Let’s face it, traveling with your cat can be stressful. Between new environments, new people, and the worries and anxieties that come with being on the road or in the air, the last thing pet parents need to worry about is where your cat is going to go to the bathroom.
A travel litter box can help take some of the stress of traveling with your cat away. But what are some good options that are portable, easy to clean, and effective? We’ve rounded up six of the best travel litter boxes, plus provided some guidance for pet parents on what to look for when making your choice.
What Is a Travel Litter Box?
Cat travel litter boxes are usually smaller and more lightweight than the ones you use at home. They’re designed to be easy enough to transport so that you can bring them along on your road trip, vacations, or air travel. If you’re taking your cat on a long trip, you’ll need to think about how and where they’ll be able to go to the bathroom—and bringing along a travel litter box for cats, plus some cat litter, can help keep things as familiar and stress-free for your cat as possible.
“If your cat is going to be traveling with you for more than a few hours, it’s a good idea to have a litter tray available to them,” says LeeAnna Buis, certified feline training and behavior consultant from Feline Behavior Solutions. “While cats can ‘hold it’ for quite a while, it’s not necessarily healthy or comfortable and can add stress to what may already be a stressful situation.”
Types of Travel Cat Litter Boxes
You’ll find a few different types of portable litter boxes available, with the main types being:
- Foldable fabric litter boxes
- Disposable travel litter boxes
- Cat travel carriers with a litter box
The type you choose will depend on your needs, and you might find that you’ll want different types of portable litter boxes for different types of trips. We’ll take a closer look at what to consider when choosing which travel litter box will suit your cat in our Buyer’s Guide, but for now, let’s move on to our favorite options.
6 Best Travel Litter Box Picks
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Best Overall Travel Litter Box
Our Pick: IRIS Travel Litter Pan
This lightweight travel litter pan is an excellent choice if you travel a lot with your cat. It’s made from a tough canvas material with an interior lining of waterproof PVC to help contain any leaks. With a circular shape, this can fit easily into the footwell of most cars, while the zippable top contains any litter while you’re on the move so it’s easy to set this up again when you get to your next destination. When not in use, this folds easily for storage.
- Great value for the money
- Leak-resistant coating
- Durable canvas material
- Washable with soap and warm water
Things to Consider
- Material may tear over time
Best Covered Travel Litter Box
Our Pick: PetSafe Disposable Cat Litter Box
If your cat prefers a covered litter box, this cardboard version is a convenient alternative when you’re on the move. The wax coating is designed to withstand leaks, and should be good for up to one week of use. This litter box also comes complete with eight disposable scoops. When not in use, this can be collapsed down flat and then popped back up again. The raised entrance hole does a good job of keeping the litter inside, too.
- Compact, collapsible design
- Includes disposable scoops
- Good at containing odors
Things to Consider
- May be too small for large breed cats
Best Flat Fold Portable Litter Box
Our Pick: Necoichi Portable Cat Litter Box
This bestselling portable litter tray has sides that can be folded down and snapped shut when not in use. The seamless, waterproof liner does a great job of containing your cat’s mess and it is also easy to clean with warm water and soap. This box is deep enough to contain litter, but larger cats may find it a little small as it only measures 15 x 11 inches. You’ll also need to empty the litter out before you set off, as it doesn’t have a lid.
- Deep sides
- Folds flat, making it easy to pack
- Plenty of great reviews
- Waterproof liner
Things to Consider
- Can’t leave litter in it when traveling
- May be small for large cats
Best Travel Litter Box for Large Cats
Our Pick: HiCaptain Travel Cat Litter Box
If you’ve got a large breed cat or are traveling with multiple cats then you’ll probably be looking for a larger portable cat litter tray. Measuring 15.4 x 19.3 inches, this foldable litter tray is a great option. It folds down when not in use and comes complete with a small scoop and a silicone collapsible water bowl. The handle and zipped lid mean you can close this up complete with litter inside, and easily carry it to your car.
- Waterproof liner
Things to Consider:
- Can be hard to refold once opened
Best Cat Carrier With Portable Litter Box
If you’re going on a long road trip with your cat, this large carrier can be placed on the back seats of your car and gives your cat plenty of room to move around. When you stop for a toilet break, slide the matching, collapsible litter box inside. When not in use, the litter tray can be folded and placed in the large storage pocket on the side of the carrier. The carrier has buckles and loops to attach to car safety belts.
- Waterproof lining
- Great for long journeys
- Choose from two colors
- Great as a carrier and a travel litter box
Things to Consider
Best Disposable Travel Litter Box
Our Pick: Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box
These disposable, cardboard litter boxes are a great option if you don’t like the idea of having to fold up and wash a litter box each time you and your cat travel. Made with recycled paper, these trays are hardwearing, waterproof, and tough enough to withstand your cat’s claws! When you’re done with the tray, simply put it and the litter in the garbage. The only downside is that the sides are quite low so some cats will kick their litter out.
- Great value for money
- Use for up to four weeks
- Made in the USA
- Made of recycled material
Things to Consider:
- Sides are quite low
- Not the most environmentally friendly option
Portable Cat Litter Box: Buyer’s Guide
Once you’re starting to plan your trip, you’ll want to choose the right kind of travel kitty litter box to suit your requirements. Here’s a little more detail about the types of travel litter boxes you’ll find.
Foldable Fabric Litter Box
These boxes fold down into a small size and can then ‘pop-up’ when you need them. Sometimes they come with a lid so you can zip the litter inside the box for mess-free transport. They’re washable and usually have a waterproof lining.
Disposable Travel Litter Box
Designed for occasional use, disposable cat litter boxes are usually made from cardboard which may be coated with a waterproof coating. After a few uses, you can throw the box away and start using a fresh one. Some disposable boxes have a lid which may suit some cats better than an open box.
Cat Travel Carrier With Litter Boxes
Some cats will prefer the security of a covered portable litter box, in which case a carrier that incorporates a litter box could be your best bet. These are also more secure as you can keep your cat contained within the carrier while you are on the move.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Travel Litter Box
When you are researching different portable cat litter boxes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some things to consider before making a purchase.
Determine how you’ll use the box. Different types of travel litter boxes may not be ideal for all situations. If you are going for a quick day trip or a short drive, a disposable box may be the quickest, cheapest, and easiest option. But if you are flying or going on a longer trip, investing in a more sustainable option or a cat carrier that also comes with a travel litter box is likely a better choice.
Take measurements and consider the size. If you have a large cat breed, make sure to double check the measurements of a travel litter box to ensure your cat will be comfortable using it. Measurements will also help determine if the box will fit in your luggage or easily in storage in your cat or an overhead compartment.
Check cleaning instructions. Before buying, make sure the travel litter box you want is easy to clean. Many portable cat litter boxes can be cleaned using soap and water.
Traveling With a Litter Box: Tips and Advice
Before you leave on your trip, consider how and when you’re going to give your cat access to their litter box. “If you’re traveling in a vehicle, stop every so often and give your cat a chance to use the litter box while the car isn’t moving,” says LeAnn Buis. “All that jostling about may deter them from using their box.”
You’ll probably want to offer your cat the chance to use their litter box every 4 hours or so, although Buis also says not to be surprised if your cat won’t use the litter tray—especially if they are anxious. “It’s common for cats to go many hours without eliminating if they’re stressed out,” she says. “You may have better luck when you settle into a hotel for the night, once they’ve had a chance to calm down.”
Make sure you clean out your cat’s litter box as often as possible. If you’re on a long trip, you may decide to bring two washable litter boxes so there’s always one ready for use while the other dries. Using a litter box liner is another option, which means you shouldn’t need to wash out the box. If you’re using a disposable box you can simply put it in the garbage before you leave and use another fresh one at your next stop. Remember to bring enough cat litter, or make sure you can buy some along the way.
If you’re letting your cat out of their carrier to use their litter box and you’re not somewhere secure like a hotel room, make sure your cat is wearing a harness and a leash. You can also consider purchasing a carrier that’s large enough to slot a litter tray inside, for some extra security.
With a little forward planning, traveling with your cat can be a lot of fun. Choosing a travel litter box ahead of time means you’ll both be prepared when it’s time for those inevitable bathroom breaks!