DIY Top Entry Litter Box

I love hearing about all of your Do-it-Yourself solutions. Cat parents are certainly a creative bunch!

DIY Top Entry Litter Box

Reader Wendy sent me this terrific, detailed description of how she created her DIY top entry litter box, which some cats prefer. Wendy has three cats who all use this litter box solution:

Sweetpea, she is 12 lbs; an average size but on the chubby side;
Moe, who is 13 lbs; he’s a lean, long cat; and
Passo, who is a huge 18 lbs Ragdoll

Here are detailed instructions for how to make your own. Of course, you can always purchase one but, as Wendy points out, you can make your own for 1/2 the price. If you’re on a budget and trying different things, this might be a way to test it out without a big investment.

Things you will need:

  • A storage box, any color or clear, with a thick, strong lid. Try not to use those very thin, lightweight boxes; they might break.
  • A sharp cutter.
  • Sandpaper (to sand & smooth the cut edge)
  • A piece of carpet/Non-Slip Rug Pad/Non-slip shelf liner (optional)
  • Glue gun/plastic adhesive (optional)

Step 1:
Draw a 9″ circle on one side of the lid and keep at least 2″ from the edges.

Step 2:
Carefully cut the circle out and smooth out the raw edge.

Step 3:
Since two of my cats have messy, furry paws, I cut and hot glued a piece of carpet on the lid to keep down on tracking.

Step 4:
Whether you use a liner or not, fill in 2″ of litter, and tuck the hole towards the wall. (as pictured)

Step 5:
Adjustment is quick and easy:

  • Put cat inside of uncovered litter box to familiarize cat with box.
  • Use without the lid until cat has eliminated several times.
  • Begin to use lid.

Note: If you use a bigger box, you can make the circle bigger, as long as you have at least 2″ of space from the edge of the lid.

And, voila! Your homemade, DIY top entry litter box! If you decide to try this, let me know how it works out for you.

Thanks, Wendy!

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Leave a Comment

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan February 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

I made one of these! I thought spending $30 or so on one of those Clevercat boxes was kind of silly when I could get a tote for under $10 and just cut a hole in the lid.


The Learning Vet February 11, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the instructions!


Patricia Beaumont April 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

What a fantastic idea! Thank you so very much, it will hide the poop box, while giving Munchkin and Shi-Shi privacy. Who knew.


Manuel Curiel July 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I was doing some research on top entry letterboxes and ran into this website, how awesome! I ended up going to lowes, bought a super cute green packing create cut a circle on top and super glued the top with a cheap entrance mat. It works awesome!!! My cat liked to pee over the litterbox so the smell was pretty bad and I had to clean the whole area every 2-3 days. Now there is no clean ! The whole mess stays inside and there is more cat litter spread everywhere.

I do recommend buying a crate with an even bottom and sides, pee and some other unwanted material will end up in the corners is you hey a crate with curves on the sides or the bottom.

Thank you so much !!!


Becky Oh August 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Babyproof litterbox problem solved! Our 10 month old kept digging for treasure in the cat box, but there was no other place for us to put it. Found this tutorial… had a bin in my basement already ($5) and my husband cut a hole in the top with a dremel tool. Cats have been using it fine, and the baby stays out of it now. Yay!!


Caroline August 11, 2011 at 6:42 am

Becky! I am so happy you found us and to see your comment. I know of a lot of cat parents who have the “digging for treasure” problem and you’re right…great solution to that!


Melba October 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

So happy I found you on Google. Been doing a lot of research for a top-entry litter box for my two big female cats. The cost was off-putting — found one for $180.00! Can’t wait to make this one and eliminate litter outside the box. Thank you.


Caroline October 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I am so happy you found us! Please come back and tell us how this worked out!


Danyiel December 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

This is a fantastic solution. It contains the odor and the mess much better than a traditional kitty box. This also eliminates my 3 dogs from having a very nasty snack. It also prevents the dogs from tormenting my cats while they are in it, however, it gives my cats a sneakier option to play tag because one cat will go in and the other slips on top of the box to patiently wait for a head to pop through the top hole. I love making these inexpensive boxes. For a little air circulation I drilled small holes on the sides near the taped and hung one of those air vent fresheners on them. Works marvelous. Cats love it and I love it.


Susi December 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

What a great idea!! My Oreo is a kitty surrounded by 5 cacaphragic (poop eaters) dogs. We have to keep her litter boxes on top of things, which as you can imagine is not the most sanitary nor pleasing thing to do. I’ll have to make one of these and see if she’ll use it. It’ll sure make our lives easier and not so gross!


PAM GAMBLE March 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm



Karen April 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What size bin did you use?


Teri June 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hi Wendy-

I heard Marty Becker on the Mark & Brian show this morning, and I only caught a bit of the conversation about litter boxes. I’m interested in the Happy Litter Box, and understand it gets cleaned as often as a ‘regular’ litter box. He also said to only change the litter every six months. I’m positive I must have missed something. Can you please clarify, how is it that litter is only changed every six months? Or, did I miss-hear this?

Thank you!


Vanessa July 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Cost- free! had everything already! I really needed something to keep the baby out of and contain the mess, which this does both. Thanks! Thinking of using some spray paint made for plastics to make it pretty ….


George August 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I was wondering about the possability of the baby falling head first in to the hole? I need to babyproof the litterbox and the woodstove and the staircase and… what a wild ride, babyproofing. It seams that this not as easy as one would think.


Tisha November 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm

What’s the one on the right with the plastic bag? Is it filled with plastic grocery bags? My cat poops in the litter but he doesn’t pee in it :-/ we have two boxes since he likes to pee on plastic bags 🙁 nasty buisness! Took him to the vet and was told its a behavioral problem?


Denise November 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

We’ll be building one this weekend!


Frankie April 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I just made this after finding it on Pinterest. It only took about 10 minutes and I already had everything. Now lets hope the dog doesn’t knock it over and make a huge mess looking for the “treats”. Its the simple things you never think of. Thank you so much.


michelle July 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Great idea! Thanks for posing!


Bonnie November 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Awesome idea making one tomorrow! Was thinking though of putting a lined large litter box inside that way less cleaning of the whole container each time. Just a quick wipe down! Will see how it works!


Phil February 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for this- we’ve been struggling with baby gates, etc, with no luck. Our 65lb pit bull terrier LOVES to eat the cat stuff.
I already have some un-used storage boxes sitting around, I can’t wait to get home and make some new litter boxes!


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