Litter pans are a problem. Especially when you have a large cat who can't fit in a small litter box and a dog who considers cat poop a delicacy. It's been a struggle to find a commercial litter box the cat can enter and the dog can't. As a result, I decided to make my own using 2 storage crates I purchased from Wal-Mart for around $20. The smaller crate sits inside the larger one creating a "foyer" so dogs can't reach the litter pan. The roomy crate is large enough even for big male cats who have poor aim.
"Dog Proof" may not be as accurate as "Dog Resistent" or "Dog Challenging", but so far it has worked well in our household. In fact, our dog has given up on raiding the litter pan so I consider it a complete success. We have large retrievers who are much too big to fit through the doors, although small breed dogs could walk into the litter box just like a cat. By altering the size of the door openings, however, this design should accommodate many cats & dogs. Another feature of having a box with a "foyer" is most of the litter on your cat's feet will stay inside the large crate as they exit.
Let me show how to build this inexpensive litter box for your cat...and not your dog.
Step 1: Stuff You'll Need ...
This project requires very little in materials and tools to complete. Here's a list:
30 gallon storage crate
18 gallon storage crate
The 2 crates need to be similarly shaped so they seat nicely together.
1 1/2" hole saw & drill
4 wood screws
Small piece of mat or carpet
Step 2: Creating the Foyer
Before cutting the holes in the crates, I made a false floor in the foyer to anchor the inner pan at the rear of the larger crate. The distance between the fronts prevents dogs from being able to reach the litter pan. In the first pic, the bottom board is a 2x6 and the top board is 1/2" plywood. Use 3 or 4 wood screws to secure the boards together. The combined thickness of the 2 boards and mat is 3 1/2" thick. The boards and mat can be removed for cleaning.
Step 3: Cutting the Doors
Because our cat is a big male, I made the doors somewhat large knowing our dogs wouldn't be able to enter. The doors are 5 1/2" wide and 8 1/2" tall. Alternatively, you could cut a circle if you have a smaller dog who likes to raid the pan. Using the false floor and mat as a guide, I used a 3/4" scrap board to mark the bottom of both doors. This insures the floor is below the bottom of the door and allows for adding a piece of carpet in the future. Carpet would do a better job of removing cat litter as your cat exits the pan. The door lip also allows for a 4" deep inner pan to hold the litter.
Once the door dimensions were marked, I also marked points 3/4" from each corner for drilling the 1 1/2" holes. This is primarily for appearance and you could simply freehand the door opening also. Pic 2 shows the 4 holes and I used my jigsaw to cut between the holes and complete the door openings. The top cut is much easier to make from inside the box. A file was used to smooth the cuts and remove any burrs. Pic 3 shows the completed opening and foyer.
Step 4: Let There Be Light!
In my experience, some cats don't like dark caverns so I added some holes in the top for light. I used my 1 1/2" holesaw again to make 8 holes along the outside edges. Pic 2 shows the interior of the box with the lid in place.
All you need now is some litter and a quick prayer your cat will actually use it. Cats can be picky but what's not to love about this box. Our cat, who is very particular, has been very happy and we've been pleased to not have the dogs in the litter box anymore. Hope this cheap & easy project makes your critters happy as well!