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How to Travel with a Cat Litter Box (5 Tips)

Hallie Roddy

Traveling with animals is almost always stressful. It’s already a lot to handle between their food, bowls, leashes, carriers, and other supplies. Many cat owners agree that one of the items that give them the most anxiety is a cat litter box. Our cats have to do their business regardless of if they’re in a car, plane, or train. How are we supposed to have them relieve themselves if they don’t have a box to go in? After all, not all cats are leash trained. Some never even go outside. If you’re forced to travel with your pet cat, it’s best to prepare in advance and use some of our best tips for traveling with a litter box.


Tips for Traveling with a Cat Litter Box

1. Purchase a portable litter box.

large orange cat on litter box
Image Credit: Chewy

We highly recommend purchasing a portable litter box before your big trip. Traditional boxes are too big and clunky. They don’t fold down, and they aren’t suitable for packing. There are quite a few quality litter box options on the market. Look for ones that break down for simple storage, are easy to wash, and are the right size for your cat.

If you’d prefer to toss the entire box after your cat has used it, disposable litter box options are also available. These are better for short trips in the car because they are often biodegradable and might leak if allowed to sit for too long.

2. Stick to their regular brand of litter.

cat looking at the crystal litter
Image Credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

Traveling is more stressful for the cat than it is for you. There is a lot of change, movements, and loud noises all happening at once. The best way to make your cat feel more secure is by keeping as many familiar items close to them as possible. If you change the litter, they might not even use the box.

3. Don’t feed your cat four hours before travel.

woman hang giving treat to a cat
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Imagine how it would feel if you drank a ton of water right before a flight and then the flight attendants told you that you couldn’t use the restroom for the entire time in the air. Most veterinarians recommend stopping your cat from eating or drinking four hours before the flight. This minimizes the times they must go to the bathroom and reduces the chance of motion sickness. Of course, bring extra food and water for them if going on a long trip.

4. Schedule a visit with the vet.

cat and vet
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

Most airlines require clearance from a licensed veterinarian before flights. This isn’t always necessary when traveling by car or train, but we still recommend it to make sure they’re in good health and that it is safe for them. If your cat has anxiety, this is also a good time to discuss medications that could help your cat relax until you’ve arrived.

5. Line your cat carrier with pee pads.

cat with pee pads in carrier
Image Credit: shamek, Shutterstock

Run to your nearest pet store before your trip and line their carrier with a couple of pee pads to protect the material in case they have any accidents. These are easy to change out multiple times during a trip and saves you from having to wash their waste out of the carrier.


How Do I Prepare My Cat for Traveling?

Try to make your cat’s trip as stress-free as possible. This requires taking steps before the trip to acclimate them.

  • Start by putting your pet cat in the carrier with the door open. Allow them to move in and out, sleep in it, and play in it. You want them to associate their carrier with happy feelings. You could also add a comfy blanket and treats or catnip inside as well.
  • Once your kitty is used to the carrier, close the door with them inside it. Pick up the carrier and take them for short walks around the house for a few days. Always praise your kitty and tell them how good they did.
  • When the cat becomes accustomed to the movements, move the carrier into your car and let the car idle for a few minutes before turning the car off and going back inside. Repeat this until ready to take them for their first ride. Extend the amount of time in the car slowly until prepared for your trip.
Cat in purple carrier
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock



Traveling with cats isn’t easy. The trick is to keep them calm and secure until the trip comes to an end. While nobody wants to carry around an entire litter box, there are ways to make the trip run smoother for both you and your fur friend. With the right preparation, you’ll arrive at your destination with a smile on your face and one relaxed feline.

Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Hallie Roddy

Hallie has been a proud nature and animal enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She attributes her passion for the environment and all its creatures to her childhood when she was showing horses on weekends and spending her weeknights devoting her attention to her pets. She enjoys spending most of her time in Michigan playing with her two rescue cats, Chewbacca and Lena, and her dog, Clayton. When Hallie isn’t using her degree in English with a writing specialization to spread informative knowledge on pet care, you can find her snuggled up on the couch reading books or watching nature documentaries.