KittyLitter MALM





Introduction: KittyLitter MALM

About: I'm a swiss guy, living in germany. I used to be a teacher, became a theatrical propsmaker, now I'm becoming a teacher again. I love hacking, altering, improving and of course building things!

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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    19 Discussions

    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!

    1 reply

    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.


    1 reply

    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"

    This is truly awesome, this is the kind of thinking that inspires. I can see where I could add a 120 mm Computer Fan and a Carbon Filter and really control the smell problem. Better yet! i live in a Mobile Home, I could put a hole in the floor and exhaust the smell outside and this would make everyone happy, including my Cats. Run the fan at half voltage and you won't hear it. Put a fine screen over the fan (To protect sensitive Tails!) AND YOU HAVE THE ULTIMATE CAT BOX! Now THAT'S cool! Thank you for the inspiration, now I get to build again! For me, that's the BEST PART!

    2 replies

    And if you trigger the fan with a motion-sensor it's the ultimate perfect cat box.. ;-)
    Tell me about your results!

    Yes, that would make it the ultimate house current Cat Box. But I was thinking along the lines of a Photo Voltaic Array (A Solar Cell) powering the Fan. When it is hot the box tends to smell stronger, even if you do change it every day and twice on very hot days. SO! Use a 24 watt, 5 volt, PVA to power the fan and you don't have that problem! Seal the chamber enough to create a slight vacuum in the chamber and you don't have any smell inside your home. Clean the box, move the piece, vacuum the vent and floor, move it back and that is the full sum of cleaning involved. No one will walk-in the front door and say, "OH! You have Cats, don't you!" I have been in homes that have Cats, or even one Cat, and you can tell. I have not replaced my beloved Feline, of 18 years, because it took me over a month to clean-up after him and my Roomy does not want the Box back. I think I can keep her happy now and still have a Cat or three...... maybe four!

    Cool idea, much classier than a litter box sitting out as well as the added bonus of a drawer and flat surface above. One suggestion to all of you cat lovers, I have found that the Arm and Hammer Essentials is awesome. As long as my cat is a good boy and buries his business, it covers up the smell better than any other brand I have tried. Also, with the clay clumping litters they seem to get all gummed up on the bottom and you have to scrape the clumps off. Not so with this, the wet clumps stay suspended where the cat pee'd rather than the liquid filtering all the way through to the bottom. The litter stays fresher this way as well since the liquid isn't filtering through more of it. I find one bag lasts me a really long time with my cat and now there is a multi-cat formula (no clue what the difference is). And no, I don't work for them, just love the product.

    1 reply

    Even better try out the corn meal kitty litter. We had a cat with allergies and the standard kitty litters bothered him and made him sneeze constantly. Funny I know but sad too. Plus kitty sneezes stop being funny after the 10th or so time of cleaning kitty boogers off the wall. Anyway the corn stuff cleared up his allergy problem almost entirely and didn't stink so much. No amonia smell. It is more expensive but it lasts A LOT longer too.

    Nice idea, and a cool hack. Immediate problems would be cats peeing over the side of the box and cleaning kitty litter that gets left having around. You've got me thinking, which is aways a dangerous thing.

    1 reply

    The peeing thing happend only once, but manly because the cat was very seriously ill (we had to releave her shortly after, because she had a very weak heart, due to DCM...) :-(
    Since then I usually put a leftover piece of carpet in the gap between litterbox and door, so most of the litter stays in.
    And by the way: Thinking is GOOD! ;-)