DIY Cat Box Cabinet (IKEA Hack)





Introduction: DIY Cat Box Cabinet (IKEA Hack)

About: A husband & wife team. Amateur makers. Expert high fivers. New video every week (or so).

This project was all about hiding poop. Cat poop. And litter and stuff. The scourge of the clean freak cat owner.

Being in an apartment when we built this meant we had no good place to hide Mochi’s litter box. Our laundry room/pantry only had a couple square feet of floor space, and shoving it into the corner of our only bathroom where guests would see it was not ideal either. Especially because Mochi, bless her little crazy heart, spazzes out after each time she goes potty and bursts out her litter box in a mad dash trailing a flurry of litter-bits behind her like pebbly cat star dust. This meant litter was EVERYWHERE. All. The. Time.

Step 1: Choose Your Base Cabinet and Door

We chose a two-compartment Besta unit at IKEA as our base since it’s our cabinet of choice (we used it for our media center and wanted everything to be cohesive). We discarded the extra shelves that came with it and bought a full-height cabinet door for the left side, and a drawer and shorter cabinet door for the right side.

We also ordered this kitty door to add to one side so our cat (Mochi) could get in and out.

Step 2: Install Door

Before putting the unit together, we grabbed the side piece we wanted to put the door into and traced an outline to give us a where-to-cut guide.

Then we took it out onto our balcony (in the middle of the night... sorry for the bad lighting, lol) and cut out the shape with our jigsaw. We used a drill to get a starting hole and went from there.

Next we spray painted the door black so that it blended in better with the Besta.

Please forgive us, at the time we didn’t know we’d be sharing this tutorial online so we didn’t take pictures of the next steps. After the door dried, we popped it into the hole we cut like the instructions say to do. We took off the magnet that makes the door snap shut because Momo couldnt figure out that she had to push a little harder to get through and she kept accidentally “locking” herself inside the box. Oh Momo.

Step 3: Add Pathway for Cat Inside

The next step, which we also did not take a picture of at the time, is to use the jigsaw to cut a doorway through the middle panel of the Besta.

See the part marked “doorway”? I outlined it in white so you could see it better, but basically before assembling the Besta we traced a Mochi-sized opening in the middle panel to connect the two compartments of the cabinet and cut it with our jigsaw. The edges were raw, so we were super classy and finished them off with duct tape (see that gray inside part of the “door frame”?).

Once our doorway and kitty door were made, we assembled the Besta and added some weather stripping along the bottom of the inside of the cabinets to keep litter from coming out the cabinet doors.

Step 4: Accessorize and Enjoy!

After that, we just popped in her litter box on the left, a litter mat on the right, and filled the drawer with all her stuff (minus her toys, which she hides in secret places around the house).

Close the cabinets and drawer and you have an inconspicuous cat box cabinet/good place to set your keys.

This cabinet is AWESOME. No ugly litter boxes. MUCH less litter out on your floors (there’s still a little but not bucketfulls like before). No stinky-ness. Good place to store cat stuff. Win win win win! Plus it was easy- just make sure you find a box that fits, that was the only challenge! The best part is Mochi likes it, and a happy cat means happy hoomans! She's been using this for 4 years now!


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    24 Discussions

    What litter box did you use for this?

    Nice work. I did something like this a few years back. I installed a bathroom fan and then ducted it out to an exterior wall with a dryer vent. You could also use a window partition vent like the ones for an A/C unit. Although, I would probably make a semi-permanent metal partition that could not be easily broken into.

    This looks very cool; our kittens are growing up and we may need this soon. Can I ask which cat box you eventually went with? I can see how normal-sized may be too wide for the Ikea cabinet, so wondering which brand makes one that fits.

    This is a Wonderful idea! Your plans are great! I can't wait to make this for my own cats! I give you five stars!!! I was wondering if Mochi minds the smell of the box being closed in? Awesome job!

    9 replies

    Thanks so much Annie! We clean it pretty frequently and sometimes we'll put baking soda in there as a natural deodorizer and she doesn't seem to mind (we actually built this in 2013 so she's been using it for 4 years now!)

    I have 2 cats in an rv and cant even smell their litterbox at all! The secret? Pet smarts Grreat Choice maximum strength scoopable litter. You can buy a 42lb box on their website for 10 bucks or less which seems more than reasonable to me considering i sometimes forget all about having it because it doesnt smell at all! And my rv is only 24 ft!

    What was the weatherproofing tape for again? Because it only looks like a tiny strip of Velcro right at the front of each side...

    Also, the right side's litter mat shouldn't be necessary if there's an entire half of the IKEA shelf dedicated to pooping. XD

    Otherwise, looks great! I like how you usefd baking soda to mask the odors. You can put baking soda in a can, too (with a ventilated cap of course :P), and that helps absorb the odors just as well as baking soda on the floor; plus, it helps keep the cat from lapping it up.

    We used the weatherproofing tape to keep any litter that she kicked out of her box in the cabinet when we opened the door to clean it. Honestly a tiny strip of velcro would probably work too! Anything to create a little lip along the inside of the cabinet door. The right side litter mat is definitely optional - we found that it helped grab the litter off her paws before she hops out of the cabinet, but you might find that you don't need it. That's a good tip about putting baking soda in a can, thanks!


    1 year ago

    If you give your cat(s) purified water, the stench from urine is radically reduced in a couple days. This secret tip was a life-saver in our apartment. hahaha Thanks for the cabinet design. Good luck to you two, and Mochi.

    1 reply

    With the doors closed it must me awful dark for your cat to use the box. Am I missing something or does some light come in from some place not spoken about in this instructable.


    1 reply

    A little bit of light comes in through the tracks, and eventually we ended up removing the swinging door part of the kitty door. Also, cats only need about 1/6 the light we need to see. It hasn't seemed to bother her over the past 4 years, but all kitties are different!

    Cool idea! I caution that if you have multiple cats that only semi get along, with only one entrance/exit, that thing is a cat thunder dome :)

    2 replies

    hahahaha yeah!
    i can imagine the amount of poop and pee flying all over

    Haha yes that is a good word of advice! I've heard giving each cat their own litter box helps if they don't get along. Maybe they can each get a special cabinet! :)