$0 Incognito Cat Box & Pet Storage




About: I am a teacher outside of Boston and I love making cool stuff! Any prizes I'm lucky enough to win will go directly to my classroom (when appropriate) where I teach 6-12th grade English & Social Studies (...

CraigsList is this magical place where if you know what you're looking for and are patient, you can find anything---for free.

2 1/2 years ago we were looking for a soluion to our cats tracking litter all over the place. My husband came across those Ikea hacks on Pinterest that show old storage pieces (using small, long ones with lids) being repurposed into a litter box. So we spent a month or so searching for the right piece, something big enough to allow both our cats (one overweight calico and a still growing Ragdoll---both rescues) to comfortably walk in, turn around/do what they need to do, and walk back out, and limiting the amount of litter they tracked back and forth. Since then we have learned that it doesn't matter what you do, how much fancy turf you put down or what kind of litter you use, cats will track litter and there's not a damn thing you can do about it :-)

In our search we came across random Ikea pieces and whatnot, but most had a price-tag I felt was too expensive for a used piece of furniture. Then one day in July 2013, this gorgeous Crate & Barrel armoire/tv cabinet appeared on CraigsList, and even better---it was free and only a few blocks away. So I emailed the owner and went right over to see it. The piece was beautiful and a perfect size. Even better, the inside had shelves and dividers which meant we didn't need to buy anything to alter it, we just needed to cut some holes.

So we got the armoire back to my apartment building and I began the hour long task of literally dragging it from the curb and into my building. No dollies were anywhere to be found and my husband was at work. This was a $400+ armoire and I wasn't leaving it outside until Nate came home. So I pushed and I pulled and I rocked abck and forth until the armoire and I made our way inside. Once I got the armoire inside, on carpet, it was smooth sailing.

The entire time I was trying to get the armoire inside I was taking pictures with my iPhone, documenting my efforts as I was extremely proud of myself. Little did I know that I would one day be turning those photos into an Instructable.

Step 1: Prepping

When you get something used, especially from CraigsList or off the street, you definitely want to clean it. Even though the outside of the armoire looked amazing, the inside had some cobwebs and dirt that needed to disappear. While I worked on this, Stormy (our Ragdoll) checked it out.

As you can see in the first picture, the armoire came with some holes in the back likely meant for wires etc. We use them for ventillation. There were also two sets of shelves, so the bottom one--the shelf above Stormy's head--we took off, which was easy to do as it was just a couple screws.

Then we measured the outside of the armoire and decided on placement for the cats' entrance. You want the entrance to be big enough for your cats to comfortably walk in and out of. My husband placed painters tape around the areas he was going to cut.

Step 2: Cutting

Using a jigsaw, my husband cut an 8x8 square out of the bottom of the armoire for the cats to walk in and out of. At some point we might add a kitty door. He did the same thing to the divider inside the armoire, using an existing hole.

My husband did this carefully, with googles, and while I wasn't home because he knew how nervous I was about the jigsaw.

Step 3: Set Up

On the far left side of the armoire we put down a rubber mat for catching litter that escapes the box, this helps a lot with clean up. On the right side we have experimented with different mats, fake grass etc. but nothing has really made a big difference.

On top of the shelf is where we keep pretty much all of our pet stuff. Dog food, cat food, important papers, medicines, treats, toys, grooming supplies and all of our hedgehog's stuff as well.

Sushi (the female) kind of hates Stormy (the male) so they eat in separate places and over time Stormy has claimed the top of the armoire and has his food dishes and what we refer to as "his throne" on top. Occasionally we re-arrange his furniture, which he doesn't seem to mind.

The addition of the armoire has definitely helped us with storage and space in our apartment, as well as providing a hiding spot for the litterbox. Even better, none of our visitors have ever realized there was a litterbox in the room until we showed them the cabinet.

Step 4: Our Kids

Picture #1- Sushi and our dog Amaguq (AMi) napping together.

Picture #2- Cas (hedgehog) and Stormy

Picture #3: Sleeping Sushi

Picture #4: Stormy playing with yarn



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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I love the little cat couch on top of the armoire!!! did you make it? if so I want some tips! If not, where can I get one? I love it!!!!!!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice idea! I'd love to see more step by step photos of the process (non-woodworker here, so I'd need all the help I can get). Did you have any trouble acclimating the cats to the new box placement?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    We are non-woodworkers as well. The inside shelf my husband literally just widened the hole that was already there and the outside I believe he drilled a couple holes in first and then cut the square out.

    Had absolutely no problems with the cats getting used to it.


    3 years ago

    Great idea that I think our 20lb dog would love, just as his own little space where his sheepskin could be for him to cuddle up with. I'd love the fact that we could also use it to store all his stuff!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    LOVE IT! I just dragged home a similar piece, when the snow melts I can bring it in. I am trying to make entrance through the cardboard backing and then leaving it a little out from the wall...cats love to squeeze into small places...it just might work.


    3 years ago

    I spy with my little eyes a Castiel! C: also this is amazing

    1 reply