The joys of cat 😺 parenthood are numerous. When your little bundle of purrs comes up for snuggles and chirps for pets, it warms the heart and soothes the soul.
Unfortunately, there are always little downsides to taking care of any living creature. With a cat, one of those is having to deal with the litter box!
Let’s be honest, it's pretty unsightly, 🤢 it's probably smelly despite your best efforts, and it needs regular maintenance. All of that is even in the best-case scenarios, assuming your fur baby doesn't miss 💩 or kick litter all over the place when trying to bury the evidence.
Where you choose to put the litter box can vary, and how you deal with it depends on a lot of different factors. Many people like to hide 💺 or enclose the litter box to keep it out of sight and contain the odors until it's cleaning time.
In this post, I've put together a handful of ideas (and some tips) for managing a litter box in an enclosure.
As usual my blog is packed with research-backed 📚 knowledge. For pet parents looking for reliable, unbiased and fact-based cat care guides, I have sprinkled some additional great ones throughout the post.
Where is The Best Place to Put a Cat Litter Box In Your House?
In general, the best places for litter boxes are accessible, convenient, quiet, and private spots around your house. Also, cats do not like to eat near where they potty, so make sure to place the litter box at considerable distance from the dining hall.
An additional consideration concerns the size of your living space. A home with a basement or spare bathroom is easy – you can tuck the litterbox and supplies out of the way.
On the flip side, if you’re in a smaller home or an apartment, you may not have an out of the way space to setup the litter box, so it might be in your only bathroom or even in your living room. Definitely not ideal.
Regardless of home size, if you’re looking for a clever way to hide the litter box(es) in your home, here are some great ideas.
Before we get into ideas on how to put a litter box in an enclosure, let's first talk about whether or not it's a good idea.
After all, if you put a litter box in a container and your cat doesn't want to use it (or starts peeing outside of the litter box), it doesn't matter how well you decorate or hide the box, does it?
So, first of all: will a cat use a litter box in an enclosure?
The answer is, generally, yes, though the keyword here is generally. In fact, there was a whole research study done on exactly this subject a number of years ago.
"In this study, no overall preference was seen for covered versus uncovered litter boxes. When individual cats were assessed, 70% showed absolutely no preference (i.e., used both boxes equally), 15% used the covered litter box more significantly, while 15% used the uncovered more than the covered."
Covering and enclosing a litter box is generally going to come down to your cat's preferences.
Some cats prefer to have a hidden little enclosure to do their business, while others want more open views where they can see any possible threats coming.
After all, using the litter box is a time of vulnerability for an animal like a cat, and safety is paramount in their little minds.
If you have the budget, there are a ton of premade fancy litterbox enclosures on the market. Anywhere from beautiful cabinets and dressers with a discrete entry and a place for suppliers to plants with a litter box hidden in the pot. There’s an option for everyone.
Perhaps dropping a couple hundred bucks on a litter box enclosure isn’t for you, so you’re looking for some DIY options. If so, you’ve landed in the right place.
For the most basic option, you can expect to pay $10 to $15. The more elaborate options will depend on whether you currently own a piece of furniture to convert. A new cabinet can run $50, so check for second-hand options to keep the cost down.
Pro Tip: Before investing in supplies for a fancy enclosure, consider buying an inexpensive covered box first. If your cat doesn’t mind the change, you can move on to one of the ideas below.
Five Ideas to Hide a Litter Box
Most, though not all of these ideas are going to require some skill with tools, so if that’s not you, think of a friend or family member that can help.
Now to the good part, the ideas you’ve been waiting for. Let's dive right in!
1: Use a Top-Loading Wicker Basket
Wicker is a great material and it’s got so many advantages. It looks good, it's lightweight, it's weave still allows air through preventing it from getting stuffy, plus it comes in many different forms and colors to match your decor.
The only tools you’ll need for this option is a wicker basket with a lid, some wire cutters, a bit of hot glue, and some kind of liner, like a ribbon. Here's a demonstration.
You want a top-loading wicker box for the best effect here. When the lid is on the top, it becomes a lot easier to open up to clean the litter box inside.
Then, all you need to do is mark out an entrance for your fur baby. You want a bit of a step and a large enough opening for them to fit through without squeezing. Trim the wicker using your wire cutters.
Then hot glue and some kind of liner to protect the edges of the entrance, so the sharp wicker doesn't hurt your kitty as they go in and out to do their business.
Remember, any sort of pain or unpleasantness will likely make your cat averse to using the box.
Next up is this converted cabinet idea. This concept is similar to the wicker basket, with the main difference being the access location for cleaning.
Our previous example required top loading access, but this cabinet options allows you to access from the front so you can decorate the top as you please.
Remember, we said repurposing here, so the idea is to use a cabinet you already have, and it doesn’t have to be a stand-alone option. The cabinet in your bathroom or laundry room is a great option if there is enough space for the box.
This option is going to require more tools and a little more skill to accomplish as you’ll be cutting through wood or MDF to add access for your kitty.
Be mindful of the height of the hole you cut. You want your kitty to be able to easily go in an out, but having a little lip will help keep stare litter contained.
If you don’t have a cabinet on hand, look for one that has a shelf inside or a drawer up top so you can store cleaning supplies like your litter scoop, bags, and even extra litter. It works wonders!
3: Conceal in an End Table
This third idea is one of the cheapest options and comes from another family blog. They simply took an end table and made "walls" out of hanging fabric.
You don't need much to do this; a staple gun, some tacks, some tape, hot glue, or any adhesive can do it. Depending on the style of the end table you can even get away with using a tension rod or a curtain rod for a setup.
The fabric allows your fur baby to enter from any angle they prefer, and it does a good job of hiding the litter box until you need to clean it. Plus, you can still use the top of the table as a table.
The lack of solid walls does mean this option is more vulnerable to dogs or children getting in, so if this is your reason for hiding the box, it’s probably not your best solution.
The Idea is to take the bottom two or three drawers out, remove obstructions from the middle, and adhere the drawer fronts to a board to make a hinged door.
Cut a hole in the side of the dresser for your cat to use to access it. Sand, paint, and otherwise finish the piece, so it looks good.
Easy right? Yeah, this one is above my skill level and perhaps yours too, but if you have a handy spouse or family member, this is one of those projects you may need to ask for help to accomplish.
You'll need more tools and supplies for this, but if you're in more of a DIY mindset, it can be a fun day's project!
There are also plenty of options to customize, like the way the door hinges, paint color, the placement of the door, hardware, and more.
5: Use a Doggy Door to Provide Access to a Closed Space
Perhaps you have a laundry room with some extra space or even the bottom of a storage closet. Maybe you’ve ruled these out because you prefer to keep the door closed.
Pet doors are typically intended to be used on an exterior door, but there’s no reason you can’t use them on an interior one!
Installing a pet access point with or without a door will allow you to keep the main door closed, hiding the contents on the other side of the door, but still allowing you kitty to go in and out freely.
Now that you've seen a few different ways to hide a litter box in an enclosure, let's talk about ways you can encourage your feline friend to actually use the box.
Remember if you’re moving the litterbox to another room, be sure to formally introduce your kitty to the new location. If the enclosure has a door or drawers, leave it open initially until your kitty gets used to new location.
Have the right number of litter boxes.
This is most important in multiple-cat households since if more than one kitty needs to use the box, they might tousle over it. In some cases, one cat can even dominate the box and claim it as their territory, fighting off the others who try to use it.
The general rule of thumb is to have a number of boxes equal to the number of cats in the home, plus one. Now, obviously, this may be hard to do if you're trying to fit them inside furniture and you have several cats and a small home, but it's still a good rule to follow if you can.
Plus, many cats don't like to use a soiled litter box, so if you have multiple cats using the same box, they're probably going to crowd it out and fill it up pretty quickly. You really need to be on top of your game with cleaning when you have several cats.
Use a fine-grained kind of clumping litter.
Different kinds of litter can make a surprisingly big difference. Some cats don't like unscented litter, and others don't like specific scents or any scent at all.
Different textures can also play a role. Many cats seem to prefer a fine-grained, almost sand-like litter, while others don't mind a coarser clumping litter.
You want to find one that is easy to clean and maintain but doesn't get spread everywhere throughout the house.
Clean the litter boxes daily.
If your cat isn't using one of your boxes, then you don't necessarily need to clean it, though you should probably diagnose why they've chosen not to use it if you can.
Either way, try to make sure to keep your boxes as clean as possible. Not only does this prevent odors in your home, but it also encourages your furry friend to keep using the boxes rather than a pile of laundry or a corner under the bed.
Don’t forget to refresh the entire box and clean out the container. A plastic litter box will begin to smell like urine overtime as it seeps into the cracks in the plastic. You may not smell it, but your kitty can. I like to replace my boxes every year or so.
Make sure the litter box is big enough.
One of the biggest issues with cats missing the litter box is that the box itself is just too small.
They climb in and perch and let loose, but their rear is hanging over the edge, and now you've got a mess on your hands. A larger box (and a larger enclosure) help handle that problem, especially for older and larger cats.
Speaking of litter box size, when you’re considering an enclosure, make sure you get something that will fit your box. If you have a high pee-er, you don’t want to have to change things up to a low sided box just to make it fit the cabinet.
Change the location of the litter box, if necessary.
Sometimes, the out-of-the-way corner you picked to hide the box just isn't where your cat wants to go. You might prefer if you can hide it away in a closet or disused bathroom, but your cat wants it to be more reasonably located. Unfortunately, you may not have a choice if you want to prevent accidents.
Finally, you may need to pay attention to your fur baby's bathroom habits to make sure they aren't ill in some way. Watch for things like:
Spraying outside the litter box.
Taking too long in the litter box to do their business.
Yowling or vocalizing while using the box (which can indicate pain.)
Lethargic behavior beyond the normal cat sleepiness.
Poor appetite, weight loss, increased water intake, or other dietary changes.
More or less frequent litter box trips than usual.
All of these can be signs of something medically wrong with your feline, whether it's a case of kitty constipation, an irritated or obstructed bowel, a bad diet, a UTI, or a more serious disease. If you notice anything of the sort, you may need to call your vet and talk to them about it.
Litter issues are common – they're one of the most common complaints vets get about cats – but if they're part of a broader set of behaviors and problems, there's probably an underlying cause that needs to be identified and treated.
So, there you have it, ways to conceal a litter box and tips to help make sure your cat uses it. Do you have a fancy way you've hidden a litter box around your home? If so, what was it like, and how did you put it together? I'd love to see what you all come up with! I'm sure there's something for everyone out there.
K Marie Alto
K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer (https://www.amazon.com/author/kmariealto), and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 45K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).