Should I Put a Pee Pad in My Cat’s Carrier?


  • Use pee pads in cat carriers when traveling to absorb accidents and protect the carrier, especially for soft carriers.
  • Dry fur pads are an excellent option since they fully absorb moisture and dry instantly to keep cats comfortable.
  • Repeat peeing may signal anxiety about travel. Consult your vet about reducing travel stress.
  • Add blankets, food, water, litter box, and calming pheromones to make the carrier comforting.
  • For cleaning accidents, hose out hard carriers and wipe down soft carriers. Bring diluted vinegar or baking soda to freshen on the road.
  • Thoroughly clean soiled carriers when home using pet-safe cleaners and replace any absorbent pads.
Photo via Hideto KOBAYASHI (CC BY-SA 4.0)

You should always line the carrier with something when taking your cat on a trip. I’ve learned quite a few tricks for how to optimally set up a cat carrier when traveling with my Maine Coon cat, Chelle, over the years.

What to Know About Pee Pads in Your Cat’s Carrier

I really like these Basic pee pads in bulk!

A pee pad offers defense against wet messes. The truth is that you can’t always predict when your cat will need to go to the bathroom while traveling. A pee pad acts as an absorbent barrier between your cat’s waste and the carrier.

Pee pads also add protection in the event that all of the movement and stress of travel cause your cat to vomit. It’s actually common for cats to get a queasy stomach when traveling in the car, by air, or by boat.

My personal recommendation is to use pee pads when transporting your cat in both soft and hard carriers. The obvious benefit here is that wetness is being absorbed instead of sticking to your cat.

Pee pads are especially essential with soft carriers because they prevent the materials from becoming soaked. However, they also do a decent job of keeping the interior of a hard carrier dry.

What is a Dry Fur Pad?

A dry fur pad is the ultimate hack when traveling with a cat. The problem with traditional pee pads is that they need to be disposed of pretty quickly after they’ve been soiled.

While they do a decent job of absorbing wetness, moisture definitely lingers on them. That means your poor cat has to deal with getting soaked. This isn’t the case with a dry fur pad.

A dry fur pad is a thick, ultra-absorbent pad that dries instantly after coming into contact with moisture. It locks all moisture away from your cat.

Unlike a papery pee pad, a dry fur pad has a thick, air-cushioned design that provides a soft and stable surface for standing, sitting, and turning around. These pads even keep cats insulated from heat and cold.

Repeat Offenders

I want to get into cat psychology next. Cats generally don’t want to “go” outside of their traditional litter boxes. This is why your cat is very likely to only use a pee pad if she really has to go.

If you’re noticing that your cat is repeatedly peeing on a pee pad, this means your cat is associating the pad with going. Anxiety is probably the cause. My recommendation is to talk with your vet about how to reduce anxiety while traveling.

Other Things to Put in a Cat Carrier for Extra Comfort

  • Try to make a cat carrier as welcoming as possible for your cat. Putting down a towel or blanket can make the interior feel soft and safe.
  • Making food and water available inside the carrier can also help your cat to feel at ease.
  • I personally always use a cat carrier and litter box combo simply because lack of access to a box can heighten anxiety in a cat.
  • If your cat has high anxiety, consider using calming pheromones. Available as sprays and diffusers, calming pheromones for cats work by emulating the natural pheromones released by a mother cat to calm her kittens. This comfort and reassurance reduces stress-response behaviors in cats. I like the brand Feliway.
  • Don’t forget that you can always slip your hand into the carrier during the plane ride to provide some one-on-one comfort!

Cat Peed in Carrier, How Do You Clean It?

A fast cleanup on the road looks different based on whether you have a hard carrier or soft carrier.

With a hard carrier, I recommend a “hose down” method that entails simply washing out the entire interior with any water source you can get.

With a soft carrier, you’ll need to do a manual wipe-down and maybe purchase a new cushion from the manufacturer.

Cleaning a Cat Carrier in the Car

If you’re traveling with a carrier by car, I recommend having a bottle of diluted vinegar with you that can be used to spray down the interior of your carrier without a fear about using chemicals next to your cat.

Using a water bottle, simply “wet and scrub” until the interior appears to be clean.

Cleaning a Cat Carrier on Plane

If your cat soaks the carrier while you’re flying, I recommend bringing the carrier into the bathroom to wipe it down.

One smart hack is to carry some baking soda with you on the plane that you can sprinkle all throughout the interior of a soft cat carrier to neutralize odor and wetness.

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