A Better Cat Litter Sifter




I have tried several different methods of cleaning my cats' litter box. From a three-piece sifting pan(messy), to a Littermaid automatic sifter(more trouble than it's worth), to an old-fashioned sieve-type scoop. The best method I have found is this sifting bucket of my own design. This is my first Instructable.

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Step 1: Materials

For this Instructable, you will need the following materials:

Two nesting buckets I used the plastic containers that the Kitty Litter comes in.
Hardware cloth. This is available at any hardware store. I had some laying around with 1/2" spacing, but I would recommend using a finer mesh.
Two-part epoxy, or another suitable adhesive.

Step 2: Cut the Bottom Off One Bucket

Carefully mark a line around one bucket as a cutting guide using a pencil or felt-tip marker. The cut-line should not be too deep, so the pee clumps don't have too far to fall. I would make it shallower than this if I were to do it again. Cut using a sharp utility knife or your favourite power tool. If using a knife, BE VERY CAREFUL! The plastic is very tough, and the knife could easily slip out. Clean up any rough edges.

Step 3: Cut the Hardware Cloth

Take your bucket top and use it as a template for the hardware cloth. Leave an inch or so on each side. Snip each wire with side cutters or a dremel tool. Cut out each corner to match the corners of the bucket top, and bend these sides up.

Step 4: Assembling Bucket Top and Mesh

Press the mesh into the top part from the top and form it into the sides using a small hammer or mallet. Scuff the area of contact using coarse sandpaper so the adhesive will have something to grab onto. Mix up some epoxy and glue the mesh to the side of the top, and you're done.

Step 5: How to Use

Now all you have to do is place the bucket top into the other bucket and dump the entire contents of the litter box into it. Gently shake it to let the remaining "clean" litter fall off, and dump the nasty bits back into the litter box. Dump this into a litter receptacle, and replace the "clean" litter. It's best to use a premium litter, otherwise you will have to fight a giant cloud of litter dust.

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    24 Discussions


    Question 7 months ago

    Does anyone’s cat’s seem to be bothered by the fact that there is wire in the bottom of the litter box now? I know my cats would seriously hate this idea & would probably go on strike! Or am I just stupid & not understanding how this thing is to be put together? Thanks for any needed help for my 5 cats that kick that stuff everywhere!!!


    3 years ago

    Did the cats come up with this idea? They look very well read.

    I did something similar - get 2 big flexi tubs, drill a ton of holes in the bottom of one. Holes should be as large as possible, but not so large that the wood pellets just fall straight through (around 6mm). Put this bucket inside the other, but not all the way - find a way of raising it off the bottom of the other one by around about 5cm. Wood pellet litter falls through to the lower bucket when it gets wet, and some urine will go straight through. You will still need to scoop out the solids.


    3 years ago

    Yess. This hits all of my requirements for a litter box, PLUS I only have to buy minimal supplies. Now I can have a deep box so they can't pee all the way to the bottom, without having to scoop, and I can still use my litter genie! Thank you! I'm going to make this tonight.


    4 years ago

    Came up with same idea a couple years ago.. It works perfect!! I used smaller mesh chicken wire instead but makes cleaning box a snap.. Thanks for sharing


    5 years ago

    We use wood pellets. Natural, don't produce dust, don't dye cats' paws pink, absorbent , cheap and they have a lively clean pine smell to them. And, they don't clump and glue to the bottom of the box. Win-win!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea, not good to breathe the dust. I use a kitchen utensil called a spider and switched out the short wood handle for a long one. Works A1 on clumping litter. BTW, clumping litter is diatomaceous earth. I get a 44 lb bag for less than price of a large box with a pic of a kitty on it. Our automotive store carries it. It's a little courser but works well. Mechanics use this for oil spills as regular clay litter is too slippery.


    11 years ago on Step 1

    Why don't you buy a Litter Robot? While this looks like a great idea, the LR works like a charm. I swear by mine. They are only available thought the internet - not in stores.

    1 reply
    Cashew772Gunk on Floor

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    well i think both poop factories are cute.... and thanks for the instructable, this will really help me with cleaning the box.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If you use pine- or paper-pellet litter, you'll have a lot less dust, and it's better for your cats; they breathe that dust a lot closer up than you do, you know. Plus the clumping litters contain chemicals that will harm their livers and kidneys over time; remember, cats lick themselves clean, they don't shower and let the dirt run down the sewer like we do.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If you can't find hardware cloth with a smaller hole size, you could put in another piece cut so as to overlap the first piece both horizontally & vertical which would cut the size of the holes size in half! Just my $.02 worth. Brian

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That is a beautifully simple solution. I can use it for a litter box that I've been noodling... I have one of those three-piece sifters (one mesh layer and two pans). The problem is, either the mesh is too large or the brand of litter (Scoop Away) doesn't clump tightly enough. The smallest clumps go right through the mesh. There might be better-clumping brands, but Costco doesn't carry them so we'd have to pay a lot more. But if litter varies by brand, then the sifter has to have large-ish holes in order for one size to fit all. It wouldn't be economically feasible to manufacture sifters with different mesh sizes. My idea: Make a sifter that combines different mesh sizes. Larger holes on one end; smaller holes on the other. The customer uses the end that works best for a particular brand of litter. Your suggestion is even better, because the size of the holes is adjustable!