Cats Besta Cabinet/Bench/Hidden Litter Boxes

Published on October 12th, 2013 | by jlprittenhouse


Ikea Hack – Besta Storage Cabinet/Hidden Cat Litter Boxes


Materials: Besta

Description: We have five cats, so we ideally need 6 litter boxes in the house to avoid ‘issues’. 4 boxes in our laundry room in the basement, but we needed 2 in the living room because one of our cats gets excited around feeding time and this causes her to have to ‘go’ ASAP. So here we are Ikea-hacking to accommodate 9lb of adorable cat awesomeness, as well as the rest of ‘the horde’ who are now spoiled with a more convenient litter box location.

We made modifications to Ikea hacks we found here and other sites on the Interwebs. I list prices, brands and places of purchase at the end btw.

We used 1 Besta storage combination with doors so it doubles as a bench for extra seating. The Besta is the perfect bench height – Width: 47 1/4 “, Depth: 15 3/4 “, Height: 18 7/8 “.

The Iris Litter Box with Shield fits PERFECTLY inside the Besta – 18.9 x 15 x 11.7 inches. I even put those small, clear, rubber ‘feet’ stickers (Magic Sliders) on the bottom corners of each litter box so they wouldn’t slide around if a cat jumped in, and the boxes still fit fine.

Stage 1 - making sure the litter box fit. Iris Open Top Litter Box with Shield 2-bestakitty3-bestakitty

Unlike other Ikeahackers, we didn’t use pre-made pet doors to finish the entrance holes. We just cut the holes and finished them with ¼” trim, – WAY cheaper at a $12 for 3 pieces of trim vs. $60+ for two pet doors.


We caulked around ALL the seams of the Besta and the trim as an extra precaution against any possible leakage. Better safe than sorry.

We also coated the inside of the cabinet with Rustoleum NeverWet Liquid Repellant. It’s a new product getting great reviews. It claims to make just about EVERYTHING water repellant. We figured why not try it – if anything needs to repel liquids, it is something that might get cat pee on it. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes with this product.

Note: we found the NeverWet scrapes off the Besta if you pick at it due to the material of the cabinet (we should have foreseen that as avid Ikea-ers). You might want to sand inside the cabinet and see if that helps. Just a suggestion.

We left the center partition in the cabinet for integrity, and kitty privacy.

There is a litter box on each side, and an entrance on each side. The entrance holes line up with the litter box entrances. The holes are 11”W x 6”H.

On casters, the entrances are 11” off the ground, which is about 2” higher than the entrance to the largest, enclosed litter box with a hood we have. The cats didn’t even flinch going in and out of the cabinet.

I can attest that we have cat usage, too! That’s the real test!

We used the following materials and spent a total of $172 without pillows, $223 with:

  • Ikea Besta storage combination with doors ($90) and 4 casters ($19.98)
  • IRIS Litter Pan with Shield ( $12 – we have Prime so free shipping)
  • Rustoleum NeverWet Liquid Repellant ($18 Home Depot)
  • 3 pieces of ¼” x 2’ x 4’ poplar trim ($12 Home Depot)
  • Paint for trim (free)
  • 2 Ikea Stockholm cushions ($25.98)
  • 2 Ikea Malin Fransar pillows ($25.98)

8-bestakitty 9-bestakitty a9-bestakitty b9-bestakitty


Custom size wardrobe
Lack Headboard

The Author


Love my simple, wonderful, happy life that I can honestly say is filled with joy that I cultivate and hold dear. I am married to the love of my life (and boy can that punk-hubby Ikea hack!), and we are happily child-free! We share our lives with 5 rescued cats and a rescued Bichon Frise. Ikea fits our style and our budget. Ikea hacking lets us solve MANY household storage and practical needs we would otherwise not be able to do by ourselves within budget and that matched our style.

41 Responses to Ikea Hack – Besta Storage Cabinet/Hidden Cat Litter Boxes

  1. Ludivine Vallano says:

    Hi there, is there an easy way NOT to cut into the furniture? Is there no way I could leave out a side panel in the building of the furniture to just have one big opening and avoid the cutting? thanks!

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      I don’t think it would be stable if you left the sides off. There are other hacks using Ikea cabinets and leaving off a door. Maybe use a Stuva cabinet?

  2. Darlene says:

    Just thought I’d point out to some who may have scaredy cats, I have started including two doors on any of my litter box enclosures. Some cats, especially in multi-cat homes, don’t like not having an escape hatch. They can feel cornered by the other cats. As they age, the other cats can seem threatening or may be subtly picking on them.

  3. Emily says:

    I built one of these about a week ago and my cat used it a time or two and has since REFUSED to go in the litter box that is contained within the Besta unit. I have changed the litter out and guided him into the cat door so he knows where to go… but this morning he peed on my stove. Any tips for getting my cat to go into the Besta to use the litter box??

  4. jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

    We have a skittish cat who we knew would be afraid of the litter robot. We didn’t want to risk spending the money and then have him not use it.

    Also, the key was this be hidden since it is in plain sight. Most people don’t notice it at all due to the angle (it’s along the back wall of our living room, so it looks like a bench as intended). Thankfully we were able to do this instead of the robot since it was not an option.

    It’s funny, I just saw the comment about the hooded boxes. The boxes we were using were not hooded actually – they just had really high sides. Again – we bought this out of consideration for our cats. One doesn’t quite squat all the way all the time and another is a “big time bury cat” as we say – i.e. she goes nuts with the litter coverage and gets it everywhere as well as pulls the liner over the ‘leavings’ if we don’t have sides clamped. But it was getting to be a nuisance have to maneuver it around the light, so we went with boxes with much lower sides and they are working great.

    All-in-all, this has been a great alternative for our household and our cats. I saw the latest Ikea hack using the (now discontinued) PS Cabinet in red. It looks fantastic. We considered that, too – now I rather we wish we tried that.

  5. Leaking Ink says:


    I would have put that $223.00 towards a litter-robot instead.
    I’ve had my litter robot and the wood box cover for it for several
    years now. Absolutely no odor and super-easy clean-up: just
    Take the bag out of the drawer each day, insert new bag, toss dirty litter.
    I have mine in my home office. I keep my all-in-one printer on the
    top of the wood box cover. Love, love, love it. So worth it.
    To train my cats with it, I kept it turned off for the first week
    (Without wood box cover on it). I would simply turn it on
    when my cats weren’t around to clean it. After a week, they
    were both acclimated to it. Then I turned it on for good for
    a week. After a week of that, I covered it with the wood box cover.
    It’s been that way for several years now. Everyone is totally
    Pleased with our litter-robot. We will never use anything else.
    (and no, I have absolutely no affiliation with litter-robot, except
    that I bought one, and I am totally satisfied with it.)

  6. Laura says:

    I love the idea of this but I have to agree with some of the comments about the space seeming tight and difficult to clean. If I were to attempt to hack this for a cat litter box, I would not use a hooded box on the cat litter pan. Really, there isn’t any need for it. As for cleaning, perhaps putting the litter pan on a shelf that slides out would be better. I have 8 cats and five litter boxes. The boxes are cleaned multiple times a day, and I just can’t see breaking my back to pull that box out every single time. But it’s a good idea if you’re willing to work with it.

  7. peanut says:

    Not sure if it submitted… but what light and litter mat did you use?

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      At first we tried the battery puck lights that stick on, but we went through the batteries too often, even using rechargeable batteries.

      So, after doing some research to make sure it would be safe (i.e. not too hot that a cat would burn itself or it could cause a fire) and that the energy-suck was not insane, we went with these puck lights we found at Lowes –

      They are not hot and cost mere cents on the dollar a year in energy so we can leave them on.

      We needed to use mounting strips to attach them to the top of the cabinet (I used those 5lb capacity, 3M velcro stick-its used for mounting paintings and they work great).

      We needed to drill a hole in the back of each side of the cabinet to run the cord through. We mounted the lights closer to the back of the cabinet – so they were about 3-4″ from the back wall and 3-4″ from the openings the litter box. This was a better position for them because they are a little thicker than the battery puck lights, so if you use the litter box we did, you need to slide it in and then turn it so it maneuvers around the light. It sounds like more trouble than it is. It took a little positioning trial and error before we got the light and cord to work just right without accidentally ripping it off when we put the box in and out, but we did get it and have had no trouble since. It’s been about 4 months now.

      The litter mat is a Boots & Barkley from Target. I think it was $19. They have some of the nicer colors and designs. Another good option – Gaim yoga mats. You can probably get them cheaper at Target, actually. And they have a little stick to them that pulls the litter of the kitty paws :)

      Hope that helps! Let me know if there is anything else – happy to answer questions.

  8. Luci says:

    This is super late since I just found this, but what lights and litter mat did you use?

  9. jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

    Sorry for the late reply on the saw blade. My husband and I have been ship passing in the night with our work schedule’s, so it’s been kind of low on the list of ‘What was I needed to ask you about?”.

    It was a T101BR Bosch blade for a jigsaw.

    Hope that helps.

  10. Sonia says:

    We have been shopping for a piece a furniture to conceal the litter box that is upstairs in our house. We have multiple boxes, the others being in the basement, but need one upstairs for an older cat. Small room so just trying to make it look a little better.
    We have the same question as above regarding the blade for the cut.

    Thinking of using the base cabinet with legs for just 1 litter box. Looking at the dimensions it should work as well.

  11. Michael says:

    Is there a “best” way to cut this type of ikea laminate “stuff.” I see you use a jig saw, but what kind of blade. Do you need to do anything to insure the laminate part doesn’t crack or tear? I’ve been googling to figure this out with no luck.

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      This makes me feel really great since it’s coming from a vet. I will have to recommend it to people who have older cats and start having that kind of issue.

      Our oldest cat had no trouble using it even when she was sick (we just had to put her to sleep a couple of weeks ago after a battle with mammary cancer, sadly). She was 16 and slowing down a great deal toward the end even before she got sick, but had no trouble using this. Of course as she got sicker we had a large box in the bedroom where she stayed most of her day so she didn’t need to make a special trip.

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      Sorry – wrong reply. Let me ask my husband about the blade, Michael. He did the cutting :)

  12. xmvodvm says:

    Great idea, as are many of these cat litter furniture hacks! As a vet I see a good number of geriatric kitties that “stop using the litter box” because of arthritis or other orthopedic injuries- often resolved by large litterboxes that allow the cat to not have to over flex the spine or lowered edges so cats don’t have to jump in- so something to consider when the entrances are cut into furniture.

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      This makes me feel really great since it’s coming from a vet. I will have to recommend it to people who have older cats and start having that kind of issue.

      Our oldest cat had no trouble using it even when she was sick (we just had to put her to sleep a couple of weeks ago after a battle with mammary cancer, sadly). She was 16 and slowing down a great deal toward the end even before she got sick, but had no trouble using this. Of course as she got sicker we had a large box in the bedroom where she stayed most of her day so she didn’t need to make a special trip.


  13. Jennifer says:

    A different idea I had for a use for this would be as a feral cat house. I feed a lot of strays that would come around and during the winter we used styrofoam ice boxes and cut holes in them. The cats used them to sleep in during the night. This would make a great duplex with the dividers in them. A simple hole, warm bed, and cat door on each side and it should do great on a covered porch. 2 cats should be nice and warm and if you live in an area that gets extra cold I’m sure you could glue some styrofoam insulation along the walls. On the floor it would also add extra padding to sleep on, under their blanket.

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      That’s a great idea! Actually, if/when this wears out or we move and can’t use it, maybe we’ll bring it to a colony nearby. Sadly there are many.

  14. Carrie says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction of where to find the trim for the doors? I have been looking at Home Depot and a couple other places and can’t find what I think will work. We have everything we need to pull off this hack but the trim. Thanks for your help!

    • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

      I just double-checked with my husband, and he said it was Lowes and was located in Lumber and that there is a section/stand-up bin for trim. It comes in very long strips (I forget the exact length we bought it in – probably 3′-4′?). Hope that helps. Let me know if not, and I will see if there is more I can find out about it.

  15. Ruma says:

    I applaud you on the time and effort you’ve taken to deal with this cat stuff. Keep litter contained is hard. This probably helps a lot. I think the biggest thing is cleaning the litter boxes frequently and keeping the area clean. We had a friend that has indoor/outdoor cats. She prefers the cats doing their stuff outside because she hates cleaning the litter box. Her litter box was very noticeable because of how bad it got. I don’t like my house smelling like a litter box so I clean them frequently. We used one of the hacker ideas to hide the boxes. The cats don’t seem to mind and it works!

  16. ani says:

    I applaud you for trying to make a pretty litter box enclosure for your kitties! I have read your full description, which states that you already have FOUR other boxes in addition to the two that you made using the Besta from Ikea. By reading your article, I get the impression that you are thoughtful about your cats’ sanitation and healthcare with regards to their litter habitat.

    It is shameful that some people would rain on your parade by making assumptions about how “clean” you keep the litter boxes. Any person, who is willing to have that many litter boxes and also thinking where to place the boxes, clearly has their cats’ health and sanity in mind.

    Again, kudos on your Ikea Hack!!

  17. jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

    Awww! That is such a great, great name for a cat! (Not being biased or anything – I just love a good, long, sophisticated cat name.) They are always right there in your heart like that forever, too, I know.

    We had a Lou Pantaloons, named as such because of his puffy, long hair and legs with long hair that looked like pantaloons – ha! That’s about as classy as the names ever got for our ruffians :)

  18. jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

    Thanks, Denise! So far so good on them actually making use of it, which is the key! I am sure you know what a wasted effort this could have been should the Cat Overlords just have rejected it out-of-hand as an unacceptable commode :)

    Shockingly, and I am probably jinxing myself here, they haven’t been hanging out on top of it. I am glad only because it’s one less thing I have to clean cat hair off of. I am guessing they don’t want to sit on top of their toilet is what it comes down to. LOL! I keep imagining if we have a party and someone is sitting on it as a bench, will the cats go and use it and look at the stupid humans like idiots for sitting on their potty? Ha! We shall see!

    • Chessie says:

      This is totally off on a tangent, but I had a most beloved cat with a first, middle, and last name: Frankie Truman Rittenhouse. I can’t see “Rittenhouse” without thinking of him — he was a dear boy.

      • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

        Awww! That is such a great, great name for a cat! (Not being biased or anything – I just love a good, long, sophisticated cat name.) They are always right there in your heart like that forever, too, I know.

        We had a Lou Pantaloons, named as such because of his puffy, long hair and legs with long hair that looked like pantaloons – ha! That’s about as classy as the names ever got for our ruffians :)

  19. Denise says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! As a lifelong cat-mom, with 3 rescue strays, I’m loving this idea!! Over the years, I’ve had my share of “cat-cidents”, so I appreciate the extras you’ve included here. I don’t think it’ll take any more of a clean-up effort to use this attractive kitty powder room than it normally does…but it sure is nicer to look at! Just out of curiosity, do your cats hang-out on top of the unit?

    Thanks for a great idea!

  20. jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

    As someone who has lived with cats all her life, and most of the time in small spaces, I understand reservations about cat boxes in any closed space :) The key to success is just what Roderick pointed out – clean clean clean! We clean them both out twice a day – and I mean dump them. We use liners that are as environmentally friendly as we can find, and just dump the whole contents of both boxes once in the morning and once in the evening even if there is just a little waste in there. That keeps any smell at bay and keeps the cats coming back. It’s no more or less ventilated than a hooded cat box when it comes down to it. It’s really easy access with the doors – the boxes slide in and out super easy. There is plenty of space for us to open them. We actually added small lights, though, to brighten it up in there for them. That we were concerned about and updated. Thanks for the feedback!! Love this site!

    • Karen says:

      jlprittenhouse, that sounds very cute with the little lights, you know a sitting space like this with a cat bed would work too. I know my cats would love that a cathotel! I have two cats they love openinng cabinets, it’s the number two hiding spot ;)

      • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

        Thank the cat gods the cats can’t read or get on the Interwebs – they haven’t thought about making a game of opening and closing the cabinet doors yet – LOL :) If they do, it will no doubt be at 3am. They do cozy up on it, though :)

  21. Karen says:

    Cute but two words that don’t go together hidden + litterbox. I like the cabinet I really do but to keep that clean and odor free would be a nightmare. You should be able to see and clean your litterboxes and keeping it in a dark enclosed orea EEWWW. For other storage great

    • Roderick says:

      @Karen, I don’t understand why you can’t put the litterbox in a solution like this. What’s the nightmare about? You hate opening two small doors to check the box? My advise would be to clean the litterboxes every day. Keeps the odor away too! And I can assure you that the Besta is dark when you close the doors. Definitely darker in the Besta, than not in the Besta.

      @jlprittenhouse Great solution and a wonderful hack. My suggestion would be to use white trim instead of the grey one you used. I’ll keep this one in mind, we have two cats and several Besta in the house that could be used for this hack. :-)

      • Karen says:

        ok I’ll explain, area around cat litterbox areas can get messy the storagebox has seams urine can seep down in them even with the type of litterbox shown unless you take it apart to clean it – it’s not clean that is number one. number two bacteria loves dark enclosed places, with little airflow. So as a healthcare worker it’s not the cleanest solution for a litterbox. Not much difference between putting a litterbox in a built in cabinet under the sink. So I guess if you have the time to take it apart to clean it, go for it. Like I said it’s great for storage.

        • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

          Good and legit points, Karen. If those issues you brought up aren’t addressed, or you put this in an area that is not well ventilated or moist, I can see how problems can occur.

          I’ll just run through what we’ve done to cover those very issues you brought up in case anyone is considering this and has the same concerns.

          We’ve thought ahead based on years of cat experience, so those issues can be avoided as much as possible. Believe me – cleanliness in our house, and the health of our cats and us is our priority.

          OK, here is what we have done to address the issues you brought up:

          - We sealed EVERY seam in the cabinet with silicon sealant just in case there was a leakage issue (I think we mentioned that above). This should keep leaks contained if they occur, and prevent bacteria building up in them so we shouldn’t have to take the whole thing apart to clean.

          - The litter box has been very effective keeping everything contained – when it says ‘high guard’ sides, it’s not kidding. The sides literally reach to within a 1/4″ of the top of the cabinet (I have to angle it down to slide it back in and not hit the light actually).

          - The litter liners we use hang out of the litter box so I pull them up the sides like you would if you were bagging them (just something I have always done actually), so that catches any drips should they occur.

          - On the ‘better safe than sorry’ side, I put a peepee pad at the bottom of each cabinet, but so far not a drop of leakage. I also put them under the litter pad catchers you can see in the picture (those are the blue ‘rug’ looking things). That is another old habit actually. And it’s easy to get under the cabinet to clean because it’s on casters.

          - When I clean the boxes, I wipe the boxes and inside of the cabinet bottoms with a Clorox wipe whether they need it or not (I’m a bit of a germ freak).

          - The ENTIRE cabinet, inside and out, is covered with NeverWet, which prevents liquid from soaking in. I’ve tested it with water, leaving it on for a couple of hours, and it worked great.

          - As to bacteria thriving in dark places, that would be true of a lot of places but only under certain unclean conditions and/or where moisture was allowed to accumulate – we just don’t let that happen.
          The cabinet is in our living room, which is well ventilated and dry.
          Inside the cabinet is not as dark or enclosed than under any sink in my house, and the cabinet is definitely not prone to moisture like under a sink.

        • Susan1963 says:

          Litterbox cabinets like this are a must when you have a dog that likes to eat cat poop. Having a small vac on hand, spray cleaner, towels, etc. make clean up easy. I’d rather have germs in a litterbox cabinet than on my face when my dog kisses me after she’s downed some cat feces. Ugh!

          • jlprittenhouse jlprittenhouse says:

            OH! Tell me about! Our Bichon considers cat poo his snack of choice – ew! We just need to yell, ‘It’s not a candy machine!’, when we see him heading to a litter box, and he turns around because he knows he got caught on his way to being bad. This is definitely a big help keeping him out of those boxes.

          • michi says:

            I keep the litter boxes in a room that is gates so the dogs can’t get in. I might do an enclosed one and would defiantly seal it. My male cats do spray a little when peeing, but we use non covered high sided / tall extra large rectangle and it never has gotten out of the box. My cats would not like this setup since the box itself is enclosed and they hate those trash bags. But I can prob make something like this work just for an extra box and not one of their main ones. I have two male cats who can be competitive for territory so need a lot of boxes.

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