How Long Can Cats Hold Their Pee?

How Long Can Cats Hold Their Pee

Cats are very particular about their litter box routines and may choose not to use the litter if anything is slightly amiss. It could be that the litter is dirty, there is a new cat in the house, or the litter box has been moved to a new, less desirable spot. In these instances, you may detect the smell of cat pee elsewhere. However, cats are also able to hold their pee, just like humans can. Apart from holding their pee if they are unhappy with their litter situation, they will also do so on occasions such as cross-country trips.

How long can cats hold their pee?

Cats can hold their pee for about 24 to 48 hours if they really have to. However, just like for humans, this is not healthy, and holding their bladder for very long periods may lead to infections or other health issues. The probability of health problems will also vary from one cat to another depending on the type and amount of food they eat, their age, supplement intake, metabolism and any medical conditions they have. 

If you are traveling long distances with kittens, make more frequent stopovers since they need to pee more often. Senior cats that have weakened bladder muscles also need to pee more often than young and healthy cats. 

How often should cats pee?

Cats normally pee around two to four times daily, but this may vary from one cat to another since some cats drink more water than others. Their age and general health will also play a role in how often they pee. Familiarizing yourself with your cat’s individual bathroom habits will help you spot any sudden changes in her routine. Noticing such changes early on will allow you to contact your vet promptly and prevent possible complications. 

How do you know if your cat has to pee?

Unlike humans, cats cannot speak to tell you when they have to pee. However, you will be able to tell by observing their body language. If your cat is with you at home, she can simply go to her litter box, but if you are traveling it can be trickier. 

Cats usually whine loudly if they want to pee or poop. Some cats may also hold their bladder if you are taking them on a trip. If it has been longer than usual since she last went to the bathroom and she is crying for no apparent reason, it could be that she has to pee and cannot hold it in anymore.

Why do cats hold their pee when traveling?

Cats tend to hold their pee when traveling because they are in unfamiliar territory. They are creatures of habit and prefer to adhere to specific routines, so travelling puts them out of their comfort zone and they may therefore hold their pee.  

What prevents a cat from peeing?

1. She may be suffering from stress. 

Cats tend to get stressed when there are abrupt changes in their routine. If you are traveling with your cat, make frequent stops and give her access to a disposable litter box. This allows her to keep up with her regular routine and she will be less likely to hold her pee. 

2. Your cat may have a bacterial infection. 

Cats are prone to urinary tract infections, especially if you often take them on long trips where they need to hold their pee. This is not always the case, but it can happen. If you suspect that your cat has an infection, consult your vet so he can do a thorough check-up and assessment.

3. There may be a blockage in your cat’s urinary tract. 

Obstructions can occur in your cat’s urinary tract. These are usually due to crystals or small stones that become lodged in the cat’s urethra, which is the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the exterior of the body. 

Male cats are more prone to urinary tract blockages than females. These blockages are very painful and your cat might cry out while urinating. The urine may also have blood in it. Take your cat to the vet immediately, as a blockage could be life-threatening. 

Other reasons cats may be unable to pee include not drinking enough water, or if they do not like the litter box or the litter.


Cats are creatures of habit and they follow set daily routines or patterns.  If you take your cat along on trips, she may become stressed and this could make her hold her pee. Surprisingly, cats can hold their pee for 24 to 48 hours, but this should not be encouraged.  

If you are traveling with your cat, prepare disposable litter boxes in case she needs to pee at any stop. Kittens and senior cats need to pee more often, so remember to schedule frequent stops for them on long trips so they can pee in peace. 

Image: / Natasha Zakharova