So if you know me at all, or have even just read one of my blog posts, you know I’m only one cat away from “crazy cat lady.” That’s so true I even have a bumper sticker, courtesy of my Aunt Karen, to proclaim it. Our kitties are our children and me and Canadian Bacon love them dearly, so when we started planning The Great Basement Renovation, we put some thought into cat-friendly features we could build in. I even have a pinboard related to it. If you browse my pinboard, you will see one thing popping up repeatedly – litterbox storage.
Let’s get this straight from the start. While I love my kitties, I do not love their poop. As far as I’m concerned, the only drawback to being owned by a pride of adorable little bastards is having to clean up their toilet. Don’t even talk to me about throwing them outside to do their business – after I lost a childhood cat to being hit by a car, I became 100% militantly opposed to having outdoor cats (on a very sad note, last week Meemaw’s dear stray Kittypoo was likewise killed by a car – a terrible thing that nonetheless validates my opinion on the matter). Not only does it suck to actually have to clean out a box, my special little bastards seem to constantly have contests to see who can kick out the largest amount of litter… it’s like a game to them. Oh, look, Mom just cleaned our box and filled it – how fast do you think we can throw all this litter back out? I bet we can do it faster than it took her to dump, wash, and reload! Little bastards. I love you too.
While I would love to invest in a Cat Genie – that’s been on my radar for years now, but I’ve never been able to bite the bullet – I worry that my pride’s tendency to kick their litter everywhere might make short work of the “washable granules” in that model. And so I started to look into other types of litterboxes. This eventually led me to the Clevercat, top-entry litter box that costs around $35. Dude, that might work! The top-entry would ensure that Q can’t kick litter out of a door next to her ass, and would satisfy Storm’s deep-seated need to somehow try to bury stuff over his head (seriously… you should see him in the box. He does his business, then starts pawing the sides of the box over his head. This lasts for far longer than it should, and inevitably he throws a bunch of litter outside also.)
Still, though, $35 seemed like a lot of money for a totally manual litterbox. It doesn’t dispose of poop or anything. I don’t even know if my cats will use something that they have to climb down into. And it looks exactly like a cheapass storage bin from Wal-Mart with a hole cut in the middle. Hmm.
You can see where this is going.
When we moved into the basement, I bought a purple $4.50 Rubbermaid storage bin from Wal-Mart. I used a straight edge to mark out a square opening on the top – because let’s face it, the only way I’d draw a nice circle is with a compass, and then I’d have to go a step further and cut it out without messing it up, and a square just seemed waaaaaaay easier. I used my Black & Decker compact jigsaw to cut the opening out, but you could just use a utility knife. I figured I was safer with the jigsaw because clumsy me + having to put a lot of pressure on the utility knife = potential finger amputation. Somehow I’m miraculously a lot safer with power tools, go figure.
For the first week, we left the top off. Our cats immediately recognized the bin as their new litterbox and took to it at once. The following week, we herded all 3 of the adults into the bathroom, put Storm in the box, and put the top on it. He quickly figured out how to exit, and Rain and Q watched as he climbed in and out. That was all it took for the 3 of them to begin using it without a hitch.
A top-entry box is WAY nicer than a normal hooded litterbox. It’s less in-your-face IM A LITTERBOX and it does a much better job at containing litter. My pride used to track their litter all around the room – now there’s only a few stray granules outside the box, and they clearly escaped by clinging to paws. I sweep when I change the box, rather than on a daily basis. It’s a bit bigger than the hooded box and provides more privacy. And let’s face it, there’s nothing quite so cute as a cat butt stuck up in the air as it enters the box. Case in point:
Just keepin it real with this picture, folks. Enjoy my still-uncaulked and desperately-in-need-of-touchup baseboards? That’s the big purple box, complete with dusty paw prints on top. They wipe off easily with a Clorox wipe, but I’m sick and changing the litter itself was pretty much the limit of my endurance today. Oh, and that hideous paper box sitting beside it? That’s the (temporary) top-entry trainer box for our newest babies, Sky and Shadow. You can see Sky’s adorable kitten butt as she demonstrates the proper way to climb into a top-entry box. We’ve had the two of them since they were tiny 5 week olds, and they are still not quite big enough to climb out of the big cat toilet. Currently they use a baking dish hidden within the paper box. I cut a tiny top-entry hole into it, and also put a tiny side-entry on it. They started out by using the side-entry, and now both use the top-entry exclusively. The small size of the opening ensures that the big cats don’t climb in and violate the miniscule toilet with their giant poops. Let’s just say that before I had the bright idea to do this, things got really messy really quickly…
Further down the line I’d like to build something like a storange bench there in the bathroom, and enclose the box into it. That would allow me to disguise the box completely and also have a convenient location to store litter, but for now it’s not a necessity. CB and I talked about how we could put in something like that, and it could also have compartments to work as hampers since this is in the bathroom… but honestly, we were so tired of the renovations that we said screw it, maybe we’ll look into that in the future. Right now this works for us and it was a cheap and fast solution to a conventional litterbox. And I can still hold out hope that one day I’ll have a Cat Genie, and my pride will begin using it immediately and will never kick out the granules and we’ll all live happily ever after.
BUT UNTIL THEN… adorable kitten butts and a cost of $4.50. The end.