Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Jules Yap


EXPEDIT shelving unit + total kitty litter disguise

Materials: EXPEDIT 2×4 shelving unit, EXPEDIT insert with door, cat flap, drill, jigsaw, box cutter

Description: I share a studio apartment with a furry young gentleman named Peanut. He’s a great roommate, but his litter box clashes with my aesthetic – not to mention the precious square footage that it occupies. So when I bought a new bookshelf for my entryway, I decided to make it double as a litter box hideaway as well.

This is a great hack because you’re only sacrificing one row of shelves – the top three rows can still be used for storage. I left the top four cubes open and stuck KNIPSA baskets in the bottom two. You also don’t have to buy much in addition to the shelving unit itself, since most of the construction will make use of repurposed unused pieces (except of course for the cat flap – I bought mine on Amazon for about $12).

Start by assembling the EXPEDIT unit, skipping the shelf divider on the bottom (so that the bottom shelf isn’t divided into two separate cubes). There may be wooden pegs sticking out where the shelf divider should be; you can just saw or sand those down. Don’t throw out the unused shelf divider, though – you’ll need it later!

Before you assemble the EXPEDIT insert with door, lay the insert flat and use a boxcutter to slice off the right side (the side that would have lined up with the bottom shelf divider, if you hadn’t skipped the bottom shelf divider). Assemble and install the insert on the left side of the bottom shelf.

Now you have a bottom shelf that’s half-closed – the spare shelf divider is going to become the other half. Right now it’s a bit too long to fit neatly next to the door, so cut it down to size using a jigsaw (or a handsaw and some serious elbow grease) to trim about 1″ off the short edge. Next, install the cat flap in the center of this panel according to the instructions on the flap.

Slide the panel into the front of the shelving unit, wedging it tightly in place next to the door insert. You can open the door to place the litter box inside, and your kitty can use the flap to step in and out.

Et voila! No big ugly litter box taking up floor space, and way less litter scattered all over the apartment.

~ Sally, Brooklyn, NY

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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".

27 Responses to EXPEDIT shelving unit + total kitty litter disguise

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m currently working on this now, but with the 2 section wall unit and was hoping I could get more exact sawing dimensions for the divider piece for the placement of the door and to make it fit in front? Any help with this would be great! I’m going for an end bed bench look as my wall space is very limited.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sally – I adore this hack, and my cat says the space is fine! He has less than two cm more above his head in his fancy studied-for-cats-bought-in-a-pet-shop loo, and from what I can observe when I sit outside with the spade ready to scoop out the smelly he is making in there, there is almost a whole hand’s width from his head to the ceiling while he is at it. And, he is no kitten size-wise – quite the contrary.

  3. The Best Kitty Litter says:

    Quite great idea Jules! Anyway, i’ve a question that i heard an advertisement on the radio recently saying you can protect your chrome from moisture over the winter if you combine charcoal and kitty litter in a container and place it under your motorcycle cover – can’t remember how much of each to use, however. Anyone else know any details about this?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love this idea! I have a CleverCat litter box that has an opening on top for the cat to jump in. Sally, are the shelves in expedit adjustable?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, goodness.

    Just commenting to confirm that Expedit shelves really are tall enough, especially for a little cat. The two LARGEST cats in my household (each around 14-15 lbs) are obsessed with my Expedit and love to jump on to the top shelves and knock over all my glass knick-knacks. Neither has any problem getting in or out and both can sit or stand in the shelf comfortably. (I’m actually going to get the new glass-door inserts this weekend just to keep my cats OUT!)

    Really, all that matters is that the cat in question is comfortable using it. As all cat owners know, cats don’t feel the need to accommodate their humans and if they don’t like a litter box, they just won’t use it. If Peanut is using this one, it means he’s comfortable in it. End of story!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great idea… Who gives a flying horseshit about the cat,lucky to be in the house anyway…

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think the litter box size may be what’s throwing people off. It looks tall in the space. I just set my cat on my expedit shelf, she’s standing up completely with no issues. The only problem I can see would be trying to hop in and out of a taller box easily. I dunno how high it’s in the picture, but I’d try to find a low one, not the deep side litter boxes. As long as it works for kitty, I don’t see what the problem is! I’ve had cats that pooped in smaller places regularly.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ditch the baskets above and make it taller for the little guy. It isn’t high enough for him. My commercial cat box is taller than that. What you could do is hull out the shelves above and seal off the inside edges so no rough bits. The using the edges put in shelled out expedit red clear plastic buckets for added light

    • Anonymous says:

      ^ That obviously isn’t necessary as she has already made it clear that her cat has no problems using his box. Cats slink into much smaller spaces often. Sally is fine and so is her cat, she doesn’t need suggestions on something that ALREADY WORKS for her and her furry friend.

  9. Anonymous says:

    it would be a great idea but doesn’t the box smells?i mean is it easy for you to clean it up daily?

    • sally says:

      It actually doesn’t smell at all – it’s easy to slide the litter box out the door and scoop it, so cleaning isn’t any more of a hassle than with a regular litter box. The door is also big enough for me to fit my vacuum cleaner inside, so cleaning up scattered litter isn’t a problem either.

  10. Tymber Dalton says:

    As Sally posted a pic of her cat exiting the set-up, it’s plainly obvious he’s small enough to comfortably use it. Cats can, and will, do their business where and when they want. If it wasn’t adequate, he wouldn’t be using it. I have a much larger cat who, when upset, would go under a dresser FAR shorter in height than this and pee and poop. Adding another litter pan (and isolating her at night from our other cats) solved the problem.

  11. sally says:

    Thanks for your concern (?) everyone – but as the person who lives in this apartment with this cat, I can promise he fits in the litter box. The shelf is 13″ high and he is shorter than that. Since he hasn’t yet sought revenge by shitting all over my stuff, I can only assume that he’s fine and not in fact being tortured by the new setup.

    Now you can all poop easy knowing that my cat is okay! I’ll think of you all while I’m on the toilet later.

  12. Jen says:

    Actually, the poster said, “How can it properly squat?” And the other poster about bending clearly also meant the cat cannot assume a proper posture when using the litter. So it seems like the concern was that the set up doesn’t accommodate the cat very well. It does look a few inches too low and it lacks the space the cat needs to comfortably go in and out. I really like the idea, however I would probably do a few modifications such as: change the direction of the expedit if I have the room, provide more height clearance, and install one long door or 2 small ones. I wouldn’t mind losing a couple more spaces that would otherwise go to decor pieces. Also, a long door or 2 small ones would make removing the litter and cleaning the space easier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jen – please stop making sense. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that. Your helpful suggestion are unwelcome because they’re obviously well thought out and take into account the needs of both the animal *and* the owner. However, if you’re not claiming that humans and cats crap in the same position you’re just wasting our time. Now excuse me while I go take a dump while lying down, just like Peanut here is forced to do. Nurse! Nurse! Bring me my golden bedpan please! Oh forget it, I’ll just clean it up later.

  13. Anonymous says:

    God what a bunch of self-righteous arm-chair brianiacs around here. “I am very sorry for your cat”, how can you people write that stuff? Come on, do you really think you’re that special and wise compared to every other cat owner? Get a hobby or something if you need that kind of boost to your self esteem.

    I think this is a good solution assuming it’s a step-in litter box and the cat is small.

    For those of you also talking about “what if you had to squat?” that is actually the physically proper way to relieve yourself, you should look it up. It’s much better for your health in the long run. Many other countries use squatting toilets.

    • Anonymous says:

      “that is actually the physically proper way to relieve yourself, you should look it up.”

      Yes, you’re right, squatting really is a much healthier way to relieve one’s self – FOR A HUMAN! You are aware of course, Mr. “Brianiac” that cats don’t walk nor sit in the same fashion as human. As a review for you, Brian, cats walk on all fours and sit on their hind legs (sometimes). Humans walk upright on all twos and lack hind legs, and therefor the act of “squatting” is completely different for a two-legged vs a four-legged creature. Also, cats don’t squat when they defecate – hence the digging of a small pit to do their business. Every cat I’ve ever seen “sits” upright in the box, and doesn’t lie prone like Peanut here is likely doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      In case you never seen a defecating cat – because you clearly do not know what position a cat takes – refer to Wikipedia commons photo:

      You can clearly see there is not enough space in this hack for the cat to assume its natural and most comfortable position while using the litter box.

      Sally from Brooklyn, this is not comfortable for your Peanut. Get a higher shelf.

  14. Donna says:

    Sally, as soon as I saw your picture, I knew exactly what I was looking at & I thought ‘that’s a brilliant idea!!’ Don’t let the negative comments get to you; people would rather say something negative than positive. I know how much you love your Peanut to create a litter box that works for him as well as you. He’s your baby & I have 4 of my own (dogs) & you would never treat him poorly. Again, fabulous idea!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, Sally, Donna here is right! Screw Peanut if he’s not comfortable while taking a dump! If it makes you happy, which apparently is also creepily important to Donna here, then who needs to take into the physical and mental health of an animal? Ain’t nobody got time for that! And think about it – it’s not like if Peanut’s unhappy he’ll just start crapping on the floor or the couch or your clothing, right? RIGHT?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Haha, I’m sure you meant well (I mean, looks > cats needs), but this seems very inconsiderate for the cat. How can it properly squat? Unless it’s a super small cat, it’s head is probably hitting the top of the shelf, and it’s probably laying it’s chest in it’s own urine and poop. Kind of amusing, actually(only because I dont have to endure the aftermath).

    Hopefully my cynical assumptions are wrong – but after seeing the above comment, I can tell Im not the only one thinking this way

  16. akd73 says:

    That’s such a bad idea. The cat wouldn’t be happy with having to use this as its far too low. It might get bowel problems. Very thoughtless.

    Imagine if you had to bend while using the toilet.

    I am very sad for your cat.

    I really hope no one else does this.

    • I know this is 3 years old but the stupid... the stupid! says:

      “Imagine if you had to bend while using the toilet”

      You mean like every human being using a toilet? Do you think before you type?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done. Question: Is there enough space from the cat box to the bottom of the shelf above?

    A mat in front of the swinging door would help with the tracking btw, as would putting a mat in the actual Ikea piece if there’s room for him to step on it while entering/exiting the box.

    Beautiful hack though.

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