Extended or exclusively indoor trips (due to weather, most often) require alternative potty solutions. Read on to find out what our on the go toilet setups are for Gibson.
To this day we have not yet left Gibson (we really need a vacation); he's always come along for the ride on trips to visit our family within Ontario. The furtherest we have been with him so far is from Ottawa to Wheatley (or nearest to the most southern point in Canada).
1. Indoor Travel Alternative (Quick Trips): When we are going for a quick visit to a friends or possibly a day trip to an event that is inside and Gibson cannot "go" outside due to weather, we bring our Petsfit Portable Collapsible Cat Litter Box. Though it is not available for purchase right now, I have word from the company that this product will be in stock before the end of summer 2020. In the photo below, we went to the Pet Expo when Gibson wasn't yet trained/confident/comfortable to go outside. We used Naturally Fresh Quick-Clumping Cat Litter which is a litter made of walnuts shells because it's less weight for travel. This litter has also recently become our main litter because it's also a great clumping natural litter. While on the go, we'd fill a large ziplock bag full of litter and bring along a small litter scoop and poop bags for easy disposal of his waste. All we had to do is find a somewhat private space to quickly set up and he went!
2. Indoor Travel Alternatives (Extended Trips): When we have a longer trip ahead of us we will pack our Petmate® Top Entry Cat Litter Pan in the car and use it as his travel litter box (see photos below). We feel that this litter box makes less of a mess in the car as when he's "gone", he will jump up on top of the litter box and the litter will fall back into the litter pan. We also picked up this compact compost bin (green bin in photo below) which fit his poop bags PERFECTLY (purchased but seemingly no longer available at Canadian Tire) and threw in some Arm & Hammer Litter Deodorizer which helped to eliminate any smells as he goes and we drive (you can also buy the deodorizer at Dollerama, Walmart, or Canadian Tire) . We store the small litter scoop and poop bags in the glovebox so we could easily grab it to promptly clean up. Putting this litter box behind the passenger seat does not at all leave much space for your knees in the front (I am 5'3" and have about an inch of space). We do, however, plan to upgrade our vehicle in the next year or so which will give us more space for this type of travel. You could also put the litter pan on the seat and move the chair all the way back to help in preventing it from falling.
Helpful Tip - How Do You Know if Your Cat Needs to Pee or Poo?
Often people wonder how I know that he has to go. Always keep in mind that every cat is different so as you spend time learning your their behaviours as you are out and about, you might find that they react differently to the way Gibson does. When Gibson is with us and has to go he will seem more anxious than usual, pull the leash/harness, and is very adamant about getting off the backpack and frantically searches any nooks he finds (to find a place to go). If we are in a store, he will react the same way and pull me around the store searching in shelves, corners, etc. A few times I've noticed him digging away at the pet beds (we've even had a few very close calls of accidents happening on pet beds). The moment I notice this behaviour I scoop him up, put him in the backpack, and head outside to find a dirt, sand, or mulch spot so that he can release whatever he needs to! Upon searching the internet about signs in knowing whether or not your cat has to go, most information relates to litter box problems. We found this site to be a bit helpful in outlining that cats will dig, knead, assume the squatting position, or meow when they have to go. Alternatively, you can search Reddit or Quora to join forums and read on about other common cat behaviours related to indicating that they need to pee or poo. Knowing the warning signs of your cat and how they communicate this to you will help you in accommodating them as you are out exploring!
I hope that you enjoyed reading about how we adapt to potty breaks on the go! There is always more than one way to do things and as a community we are all here to help make one another stronger and more knowledgeable about the safety and well-being of our cats who explore beyond the house. We hope this post helped and inspired you to understand your cat or cat exploring better!
I'd love to hear about your setup or solutions to make it easier for your cats to "go" on the go. As always, feel free to message me on Instagram, email me, or drop a comment down below (just note that I cannot comment back but always read what you write).
xx Sarah & Gibson