Making a Disposable Litter Box
When RC travels by car, he has his regular litter box available on the floor of the back seat. But, it's a bit awkward checking a large, plastic litter box on an airplane and we've never been confident it would arrive in usable shape.
There are disposable cardboard litter boxes available in major US pet stores. But, when you're starting your travels from more remote locations like we often do, these conveniences aren't as readily available. Plus the commercial cardboard litter boxes are fairly large and clunky which make them difficult to pack. On top of that, the sides are so short that litter ends up outside more than inside after one use.
We have come up with 2 possible solutions -- both unorthodox, but they work. Our preferred method is to buy cake boxes, 10"x10"x4", from a bakery supply store. I suspect a regular bakery would be willing to sell a few of their boxes if you can't find the boxes else where -- as long as you don't tell them your intended purpose. :)
The boxes were sold flat and were easy to store in the side pouch of one of our carry on suitcases. We picked up plastic trash bags that were 24" wide and 30" tall. Sometimes the cake boxes we buy have a separate lid which we use as an extra layer for the floor. If we can only find boxes with attached lids, we cut the lid off to reduce the packing size.
We unfold a box inside a plastic bag and fill the bottom of the box with fresh litter. RC uses a box each night; we simply tie it off and throw it out in the morning before departing the hotel.
The other alternative is using a sheet of poster board. It must be fairly stiff, but flexible enough to bend. You basically fold the sides to form a box, and then using masking tape or duck tape to hold it together. This is a less ideal solution, but when you find yourself in a country where they only make little cakes (e.g., Thailand), then you must punt. :)
We have also built one portable, re-usable litter box. Our trips are frequently long and packing enough boxes isn't always realistic. Additionally, many countries in Europe and Asia don't use large cake boxes which are so common throughout the US, Mexico, and Central America.
We were down to our last cake box when we discovered that replacing it was not going to be as simple as our earlier experiences. After a little brainstorming, we discovered how to make a portable, re-usable litter box. We bought 2 gift bags that are made of heavy paper with a plastic finish on one side (you usually find them near gift cards and wrapping paper in stores). We cut the bags open so they lay flat and glued them to the inside and outside of the cake box. Attaching the gift bags to the box made it much more durable and almost waterproof. Then we purchased 2 acrylic place mats (30 cm by 45 cm) and 4 extra-large, heavy duty paper clips (not the kind that clip 1-2 pages together, but the kind that can hold 100-200 sheets; you can find them in office supply stores). (Continue)
To set up the box, we fold the box into its usual shape, but we no longer try to have the tabs fit into the slits (those got covered with the gift bags, plus the tabs were getting too weak). Instead, we use the heavy clips to hold the 4 corners together. Next, we put a plastic bag inside the box (clipping it into place). Then, we add the 2 place mats so they form a T -- the edges of the place mats go up the sides and form a smooth, flat bottom. Last, we add another plastic bag and litter. We clip everything together so the inside of the box won't interfere with RC jumping in to use it.
When RC claws through the first plastic bag during the night, the place mats prevent him from reaching the 2nd plastic bag. In the morning, we have to clean the place mats, but the litter and inner plastic bag get tied off inside the outer bag and thrown away. If there's any leakage through the 2nd bag, the plastic covered box can be cleaned.
If we set up RC's portable litter box while in transit, then we skip the outer plastic bag. RC has learned to jump in, use the box, and jump out, without clawing. It's only when he has time at night to use his box at his convenience that we need the extra plastic bag.
If your cat is really sensitive about getting his claws caught in the plastic bag, then you might try putting one plastic bag underneath the place mats and the other outside the entire container.
To transport everything, the box folds flat with a place mat on each outer side and we use the 4 clips to hold everything together. Again, this helps prevent the box from flexing too much and wearing out during travel.
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