Jonas nap

Published on July 1st, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Cat food, litter and nap Cabinet

Materials: Jonas Secretary

Description: I wanted a cat cabinet to hold both the cat food and cat litter. I wanted the cat litter to be high enough so I wouldn’t have to bend over to clean it. I also wanted the cabinet to serve as a dark hiding space for my cats (they like to get away from the dogs every now and then). After being inspired by many of the Ikea hacks on this site, I took a trip to Ikea and found the Jonas Secretary.

I put the cabinet together using the Ikea directions and then proceeded to hack the product in the following way:

1. I decided the top “computer station” was the perfect place to put the litter, as I could easily slide it out onto the pull down door. I cut a hole on the bottom right hand side using an electric jigsaw. The original hole was not big enough for my fat cat :) so I ended up cutting almost 1/3 of the shelf away. This allows my cats to drop from the top section of the cabinet into the top drawer.

2. I made an identical cut on the bottom left hand side of the top drawer, creating an opening into the middle drawer.

3. I cut an entry hole (about 5×7 inches) level with the second drawer. I nailed a picture frame I found for $3 at Target to the opening. Now the cats are able to climb into the second food drawer, up to the third napping drawer and then into the litter cabinet at the top.

4. Considering how heavy my cats are, I reinforced the two middle drawers by screwing two pieces of plywood (1/2 x 2 x 16 and 13/16 inches each) under each drawer to help support the bottom.

5. I used clear adhesive shelf liner in the litter cabinet area (along with some sealant) to help with cleanup.

6. Originally, I was just going to place the food dishes in the second shelf, but the space ended up being smaller than I thought. My current food dishes are metal with circular lips. I decided to cut circles out of the bottom of the second drawer to hold each dish.

7. I never liked the handles that came with the cabinet, so I just never put them on. I also thought the cabinet was too dark, so I affixed a mirror I bought at Ikea to the front door. This process was a little more intense than I originally thought, since the door is actually hollow. I cut the mirror to size, then GLUED and screwed the holders into place.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the outcome. Now I just hope my cats like it as well!

~ Teresa, Austin, TX

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

23 Responses to Cat food, litter and nap Cabinet

  1. Teresa says:

    The cat cabinet is still in use, three and a half years later. Here are some updates:

    The food has been moved out of the bottom drawer and onto the top of the entire cabinet. This change occurred because my dog finally figured out how to open the bottom drawer. I have a cat tree next to the cabinet, so my cat has no problems accessing her food on top.

    The mirror finally fell off and broke. I should have used wood glue to ensure the screws didn’t become lose over time. I’m currently looking for a picture to place in front that will be lighter than the mirror.

    My cat still uses the litter box on the top shelf.

    I’ve added a basket to the bottom drawer since I moved the food. My cat still enjoys sleeping in the box or hiding in the basket when company is over.

  2. Teresa, I would love to know if your cats have taken to using the litter box in there yet. I’m thinking of doing the same thing, mainly to get rid of tracking problems–I’m hoping the litter will come off their feet on the way out, especially if I put some kind of astro turf like stuff where they walk.

    Any updates?

  3. Anonymous says:

    While I appreciate the hack itself, I too am put off by the proximity of food and water to the litter tray – lots of unpleasant parasites and diseases can be kept in circulation like this.

    It also appears that the cat has to jump up to get into its litter tray, from the drawer below – that seems quite an ask!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Poor cat, sleeping, eating, drinking and pooping in the same place. The idea is genial but I think for the cat isn’t :-)

  5. Teresa says:

    Oh and PS, The cat has taken to using the breeze litter box on the top shelf and has not used any other location as a bathroom. I bought this “CatMouse Electronic Litter Box Odor Eliminator” and it is the best product ever. There is absolutely no odor outside or inside the cabinet. I did remove the cardboard back from the litter box compartment (directions say not to completely enclose the CatMouse), but have the cabinet against a wall so you can’t see that. I think cleaning the box at least every other day is important since there is food three drawers down. And believe it or not, my cats actually prefer to sleep on the shelf just below the litter box (not the 1/6 shelf I referred to earlier that is closer to the food). I’m not sure why this is, but it does make me feel better about having the litter and food in one cabinet.

    Thanks for all the comments :) It’s really fun for me to come back and read them!

  6. Teresa says:

    Great! It’s my cats safety place when they are scared (like when I fostered three puppies over spring break). They love to just lie on the third shelf. I think they also appreciate the “window” as I see them peeking out of there every once in a while.

  7. Sanna says:

    How is this Cat Cabinet working now? =)

  8. Ashley says:

    I love this idea; I had a few concerns, but your updates comment cleared most of them (like the litter tracking into the bed, and the amount of headroom the kittehs had).

    However, my last concern is about the cats climbing up so many levels to get to the litter… I’m wondering if they’ll do it. I wouldn’t be as concerned about the proximity of food and box (my cats have a cabinet for theirs, and I put their food/water on top of the cabinet; they seem fine with it) if it weren’t for the fact that you have to go passed the food to get to the box.

  9. JoseGutz says:

    D00D…Excellent Hack! But Cats are not for me…Bleeeuuch!

  10. Mary and Bob says:

    LOVE IT!!! Hubby and I were actually thinking of something simular last year but other projects got in the way. I’m going to bug him to try and get on it in the next coming weeks. :o )

  11. Anonymous says:

    We love your hack! We went to IKEA and are starting on it right now. We got the birch one and will post pictures when we have it going.

    Your description was awesome, thank you for even including the measurements for the support boards, because we too have a rather heavy cat.

    –MLB and EB

  12. Teresa says:

    Thank you everyone for all the wonderful comments. I’ve updated this hack to take into consideration some of your concerns, as well as trends I noticed in my cats.

    1. I originally left the bottom drawer alone because I wanted it for storage, but the cats didn’t like how “crowded” the eating area was. The bottom drawer is now the food location and I cut the bottom of the second drawer so there is only 1/6 of the floor left and the rest is open.

    2. I moved the napping bed to the middle drawer (onto the 1/6 ledge) so it is farther from the litter box.

    3. I placed some contact paper on the bottom of the third drawer so the cats would have something a bit more tactile to step on.

    4. I am still going slow on the litter cabinet because I want my cats to take to it right away. I currently use the TIDY CATS breeze system (there is ZERO tracking with this litter box) and I love it, but my cats simply tolerate it. I will probably put a regular box in at the beginning, get them acquainted to the cabinet, then switch back to the breeze.

    5. My cats are apparently not as agile as I thought they would be and were having difficultly entering the second level door. I am leaving that as a window – my cats like to look out through it – and have build a second door on the bottom shelf. Since it’s only 5×7, its still too small for my dogs to get through and my cats don’t have to stand on their tip-toes to try and enter.

    I will update this with more information as I begin to use the litter cabinet section. Please keep the comments, questions and concerns coming – I find them very helpful.

  13. DJinny says:

    It’s gorgeous! The only thing is that it seems all the litter crumbs will go in the “nap drawer”, won’t it?? You might wanna turn this drawer into a “rubber rug drawer”, unless there’s something i didn’t get well…
    But the idea is really nice, and the way it’s done is lovely!!!

  14. BALLUX says:

    Very impressive!
    Thanks for your presentation and I appreciate that!
    Keep up your good work. I will come here regularly for news.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Few cats will use the litterbox where they eat. And since they can only eat where the food is, the rest of the house becomes fair game for bathroom.

  16. Inteiror DesignOffice Interior Design says:

    Very impressive!
    Thanks for your presentation and I appreciate that!
    Keep up your good work. I will come here regularly for news.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This would be perfect for those with cats and crawling babies / curious toddlers – nice segregation.

  18. Yvette says:

    Very cute! much more efficient then other “hiding” litter boxes. I’m going thrifting to see if I can find something similar to start. My cat needs her sanctuary from my psychotic chihuahua.

  19. Sharon says:

    hmm… i don’t have dogs, but my cats love digging around in our drawers. Perhaps if we gave them drawers of their own, they’d leave ours alone…? Fat chance, eh? :) Great hack!

  20. HammieYammie says:

    This is an awesome idea! I need to think of something like this cause it would keep my dog from eating all the cat food. :)

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious to hear how the cats feel about having their food and poop so close to each other. Some cats are picky, some are more flex…


  22. Teresa says:

    I haven’t put the litter box in the cabinet full time yet, since I want to acclimate the cats slowly. I’ve started with the food center. The cats willing go in and out of the cabinet for that (go figure :) . Right now I have a pet bed on the top shelf and my fat cat really enjoys that. When I do put in the litter box, I’m thinking of putting a small electronic air freshener in the top. In addition, the back wall is made of thin cardboard so I can easily cut out little “windows” without them being seen from the front or side.

  23. Tracey says:

    I think this is VERY smart, however, I wonder how you’re doing with cat box odor? Is there any ventilation?

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