As cats get older, developing joint problems isn’t terribly uncommon. Sometimes, these joint problems can seriously affect a cat’s mobility. Your feline may be unable to jump up on things like they once could, and they may even have trouble entering their litter box.
There are some senior cat litter boxes on the market, but these are often nearly impossible to find. You often have to special order them, and they don’t always work as well as you’d imagine.
After all, only you know your cat’s abilities—a third-party company isn’t always going to produce a litter box your cat can use, even if it is marketed towards senior felines.
Luckily, there are some DIY options out there that can become great senior cat litter boxes. Many of these are cheap and incredibly easy to make. With only some basic tools and know-how, you should be able to find a plan below.
The 6 DIY Senior Cat Litter Boxes
1. Storage Tub Litter Box by Cat in the Fridge
|Large Storage Container
|Something to cut through plastic, sandpaper
For only a few dollars, you can easily make a litter box that is perfect for most senior cats. This plan utilizes a storage tub as a litter box, which also works great if your cat tends to pee out of most normal litter boxes. Since the sides are high and there is a lid, smells stay locked in pretty well too.
Firstly, you’ll just need to cut a hole in a box. You can use whatever you have lying around the house to cut through the plastic. Some people used a drill, while others used a jigsaw. There isn’t a specific tool you need. All you need is to make a hole that’s big enough for your feline.
Be sure to make the bottom low enough to allow your feline to get in and out easily. Again, only you know how high your cat can step, so be sure to make it low enough for them.
Next, you’ll want to sand the edges and ensure that your cat isn’t going to get caught on anything. You don’t want them accidentally getting cut on the jagged plastic.
And that’s it! The best part about this plan is that you can make rather large litter boxes as well. These boxes tend to be quite a bit larger than other litter boxes out there.
2. Plant Cat Litter Box by Hometalk
|Large terra cotta pot, pot saucer, moss, fake plant, floral foam, plastic bag
|Marker, wood burner, scissors, sandpaper, hot glue
For those that need a senior cat litter box but want something a little fancier than the options so far, you may want to try this plan. It features directions on how to make a cat litter box out of a terra cotta pot, with added plants and moss to make it look more natural. This option is great for those who want their litter box to look a bit nicer and are willing to put in a bit more time and money to make that happen.
Basically, this plan involves cutting a hole in the side of the pot. Then, you line the inside with a plastic bag and fill that up with litter. You can put floral foam, moss, and fake plants on the top of the pot to make it more decorative.
The possibilities are really endless with this plan. Because you decide where to put the hole, you can easily make it low enough for your senior cat.
The only major downside with this plan is that the pots are usually much smaller than storage containers, which is what other plans utilize in their DIY litter boxes. For this reason, this plan will produce a much smaller option than other plans we’ve listed.
3. Plant Tray Litter Box from Conscious Cat
|Plant growing tray (no holes)
If you’ve been looking for a quick fix to help your senior cat out in the litter box, look no further than this plant tray litter box. It only requires a single material, and nothing has to be put together. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
Plant trays are excellent for senior cats because the sides are super shallow, making getting in and out a breeze. Just be sure you get a plant tray that doesn’t have drainage holes at the bottom, or you’ll have problems! Grab your plant tray, stick it where the litter box goes, then fill it with litter, and you’re good to go.
4. Modified Litter Pan by The More You Bear
|Cat litter pan
|Scissors, knife, sandpaper, sanding block, marker
If you’ve already purchased a cat litter pan for your senior kitty but it’s still having some difficulty, you can simply modify the pan to make things easier. Don’t have a litter pan? Run out and grab one, then! They’re super cheap, and modifying one will only take a few minutes.
Essentially, you’re just going to cut out some more space on one of the ends of the litter pan, so it’s even lower for your cat. Then, sand down where you cut so there are no sharp edges, and you’re done. This senior cat litter box fix is so quick to do!
5. Handicap Accessible Litter box by Cat Toy Lady
|Glue gun, wood burner, sandpaper, sanding block, marker, ruler, pliers
This litter box is perfect not only for senior kitties but those missing limbs or having trouble walking. And it’s incredibly cheap, which is a bonus. It requires a bit of work, but it’s not overly complicated (and some parts could be considered optional). Plus, there’s a video, so it’s easy to follow along as you make this.
Again, you’ll need a plastic tub, and you’ll be cutting that tub up some. Basically, you’ll be making a ramp to simplify getting in and out of the box. The woman that makes this also does some finagling with the lid of the tub to go inside the box, but if you’re using litter, that part probably isn’t needed. It will take time to make, but you’ll have an excellent senior cat or handicap-accessible litter box once finished!
6. Plastic Tub Litter box by Addicted 2 Decorating
|Large plastic tub
|Jigsaw, sanding block, sandpaper
Why, yes, this litter box also involves a plastic tub (because those really are perfect for making litter boxes out of!). This litter box isn’t specifically designed for senior cats, but the opening is fairly low to the ground, so it should be suitable (and you can make it even lower if you’d like). And despite the use of a jigsaw, this litter box is a breeze to complete.
All you’re going to be doing is cutting out an entrance on one side of the tub. Make that entrance as low as you need for the kitty (though still high enough for litter not to spill out). And you’re done! It couldn’t be easier.
Why Do Older Cats Stop Using Their Litter Box?
There are many reasons why older cats may stop using their litter box. Typically, there is some health problem to blame.
Joint problems can make it difficult for the cat to access their litter box. Instead of painfully maneuvering over the tall sides, the cat may just decide to use the bathroom somewhere else. Urinary tract problems can also cause inappropriate urination, usually because the cat cannot get to the bathroom in time.
For this reason, your best bet is to contact your vet if your feline stops using their litter box for one reason or another. There are some serious conditions that can lead to your cat suddenly refusing to use the litter box. Therefore, it is vital that you get your cat checked out as soon as possible.
You don’t want to leave an underlying problem untreated, after all.
How Do I Get My Senior Cat to Use the Litter Box?
Firstly, you should take your older cat to the vet to rule out any underlying problems. Bladder infections and UTIs can cause a feline to inappropriately urinate outside of the litter box. Without proper treatment, these conditions can get serious. Plus, the cat won’t stop inappropriately using the litter box until these problems are fixed.
Beyond that, you should ensure that your feline’s litter box is appropriate for them. Older cats often have problems with their joints, so the entrance should be quite small. If it isn’t, they may have a hard time getting into the litter box to use it.
Changing their litter box is often an effective fix, though you may need to give the cats time to adapt to their new litter box. Some felines are quite picky and may refuse to use the new one for a day or so while they adapt to it (even if the old one was unusable for them, anyway).
If your feline still isn’t using the litter box, you should speak to your vet about mental impairments that may make it hard for your cat to remember to use the litter box. There are some potential treatments for this problem, but it often goes undiagnosed.
Sometimes, you may need to add more litter boxes, especially in larger homes. Older cats often don’t have the physical stamina to hold their bladder as they once could, so a shorter trip to the bathroom is often necessary.
Sometimes, the only way to get exactly what you need is to build it yourself. Luckily, these DIY plans allow you to do just that. With the right know-how, you can easily build your senior cat the exact litterbox they need that allows them to enter and exit pain-free.
Hopefully, one of the plans on our list helps you figure out exactly how to build the litterbox you need. All of them are fairly straightforward and can be accomplished by even novice DIYers.
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