How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Carrier Before They Make A Mess

How long can a cat stay in a carrier? If you’re traveling with your four-legged friend, you want to know how long they can go without using the bathroom.

How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Carrier?

The short answer is that a healthy adult cat will be fine in a carrier on a trip that is under 6 hours. If your trip is longer, you’ll want to let your cat out periodically to drink water and use the bathroom.

The last thing you want to do is keep your cat in the carrier for too long. Otherwise, they could end up having an accident or get sick.

Related: Best Cat Carrier For Long Car Trips

Now let’s take a look at your felines bladder, so you can understand how it works. Be sure to check out some of the best cat carriers to make your travel so much easier. We’ve also answered some of your most common cat carrier questions to help you out.

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How Long Can A Cat Go Without Peeing and Pooping?

how long can a cat stay in a crate

Unlike dogs, most cats won’t let you know when they need to relieve themselves. They are so used to just using the litterbox whenever they need to go.

However, when you’re traveling, they don’t have free reign to pee or poop when they need to.

As a cat owner, it’s important to understand how your cat’s bladder works. This way, you’ll understand how long it’s safe for them to go before they get sick.

How Long Can Cats Hold Their Pee?

Most cats are used to relieving themselves several times per day, especially, if they have access to a litter box. According to FlyerTalk, a cat can hold their pee for 17 hours.

I’ve written an article to help you understand how long cats can hold their pee and how to help ensure they are using the toilet often enough.

Once your cat has access to the litter box, they’ll probably end up going multiple times. But don’t be concerned if they decide that they are not ready to go.

Some cats won’t relieve themselves right away after traveling. Especially, if you’re staying in a hotel. They’ll need some time to acclimate to the new area and get comfortable.

How Big Is A Cat’s Bladder?

Of course, this will depend on your cat’s health and age. A healthy can hold a range of 150-250 mL of urine before they will have to go. Whereas humans have the capacity to hold 400-600 mL.

How Long Can Cats Hold Their Poop?

cat travel carrier

According to Preventative Vet, a cat should pass a bowel movement at least once daily. However, just like anything else, there are several factors that will determine how often your cat defecates.

  • Age
  • How much they eat
  • Exercise
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications or supplements

Some cats have held their poop for up to 24 hours, and it wasn’t unusual for the owner.

Cat’s hate change and when they go potty, they are in a vulnerable position. When they are in a stressful situation or scared, they will usually hold it until they feel safe again.

Should You Be Concerned?

It’s not unusual for your cat to avoid using the bathroom if you’re traveling. They are not like dogs, that can go anywhere.

As long as your cat uses the litterbox once you reach your destination, you should be fine.

If they still haven’t visited the litterbox after arriving, then I’d be concerned that they may have UTI.

Can They Get Sick From Not Using The Bathroom?

If it’s been more than 24 hours and Fluffy still hasn’t urinated or gone number 2, they could be suffering from urinary problems.

Causes of Urinary Tract Problems In Cats:

  • Spinal cord problems
  • Stress
  • Bladder infection or infection
  • Urethral plug
  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation
  • Congenital abnormality

At that point, you may need to contact your veterinarian to see what you can do to help your cat take care of their business. They will probably have to do a blood test to find out what’s causing the issue.

Tips for Traveling With Cats In A Car Long Distance

can I leave my cat in a carrier overnight

If you’re taking your cat on a road trip, your cat will be able to relieve themselves more often than when you’re using other forms of transportation modes.

That’s why I wanted to share some tips to help keep your cat comfortable on the road. These tips will help you if you’re taking a 2-day or more trip with your feline friend.

Get The Best Carrier for Long Car Trips

First things first, you need to get your cat used to the carrier. The great thing about traveling in an automobile is that you have more options for the types of carriers you can choose.

If you’re traveling on a long distance trip, I recommend the PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Soft Sided Foldable Pet Carrier. It’s a spacious carrier that makes transporting your four-legged friend extremely easily.

You want something big enough where Fluffy can stand up, stretch and take a few steps. Make sure that the carrier is well-ventilated and you can see her easily.

Make Her Carrier Comfortable

Your kitties crate should be their happy space. Place her favorite blanket and toy inside, to keep her busy if she gets bored. While we don’t recommend letting your cat sleep in her carrier overnight, but if you have no choice it’s okay.

You can also use a pheromone spray to help your cat stay calm during the trip. Be sure to check out this article to get some tips on dealing with feline anxiety.

Basically, do whatever you can to make it as comfortable for your kitty. She’s going to be stuck in it while she’s in the vehicle.

Plan Rest Stop Breaks

If you’re traveling in an automobile with your cat, you should be stopping every 4-6 hours to let your cat relieve herself. Most rest areas cater to dogs, but there’s no reason why you can’t stop with your cat.

You can also consider stopping at National Parks, just make sure that your feline is on a cat harness so they don’t run away.

They have human bathrooms, so you can take care of your business as well. Websites such as and can help you find rest areas along your pre-determined travel route.

Stopping regularly is a great way to allow your cat to stretch their legs and go for a short walk. Just make sure that there are no other pets around that can hurt your furbaby.

Don’t Feed or Give Them Water In The Car

It’s okay to give them a treat or a kibble, but avoid feeding them and giving them huge amounts of water while driving.

If you have children, make sure that they are not giving them any food. Eating in a car can cause your cat to get sick or nauseous.

Related: Traveling With Cats In A Car

As long as you’re stopping on a regular basis, they will be fine to wait until you stop to eat and drink.

Tips for Flying With Your Cat

If you’re flying with a cat, it will be harder to give your cat bathroom breaks. As I mentioned, if you’re flight is less than 6 hours, they will be fine until you reach your final destination.

However, if you’re on a longer flight, you’ll want to give them some water and food during your layover. You can also take them to the pet relief center at the airport before you catch your next flight.

Every airport has a pet relief center. If you have trouble finding it, ask an airport or TSA employee.

Reaching Your Destination

As soon as you reach your destination, take them out of the carrier and put their travel litter box in a place that will be there’s while on vacation.

Show them where it is and hopefully, they will be ready to go in and do their business.

Related Questions

Can I leave my cat in a carrier overnight?

A cat will be fine sleeping in a carrier overnight as long as they have had access to food and water during the day, and let them out in the morning. Let them have access to the litter box before you close them in for the night.

How Do Cats Go To The Bathroom On Road Trips?

It depends, on several things such as how much food and water they have eaten, nerves, and etc. That being said, you should offer a litter box to your cat at least twice throughout the day to allow them to relieve themselves. However, you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat doesn’t use the bathroom as most cats won’t feel comfortable using the bathroom on the road.

Bottom Line

Pay attention to how long Fluffy reacts while traveling. If you’ve never traveled with a cat, you’ll realize that it’s much different than having a dog.

As I mentioned, every individual is different. If you’re traveling with multiple cats, you might have one that needs to go potty more often than your other one.

Once you’ve traveled a few times, you’ll start to understand your feline’s travel behaviors.

Further Reading and References

Reference – How Long Can A Cat Go Without Urinating