tl;dr- I'm making a litter box and I want to design it in a way that prevents cats from tracking much litter out of it. How could this be done?

I'm designing a do-it-yourself litter box because normal litter boxes aren't quite sanitary enough.

I have two main complaints:

  1. I can't stand the smell of cat litter or cat leavings.

  2. I don't like how litter can track when cats come out of a litter box.

So, my solution's basically this (don't do this at home, may not be safe/correct, etc.):

  1. Get a big plastic box, e.g. this 25-gallon Rubbermaid storage container.

  2. Cut a hole in a side of the box and insert a cat door, e.g. this one.

    • Some commercial cat boxes already have doors, though these doors tend to let air through on purpose. This design intentionally seeks a more air-tight door, so I figure I'll use one designed as a pet door for a house.
  3. Cut two more holes in the top/upper-side of it and run air tubes with low-noise blower fans.

  4. Mount a block of wood in a window sill.

    • The block'll basically prevent the window from fully closing; instead, the window'll close on it.

    • The block'll have two 4-inch holes in it on either side for connecting the tubes.

    • The two 4-inch holes would be on opposite sides of the window to help minimize out-going air being drawn back in.

  5. Connect litter box to window with tubes&blowers to continuously vent the litter box's internal air with fresh air.

I suspect that this should pretty much cover the smell part. If too much of the litter stench still gets through the litter box's door, I might have a second-stage box that's also vented with separate tubes.

All that said, there's still the problem of the cats tracking litter. How can this be addressed?

Current ideas:

  1. Actually do the second-stage box, then put a litter mat in it.

    • However, I already have litter mats outside of my current litter boxes, but some litter's still getting tracked out anyway.
  2. Have the cats climb down into the litter box area such that they have to climb up to get back out.

    • Maybe the climbing-out process will help clean the litter off?
  3. Narrow corridor into the litter box with web-like matting.

    • Perhaps this would brush the cats off as they climb into/out-of the litter box?

Is there another way a litter box like this might be designed to minimize litter tracking?

  • 1
    I've heard top entry boxes help with litter tracking because they can't kick the litter out, and litter that sticks to their paws and immediately falls off has a chance of falling on or in the box.
    – Kai
    Feb 12, 2018 at 21:14
  • 1
    I keep thinking: considering cats can be kind of choosy with their litterbox, are you sure they will accept this one? Both the airtight door and the fan may be a deterrent to cats!
    – Layna
    Feb 13, 2018 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


Folks tend to use top entry litter boxes to reduce litter tracking, but many cats get arthritis as they get older and you don't want to set yourself up for the cat not using the box because they associate it with arthritis pain.

To be honest, we bought a roomba and have it vacuum in front of the litter boxes each day. It's not perfect, but it's the best solution we've found (including various litter mats and forced tracking through obstacles).

Oh, I forgot, we had the flooring I mention here for awhile. It still wasn't 100% and also cleaning under it was a real annoyance so when we moved we didn't redo it.

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