A while back my sister and her partner asked me to help them find a solution for the cat litter that falls out of their cat’s litter box. Often after the cat does its business some of the cat litter sticks to its paws. As the cat walks out of the litter box the litter gets spread in the area in front of the litter box.
There are some existing products that help deal with this, such as rubber or fabric litter mats, but they seem to have their own issues. Most noticeably the mats either start smelling after a while, do not hold on to the litter well (causing the loose litter still to be spread around), or hold on to the litter so well that the mats are hard to clean.
To solve this problem I set out to design a better product that contains the litter in an area separate from where the cat steps, that is able to be cleaned easily and at a low frequency, and that is built for long term use.
The 3D printed mat consists of two components. The first is a generic serving tray that purchased for this project in a local store, the second is a 3D printed grid that is used by the cat to walk on. The litter drops from the cat’s paws through the holes of the grid onto the serving tray. The grid elements have been designed to be wide enough to not hurt the cat’s paws, and narrow enough so that there is enough space for any common size litter to fall through the holes.
So that you can prevent litter from spreading around your house, I have described how to build the DIY cat litter mat below, as well as the materials and tools that are required.
How to make the 3D printed cat litter tray
What you’ll need
Approx. 40 x 30 cm / 16″ x 12″ with rounded corners
~1.5-1.8 mm / 1/16″ in diameter
The feedback I got from my sister on the litter mat has been positive. The litter mat collects the litter well, it is easy to clean and does not hold smells.
I might want to revisit this project at a later point to make a version that is easier to use for others. The nail system to connect the grid elements is a bit elaborate and can be substituted with some kind of interlocking system. Customizable dimensions using OpenSCAD are something I would like to add as well.