First of all, let me just say a resounding you’re welcome to all you fellow cat owners out there. I know how tough it can be to love the adorable little kitty that naps on the couch with you but not always love the rest of the kitty gear that comes with that furry little face. So far, I’ve done my best to upgrade versions of cat essentials with a color-blocked scratching post, junk food kitty toys, a hand-stamped cat collar, and even a mini Palm Springs scratch house to make the feline essentials fit in (rather than stand out) from our home decor. Now, while all these things have really helped integrate our human and cat worlds, there is still one area I haven’t gotten around to making aesthetic improvements in—the litter box. I think I didn’t feel the need for a litter box cover in our last house because we had a separate laundry room where we could keep all those kitty necessities, and it was rather hidden under a shelf in a corner. At this house, however, the laundry is actually in the garage with no kitty access to the house. So we have to do the dreaded “litter-box-in-the-middle-of-the-room” scenario. Ever since we moved last year, doing a DIY cover has been on my to-do list. So here we are!
-sheets of 1/2″ thick plywood (one big enough to fit your 4 sides or several smaller sheets)
-1 1/2″ wide boards for your rooftop (I used 6 boards that were about 30″ long.)
-miter saw (optional but needed if you want a top that opens)
-2 small hinges
–cat shaped opening template
To determine the size that your box cover should be, you’ll need to first measure the length and width of your litter box to make sure it will fit. Take the measurements and use the guide above to find what size your panels should be (don’t forget you need two sides and two front pieces). The above dimensions should give you a pretty snug fit with about 1/4″ of perimeter space between the litter box and the cover, but you can always make the cover bigger if you want (you just don’t want it smaller than your litter box obviously).
Draw out your dimensions for all four sides onto your plywood sheets and use a jigsaw to cut out your sides.
Determine how big you want your cat-shaped opening to be and print out your template the correct size. You’ll probably have to print it on multiple pages and tape together unless you have a large printer. Remember that you want the opening to be big enough for the cat to use, so make sure they have room to get through it comfortably (I made mine about 12″ wide). Trace the opening onto the center of the front panel 2-3″ from the bottom of the panel.
Match up your panels so that the sides are between the front and back panels with sheets of wax paper underneath to catch any extra glue. It’s helpful to have an extra set of hands for this part (thanks, Todd!) when trying to get the pieces squared up. Use wood glue and tape to keep the pieces in place while the glue sets (a few strategically placed boxes would work as well).
If you have access to a miter saw, you’ll take your 1.5″ boards and use the saw to cut four of them at the correct angle so they meet together at the peak of your roofline (on the front and back) with a 1/2″ overhang on the bottom edges. While I’m sure there are more technical ways of figuring out what that angle is before cutting it, I just use scrap pieces of wood and keep cutting angles and adjusting until I find the right one. It’s actually pretty fast that way and my dimensions ended up needing a 25° angle to meet up correctly. Center your 4 boards, and then measure the distance between the front and back boards and cut 8 more boards that will fit in between them.
If you don’t have access to a miter saw, you can use your jigsaw to cut 8-10 of the 1 1/2″ boards that will run from the front of the roof to the back (with about 1/2″ overhang on both sides). Just space them out evenly across the roof and nail into place after painting. You won’t have the option to open the roof this way, but it will look pretty similar and you can just clean the box from the front opening instead.
Space your 8 boards equally over some wax paper between your 4 angled boards and use wood glue to adhere into place. I glued them together over a cutting mat so I could use the lines below to make sure the pieces were squared up correctly.
Paint your cover and your roof pieces your desired color, and then attach the two roof halves with your hinges once the paint is dry. Decide which half of the roof you’ll want to open for cleaning purposes. Then glue or nail the other half of the roof shut for stability when opening the roof. Place your cover over your litter box and admire your hard work!
It looks SOOOOOO much better if you ask me! You can also add as many or as few slats to the roof as you want to expose more or less of the litter inside from the top view, but some cats don’t like to be totally closed in from above (while others don’t mind it), so use your cat mama judgement on that one. Either way, this is a giant visual improvement for us, so I’m thrilled with how it came out, and it got, ahem, used pretty quickly once it was put out. So I think the cats like it too. If you’ve been looking to improve your litter box situation, then this may be just the solution for you! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.