DIY Cat Litter Boxes

by Jane Williams, Demand Media
    Building your own litter box is easy and inexpensive.

    Building your own litter box is easy and inexpensive.

    A necessary piece of kitty care equipment, the litter box provides a thankless but important service. But cats can be rough with their personal potty, and soon his litter box may need replaced. Building your own reduces replacement costs and tailors the box to your cat's personal likes and needs.

    Think Like Your Cat

    Cats are persnickety creatures and that finicky nature doesn't stop at the litter box. Some cats prefer open air litter boxes, while others like a cover. Some like to walk in the front, while others prefer hopping down into it from the top. Some cats daintily cover their deposits by carefully moving the litter about, while others happily fling the stuff hither and yon. Learning your cat's litter box habits, as well as knowing any physical or medical limitations, can help determine the size and design of the litter box you need to create.
    Covered litter boxes offer the advantage of containing the litter as your cat scratches, and preventing unintentional, smelly wall art should your cat decide to pee standing up.

    What You'll Need

    Making your own litter box doesn't require any great construction abilities, and you need not touch a hammer or saw. All you need is a large, thick plastic storage container with a lid, a marker and a strong knife or pair of scissors.
    The actual size of the container you need depends on your cat – a small, svelte Siamese needs a smaller box than a large Maine Coon requires. Start by looking at the 18 gallon sized and larger storage bins, and pick one that looks large enough for your cat to move around comfortably inside. Don't forget the lid! The thicker and stronger the plastic, the better.

    Get To Work

    The actual creation of the box is as simple as mark, cut and fill with litter. Use your handy-dandy marker to draw an opening onto the plastic bin. Whether this is on the side or on the lid is entirely up to you, and now is when you put your careful research in your cat's preferences into play. If your cat's a bit on the chubby side, make the opening wide enough for him to move through easily. Older or ailing cats who have trouble stepping up may require a lower opening to allow easier entry.
    A good opening size is about 9 inches by 9 inches, but you can alter this as necessary. A small dinner plate is a good template to get you started. If you're making a side opening, don't forget to put it high enough so you can add about 2 inches of litter without it spilling out onto the floor.
    Use a strong knife or box cutter to carefully cut along your marks. Run some sandpaper over your new opening to smooth over any sharp edges. Fill with litter and give your cat some privacy to check out his new bathroom.

    Watch And Tweak

    Even if you think you've done everything right, your cat may find issues with his new litter box. Spend the next few days watching him to make sure he's not having trouble getting into or out of your homemade box. Widen the or lower the opening as necessary to help him access his potty easily.
    For top entry boxes, make sure a light source is nearby so your cat can see what he's doing inside. Despite popular belief, cats really cannot see in the dark, and you wouldn't want to be completely blind as you go to the bathroom. A small night light nearby should suffice, and you can even cut a small “window” into the side to allow more light in.

    About the Author

    Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.

    Photo Credits

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