How Long Can Cats Go Without Using The Bathroom? (The Potty Paradox)

How Long Can Cats Go Without Using The Bathroom

I’ve always been envious of someone who has a bladder and bowel of steel. Someone who can look straight into the eyes of nature when it calls and say “I go when I so desire”.

Our cats might not have the same holding power when it comes to using the bathroom. Furthermore, knowing how often your cat should use its litter box is useful when traveling with your cat or can signify when something is off with its excretion system.

Most cats on average will pee 2-3 times a day and poop about once a day. Kittens and older cats tend to have more frequent toilet habits in general. A cat with a sudden change in its litter box frequency could indicate chronic health problems.

In this article, we will be looking at a cat’s litter box frequency and how to know when something is wrong with your cat.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Peeing?

Pee is generated via your cat’s kidneys. The kidneys will do a good job of filtering out toxins and waste from your cat’s bloodstream and expel it from your cat’s body in the form of urine.

Most cats on average will pee about 2-3 times a day. There are many cats that can also pee more frequently than that.

My cat can pee up to 5 times a day.

Given that humans have the ability to pee up to 7 times within a day, our cats seem to have better bladder control.

Of course your cat’s peeing frequency can largely fluctuate depending on factors such as:

  • Weather
  • Amount of water consumed
  • Underlying medical conditions

Kittens and senior cats will usually pee more often as compared to your average adult cat. This is due to poorer control of their bladders.

Factors That Can Affect A Cat’s Peeing Habit

If you notice that your four-legged friend has been peeing a lot more frequently or lesser than usual, that isn’t a good thing.

It could indicate a health issue.

Cats are habitual creatures and lick to stick to a schedule even when it comes to using the bathroom.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease in cats is a very common problem. it is estimated that 25% of cats will suffer from kidney problems at some point in their lives.

This percentage will go even higher as a cat gets older.

Kidney disease in cats can be caused by the following:

  • Poisoning or toxicity
  • Physical trauma to the kidney
  • Old age

In fact, the leading cause of death in senior cats is chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is a gradual slow down of the cat’s kidneys.

When that happens the cat is unable to effectively remove wastes and toxins from its body which can lead to other complications.

My cat was diagnosed with CKD a couple of years back. Although his condition is stable with daily medication, it can flare up from time to time.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Another common health issue that can affect your cat’s peeing frequency a great deal is UTI. This happens when your cat’s urethra or the tube that transports the urine out of the body becomes swollen and inflamed.

A urinary tract infection can be caused by a number of factors:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Stress
  • Urinary crystals
  • Bladder infection
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Poor diet

It can be easy to recognize when your cat is having a UTI.

Common symptoms include:

  • Increase in litter box frequency
  • Straining to pee
  • Blood in urine
  • Excess thirst
  • Peeing outside the litter box

Having a UTI is a painful and serious problem for any cat. Many have died from having a blocked urinary system.

How Often Should A Cat Poop?

When it comes to toilet frequency, I do feel that the frequency varies a lot between cats too. For example, my cat uses his litter box rather often.

He goes roughly twice a day. However, there can be periods when he only poops once in 2-3 days.

Cats are small animals and have a simple digestive system.

They have a short digestive tract which allows them to eat raw food safely. The majority of cats can fully digest their meals within 8-10 hours and be ready to eliminate their waste.

If you have a kitten at home, they pop way more often than an adult cat. This is because kittens are always hungry and have to eat very frequently to fuel their growth.

A rule of thumb to follow is for every month in age, a kitten can hold it for an hour. So a kitten that is 3 months old can hold its pee or poo for 3 hours before having to use the litter box.

Factors That Can Affect A Cat’s Pooping Habit

The important thing when it comes to your cat’s bowel habits is consistency. If your cat is one that goes daily, any change in that schedule should not be ignored.


We have all gone through bad bouts of diarrhea after eating that our stomachs didn’t agree with. Diarrhea in cats can be caused by many other health issues that aren’t food related.

It could be due to stress or even intestinal parasites.

Chronic diarrhea in cats can be a serious problem as they tend to lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes from their bodies.

If my cat is having some runny or soft stools, I will add some fresh pumpkin or psyllium husk to his food to try and bulk up his stools and settle the tummy.


At the other end of the spectrum, we have constipation which means that the cat can’t regulate their bowels properly.

Similar to diarrhea, constipation can be caused by many factors such as:

  • Poor diet
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Hairball
  • Nerve problems
  • Allergies

Feeding your cat a small amount of pumpkin or psyllium husk can also help with minor constipation.

What Is Considered To Be Normal Toilet Habits For Cats?

Personally for me, as long as my cat is eating and behaving normally, a slight change in his toilet habits won’t freak me out.

As long as my cat is peeing daily and pooping once every other day, I’m good.

You should be more or less aware of your cat’s normal toilet habits if you had your feline friend for a while.

There are a couple of reasons that can cause a temporary hiatus in your cat’s peeing or pooping.

If you have recently adopted a new cat, being in a new environment can be stressful for your cat.

Going to the bathroom puts a cat into a vulnerable position, so when they get stressed out or scared, they will kind of just hold it until they feel safe again.

In addition to this, if you have a cat that has recently gone through an operation, that can also affect its toilet schedule.

The anesthetic agent, pain meds and/or antibiotics can disrupt your cat’s body for a few days. But things should gradually return to normal as your cat recovers.

Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?

cat at vet

If your cat has not peed in more than 24 hours or pooped in 72 hours, you should take your cat to the vet for a check-up.

But if you noticed any other signs that indicate a problem with your cat’s excretion system, you shouldn’t hesitate any longer and get your get to the vet ASAP.

To prevent any issues with your cat’s bladder or bowels, you need to ensure that your cat has access to a litter box during the night.

If a cat can’t hold it in any longer, it might just use your entire house as a bathroom. Waking up to the smell of cat waste is no fun at all.

Toilet Tips When Traveling With A Cat

Now that you roughly know how long it can take for your cat to pee or poo, this info can make it easier when planning a trip together.

It is a lot easier if it is a road trip as you can get a portable litter box and let your cat use it.

Remember to bring along your cat’s usual cat litter and not dig up some dirt by the roadside.

Dirt doesn’t make good cat litter as it can contain contaminants and bacteria which can infect your cat.

It can get trickier if you are flying long-haul with your cat.

The best way to do it is to not feed your cat too much food or water before the flight to reduce the chance of using the toilet.

You can’t really toilet-train a cat like you can with a dog.

So the best that you can do is reduce or restrict food and water intake momentarily.

Different airlines have different requirements when traveling with cats so make sure to get the facts right before booking your ticket.

Leave a Comment