KittyLitter MALM





Introduction: KittyLitter MALM

Pets Challenge

First Prize in the
Pets Challenge

Having cats means also having a litterbox standing around somewhere and several times a day having a distinct smell floating around your home.
Searching for solutions to the problem I saw various hacked IKEA pieces for this purpose. So one day I was heading to the flat-packed-furniture-shop to look out for my own hacking victim…
And there it was: The 3 drawer MALM dresser!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • 3 drawer MALM
  • catdoor
  • litterbox
  • some sheets of black PVC in various sizes
  • two pieces of L-shape aluminum rail (1x1x43cm)
  • one sheet of plywood or MDF 0,4x76,5x43,5cm
  • small air inlet grill
  • filter mat (activated carbon)
  • plasticbox or cup
  • screws
  • small angle brackets

  • all tools necessary for IKEA assembly
  • jig saw
  • carpetknive

Step 2: Catdoor Placement

Measure carefully, where the drawerslider on the inside of the MALM goes. Then put the catdoor-stencil around 2 or 3 cm on top of it. Like this it's not to high for the cat to enter, and the cutout on the drawer can easily be made. Cut out with the jigsaw and then mount the door according to instructions, but take out the swinging part, or at least be sure to fix it in locked position.

Step 3: Assembly

Assemble the MALM according to instructions, but leave out the middle drawer-sliders and the second-from-bottom horizontal piece.
Before putting the backwall into place, fix the two aluminum rails below the upper drawersliders (the L has to be upside-down)
Assemble TWO of the drawers, put aside the parts of the third, you will need them later.

Step 4: Hacking

Put one of the assembled drawers into the lowest slot of the dresser and mark the position of the catdoor from the outside. Then cut out the marked piece with the jig saw.
Next take the left over parts from the third drawer. I used the sides to fix the middle front to the lower drawer. One of them I cut in half lengthwise to use as a kind of filler to better fit the letterbox into the drawer. The gap between the frontparts I covered with a stripe of black PVC, fixed into place with double sided tape.
To keep the letterbox from moving around in the drawer, I built a frame with PVC-stripes and L brackets.

Use the carpetknive to cut a hole in the backwall, to fit in the air inlet grill. Mount grill and filter (I screwed three pieces of PVC-sheet to the outside of the wall to counter the grill and sandwiched the filter mat in-between)

Step 5: Final Touches and Training the Cats

To stop the smell from leaking into the top drawer, I put a sheet of MDF (precut to size) onto the L-shaped aluminum rails.

To have the cleaning tools ready I added a small plastic box to hold the waste bags an a screw to hang the shovel.
To clean the letterbox, you need to pull the drawer almost fully out, so it's not hold horizontally anymore by the sliders. So I decided to screw the leftover horizontal piece to the bottom of the drawer, to avoid to much tilt.

Be smart and train the cats to use the door, or you will end up like me with a pile of smelly catpooh on your carpet…
It is also a good idea to remove the small magnet, which hold the swinging door in its vertical place, to make it easier for the cats to access their privat place! ;-)



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    If you really want to vent the thing outside the house, you could use a dryer vent, and install it through the wall. (Some fan testing would be good to ensure that the fan has enough power to open the flap.) The only problem with this is that you'll have to borrow a 4-1/4" hole saw and arbor, or shell out $50 for a set. Or you could cut a round hole with a sawzall, which can be rented, but you'll need a steady hand, because the standard blades are too long to poke into a 2x4 stud wall without hitting the wallboard on the inside of the wall, if you press the shoe of the sawzall against the exterior siding. Or you could just use a keyhole saw and do it by hand.

    -- For renters, a dryer vent could be installed through an insulated panel you make to fit into the bottom of a window, but that would require some extra work to make the window lockable and to seal the top of the sash. (A strip of foam rubber would do for the latter.) Some flexible vinyl ducting would be needed for this. Unfortunately, this approach would make the window unusable in the summer.

    -- Fan trigger? Motion sensor with a 10-minute timer. It takes time to get rid of that smell.

    Nicely done. I've solved the peeing over the side problem (my boy cat stands 22" tall, and does not squat) by using plastic storage containers for the cat box. Cut a hole in the end at the right height and dimensions, and it's ready to go. They cost only $7-9 each, so I can replace them every 6 months, as the urine penetrates the plastic of any cat box.

    Nice hack! Try adding a piece of astro turf between the door and the tray to help catch Litter and keep it from migrating out the door.

    Awesome!!! Maybe putting the base on coaster locking wheels would really make things easy for pull out and clean up behind -- or moving the whole unit when you really want to. Also, it might be nice to use a friendly clean up surface for the base of the drawer - where the littler box sits on. Maybe sheet metal or line it with linoleum? Just a few ideas :) Excellent post - thankst!!!

    FANTASTIC! Had to pass this on to a friend!!! :) And I thought I was clever when I made a doggie house out of a little round table (sorry, before finding ;)

    In The Middle Of Building My Malm Litter Box At The Minute, Im Using A PC Fan With A Carbon Filter Powered By A 9v Battery To Pull Out The Smell

    Really Good Idea This!

    How do you intend to trigger the fan? Manual switch or motion sensor?
    If your willing to share, I would love to see a picture of how you mounted the fan... ;-)

    Wonderful idea. I feel like I missed something regarding the air grill. It doesn't look like this sits against an outside wall ... where does the air grill vent to or from? Just into the wall?

    I've wondered if somehow I could rig an exhaust line to the exhaust fan in the ceiling of my bathroom (where I keep my litter boxes) ... anyone got an idea about that? Or at least share the "exhaust stack" that already goes up into attic but install the little computer fan motor that was mentioned?

    I'm in a rental so I can't put significant holes into walls or ceiling ... but would sure love to be able to exhaust not only odors but also litter dust.


    As a matter of fact the grill vents directly to the wall behind the dresser. So there is not that much ventilation... ;-)
    But thinking of the exhaust in the ceiling, I would try to make a exhaust pipe up there along the wall and ceiling out of a flat and square kind of tube to make it look "nice"

    Good luck on the Pets Challenge.