Modko Litter Boxes Address the Mess

Modko Litter Boxes Address the Mess

How can a man who is allergic to cats wind up designing clutter boxes?Brett Teper does not have a cat — he’s been allergic for some time — but he is devoted to revolutionizing this often-ignored item on the pet product industry. Teper and designer Rich Williams would be the founders of Modko, a New York merchandise design firm best known for its award-winning litter box, the ModKat.

When Williams’ wife became pregnant, he had to shoot over litter box duties. As a designer, his residence’s litter box scenario drove him mad — the wreck, the smell and needless to say, the appearance. Online searches produced nothing, so he decided to think of a solution. He and Teper read every litter box review on Amazon and decided on their plan of attack. “We need everything in our homes to be well thought out,” says Teper. “You can purchase virtually anything for your house that has been redesigned somehow. This is just one of the things that hadn’t been rethought.”

We caught up with Teper to hear more about Modko’s innovative designs, and what’s on the horizon for this design duo.


Q. What’s another “litter box” — that is, a requirement that drives you insane — in your home right now?

A. The one thing in my house that has always irked me is the cable box. It’s physically big and repugnant, far too complex to link, and the interface is slow and clunky. I loathed it so much that I cut my cable service off to be rid of it. I hope that somebody is able to solve this soon. I overlook Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Above: Brett Teper (on the left) and Rich Williams (on the right), at work in the Modko studios.


ModKat Litter Box – $188

The ModKat was the first result of Williams and Teper’s trial and error. Access through the top saves on space and prevents clutter from flying anywhere. The perforated top grabs any clutter in the cat’s paws, a locking lid keeps children and other pets outside, and a scoop with a sweeping brush hangs neatly out of the side. Permanent, perfectly sized tarp-like liners last extra long and stand out from claws.

Q. You spoke about the way in which the litter box is an underexposed market in home design. What do you think is just another “underexposed” market that must be redesigned?

A. Yeah, litter boxes had largely been neglected by the design community, so I assume because of their icky connotation. We discovered that challenge persuasive and have identified some more of these overlooked objects that could certainly use some similar focus. One is the toilet seat (yes, the human kind), which we have already begun to redesign. Almost every object in the bathroom, in the shower curtain into the soap dish, has received focus, but the toilet seat has gone largely ignored by designers. There have been improvements in operation, like soft near and efforts at “designer” rolls, such as clear resin with flower petals (yuck!) . However there haven’t been any genuine serious explorations in shape, color or behavior — we think that it is time.


Modko Flip Litter Box – $90

According to Teper, the customer who buys Flip — the duo’s latest litter box version — and the customer who buys the initial ModKat are looking for very different things. While the answer to ModKat was overwhelmingly positive, some potential customers had a hard time believing that their cat could actually jump along with the litter box to get inside. Teper and Williams recognized they needed a front-entry litter box — and Flip was first born.

The group decided to take an entirely different approach with Flip. While ModKat is designed to stick out in the house, Flip is meant to be subtle. The design adopts the standard litter box design, but with a few fundamental upgrades — a flipping lid with one finger entry for easy cleanup, durable paper board liners and an ergonomic scoop.

Q. What’s one new product that you are ignored by?

A. that I love the Nest Thermostat — it is the contemporary take on the classic Henry Dreyfuss Honeywell thermostat that we all grew up with. It is a beautifully crafted object using a polished yet complex interface, and it even includes its own gorgeous screwdriver for installation. Most importantly, it remains easy to use while offering a far stronger set of features.

Q. What do you think is next for you guys? Can you branch out into other pet items?

A. Absolutely. We have some in the works — most especially a indoor dog potty called Shake that we hope to start in 2013.

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