How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Carrier? Is It Okay?

Road trips are great for you and your pet. But cats are not really into long-distance drives. Cats are the kind of pets that don’t look forward to getting in their carriers.

Responsible pet owners always strive to provide a relaxing environment for their pets. Being in the carrier can cause anxiety and stress to cats.

How long can a cat stay inside the carrier?

As there is no definite time limit as to how long cats can stay inside their carrier, it is best not to leave your furry friend for more than 6 hours inside the carrier. Some studies show that they are fine for up to 8 to 10 hours inside the carrier, but short breaks are generally advised.

In a long drive, stopovers to take out your pet from the carrier will let them stretch, drink water, nibble some treats, and breathe fresh air. These short breaks are also the best time to reassure your cat that the destination is not that long and that you are with them in the entire journey. You can also hand in a treat and give your feline friend words of praise for a job well done inside the carrier.

Is it okay for a cat to stay in a carrier for a long time

Is it okay for a cat to stay in a carrier for a long time?

Some cats can tolerate being in the carrier for a long time, as long as they have access to food. Another concern for a long-term stay in the carrier is their need for space to stretch, pee, and poo.

There is no specific time limit as to how long each cat should stay in the carrier. But you should note that it is not ideal for cats to be confined in a very fitting and tiny carrier for a long time. In general, it is okay for them to stay in the carrier for a long time as long as they are relaxed and comfortable inside.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Lay on My Chest? 5 Reasons Why!

Can I leave my cat in the carrier overnight?

It is not best to leave your cat in the carrier overnight. Carriers are not ideal for them to spend a night on. If you have the luxury of space, it is better to invest in a giant cage.

A more spacious pen while traveling can accommodate water, food, and some area for stretching. Aside from that, your cat will not feel too constricted.

While some cats tolerate being in a carrier for long periods, keeping them in a carrier overnight can cause some trauma to your cat. If you cannot avoid it, make sure that your cat can access air, food, and water.

Responsible cat owners who have no choice maximally let their cat be inside the carrier for a single night. A temporary housing unit like a carrier is not suitable as a long-term living space for kittens and adult cats alike.

What to look for in a cat carrier?

There are a lot of cat carriers in the market today. Getting the best one can be a handful, especially if you do not know what to look for in a carrier. Consider these things before getting your cat a temporary home while traveling:

Security – one of the most common concerns of cat owners, is how secure the carrier is. It is essential to have a carrier that is well-secured during car and plane rides. Cats can be sneaky, so choose a carrier that will give you the option to have a two-step locking process.

Durability – the choice of hard and soft carriers depends on how you will use it and how often you travel. It is more vital to check on how durable the carrier is to resist bumpy roads and turbulence. Soft-sided carriers are available, but some opt for the hard-sided ones for plane travel.

Comfort – standard sizes for different cats will help you choose which carrier is the best for your feline friend. Ponder on if your cat will be comfortable and relaxed with space and size.

What to look for in a cat carrier

How can I get my cat in the carrier?

Getting your cat in the carrier can be a battle, especially if it is their first time inside. Be sure to let your pet be familiar with the carrier before the day of travel so it will be less anxious. Here are a few tips to get your cat inside:

  • Let your cat explore the carrier days or weeks before the trip.
  • Bring your cat’s favorite toy.
  • Reassure your cat that you are with them when you try to get them inside.
  • Bring their favorite treat and give a piece or two when they get inside.
  • You can use pheromone sprays to make the carrier seem like familiar territory for your cat.

Read: How to Get an Aggressive Cat into a Carrier?

Should my cat still be in the carrier after we have arrived at our destination?

Once you have arrived at your destination, take the carrier out first from the parked car. While some cats have a hard time recuperating from the travel, some cats move quickly and adapt well.

If the place is new and unfamiliar, they will have doubts about going out at first. Let them come out on their own time with the carrier’s door open, but be sure that the carrier is in a safe place inside your destination.

How can I get my cat out of the carrier?

The first and one of the most important things to do when you try to get your cat out of the carrier is to make sure the car is parked well. Some cats get aggressive the entire ride, and the sound of the carrier being opened will trigger them to jump out right away. Most of them are not leashed inside, so it is better to let your cat get out of the carrier in a safe and parked car.

Do not stress your cat to get out of the carrier. Some carriers have a removable top, which is ideal for cats who do not like to get out of the carrier after a long ride. Gently remove the covering or the carrier’s door and let your cat come out on its own.

Make sure you have treats and some drinks for your cat. The litter box beside the carrier is also helpful as some cats have held their pee or poo while on the ride.

Is my cat going to have motion sickness inside the carrier?

Motion sickness can happen with your cat inside the carrier. If the car ride is extended or if the route is long and winding, they can get pretty sick with traveling. It is also caused by stress and anxiety while being inside the carrier. The common symptoms of motion sickness in cats include vomiting, excessive vocalization, restlessness, excessive drooling, and lethargy.

Is my cat going to have motion sickness inside the carrier

How can I keep my cat comfortable on long-distance car rides?

Cat parents are always on the hunt for tips that will make long-distance car rides comfortable for their pets.

Cats can quickly become sick and preventing this is way better than treating your pet in the middle of the road. Here are a few tricks to make each trip less stressful:

  • Prepare your cat before traveling. Let your pet become familiar with the carrier and let them explore the ins and outs of the unit. You can place it beside your pet’s bed days or weeks before the trip.
  • On the day of the trip, give your cat a small meal. A small amount of food will reduce the chances of your cat getting an upset stomach on the ride.
  • Line the bottom of the carrier with a blanket. This piece of cloth is useful when the trip is at night or during cold days.
  • Get a breathable and comfortable carrier. Carriers can become a big deal, especially if you have the wrong one on a long ride. Cats can bother you with their constant cries. Make sure the carrier is spacious enough inside.
  • Keep your cat company with their favorite toy. You can bring one or two toys, so it won’t be too crowded inside the unit.
  • Make sure to take breaks on a long-distance trip. As a pet owner, this will let you check on your pet, and it will also keep them relaxed. Let them stretch, breathe, and take a treat or two for being still on the journey.


While there is no strict time on how long can a cat stay in a carrier, it is essential not to leave your cat inside the unit for an extended period. Traveling can be uncomfortable for them, and being confined in a tiny space can make them anxious and stressed.

Having the right carrier is a blessing your cat will thank you for. It is their mini space for the ride and knowing that they are comfortable inside is enough for a cat parent to be at ease while being on the road.

Popular Guides