“Repurposing An Old Shoebox Into A Cat Litter Box”

“Repurposing An Old Shoebox Into A Cat Litter Box”

As a cat owner, providing a litter box for your feline companion is essential. However, litter boxes can be expensive, bulky, and take up valuable floor space. An innovative solution is to repurpose a simple shoebox into a functional and compact cat litter box. With a few easy modifications, that old shoebox can be given new life as a litter box that saves you money and fits neatly into tight spaces.

Benefits of Using A Shoebox As A Cat Litter Box

Recycling an old shoebox as a makeshift litter box offers several advantages:

  • Cost Effective: Shoeboxes are free items that would otherwise be discarded. Reusing one avoids the expense of buying a standard litter box.

  • Space Saving: Shoeboxes have a small footprint that can fit in corners, closets, under furniture. Great for apartments or multi-cat households.

  • Portable: The lightweight box is easy to pick up and move as needed. Perfect for travel or quickly cleaning areas.

  • Disposable: Old boxes can be replaced or recycled frequently for hygiene. Less cleaning than permanent litter boxes.

  • Customizable: Shoeboxes can be decorated or modified for personalization. Helpful for multi-cat homes.

For frugal cat owners with limited space, repurposing an old shoebox is a quick DIY solution for your cat’s bathroom needs. Let’s look at how to properly set up and use a shoebox as litter box for your cat.

Selecting and Preparing a Suitable Shoebox

Choosing an appropriate shoebox and making a few modifications will create a functional litter box for your cat:

  • Size: Select a shoebox at least 15 inches long by 10 inches wide. This gives most cats enough room to fit inside and move around. Measure your cat to ensure the box is large enough.

  • Depth: 2-3 inches deep is ideal. Cats need enough litter depth to cover waste, but low walls for easy entry and exit.

  • Material: Cardboard works best. Plastic keeps odors but makes cleanup easy. Avoid shoeboxes with glossy coatings.

  • Access: Cut out one long side of the box to create an open entrance. Avoid high siding the cat must step over. You can add a lower “lip” at the entrance to keep litter inside.

  • Litter: Add 2-3 inches of standard clumping, clay, pine, or paper cat litter. Pick a litter your cat likes and replace regularly.

  • Location: Place it in an easily accessible but quiet, low-traffic area in your home. Near the cat’s food and water is ideal.

With these simple DIY steps, your old shoebox can become a fitting feline restroom. Monitor your cat’s usage to see if sizing adjustments are needed.

Training Your Cat To Use The Shoebox Litter Box

Introducing your cat to this new, smaller litter box takes some training:

  • Place it near the old box during transition. Slowly move the shoebox to its permanent spot over 2-3 weeks.

  • Put a familiar dirty litter mat inside the new box so it smells familiar.

  • Tempt your cat into the box by sprinkling catnip or treats inside. Praise and reward your cat for using it.

  • Use a litter attractant like natural herbs to encourage potty breaks in the box.

  • If accidents occur, don’t punish your cat. Calmly place them in the litter box after meals to reinforce training.

  • Be patient! Your cat may take some time to adapt to the smaller space. Consistency and rewards are key.

Cats like to keep their litter area clean. With positive reinforcement methods, your cat should come to see their DIY shoebox litter as the place to take care of business.

Maintaining a Healthy Litter Box Environment

To keep your shoebox litter box sanitary for your cat, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Scoop Daily: Scoop solid waste and wet clumps out at least once per day. This keeps odors at bay.

  • Change Litter Weekly: Dump everything, wash the box, and refill with fresh litter weekly or more if heavily used.

  • Sanitize Monthly: Give a thorough monthly cleaning by washing the box with soap and water, then disinfecting with diluted bleach. Rinse well.

  • Use Litter Deodorizer: Sprinkling baking soda or enzymatic cleaners helps control odors between changes.

  • Check Litter Depth: Refill litter as needed to maintain 2-3 inch depth for digging and burying.

  • Replace Box: Toss out worn boxes, especially if leaks develop. Rotate in a new, clean shoebox.

With proper maintenance, a shoebox litter box can stay fresh and control odors in small spaces. Monitor your cat’s usage and cleanliness to adjust litter box maintenance as needed.

Potential Drawbacks To Be Aware Of

Using a repurposed shoebox does have some disadvantages to consider:

  • Small size limits litter area, which some cats may dislike.

  • High walls can make it hard for elderly, arthritic, or overweight cats to enter and exit.

  • Odors may be more concentrated in a smaller space.

  • Liquid leaks can occur more easily from cardboard boxes.

  • Does not contain litter scatter as well as enclosed litter boxes.

  • Difficult to mount sifting equipment that makes cleaning clumps easier.

  • Cardboard scratches more easily and needs frequent replacing.

Test out your cat’s reaction and maintain litter hygiene to minimize these drawbacks. Having multiple boxes or a different style as backup helps when transitioning cats.

Favorite DIY Shoebox Litter Box Hacks

To upgrade your feline’s shoebox bathroom, try these creative ideas:

  • Cut entryway notches for easy in and out access.

  • Hot glue a plastic litter mat or puppy pads into the bottom to contain messes.

  • Flip the shoebox lid upside down to raise the lower entrance and hold litter better.

  • Decorate the box with paint, stickers, or contact paper to make it fun.

  • Add carbon filters inside the box walls to absorb odors.

  • Place the lined box inside a decorative storage bin for style.

  • DIY sifting tray with holes by cutting up the shoebox lid to filtrate clumps.

With a dash of creativity, an old shoebox offers a canvas to craft a functional and unique cat litter box. Test out hacks to make a box your cat loves using.

Considering Other Alternative Litter Box Solutions

If the shoebox method does not work, consider these other affordable, space-saving litter box ideas:

  • Plastic Storage Container: Similar size to a shoebox but more durable and leak-proof.

  • Disposable Litter Boxes: Affordable option to replace regularly for freshness.

  • Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes: Electric boxes filter waste automatically into a tray for easy disposal.

  • Litter Box Furniture: Boxes hidden discreetly inside cabinets, benches, or end tables.

  • Top-Entry Boxes: Cat climbs in through a hole on the top lid, limiting scattering.

  • Litter Box Sifting Trays: Special trays filter out waste clumps while returning clean litter.

Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the right litter box solution for your cat and home. The key is providing an easily accessed, clean area for your cat to comfortably relieve themselves.


Repurposing an old shoebox into a cat litter box is an easy, affordable DIY project for cat owners. With some simple modifications for access, lined with the right litter, the box can serve as a fitting feline bathroom. Place the box in an ideal spot, train your cat properly, and maintain cleanliness to make the shoebox litter box work. Pay attention to your cat’s usage for cues to size and improve the box over time. With a little creativity, you can transform discarded junk into a custom litter box that saves money and space in your home.