the night it seems!) and cut out the shape with our jigsaw.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Next we spray painted the door black so that it blended in better with the Besta.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Please forgive us, at the time we didn’t know we’d be sharing this tutorial on a blog so we didn’t take pictures of the next steps. After the door dried, we popped it into the hole we cut like the instructions say to do. We took off the magnet that makes the door snap shut because Momo couldnt figure out that she had to push a little harder to get through and she kept accidentally “locking” herself inside the box. Oh Momo.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

The next step, which we also did not take a picture of at the time, is to use the jigsaw to cut a doorway through the middle panel of the Besta. I’ll show you what I mean in the picture below.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

See the part marked “doorway”? I outlined it in white so you could see it better, but basically before assembling the Besta we traced a Mochi-sized opening in the middle panel to connect the two compartments of the cabinet and cut it with our jigsaw. The edges were raw, so we were super classy and finished them off with duct tape (see that gray inside part of the “door frame”?).

Once our doorway and kitty door were made, we assembled the Besta and added some weather stripping along the bottom of the inside of the cabinets to keep litter from coming out the cabinet doors.

After that, we just popped in her box on the left, a litter mat on the right, and filled the drawer with all her stuff (minus her toys, which she hides in secret places around the house).

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Close the cabinets and drawer and you have an inconspicuous cat box cabinet/good place to set your keys.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

This cabinet is AWESOME. No ugly litter boxes. MUCH less litter out on your floors (there’s still a little but not bucketfulls like before). No stinky-ness. Good place to store cat stuff. Win win win win! Plus it was easy- just make sure you find a box that fits, that was the only challenge! The best part is Mochi likes it, and a happy cat means happy hoomans!

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

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This post currently has 75 responses.

  1. Maria

    May 23, 2013 at 8:28 am

    This is brilliant. So nice looking and clever! I know nothing about cats except that I’m allergic to them, but how does she know that’s where her litter box is? I had a dog growing up who we both outside- and pad-trained, and his pads have been in the same location for 15 years because (well, at this point he is also senile, poor old doggie) he wouldn’t be able to adjust to a new place, so I was just curious!

  2. Katelyn Shibley

    May 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Thanks! We just showed her and she remembered, though adjusting to having to go through a door to get to her box took a few days so for the first few days we taped it open so she could just walk in

  3. kay

    July 28, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Hi, Which litter box do you use? I am looking to make his myself and was wondering which one would fit into the cabinet.

    Thanks in advance

  4. Katelyn Shibley

    July 30, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I wish I remembered! We had to search a bit because it is narrower than most. Ours doesn’t have any brand name or anything on it (weird), so I’m afraid I’m not much help. Sorry!

    • kay

      July 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Hi Katelyn,
      Thanks for getting back to me and no worries. I’m actually looking for one too as I made this for a cat I recently adopted.

      I guess the search continues haha! Hope your cat is doing well :)

      • Katelyn Shibley

        July 30, 2014 at 6:37 am

        Good luck! I think we found ours at either Petsmart or Target… so maybe check out those places? Hope your new kitty loves it!

        • Katelyn Shibley

          August 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

          Hmmm that’s weird, it works for me. That’s exactly how it copy and pastes. You can also find the cabinet doors by searching for Besta Doors and choosing the solid cheaper ones (no glass). Hope this helps!

      • Emily

        August 8, 2014 at 9:36 pm

        Found it! I couldn’t open the link on my iphone but the desktop worked. So excited to make this. We are going to make a two sided litter box since we are getting a new kitten. Instead of the drawer. Thanks for the links. It looks great!

        • Katelyn Shibley

          August 9, 2014 at 5:44 am

          Yay glad it worked! Ooooo that sounds like a good variation on the design, love it! Good luck with everything :)

  5. kay

    August 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I just made this for a cat I recently adopted.

    I added a battery powered motion sensing light on the cabinet wall by the kitten door so that when she steps in she has some light in there.
    I placed it adjacent to the kitten door as it sheds some light into the ‘poop zone’ while not being overly bright in there.

    One light works in this case as I’m using an open litter pan. If you are using an enclosed litter pan an additional motion sensing light might come in handy in the ‘poop zone’ cabinet.

    I used Mr. Beams MB723 Battery-Powered Motion-Sensing LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight. I got it off Amazon and also comes in a 3 too which works out cheaper.

  6. Bryan

    December 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    So, one of the main problems that I hear from people that own litter hiders like this one is that the wood eventually absorbs the smell of cat poop and litter. Have you had that problem yet?

    Your hack is the best I’ve seen so far, so I’m interested. But, the idea of the wood absorbing the smell still convinces me to keep the old-fashioned box in the corner. :/

    • Khalid Noor

      March 11, 2015 at 3:38 am

      maybe we can place activated carbon charcoal around the “poop zone” to eliminate the odours? Im stoke to build one myself!

        • Kay

          March 12, 2015 at 12:16 pm

          Hi everybody,
          For a while I was looking for a covered litter bin for this just in case my cat missed the litter box by mistake. It was really hard to find a good quality one. I tried at least 5 different types off Amazon, Petco and Pet Food Express
          I eventually gave up and tried a few with a high back. It worked fine for a while but then as predicted she missed one day. Luckily I found out quickly and I had also treated the wood.

          Anyways I have found these two solutions for it and thought I would share!!

          (1) The light: I mentioned this in an earlier post. I added a battery powered motion sensing light to the roof of the cabinet (works best in that location from what I have found). Mr. Beams MB723 Battery-Powered Motion-Sensing LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight. I got it off Amazon and also comes in a 3 pack too which works out cheaper.

          (2) I got a plastic storage bin and use that as a litter box.
          — It fits in the cabinet perfectly and there’s some space for a scoop on the side
          — It was really easy to cut an entrance into it. All I used to cut one was a serrated knife
          — works really well as it has very tall sides making it pretty impossible for her to miss
          — I don’t use the lid as I really don’t need to and that makes it less enclosing.

          Hope this helps and have fun making this!!

          • Katelyn Sheline

            March 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm

            These are awesome tips!! I love the idea of using a storage bin- it definitely was a challenge to find a litter box that fit

          • kr4ftb0y

            March 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

            Nice work, Kay! I just wanted to point out one thing. Cats have excellent night vision and can see in almost next to no light, and don’t rely on their sight nearly as much as their sense of smell and hearing in closed environments like that – I think the light is a little superfluous. Might be a little more for your peace of mind than hers. ;)

  7. Katelyn Sheline

    January 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Hey Bryan! As far as I can tell, the wood itself hasn’t absorbed any odor yet. We’ve had this for about 3 years now. When the cabinet doors are open it’s a little stinky because the box is in there, but when the doors are closed there is no smell. It might be different if the cabinet is solid wood- ours is IKEA laminate so maybe it reacts differently with the odor. Also, every so often I clorox the entire inside of the cabinet so maybe that is keeping it at bay. Hope this helps!

  8. Mallory

    March 10, 2015 at 12:07 am

    I’m a writer for BuzzFeed and I’d love to feature your cabinet in a post featuring unexpected uses for Ikea products – would that be okay with you? I’d credit you / link back to the post. Just let me know. Thanks, Katelyn!

  9. Tippy

    March 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I have done something similar and my solution to the ‘missed’ peeing is puppy pee pads under and behind the box. Totally works!

  10. Mish

    March 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Hello! Love this – found on Buzzfeed. Question for you… when i had a lid on my cat’s litter box before the ‘clumps’ he would leave me wouldn’t really clump /dry well, i think due to less air circulation. i tried many different litters. anyways, i want to do this but i am worried the lack of airflow in the unit will make the ‘gifts’ my cat leave not dry and clump well. does this happen with your cat? thanks!

    • Katelyn Sheline

      March 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

      I haven’t had any issues with clumping as long as my kitty covers things well. When she doesn’t and just leaves it on top uncovered it has a harder time clumping, but I don’t know if that’s related to airflow or not. You could always take off the flap on the kitty door to add a little more air flow :)

  11. Mischa

    March 19, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Did you find that the noise the cat made while in the box was louder being in this cabinet then say another room? Also how was the smell? If I use really good anti-smell litter and a charcoal absorber? Would it be manageable or is it wafting from the cabinet?

    • Katelyn Sheline

      March 22, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I think it actually cuts down on noise! We currently have the cabinet in our laundry room which is where we would have put her box anyway so I think it’s less noise than if it was the box alone. In terms of smell the cabinet DEFINITELY helps contain it! We don’t use a charcoal absorber and smell has never been a problem :)

  12. Maggie Leonard

    March 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    The link opens for me for the doors, what sizes did you get for the 2 doors? I love this so much! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Katelyn Sheline

      March 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      We got the “small” pet one (that’s the only size indicator I see) and it’s plenty big for our slightly chubby kitty :)

  13. Emily

    June 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Which Besta unit did you go for? Do you remember how much it was (that may help me pick which unit it was…)? Thanks!

  14. Rachel

    July 31, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Katelyn! Do you recall where you bought your litter box, by chance? I’m having a similar issue in terms of finding one that will fit (and didn’t see the litter box itself linked in the comments).

    Otherwise, you guys did a beautiful job!! :)
    Thanks so much,

    • Kay

      July 31, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      I was having the same problem. Also, I wanted one with a high sides in case my cat missed. I eventually got a storage bin which works better than a littler box (and is much cheaper!)

      I cut the handles off so that it fits into the cabinet and also cut an opening which coincides with the cat door. Best of all i didn’t need any tools to do this.. I was able to cut it with a serrated knife.

      I got the HDX 20 gallon tote from Home depot

    • Katelyn Sheline

      August 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Rachel! I think ours was from Petsmart… but it was so long ago I don’t remember for sure. But like Kay says below, modifying a storage bin should work really well too! I’ve seen some people online do that with much success. The high sides make it sound extra promising :)

  15. Esther Cunningham

    April 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    This is a brilliant idea! I wish we could do this for our two male cats in our brand new home. Unfortunately, we’ve tried covered cat litter boxes (with the lids) and our two fur babies just don’t like going potty in tight-closed areas…needless to say we’ve have kitty accidents when we lived back at our apartment during those closed-in kitty litter box years. Sigh. I guess we’ll have to deal with the eyesore of kitty boxes for years to come unless we figure some other creative idea! Be glad you have little Mochi!!

    • Katelyn Sheline

      April 14, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you! Hmmm, maybe if you took off the lid and put the open box in the cabinet they would be ok with using it? or if you left a larger opening than the kitty door we used? Kitties can be picky!

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