How To

Hiding a cat litter box in the bathroom

By Jeanne Huber
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Q: I plan to update my small bathroom and am trying to figure out how to hide the cat litter box. I thought of storing it under the sink. However, I am having problems finding a sink and base that would enable a litter box to be stored underneath. Any suggestions?

Washington

A: There are several ways to hide a cat box under a sink. Search "cat box" on the Ikea Hacker blog (http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com) to see how a few people adapted stock sink cabinets to accommodate litter boxes. (These adaptations work whether or not you install a sink in the countertop.) The solutions show Ikea cabinets, but others should work, too. Basically, the owners installed a cat door on the side or front. Inside one sink cabinet, mounted drawer slides support a false bottom. When it's time to clean the cat box, the clever owner just slides it out. If you want to skip the base cabinet, search "Snalis cat" on the blog to see how one cat owner adapted a bin under an open-bottom sink.

The Refined Feline (http://www.therefinedfeline.com) makes a ready-made cabinet that doubles as a stealth cat box, but it is not for sinks. Same goes for a Merry Pet model sold by numerous retailers (search online for "cat washroom").

Another idea: Have a woodworker friend or a cabinet shop swap out a cabinet's standard door for a pair of custom, partial-height doors, similar to the ones that used to swing under many vintage kitchen sinks. The doors could curve to create an opening at the bottom for the cat but still meet at the top to hide plumbing under the sink. The Craftsmen Group in Northwest (202-332-3700, http://www.thecraftsmengroup.com) could do this for you, or you could contact the Woodworkers Club in Rockville (301-984-9033, http://www.woodworkersclub.com) for referrals or for access to tools so you could build the doors yourself.

Whatever your approach, make sure the interior is easy to clean. You might want to cover the floor with high-pressure laminate, a countertop material. It stands up to scrubbing much better than melamine, the coating typically used on cabinet interiors. A cabinet shop or a store that sells laminate might have a scrap you can buy for next to nothing.

Your turn

In response to a recent question about repairing pink bathroom tiles (Jan. 14), a reader in Riverdale Park writes: "Just read your suggestion that a reader use a model painting kit to mix paint to the right color. . . . Anytime I have to repair something in the pink to red range, I look for nail polish. It comes in lots of colors and is relatively inexpensive."

A McLean reader shares his experience with DIY floor sanding (Dec. 10): "Reading the recent letter about floor sanding revived some memories from 30 years ago, when my wife and I purchased our first home. The floor was beautiful but in horrible condition. After a lot of discussion, and while the house was still empty, we decided to rent a professional sander and do it ourselves.

"The sanding and cleaning took less than a weekend, and we spent a couple of days on the finish. The sander did leave a few waves in the wood since this was the first and only time I used that kind of powerful machine. But after one coat of clear varnish and three coats of polyurethane, the floor was more than acceptable. The total cost was less than $150 (in 1980), and the time spent four days.

"Would I do it again? Certainly, given the same conditions."

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