How long can a cat go without a litter box? Mind Blowing Facts

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 03/25/23 •  6 min read
A cat exiting a litter box

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Have you ever owned a cat and wondered how long a cat could go without using a litter box? Well, if you are like me, the answer probably isn’t what you expect.

You’ve probably gone through the same dilemma over and over again. And while it may seem like a simple question, it’s quite difficult to answer.

There’s no way of knowing how long your cat can go without using the litter box as it depends on many different factors.

The truth is, the answer is different for every cat and owner.

Some cats need to be trained not to urinate or defecate outside of their litter box, but most long-haired breeds have a fairly instinctive way of knowing when it’s time to use their bathroom and poop.

This instinct may vary between cats, though it does usually persist throughout their lifetime in almost all cat owners.

However, many cat owners are surprised to learn that cats can go for extended periods without a litter box.

Cat owners know how important it is to keep their cat’s litter boxes clean and dry. But how long can a cat go without a litter box? How do you know when your cat is about to start eliminating in the wrong place, such as on your couch or carpet?

This article will help you understand how long can a cat be without a litter box.

Can a cat go without a litter box?

The short answer is yes, cats can go without a litter box. But if you want to avoid the mess, stress, and frustration that comes with it, there are some things you can do to help prevent your cat from eliminating anywhere in the house.

Cats are trainable, but it’s hard to train them not to use the litter box. If you don’t want your cat to use a litter box, then you will need to toilet train them using the necessary tools.

Can a cat go all night without a litter box?

The answer is yes, a cat can go an entire night without going to the bathroom, but it’s not ideal or healthy for them.

Cats are perfectly capable of holding their urine, but they don’t want to do so for long periods if they can help it.

It’s a good idea to train your cat to use the litter box at night and then keep them in a room with the box so they have access at all times. In general, cats should have access to a litter box at all times, even if they don’t use it right away.

If there are no litter boxes in sight, your cat will eventually squat down and go right there on the floor.

How long can a cat go without using the litter box?

While the rule of thumb is that cats should use their litter box at least once per day, there are exceptions to this.

If you have an older cat who has recently been diagnosed with kidney disease or other illnesses that cause them to eliminate less frequently than normal,  they may need help finding a litter box in time for bedtime.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if you have an older cat who has recently been diagnosed with kidney disease or other illnesses that cause them to eliminate less frequently than normal.

If your cat is urinating outside of the box, this may be a sign that something is wrong with its health or environment.

How often does a cat need to use the litter box?

In 24 hours, your healthy cat can use the litter box between 2 to 4 times on average to pee. She will also poop once or twice depending on the diet.

In rare cases, some cats will not pass any urine or poop for between 24 to 48 hours. However, anything that goes beyond 48 hours is a severe medical condition.

How long can a cat go without going poop?

Based on a recent study by The American Journal of Veterinary Research (AJR), cats can hold their poop for an average of 12 hours before needing to do their business!

This means that your cat should poop about one to two times daily. If your cat operates normally, then she needs to be comfortable when passing out poop.

Ideally, there’s no definite length of time prescribed for how long can cats hold their poop. The act is greatly dependent on a range of factors.

Cats are most likely to hold poop and pee for a long if they’re stressed up. In most cases, cats will develop this trait when they’re traveling. They will only wait until you give them a comfortable environment to expel their waste.

Your cats shouldn’t take more than 48 hours without pooping or experiencing bowel movements. Anything more than 48 hours, whether you’re traveling or not should be considered a great abnormality.

You must call your veterinarian right away if your cat hasn’t defecated in more than two days.

How long can cats hold their bladder?

A cat can hold their pee for a maximum of 6 hours under normal conditions.

There is however no timeline for how long can a cat go without peeing.

A cat should use the bathroom as frequently as the prevailing conditions allow. Anything from 4 – 6 hours is permitted in between taking the leak.

If your cat exceeds the 24-hour mark before passing any urine, you should seek immediate medical attention. A healthy cat will pee 4 to 6 times a day.

Be sure to know that your cat is not fooling you if you do not find any urine in the litter box. Perhaps it is doing its thing outside the litter box behind your back.

How long can a cat travel without peeing?

A cat can travel for about 24 hours without peeing, although it’s not recommended. If she holds her pee longer than that, toxins will begin to build in her body.

If you’re traveling with your pet cat in a carrier, allow your cat to relieve herself more often during the 24 hours.


In this day and age, it would be a shame to keep a cat in the house without offering them the comfort of a litter box. A litter box saves time, is easier on your floors, doesn’t smell half as bad as you think, and is loads less expensive than replacing furniture.

 If you are interested in making the switch to a more hygienic option for your cat, I suggest setting up a litter box with proper litter and cleaning it more frequently.

 If you’re willing to invest that extra bit of care into your pet’s comfort, then definitely consider making the switch.

The bottom line though is that cats are incredibly independent animals. They can easily go without a litter box if they have to, by toilet training them.

Ever wondered if you have to knock on the toilet door because your cat is using your toilet?

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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