The cat came with my girlfriend, who brought the most basic of litter boxes: an ugly plastic dome. I couldn’t handle looking at such an unattractive thing. We needed something better. My friend Amanda is an artist, and she connected me to a Brooklyn woodworker and artist she knew named Scott Chasse. Chasse had just started making birdhouses, but for cats. After talking to him, we decided we could tweak the design a little to make it perfect for my living room. And my cat, Pico.
I sent him a simple schematic of what I was looking for. I wanted the tray of litter to rest directly against the walls of the box. That way the litter couldn’t spill out. We added vents to the design, too, for ventilation and a little light. Chasse spent a few days working on it in the shop, and we gave it a few days to let the stain and polyurethane smells dissipate. We were ready for the final test: my cat. I’m not sure that she appreciated the aesthetics, but she understood the function of her new litter box.
The best part for me is that it matches the wooden shelves in my living room. It almost looks like another piece of furniture. Guests put their bags on it or they’ll sit on it. During movie nights, some people have actually leaned against it. They don’t even realize there’s a litter box inside.
- Cut the front, back, and sides to length from the 1/2-inch poplar or plywood, according to the diagram. Use a jigsaw to cut out the front door and the spaces between the slats that will form the vent in the back.
- Attach the walls to each other with wood glue and 32mm headless pin nails.
- We used reclaimed boards to build the roof, but you could also cut one piece of poplar to size. Cut two small strips of scrap to connect the boards, if necessary, and to keep the roof from sliding off.
- Miter cut four pieces of ¼-inch thick and ½-inch wide poplar that form the frame for the vent, then glue and nail them to the back of the rear wall of the box.
- Stain and seal the wood.
This appears in the May 2018 issue.