I loved my cat. I hated my cat litter. The dusty, smelly, half-clumping, chemical-laden grey "clay" that got in my old cat Tigger's nose, all over his paws, and tracked through the house. A couple years ago, I started searching for a solution when my husband refused to let us buy an automatic scooping cat litter box. I had to admit that they were expensive and didn't really solve most of the issues we had with the litter.
I found the Smart Cat Box. It's a litter box with a grid to hold the litter in and let the urine flow straight through to a reservoir that you empty daily. You never touch the urine! It's also great for diabetic cats so you can test their blood sugar levels in their urine instead of multiple visits to the vet. The solids stay in the litter and scoop out easily. But wait, what kind of clay litter makes this possible? Answer: not a clay litter! You use safflower seeds (not to be confused with sunflower). Safflower seeds have a hard shell and aren't absorbent. When scooping solids, a few seeds may stick to them. You can find them sold anywhere; try Walmart or local Feed n' Seed stores. They're so much cheaper than traditional litter and they last 2-3 months! There's some basic maintenance, like rinsing the seeds off to keep them fresher for longer (as an alternative, you can spray them periodically with Clorox Anywhere spray)...but just think of it! No more dust! No more tracking!
You can tell I'm excited, but I wasn't excited about the price. Just the starter kit was $46.95 and that's not even including shipping. After reading this post about diy-ing a safflower seed litter box, I was convinced I could do something similar. I already had this litter box (the Boots & Barkley Enclosed Cat Litter Pan) that we liked well enough because it kept the worst of the litter and smell inside. I searched at Walmart and Target for either two large flat storage containers to use or one container to stack underneath my current litter box. I was fairly unsuccessful. I'm used to large cats but the storage containers seemed too big and finding a container to fit under my current litter box was impossible. Well, impossible until I bought the exact same one. It was about $13 at Target but for me the price was worth it. I knew it would fit and I wouldn't have to mess around with two overly-large storage containers.
The two litter boxes, being identical, stacked a little too well. As in, there would be no space left for urine to go. I took a jigsaw and cut out the rim from the top of the old litter box and used the clips (you can barely see one in the link) to attach it to the bottom of the old litter box. This created a lip for the new litter box to sit on top of. There's about an inch, maybe an inch and a half of room at the bottom. I used a 1/8" drill bit to create a grid of holes in the bottom of the new litter box. I also cut out a section from the lip on the bottom (the reservoir) as a spout for pouring out the urine. The end result is a little tall, but not as tall as too large storage containers would be. I'll see how the new kitten handles it before diy-ing a little kitty stepstool, lol.
I actually had fun winging it with this project and I'm pretty darn satisfied with myself for mostly working with what I had and not ordering one online.
Old litter box: $0 (already owned, but $13 new)
New litter box: $13
7lb bag of safflower seeds: $9 at Walmart
Total: $22...less than HALF of the Smart Cat Box!
I will update with how well it works when we bring our new kitten home to test it out.