Traveling with cats can be a breeze or a nightmare, depending largely on your cat’s temperament. Some are highly stressed by being out of their usual environment, while others enjoy the opportunity to look out the window and explore hotel rooms. Whether your cat is a happy traveler or a miserable one, there are times when you have no option other than packing up your pet and getting from one place to another.
And you’re going to have to deal with the litter box.
Don’t panic, though. We've rounded up some great travel litter box solutions for the next time you are traveling with cats. Let’s take a look and examine strategies for success.
Traveling with Cats: Litter box solutions for cats on the go
1. Portable litter box
There are a number of portable litter boxes on the market that feature space-saving, easy-to-clean designs. Some fold flat for easy storage and transportation, allowing you to set up and break down the litter station quickly and easily. Before you go with one of these options, make sure to do your homework. Some boxes are hand wash only, while others are machine washable. Portable litter boxes also tend to be small, so if you have a large cat, multiple cats, or even just a single cat who prefers a spacious box, portable options may not be right for you.
2. Disposable litter box
You can purchase single-use boxes that totally simplify cleanup. Available in biodegradable cardboard or thin plastic, these boxes are perfect for short duration travel. Again, the boxes tend to be small, so check the dimensions before you buy. Also, the biodegradable boxes may leak if your cat urinates frequently, so you may need to line the box with plastic or place a plastic barrier beneath the box to avoid soiling the floor underneath.
3. Self-cleaning litter box
If space is no object in your travels, then the easiest solution is a self-cleaning box that both controls odor and keeps your cat comfortable with his or her current setup. It may be bulky to load and unload each evening, but you can't beat the simplicity of not having to scoop or wash it out when you need to pack up and hit the road.
4. DIY litter box
Some people prefer a makeshift solution, like a beer flat lined with plastic and filled with litter. Plastic storage containers can work in a pinch as well. The downside is that cardboard boxes can easily leak and once a plastic container is used for a litter box, it is not fit for any other use. Cheap? Yes. Ideal? No.
5. New traditional litter box
The ideal solution may be a brand new plastic litter box in a style and size that your cat is accustomed to. Supplies can be stored in the clean box for transportation, and since the box is new, it’s easy to wash out each morning before departure (or slip into a large garbage bag). A new litter box is less likely to harbor bacteria. If you pick a style of litter box your cat already likes, you'll increase the chances success.
Increase your chances of success when traveling with cats
If your destination is a home rather than a hotel room, consider confining your cat to just one or two rooms to reduce the chance that your cat forgets where you've placed the litter box.
It’s normal for cats on the go to eat and drink a little less than usual, even if you’re on the road for several days. Don’t be concerned if your cat’s “output” is less than what you’re used to at home.
In addition, many healthy cats will choose to wait until the evening to use the litter box, even if one is available in the vehicle during the day. Just make sure the litter box is the first thing you set up upon arrival!
While your pet may be happiest if you and your comfortable lap just stayed put, there are times when you have to (or choose to) take your cat along for a road trip. Understanding your travel litter box options can make the ride much easier for you and your cat.