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Room For Me, Room For You. Making Room for Kitty, Too.

When moving into our new house, I didn't anticipate the troubles of discovering where to put the cat box. I found a solution to make millions, but opted for something more simple.

I moved from a townhome with a basement to a ranch with my son and my cat, Peanut.

We now have: 2 bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, spacious family room, and  bathroom. Just enough room.
 
We moved in and got settled. But big question came: Where do I put the cat box? At our old house, it was in the basement. A perfect spot. Out of the way and easily accessible. 
 
In the new house, we don't have a basement. The bedrooms and kitchen were not an option. The bathroom seemed like the most sensible place.

Even the smallest of cat boxes collided with the door. The cat box was literally (litter-ally??) in the center of the bathroom.
 
My mind began to think creatively. I thought about creating "Custom Cat Boxes". A cat box that lacked width and that could fit between the toilet and the tub.  I invisioned a tackle box (empty inside) that was tall enough. Then cutting a hole in the front for the cat to enter. And wide enough for her to turn around.
 
I thought this was a brilliant plan and contacted Plano Molding Company in Plano, Illinois to discuss my plan. The man answering my email was very polite. He explained that I would have to make the prototype, get it patented, and then talk with them about production. Surely I would make a fortune and retire by age 40.
 
I had an "ah ha!' moment discovered another option that was much more simple.
 
I put my toiletries and cleaning supplies in the linen closet.
 
1.) I decided to take a door off from under the sink.
2.) I lined the bottom of the cabinet with contact paper. Creeping a little up the walls on all sides. This waterproofs the bottom of the cabinet.
3.) I found plastic 1/2 inch edging tape (at Menards for about $3 a roll) and trimmed the bottom seam all around.
4.) I had to slightly tilt the cat box to get around the plumbing pipe, but it fit perfectly.
5.) I filled the cat box 1/4 way with litter
6.) I used a dish towel and double stick velcro tape to make a make-shift curtain.
(see photos)
 
Voila! It worked. Bathroom looks normal. Peanut (our cat) uses the cat box with ease.

It works. It's essentially odorless. Tidy. I can change the curtain to go with the seasons because of the velcro tape.
 
So I have not become a millionaire from my custom cat box creation, but I have found an affordable solution to working with small spaces and a cat box.
Maybe this will help someone else with the small space issue, too. I'll get paid in good karma.

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patricia hish March 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Jen, so wonderful to see all the creativity. I'm an interior decorator and fine arts major who has done this for over 25 yrs. I worked for many years with builders and the restaurant industry. Due to the recent down turn in the economy many of my clients have downsized which has left them looking for creative ways to live within that space. I would like to suggest another solution for people who might only have a pedestal sink or not enough cabinet space. You can use a night stand, small chest or side table. Many night stands or side tables have doors on them. Don't take the front doors off but cut a small opening on the side of the table/cabinet for kitty's entrance. The cat pan can be placed inside with access through those front doors. The cat can do his/her business and a natural deodorizer can be taped to the upper walls for odor control. To help cut down on the litter residue you can place a small remnant of indoor/outdoor carpeting or textured rug inside to catch the litter. Another option is with the fabric skirted tables with glass tops. There's usually enough room underneath to place the litter pan. From the backside grab a small section of the fabric and pin it up with a heavy duty clip. This allows access for kitty and the box is out of sight. With all of these decorate as you normally would, only you will know what's hiding underneath. ( think outside the box shop resale for small cabinets, tables, then paint or decorate to suit your style)
Jane Enviere March 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Glad you could keep it together long enough to read an article that isn't interesting to you and still manage to comment! Clever idea. I'm lucky that we have a laundry room that houses the big Rubbermaid tub the serves as a litter box to our huge cats! They would never fit in a smaller space without making a big mess, but it's smart for people who have limited options and smaller cats!
Jen Slepicka March 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Thank you Patricia. That's a great idea. I am going to start looking for end tables at thrift stores. I appreciate that suggestion very much.
patricia hish March 15, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I thought I might add another helpful hint on the resale. The goodwill store in Mundelien gets brand new furniture delivered to them a couple times a year. Due to privacy issues I can't say who it is and the store won't be able to tell you when it comes in but the donation comes in from one of the best recliner stores. My client and I were able to purchase a sofa, love-seat and recliner for $400.00 all new in it's original wrapping. This store might be a drive but they have a fantastic selection of designer and very well made furniture. Another great store if you need help with the kitchen is the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Elgin. I purchased Brakur solid cherry cabinets (32 of them) for $2800.00. My husband retro fitted 4 of them for the master bath and we used all but 8 of them for our kitchen. ( island, walls and pantry) Check websites to these store often, people will post when deliveries are made. Sometimes the hunt takes awhile but the pay off is money in the pocket and a unique style all your own. Jen, I would love to see some of your future creations, please post and happy hunting!
Jen Slepicka March 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Thank you so much Patricia! Amazing tips!

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