Covered cat litter boxes are ridiculously expensive, however they certainly do help contain cat odors. Since we are a multi-cat family I found the best way to cut the cost and still reap the benefit was to use plastic storage containers.
You can purchase a nice size storage container for around $5. The storage containers now come in a variety of designer colors so designing your own cat condo by stacking them expands the possibilities.
Using a box blade knife, carefully cut out a hole on one side of the container large enough to accommodate your cat. You will want to leave several inches at the bottom to provide a lip to contain the cat litter inside the box.
Fill your new cat litter box with litter and if you choose, you can even attach air fresheners to the bottom of the lid before popping it on the container. For additional convenience you may apply adhesive hooks to the back to store the litter scoop and disposable bags.
When it is time to clean the litter box just remove the lid and scoop the waste as usual.
As I mentioned before you can expand your cat litter box into a condo by stacking a second box filled with a comfy pillow for kitty to use as a "hiding" cubby.
By Lyricfaerie from Norman, OK
This idea has simplified & neatened daily life so much for my cats & me! I have 6 indoor-only cats, & had had 8 litter pans -- 4 regular type & 2 domed. Using Sterlite 18-gal containers ($4.50/ea at Wal-Mart), we now use 1 dome & 2 of these Sterlites in 1 area, & 2 Sterlites in their 2nd litter area. The 1st one took about 2 hrs to make; all the rest, about 45 mins each.
It's neater, since the cats can shove litter out in only 1 direction, you can make the litter deep enough so that scoopable litter truly does its job, & the cats have some privacy. They seem to like this system.
I'll try to post pics when I'm done my chores for the day (daily litter patrol takes me about 15 mins 1st thing in the morning, so it's done for today already). Nica
I'm not wild about the idea of using storage bins as permanent litter boxes. However, they do work great as temporary ones for trips. When I had a cat and would go on a trip (I never travel without my pets) I had one particular bin that I took with me to use as a litter box. I kept the lid so that while on the road I could close it up. And I also used the same bin for every trip, since I just can't bring myself to use it for anything else once it's been used as a litter box. Not even after sterilizing it. All in my head I know, but still.
Yes, I find that using these plastic "Totes" (as I call them) for litter boxes work wonderfully!
Storage container Litterbox Tips and Tricks:
For kittens as a starter litterbox I use a plastic dishpan from the dollar store, then as they grow & start "splashing" litter everywhere I place the plastic dishpan into the inside of a small plastic tote container without the lid. But before I put the dishpan inside the tote I cut a large door in the end with my jigsaw leaving an inch of plastic at the very top for added durability & leave about 4 inches of plastic on the bottom of the "door" opening to help keep the litter in. After a week or so when the kitten is used to this new set-up, I remove the dishpan from the inside then only use the plastic-container for the litterbox. I like to keep my litter containers as small as possible because I find I need much less litter this way.
For smaller cats you can use $4.50 sized tote (from Walmart) but for larger cats you will have to go up to a larger size. Be sure to cut a hole in the box so the cats can get inside easily. These plastic containers can also be used to place your regular litterbox in if your cat that likes to "splash" litter everywhere. If your cat starts rubbing against the side of the box & getting dirty, you will need to either buy a larger tote or cut the side of the container down so it's a little shorter.
For households with many cats, I've read on ThriftyFun that people will buy a huge plastic container that is big enough for their cats stand up with the lid on & attach a charcoal filter to the lid.
If you make a mistake & cut the hole in the container too low & the litter gets kicked out, you can simply cover the very bottom of the entrance hole with several strips of duct tape. Put the tape across the inside & outside of the hole, then place another strip of tape across the top of both pieces. This is what I did to avoid buying another box after I accidentally cut the entrance hole too low.
Biodegradable Food Based Litter:
Also, I have found that spending a little-bit extra on litter & buying the biodegradable "Scoopable, hard clumping" brands like "Worlds Best" (corn litter) or "S'Wheat" (wheat litter) that I actually spend less money on litter in the long run. Also, both of the above litters are top-notch at stopping odor. I live in a small mobile home so my litterbox is in my bedroom & I have absolutely no problem with odor whatsoever (of course I remove the solid waist immediately).
* I compost the biodegradable food-based (corn & wheat) litters in my back yard. Of course their compost cannot be used to grow vegetables in, but are wonderful for flower gardens after composting for a year or so.
Yucky New Litter:
The new-to-the-market Arm & Hammer brand cat litter that's advertised as "natural & biodegradable" & made from corn husks has got to be the strongest-scented litter on the market! It smells like stale floral perfume & many cats won't even use it because it's odor is so extremely strong! I thought the nasty floral perfume smell would dissipate after several days, but found that each time my cat would pee, the strong floral smell would come right back & I could not even sleep due to the extreme concentration of floral perfume coming from the litterbox.
Finally, I had to get up at 3:AM & change all of the (new) litter to a different brand so I could get some sleep. Of course I could not return the litter that I had just paid $8 for 2 days previously because the litter was now "used". Unless you & your cat like an ultra-strong nasty floral smell, don't buy the new Arm & Hammer corn-husk "biodegradable" litter. You would think with a name like "Arm & Hammer" you would end up with no scent, just baking soda to neutralize the odors, but not so!
There are many other natural & biodegradable ultra-clumping litters on the market for the same price, like "Worlds Best" & "S'Wheat" so spend your money on these instead of the nasty-smelling Arm & Hammer corn-husk litter!
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
Our cat Angel tends to miss the mark when using the litter box and will get the floor wet around the box. We've tried litter boxes with covers but she still managed to back up against the entry and urinate out of the box. I finally came up with a new idea that is working very well. We take a medium height plastic storage box and line it with 2 large garbage bags that we duct tape to the box. We have 3 cats and all three seem to be very comfortable with it. The trick is not to get it too high that they have trouble getting in and out.
By Kim from New Prague, MN
By Robyn Fed
By TC in MO