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Cat litter room/door

As I mentioned yesterday, there is another door which is access to a little room built for cat litter. This basically came about because we were trying to figure out where to store the cat litter (right now it’s in the kitchen, which is terrible). The laundry room is an obvious choice, but it’s not really that big, so having cat litter would be a bit inconvenient there. My girlfriend also wants to be able to hang black clothes in there to dry without them getting white cat hair all over them (eg, shut the door).

I basically used the area inside the crawlspace to build a 2′ x 3′ room, and then provided access to it in the lower half of the wall joining the crawlspace. Here’s a couple pictures from earlier in construction to give you a better idea:

imgp3486 imgp3525

It’s hard to see, but it’s actually elevated a bit because there is a row of cinder blocks separating the main basement from the crawlspace, so I just built the floor of the cubby hole to the same height as the top of the blocks. The second cubby hole you see is for a bar fridge (there is a power outlet inside that one, which is not visible in this picture) – the fridge will basically just be flush with the wall. Again, this was just a way to get more out of the space I had – it adds a fridge into what would otherwise just be a plain wall.

imgp4134 I also installed a vent in the top to try and keep it not overly stinky and allow some air circulation (I may put a small fan in the vent, if necessary). There’s another vent in the fridge area to allow heat to escape out the top.

imgp4137 After cutting down the door to fit, I also installed an actual cat door (one of those flapping ones). I basically just took my jigsaw and cut out the trace of the door.

imgp4139 I had trouble finding a pet door actually, I had to go to a pet store and they only had this one and a really fancy one which used RFID tags to only allow in your pet (which is a great idea, if you are installing this on an exterior door). The problem with this is that it looks like it’s designed for either a solid core door, or a 1/4″ thick door. When you put the two pieces on, they do not connect – so with my hollow core doors, there would otherwise be a giant gap between them. I ended up using some 1 1/8″ pine to fill in around the hole, and then painted it to match the door.

imgp4142 The end result looks pretty good (considering what it is). Obviously I’d rather not have this at all, but the weird door with the cat door in it looks better (in my opinion) than a litter box sitting in the open. I’m not going to actually install the pet door yet though – I want to make sure my cat learns she has to go in there to do her business before also having to learn how the flap works. The consequences to the new carpet are just not worth risking it..

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  • I hope to figure something like that out, to get the litterbox out of the guest bedroom and keep the dog out of the litterbox. Mine would go in the dead space under a stair, with access from the bathroom. Ventilation is a significant challenge, right?

  • I’m not sure about the ventilation yet. Since there is both the pet door, and a vent in the top, there will be at least some circulation. If it’s bad, I’ll put a small fan (I’m thinking a 120mm computer case fan) in the vent – I don’t yet have the litter in there, but I should know in a week or two. I’ll make a post if I do end up putting a fan in.

  • A bit later now, but I did end up putting a small fan in. After a couple days the room would smell quite a bit, and the fan basically makes that go away.

    It is in fact just a 120mm computer fan, which I wired into a 12V transformer. I found a piece of 2″ foam in a rectangular shape, and cut out a hole in the middle with the fan on the top. This really minimizes the noise the fan makes: with it sitting directly on the vent (no foam), you can hear it from half the rooms in the house.

    It vents into the crawlspace, which means sometimes the crawlspace has a bit of a smell, but generally by the time that happens it means the litter box needed cleaning like 2 days ago. I’ve found as long as it’s cleaned at least weekly, and there is adequate litter, there is no noticeable smell. Even if you stick your head in the room (necessary while cleaning) it’s not any worse than a litter box sitting in the open smells.