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How To Build An Outdoor Cat Litter Box

Updated on February 11, 2016
 Make sure you rake it out at least weekly and keep a second bag to add more!
Make sure you rake it out at least weekly and keep a second bag to add more!
 An oil tank pump off for us, a class A restroom for feral cats!
An oil tank pump off for us, a class A restroom for feral cats!
 What cat could resist a huge litter box & privacy!
What cat could resist a huge litter box & privacy!
 From defecation & urination comes inspiration!
From defecation & urination comes inspiration!
 Some of the tools needed, you will also need a claw hammer & shovel!
Some of the tools needed, you will also need a claw hammer & shovel!
 $5.99 buys 33lbs of oil Dry the cheapest kitty litter around!
$5.99 buys 33lbs of oil Dry the cheapest kitty litter around!
(Teeger tcb) Add a deodorizer if you use one inside (it signals yes this is a litter box)!
(Teeger tcb) Add a deodorizer if you use one inside (it signals yes this is a litter box)!
 If you decide to go exclusively to an outdoor litter box, get your cat used to an indoor one a week before leaving them indoors, while you leave on a trip!
If you decide to go exclusively to an outdoor litter box, get your cat used to an indoor one a week before leaving them indoors, while you leave on a trip!

Three Reasons A Cat Owner Needs An Outdoor Litter Box!

Have you ever had a Eureka moment that produced not one great idea but twins? That is what happened to me when I was pumping off oil from my fuel truck at work. The top of the oil tank is basically a square cement box and with a cut off valve you can turn to keep the oil from escaping if the tank gets full. Inside the box is covered with a three inch layer of Oil-Dri. My Eureka moment happened when I noticed some kitty leavings in the box. So I checked the oil tank in front of the building and the same thing there. It occurred to me that these feral (wild) cats that roam the premises subsisting on mainly rodents, Have many hundreds of acres to do their business but given a choice they prefer to use a litter box! So it occurred to me I could use this natural urge with my own three cats at home! So two ideas were born, build an outdoor litter box and use Oil-Dri. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that they're three very good reasons to build an outdoor litter box!

The First Reason

The first reason you need an outdoor litter box is that it takes pressure off of your indoor litter box. This is especially important when you have multiple cats. A dominant cat can keep the others from using a box but is hard for them to guard two litter boxes. By having an outdoor litter box you keep some or all of the odor and mess outside! It is healthier for your cat to be outside kicking up silica dust than inside in a confined area.

The Second Reason

The second reason you need an outdoor litter box, is it reinforces the litter box use indoors! Cats that become used to using the outdoors exclusively, without a box, don't know that they need a litter box indoors, and may forget where it is! This becomes very important when an outdoor cat is left indoors, with 3-4 days rations of food & water, while you head out of town! If however, the cat always uses a litter box, then this shouldn't be a problem. Another positive for having an outdoor litter box, is it consolidates the waste to one area of the yard, even though cats will naturally try to scatter their leavings, often times the is ground is too hard! This leaves their waste to be possibly eaten by the family dog ...Yuk!

The Third Reason

The third reason is because you are using Oil-Dri instead of kitty litter, and they are not using the indoor litter box as much, you should be saving money! A 33lb bag at Auto Zone is only $5.99. It can be purchased cheaper at Wal-mart or Sam's club. Oil-Dri is basically non-clumping kitty litter, in fact the company that produces kitty litter under the brands Cat's Pride, and Johnny Cat, also produces Oil-Dri. It can be dustier, so be careful to lay it down instead of pouring it out! Oil-Dri can be mixed with a clumping kitty litter like Scoop Away for your indoor litter box. If however, you chose not to use Oil-drI, you can still save over 40% on kitty litter, by buying the biggest bag ( 30lb+) at Wal-mart.

How To Build The Outdoor Litterbox

Materials

You will need 2-8ft 2x4s

1-24inx48in lattice

1-8ft 2X2

8-3in nails or screws

30-1-1/2 finish nails

Tools

Claw hammer & Sledge hammer

Skill saw or hand saw

Shovel

Tape measurer or yardstick

Directions

Find a spot that is away from your house, but that you know your cat will use. If you see cat leavings that is more concentrated than other areas, this is most likely your cat's favorlte spot! Construct a box by cutting the 8ft. 2x4s in half and then hammer or screw in 2 nails or screws in each corner. Then place the box on the ground and dig the ground under & around the box until only about an inch sticks out all around. Then take the excess dirt and back fill around the outside of the box. Cut the lattice to the length of the front of the box.Next cut the 2x2 s to 36 inches long and nail with 1 1/2 in finish to the sides, and then cut a 2x2 to fit across the top and nail to the lattice with 11/2 in finishing nails. Next use the shovel to bury the legs of the lattice about 6 inches. Then place 30lbs of Oil-Dri in the box and level out, and there you have it the outdoor litter box!


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    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      Very good idea and I hope that if I make this it will kep that catos from using my gardens as a littler box! Thanks for the tip on Oil Dry. I don't think that I have ever heard of it. I will try since I have 6 outdoors strays and 4 indoor cats that all but on goes outside to use the ground. You are correct that he does stink up all the 3 litter boxes in the house and the girls don't like to use them at all.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      I added your link to my hub about feeding and caring for outdoor desexed cats and kittens.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thank you Guinevere, for posting and adding a link! Yes the company Oil-Dri also makes kitty litter for Cats Pride and Johnny cat, while being dustier than kitty litter, because it is outside and exposed to the elements,that shouldn't be a concern. It not only is a lot cheaper than kitty litter, it has less chemicals in it as well. Oil-Dri is what kitty litter was before they made it anti-clumping!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Thanks for the Tip:Nifty@50:)!!

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thank you for your interest Mentalist acer!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      I was thinking all day about this. How do you clean it out...or do you? What happeneds when it rains and gets all wet?

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      About every week or two depending on how many cats are using it, you just rake it out with a rake, and with a shovel place the leavings into a 5 gal plastic bucket that has been lined with a garbage bag and has a plastic lid (can be purchased at home Depot)! When it starts getting a little heavy throw the bag in the garbage.

      After a good rain it does dry out, then just fluff it up with a rake and add a little more if needed! But even when it is wet the cats can continue to use it. Hope this helps Lady Guinevere!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      Cool! I have many cat litter buckets and can and do use them to store all kinds of things. We use one indoors to clean out the litter boxes inside and we do line it with plastic grocery bags. You can see what else I use my litter boxes for here: http://hubpages.com/hub/Dont-Throw-Out-Your-Cat-Li...

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks Lady Guinevere for sharing those bucket tips!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      No problem. I always want to help someone with something.

    • profile image

      MaryRenee 6 years ago

      Nifty: Wow! this is really helpful! Good ideas, thanks for sharing, Nifty! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      You're very inventive! Love this outdoor litterbox idea. Talk about thinking outside of the box.... ;-)

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks MaryRenee! I was very surprised and pleased to see my url on Bing search engine number 6# on the first page out of 726,000! Thanks stephhicks LOL...I don't mind thinking outside the box, as long as the cats tcb inside the box! thanks for your post!

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 6 years ago

      Hello Nifty- please share your Bing search engine secret with me, I shall come back to read your advise.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      I read this piece by Mark Knowles http://hubpages.com/hub/How-I-got-my-hub-to-be-on-... If you follow his advice 1500 words,5 or more pictures,3 you-tube and sign up for bookmarking sights like Reddit, Stumble upon, (Digg is key) you will be on your way!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information from you. Thanks for share with us. Good idea and I believe this hub useful for us. Thumbs up for you.

      Prasetio

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 6 years ago

      Thanks nifty, for the kind support.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thank you prasetio30 for your kind comments! Suny51 hope this information helps you as much as it has me!

    • celinewayne profile image

      celinewayne 6 years ago

      what a great idea!

      i read every direction to make sure i understand how to make this outdoor litter box.

      i have 5 cats here and this article really help me =)

      thank you for sharing,

      have a great weekend with your family =)

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thank you celinewayne for your kind comments! This outdoor litter box is getting more action than our indoor one, and one of our cat's is an indoor cat!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Great idea! My Danes would love it - all the "tootsie rolls" would be in one place and they wouldn't have to hunt for them! lol

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Well...there's that lol! Hopefully your cats will be able to bury them a little better! Thanks for posting habee!

    • profile image

      kim 6 years ago

      I'm debating on whether or not to use playground sand versus the Oil Dry, one because I heard it was outlawed and 2 I'm wondering how the product will react to rain.

      Any thoughts…Please help!

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      I've never heard of oil-dri being outlawed! If you're concerned about this, cheap kitty litter can be purchased at Wal-mart in 30 lb. bags which it virtually the same thing and is almost as cheap. As far as the reaction to rain it gets hard but dries out and can be fluffed up with a rake. Sand is not a bad option, but it attracts fleas and doesn't clump as well. Thanks kim for you're interest, hope this helps!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 6 years ago

      Great hub on building a litter box - I need to pass it onto my parents who have a 13 year old Persian.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks billyaustindillon for your post! I never realized before I became a cat owner, that cats tend to live a good long time!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Our two cats are inside ones only but will keep this in mind for friends of ours who have inside-outside cats. Great idea!

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Our Calico cat is almost exclusively an indoor cat, but the two tabbies prefer the outdoors.Thanks Peggy W for your post!

    • Motor leathers profile image

      Motor leathers 6 years ago

      you know, this thing is really great if you live in your own house. but if you are living in a flat, this is not a good decision. but thanks anyway - this will be great advice for my mother.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Well your right, but perhaps you might be able to employ something like the one in the You Tube video! It won't work in certain apartments though! Thanks Motor leathers for your post!

    • profile image

      kasp346 6 years ago

      Very cool! We just had a feral mom cat move her 3 kittens in our back yard. We also have a dog, & with 4 outdoor feral cats.. well.. it's a lot of mess. I went online to see if anyone had come up with a solution to this problem, and here you are! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Gonna build it this weekend! I was thinking, if you really wanted to you could make some kind of a roof & overhang to keep rain/snow out. But maybe you dont need it with the oil stuff.. Thank you again. you solved a BIG problem for us :)

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thank You kasp346 for your post! It occurs to me reading your post that whenever someone is thinking on a hub to write, one only needs to ask " What question or problem have I gone to the web for that could not be answered?" I'm happy to be of assistance! I think the roof may be a good idea, but I would construct it so that it could be removed or with hinges so that it could be lifted up in order to gain easy access for cleaning the box. Best of luck!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      This is GREAT information...and the 'parts list' is wonderful! THANK YOU!!! I NEEDED this. Voted UP and USEFUL!!

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks Lucky Cats for your kind words and post! Your cats will thank you, best of luck!

    • profile image

      Saffikeagan 6 years ago

      Thanks for validating my idea of doing this :) Off to the store.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks Saffikeagan for your post! Best of luck with your project!

    • applejuic3 profile image

      applejuic3 6 years ago from San Diego, CA

      This is a great project if you have outdoor cats :) my two are kept indoors, but if they ever lived outdoors, i would definitely look into this! Very helpful.

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 6 years ago

      Thanks applejuic3 for your post! It definitely has helped our cats, by reinforcing the box when they come back inside.

    • profile image

      lovemy cats 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great plans!! I have grumpy neighbors and have been thinking about how I can accommodate my cats outside without them going in the neighbors yards! This is beyond wonderful!! Thanks so much for the supply list and directions!! As a single woman this will help me build without further assistance!! My cats all thank you too!

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 5 years ago

      Thanks lovemy cats, for you kind words & post! I really don't understand why people have problems with cats. They don't run around barking or bitting people. They generally cover their leavings. About the worst thing I can think of is they leave faint foot prints on people's cars (pretty harmless in my book)!

    • profile image

      benji62011 5 years ago

      Thanks for all your good advice. I've been trying to figure this out for awhile. I love my cats and the ferals outside. I'm afraid some harm will come to them if they are pooping in other peoples yards. So, I was trying to figure out how to solve this problem so they will go in my yard and I can just clean it up and have happy neighbors, happy cats and a happy me knowing that they will be safe!! Thanks so much for your help!!! :-)

    • nifty@50 profile image
      Author

      nifty@50 5 years ago

      Having a male cat that refuses to stay in the yard inspite of a six foot fence, I can totally relate! Thanks benjii62011 for your kind words & post!

    • Sunni Oasis profile image

      Sunni Oasis 4 years ago

      Loved these ideas!! Oil-Dri it is on my list now. We have 1 cat, 3 dogs. I already have an outside kitty litter area with bolders around it instead of the lattice. No indoor kitty litter box at all. Kitty goes outside when the dogs run for the door every few hours. No doggie doors. Can't have one here. I do clean out the outside kitty litter daily of the gifts and any clumps... which helps. We have dogs and I'm not leaving treats for them ever again. That was a shocker when we added a kitty... that's they'd even do such a thing. Ha! Also you don't go through the kitty litter outside... as you would inside. Then some cat pee does get down to the ground. What can I add at the bottom to help with that ammonia build up at that bottom level. Anyone with suggestions?? Lyme? I have no idea~ Thanks for any suggestions.

    • profile image

      harrier666 4 years ago

      You probably don't monitor this anymore, but if you do, how does the oil dri handle moisture? I figure it will be out in the rain and, of course, cat urine. Many have suggested small rocks for an outdoor litter box but I like the idea of oil dri better.

      On a bright note, thanks to you, I have dug my hole and built my cage around the hole. I haven't added the 2x4s yet and I have to built a run from the litter area to the outside enclosure, but I can't wait to get this done!!! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Gina 22 months ago

      We have 3 indoor/outdoor kitties. They have apparently been using the neighbors yard and gravel driveway to go to the bathroom. Trying to be good neighbors we are planning outdoor cat boxes for them to use. Any tips to get them to use what we make other than the neighbors yard and driveway.... He is VERY unhappy!!!! They "go" outside mostly, very little in the house cat box

    • profile image

      Wendy 15 months ago

      For those needing a cat proof fence, I screwed wire mesh along the top of my fence and it's keeping all our cats in including my bengal who's an escape artist :) and thanks for the litter box idea, I was searching for a litter that would work best outdoors and came across your post.

    • profile image

      Faith 12 months ago

      Does anyone have any suggestions on how to buil this box on concrete?

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