Introduction: KittyLitter MALM

About: Swiss expat in Germany, husband, father, teacher, cyclist, tinkerer, former theatre propsmaster 🇨🇭 🇩🇪 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 👨‍🏫 🚲 🛠️ Heimwehschweizer in D, Ehemann, Vater, Lehrer, Radfahrer, Bastler, Ex-Requisiteur

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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