How to Make a Cat Litter Box Out of a Rubbermaid Container

Choosing the right cat litter box for your cat’s needs is not as simple as it may sound to be. I remember when I was just about to take home my cat, who was then a kitten, I had a long list of litter box I wanted to check out first.

You can use the Rubbermaid container rather than getting a larger litter box. Aside from the fact cat litter boxes only go up to a certain size, there are many reasons reusing a storage container is a great and possibly better idea.

No, it isn’t. It is where the odor of my whole house will rely on, once the cat comes in. It is where my cat will do his private business. The only spot in the house where she should. Therefore, I have to be very careful in considering all the factors.

Eventually, I got home with a couple of litter boxes. Things were great until she started growing big.

In not so much as 9 months after, she can no longer fit in the largest box that the pet store had. When she steps in and starts trying to paw the sand over his thing, it makes a whole lot of mess. There wasn’t anything bigger than the size I already have.

The Magic of Repurposing

I can’t stop my feline from growing, nor can I do magic on modifying her litter box. But, there’s one thing I can do – repurpose a Rubbermaid container as a mess-free litter box! Or, it can be Sterilite or any big box.

  • A lot of felines kick litter out of the box when they cover their deposits. If your litter box is too low, be ready for a huge mess to sweep out every time they have to go.
  • A few of the older or arthritic cats can’t always aim their streams down past the top lip of a shallow box.
  • Rubbermaid containers are taller. So, you won’t have to bend all the way down to the floor to lift it up.
  • These storage boxes are nearly impossible to tip over even for a 20-pound cat. Most cat litter boxes are too shallow and can be flipped easily with the weight on the edge. Even more so when it has just a lightweight load of litter.
  • Commercial cat litter boxes are simply too small. They are impossibly tinier than what they should be accommodating.

If you think about it, a lot of pet toys and products are pretty much made to appeal to people rather than the pet. This could be especially true in conventional litter boxes. Most of them are fancy but ridiculous. And, cats simply won’t appreciate them.

What can I use as a cat litter box?

Any Rubbermaid container that allows for a two inch depth of cat litter works great as an alternative to a cat litter box, a cardboard box can be used temporarily for smaller spaces or for kittens.

Where should I put my litter box?

Cat boxes should be placed in a quiet place around your home, like the laundry room or in a second bathroom. It should not be too hard to get to, but private enough that your cat feels secure when using it.

DIY Cat Litter Box Out Of A Storage Container

A visit to a pet shop or a simple google search will let you know that a mess-free litter box, the largest one, will cost around $29 to $40. And, it is not even guaranteed your moggy will like it. Making your own mess-free cat litter box out of a storage box will cost you just about $6. None, if you are repurposing an old box.

In this write-up, we’ll show two different types of DIY Cat Litter Boxes out of storage containers – one that has the entry slot on the side and the other one at the top.

Side-Entry Cat Litter Box

What You’ll Need

  • Flexible and lidded plastic storage box (18 gallons/68 liters or anything deep enough for your cat to stand in without touching the lid)
  • paper
  • sharpies
  • soldering gun
  • file


  1. Cut a piece of paper with the measurements of 7 to 10 inches (18 cm) wide and tape it to the side of the box. This will serve as your template for the markings on the box of where to cut.
  2. With a sharpie, the paper you cut, and a ruler, draw vertical lines around the paper template. Draw the horizontal line 4 inches (10 cm) from the bottom. Save the template so you can re-use it the next time you have to DIY another cat litter box.
  3. Cut through the markings on the box with a hot soldering gun. If possible, use a soldering gun with a flat tip for cutting plastic. But, any soldering gun tip will work just fine. We just want to cut by melting the plastic to assure us that the plastic won’t crack while we cut, which normally happens when sawing.

    Note: If a soldering gun is not available, a saber saw (handheld jigsaw)
    or mini-hacksaw will work too. Make sure to cut it slowly with a fine-
    toothed blade. Rubbermaid boxes are made to be tough.

Try to brace the plastic as you saw through so that it doesn’t shake back and forth as you cut. Cracks may happen especially if sawn, if it does with what you are doing, you may repair it by covering it with a piece of clear package plastic wrapping tape.

  1. Put it on both sides. Based on experience, it will hold up fine to washing and bleaching.Once the whole entry point has been sawn off, you will want to take a file and smooth any sharp edges from the cuts you made. There could probably be about one or two spots that may need a little touching up. Be sure to file them smooth to prevent your cats from getting injured from it.

If you are doing this DIY litter box for a kitten, make a different slot that is a little lower than 10 inches from the bottom. Just the right height so they can walk in easily without throwing too much litter outside the box.

If your cats are slender, you may choose to make the entry narrower than 7 inches. Alter the opening according to your mousers’ sizes.

Top-Entry Cat Litter Box

What You’ll Need

  • 18-gallon bin
  • A plate or something to draw a circle outline with
  • A strong pair of scissors or soldering gun
  • sharpies
  • file or sandpaper


  1. Find a plate or something you can trace a circle with. It should be with the size of an 8 to 10-inch circle, depending on the size of your cat.
  2. Trace the circle on to the lid with a sharpie.
  3. Cut it out carefully with a hot soldering gun. Soldering guns as previously mentioned are ideal in cutting through plastic surfaces to avoid getting cracks and at the same time keep the edges from being left too sharp.

    If there aren’t any available soldering gun, a cutter, a strong pair of scissors will do. Once you start cutting along the lines, it wouldn’t be so hard to follow. In case there are sharp edges or cuts, you may file them smooth.

  4. Once the entry point on the lid is done. You may pour in litter sand and put the lid on.
  5. (Optional)
    You may want to have the DIY cat litter box look presentable or not too messy for your cat. On this part, be ready with a piece of indoor or outdoor carpet. One that you can fit on top of the lid. You may use a doormat or a car floor mat.

You may grab a piece of paper to trace and make a pattern to fit on top of the end product lid. You may use a big piece of drawing paper, a butcher paper, or a wrapping paper. Anything that would be as large as the top lid of the cat litter box. Be sure that it fits inside the raised edges of the lid.

Cut the carpet according to the size of the top lid.

Now that you have the carpet for the top of the lid, use the entry point you made on the lid to trace it to the back of the carpet. This is so you will have a reference of where to cut the entry point on the carpet.

After tracing, you may proceed to cut the carpet. Make sure it fits the top lid and the entry point. You may either glue it down to the top lid or allow it to be loose for easy cleaning.

What is the best DIY Cat Litter Box: Top or Side Entry?

Both entry points are ideal and working for cats. It depends on how big your cat is.

Can they jump high enough to reach the top lid? If not, then the side-entry kind should be your option.

Personally, I prefer the top entry. First, my cats are big enough to climb up the top. Second, the tracks that get in their feet will fall off inside the litter box when they try to climb out of the box. If there are still any residues, then the top lid will sure to catch them.

Unlike the side-entry cat litter boxes where they can step out of the box and leave tracks all over the place.

Talking about tracks, you may want to go with a litter trap to position on the entry points. This is to make sure something catches the litter when the cats’ feet step out of the box.

There are brands like 3M that manufacture mats that are specific for litter trapping. You can simply place it along the cat’s pathway. Once or twice a week, shake the mats outside or over the box to return the litter.

The good thing about them is they can be rinsed with water, too. And, you may want to do habitual rinsing for new mats, especially that at first they may smell like the factory where they came from. While you may not find it offensive, your cat just may.

Rinse them off at least once a week and leave them under the sun or allow the breeze to dry them up. In no time, you will notice there’s practically no smell left.

Final Word

There are several things you can use as cat litter box alternatives. Your choices may range from storage containers, disposable litter boxes, cartons, cat litter mat pads, or even an old cabinet that you can remodel.

In reality, the cat won’t mind if their cat litter boxes are fancy, robotic, or plain old box. As long as they can do their business they are fine. The best way to entice them to use their cat litter box is to strategically position them around the house.

Be sure to have one cat litter box per cat. Some may say that it would be ideal to have two. But, as long as cats are trained to do their business where they are supposed to, they will find that spot and won’t mess up with other parts of your house.

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