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How Long Can Cats Hold Their Pee?

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

a stray cat lying on a sidewalk

Our cats have no real way of communicating to us when they need to use the restroom—training them to use the litter box only goes so far. Unfortunately, there are times when their litter box is so dirty that they don’t want to use it, or they may feel ill and have accidents.

Those of us that allow our pets outdoors might even let our cats outside to use the bathroom instead of keeping a litter box in the house. Regardless of the situation, it is valuable information as a pet owner to know how long your cat can hold their bladder.

How Long Can Cats Hold Their Pee?

Most cats can hold their pee in for a surprisingly long time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they should. How long cats hold their bladders will also depend on the situation that they’re in. If your cat feels ill, they might go as long as 24 to 48 hours without using the bathroom. However, dangerous toxins start to accumulate inside the body after 24 hours and could make them feel worse. In general, healthy cats should be using the bathroom 1–3 times per day.

Why Isn’t Your Cat Peeing as Often as Usual?

Cats can sometimes hold their pee in for a long time. This doesn’t mean that they should, though. Holding their pee might mean that they’re sick.

siberian cat indoor_Joanna Gawlica-Giędłek_Pixabay
Image Credit: Joanna Gawlica-Giędłek, Pixabay

1. Cystitis

If your cat isn’t using the bathroom regularly, it could be a sign of cystitis. Cystitis is a health problem that causes the bladder to become inflamed and makes peeing more difficult. Cystitis is often caused by abnormal pH levels or a bacterial infection that creates crystals in the urinary tract and hinders urine flow. It can also be uncomfortable and sometimes painful for your pet, especially if it goes untreated.

2. Stress

Cats are highly sensitive animals. Even the most minor changes in their environment can trigger stress and change their behaviors. Stress can trigger all sorts of changes in a cat’s body, including their urinary habits. If your cat isn’t using the litter box all that much, they might be holding it in or using somewhere else in the house as their bathroom. The best thing you can do is find the source of their stress and eliminate it as soon as possible. Keep a very close eye on cats during this time and contact your vet if you’re concerned about their health.


Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is an umbrella term that can include multiple conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urinating habits. This disease can happen at any age, although it is more common for middle-aged or overweight cats. Cats that use an indoor litter box or eat dry food exclusively are also at higher risk. Signs of FLUTD include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination
  • Urination in inappropriate places
  • Painful urination
  • Small volumes of urine

The most common cause of FLUTD is cystitis, although other common causes include urinary tract infections and bladder stones.

sick grey cat
Image By: one photo, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

A cat might be able to go up to 48 hours without peeing, but we need to be careful that there isn’t a deeper reason for this behavior. With that said, make sure that your cat has constant access to a clean litter box.

Healthy cats should be peeing one or two times per day and, as always, it is best to reach out to your vet whenever you have a concern about their behavior or routine. You don’t usually have to worry about cats not having access to a bathroom, so it isn’t a concern when you go to work or stay overnight at a friend’s house. Still, their urination habits are an important factor in their health and something that we need to pay attention to.

Featured Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

Hallie Roddy

Authored by

Hallie has been a proud nature and animal enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She attributes her passion for the environment and all its creatures to her childhood when she was showing horses on weekends and spending her weeknights devoting her attention to her pets. She enjoys spending most of her time in Michigan playing with her two rescue cats, Chewbacca and Lena, and her dog, Clayton. When Hallie isn’t usin...Read more

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