DIY Sifting Litter Boxes: Kitty Litter Box Area for Ragdoll Cats

Quite often, readers write me with something cool they have done for their cats in their homes. These DIY sifting litter boxes would be cool to share.

DIY Sifting Litter Boxes Kitty Litter Box Area for Ragdoll Cats

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Update: Tools Needed. Some readers have been asking for specifics about the boxes and drill bits. Here is what you will need for the project. Rectangular Storage Boxes that sit 2 inches when stacked. Or these alternatives:

Here are the other items that you’ll need:

After yesterday’s fun DIY Kitty Project from Cinde, How a Reader Built a Cat Power Tower from Scratch, I wanted to share her DIY Kitty Potty Project.  Thank you to Cinde for letting me share both projects with the readership! In May 2017, Cinde sent me this email about their “kitty potty project,” lol…

DIY Pine Pellet Sifting Litter Box

Sifting litter box for pine pellets- I wanted to use 100% pine pellets but was not loving the idea of tediously sorting the pellets from the sawdust with the scooper multiple times a day. However, if done less regularly, the sawdust would build up in the box and get tracked through the house (no thanks!). So, I searched online but found only one sifting-type litter box (explicitly designed for use with pine pellets).

This was sold by the company that makes Feline Pine cat litter. In my opinion, the box dimensions were too small for Ragdoll cats. So, I decided to make my own roomy pine pellet sifting boxes using large rectangular storage tubs and an electric drill.

DIY Sifting Litter Boxes

  1. Storage Boxes – The key was finding tubs with the correct diameter and height, with about a two-inch gap between them when stacked, to allow room for the sifted sawdust in the lower bin.
  2. Electric Drill and ¼ Drill Bit – My husband drilled tons of holes in the bottom of one bin using a 1/4 drill bit. This allowed the sawdust to pass through when shaken but kept the unused pellets on the top where they belonged. There is no odor because the “used” sawdust is trapped in the lower box (pine is a natural deodorizer).
plastic sheet with holes and litter pellets
View of some of the holes we drilled on the entirety of the base of the top box. This is for sifting sawdust.
  1. Sifting – All I have to do is shake the box back and forth after they pee and the pellets have broken down. The sawdust magically disappears (solid waste is scooped out and discarded in a bag).
  2. Pine Pellet Tip – When considering this type of setup… buy 100% pine pellet HORSE bedding from your local feed supply store – it is only $4.95 for a FORTY POUND BAG. It is the same exact thing as the cat pine pellets. It is far more expensive when marketed as cat litter! Also, you use WAY less than with traditional kitty litter. So a 40-pound bag will last a long time!

Now part two of our “potty project.”

Hiding the Sifting Litter Boxes…

I am not a fan of litter boxes in high-traffic areas. I have a formal dining room, which we only use a few times a year for holiday meals, and I thought the large unused corner of the room would be a quiet location for the boxes. However, two things were holding me back from using this location. 1) the area I had in mind is one of the first things you see if you are standing at my front door and my entry hallway – 2) when we use that room for formal holiday meals, I didn’t want anyone to see the boxes. Solution…

Building a Nook

  1. My hubby built me a litter box partition that was architecturally compatible with my dining room. We designed an “L” shaped partition out of the same wood wainscoting and moldings found in the rest of the home.
table and chairs with partitioned wall in the corner of the room
  1. We painted the wainscoting the same color as the surrounding walls and the wood trim the same color as the surrounding wood trim in the room.
  2. We lined the partition inside with sheets of semi-solid plastic for easy cleaning since it was right next to the litter boxes.
cat litter boxes sitting on a mat inside a small partitioned room
Another cats eye view of the entry
  1. We lined the floor and baseboards with reusable machine washable medical absorbent bed liners instead of traditional litter mats. This protects our hardwood floors from accidents, is pleasing to the kitty’s paws, and is easy to wash.
bed liner mat on hard floor with litter scoop sitting on top
Soft, absorbent machine washable bed liner as litter mat & floor/baseboard protector
  1. The partition can be easily removed from the walls when necessary; it is not attached to anything.

No one would ever guess there were litter boxes behind our partition, and it blends beautifully with the surroundings. The best part? No litter box in the bathroom! Sorry this is so long, but I am just so happy with the outcome of our potty system project… I only know a few people who would appreciate this as much as you might.

Here are some pics showing the components of our creations… This first pic is the view of our potty partition area from our front door/entryway… no one would ever guess there were litter boxes behind it!

plastic bins with kitty litter, sitting on a cloth mat in a partitioned corner of the room
Ariel view if “hovering” over it
plastic bins with kitty litter in them sitting on cloth mat in partitioned area with litter scoop
Cats eye view of the entry
cat litter boxes sitting on a mat inside a small partitioned room
Another cats eye view of the entry
plastic sheet with holes and litter pellets
View of some of the holes we drilled. These are on the entirety of the base of the top box for sifting sawdust.
2 plastic bins one with pellet litter and scoop the other with used sawdust litter
Two layers of boxes separated to show the contents
plastic bins with cat litter showing Example of 2" gap between top & bottom box to allow room for sawdust
Example of 2″ gap between top & bottom box to allow room for sawdust
 machine washable bed liner as litter mat & floor/baseboard protector
Soft, absorbent machine washable bed liner as litter mat & floor/baseboard protector
Underside of pad used in DIY litter area with litter scoop
Underside of pad

August 2017 Update

They have not had one potty accident in the 3+ months we have had them – I believe this has something to do with their approval of our litter system. It is a breeze to maintain, non-toxic and tracking is not an issue! A bonus is how easy it is on the budget… no more costly cat litter! I wish I had discovered this method years ago.

November 2017 Update

As the cats have grown bigger, so has their urine output. As a result, now more sawdust forms after they pee. I find it easier to scoop as much of the fluffy loose sawdust into a bag before using the scoop to rake the remaining sawdust into the holes. Finally, I shake the box back & forth a few times, and any remaining sawdust disappears into the holes. The whole process is swift & easy.

table and chairs with the partitioned wall in the corner of the room
small partitioned wall in dining room with table, chairs and hutch

Happy to report that we are STILL potty accident-free since bringing them home nearly 7 months ago – that’s right, not ONE single accident! Also, my house STILL doesn’t smell like a litter box. I love this system! That’s about it. I have never taken any photos of them doing their business in the litter box – even cats need their privacy! 😂

Some readers have reported that they can also use pine pellets and a Breeze litter box for the same effect. Have you tried to make a DIY sifting litter box? Do you have any suggestions to share? I’m sure others could benefit from your work, so drop them in the comments below.


Homemade Cat Litter Box Wooden Enclosure

Another of my readers sent in this clever idea they had to give their cat some privacy and help hide their cat’s litter box from high-traffic areas. Thanks to Linda for sharing. Her first idea was their homemade cat litter box wooden enclosure, a piece of cat litter box furniture.

It’s quite a simple trick – she bought an old end table from a thrift shop and removed the doors before turning it around. The litter tray sits inside, out of view of anyone in Linda’s sunroom – in her own words, “no one even notices.” Her cat can then walk around to the hidden open side, clamber in and do his business in peace. This DIY litter box area is ideal.

Corner Litter Box Enclosure

In addition, Linda has given her cat Adam his own bathroom by adding a corner litter box to the back side of the doorway for her storage room. To make it even easier for Adam to get in and out, she’s had a hole cut and framed leading into the storage room. It’s not a full kitty door – the wall would be too thick – but a constantly open hole that is nicely framed. Now one of her least used rooms has become a quiet bathroom where Adam can enjoy privacy without a lot of foot traffic through the house. The door can stay closed, while Adam has full access to the room, including a welcome mat.

Do you have a kitty DIY project you’d like to share on the site to help other cat owners? For example, have you made cat furniture to create a hidden litter box?

Do you have a kitty DIY project you’d like to share on the site to help other cat owners? We’d love to feature it! Please contact us.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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28 Comments

  1. Suggestion on what to use for containers/tubs. Google polypropylene perforated bus tub / drain box. There are several online restaurant supply websites to choose from. The good news is these tubs are pretty ridged, are already perforated and are designed to be stacked on top of a corresponding bus tub. You’ll want to choose a style with a flat bottom without the ridges. Depending on the brand, you may have to drill or solder a few extra holes but most if not all the work is already done for you. I included a website link for one of the supply sites. Happy shopping!

  2. This is fantastic!
    I am allergic to pine.
    Do you think there is an alternative?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Yes, Tractor Supply has Cedar pellets.

  3. Texas Nana says:

    Awesome Litter boxes. I foster kittens for local shelter and they also use pine or paper pellets as litter. The foster babies are so small we use metal steamer pans as litter box and dog potty traing pads in front of litter box. I am using a old cheweys box as partion at this time. Works well for kittens that we only have 5-8 weeks. I will try this with smaller plastic pans and dig out the drill.

    1. Jennifer Dean says:

      thank you for sharing. how did you get involved with foster kittens? i have been wondering if i could do that.

      1. Dawn M Boysen says:

        I have foster kittens also. Contact your local rescue. I filled out an application and I was approved. This year had a big kitten season also. I caught five in a junkyard and the rescue vetted them and now I am fostering them until they are neutered/spayed and then they will go into the adoption center.

        1. May I ask you when that is in your area?

  4. I know you said you don’t remember nor were they any visible markings on the container when you bought it, but would it be possible to measure the length, width, and height of one container so we can narrow the search down?

  5. Hi! I know this is an old post but I just started with pellet litter and made this double box system yesterday. Thanks!!
    My question is – what is a useful or green way to get rid of the sawdust. I don’t want to seal it in a garbage bag and toss if it can be used outside somehow.

    1. I line mine with super XL sized puppy pads. Then after about a week- roll sawdust up inside the pad and discard and then replace with a new pad. I am not using storage bins though, I use an Arm and Hammer sifting pan inside a larger litter pan. Saw the idea on You Tube.

      1. your regular pupper liners are totally not green, its more than paper, its plastic, and just adds more un-needed trash.

        1. Lynn Stimson says:

          Hi There. We are able to discard the sawdust in our yard debris bin.

    2. I put it in mulch for the plants in my decorative garden! You could also compost it, but I would NOT use this type of compost for any fruit or vegetable gardens; ONLY for decorative plant gardens. 🙂

  6. Hey! I love this! i have been using the pine litter and rubermaid container for years and they are such a life saver. (I bult a wire cage in the garage to put them in with a dog door into the house) However the thing i struggle with is how to separate the bins with the 2in gap and what size holes to drill in the bottom. Can you elaborate on the boxes?

    1. Hi Mallory, The bins I bought are stackable – they naturally create the 2 inch gap in between themselves when stacked. The drill bit size we used was 1/4 inch. The holes are drilled an inch apart. Hope this helps! 🙂

  7. What were the brand of the bins? Walmart’s bins only have like 1/2 or inch gaps when the totes are put together….

    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m sorry, but there is no brand name printed on the bins so I don’t know what brand they are. It’s been 3 years since I purchased them, but I do remember having to go to several stores until I found bins that were ideal. Best of luck in your search – it’s worth it in the end.

  8. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to have a pine litter sitting system for the Ragdoll large size. I’m currently using the Purina’s breeze system with pine pellets but need a bigger one for when she grows up. What brand of container did you (she) use? That would be so helpful!! Thank you again for sharing!

    1. Cinde Shields says:

      Hi Vicky, I buy 40 pound bags of 100% pine pellets from my local farm supply store for only $5 a bag (the pellets are marketed as horse bedding). Best deal EVER!

      1. Wow Cinde I’m jealous! We don’t have one here. Where did you get your clear plastic containers? Is that Steralite?

    2. Cinde Shields says:

      Hi Vicky,
      I’m sorry there is no brand name visible on the boxes. It’s been a few years since I purchased them so I don’t recall the brand. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect size!

      1. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing this!!

      2. I have several older babies (cats) but looking to transition them to this type of litter, do you think it would be difficult for them to get used to the pine pellets?

  9. Thank you for sharing. Cinde’s Cat Power Tower from Scratch is awesome. Loved the idea of partition, which I may consider doing.
    I myself use what I think are considered cement mixing trays (they are rectangular and quite large and just the right height for the cats to step into), which I purchased at a Home Depot some time ago. Makes a perfect litter pan for Ragdolls; plenty of room for the cats to move around. I switched from wheat litter to granulated corn; lasts much longer and the clumping varieties clump better.

    1. Yes, other readers also use those cement mixing trays from Home Depot! They are a great size =)

  10. Hawkeyes mom says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing! Looks like a great system!

  11. WOW! WOW! WOW! Another great DIY project post from Cinde & her hubby!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us, Jenny (and Cinde!)!!! 🙂 <3

    What a brilliant design and set-up!!! Whoa! Cinde and her hubby really did another great job!!! Tessa & Mitzi are VERY LUCKY kitties to have such creative and talented parents!!!! I really think this litterbox system is very cool!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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