Why Do Cats Hide?

Expected read time: 3 min

Cats can fit into almost any space and are true ninjas when it comes to finding tight dark spaces in our homes that even we didn’t know exist.

Ever wonder why cats like to hide so much?

Cats hide in tight, surrounded spots like boxes, drawers, closets and even sinks because it makes them feel safe and even comfortable.

It’s their way of protecting themselves from potential threats while they take a relaxing nap.

Hiding Is Normal Cat Behaviour

It’s also a way for them to exercise their inherent predatory nature. Ever seen a video of one cat pouncing on another from inside a box?

Cats are hunters and ambushing their prey from a hidden spot is as natural as breathing.

For the most part, looking for spots to hide is just part of being a cat.

Hiding is normal cat behaviour and nothing you need to worry about if it’s something your cat does regularly.

And if your cat doesn’t like to hide, that’s ok too. Cats are like humans, not all of them enjoy the same things and some will hide more often than others.

Some cats will also look for hidden dark spots more during the winter or summer months, either looking for a warm, cosy place to nap or, in the summer, a dark, cool spot where they can enjoy a break from the sweltering summer heat.

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If your cat hides all the time and their behaviour is habitual, you shouldn’t pay much attention to it.

Just make sure their hiding spots are safe. To your cat, a dryer might seem like a perfectly safe and reasonable place to hide and take a nap, but luckily, you know better.

If you think their regular hiding spot might not be a safe one, build them a new one by DIYing a box or a basket or a sturdy high wall shelf to suit their hiding needs.

Cats are particularly fond of boxes since they only have one opening, they need to monitor and it’s not too big, so nothing can sneak up and attack them from the back.

A New Cat In A New Home

When you bring home a new cat for the first time, they will be suspicious of their new environment, since they don’t know what they’re up against.

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Setting up a cosy spot in a smaller room will help them adapt to the new environment without too much stress.

You should put all the cat essentials (food, water, litter box) in the room and leave the door open so that your new housemate can explore the rest of your home when they feel comfortable to do so.

What To Do If Your Cat Suddenly Starts To Hide

If your cat is social and doesn’t usually hide, but suddenly changes their behaviour, it’s something you should pay attention to.

If they start to hide in dark secluded corners something is bothering them and you should track your cat more closely.

Sudden hiding can often be the first symptom of fear or stress and sometimes even of a medical issue that needs to be resolved.

Is Your Cat Stressed or Afraid?

Small events like a loud family gathering or a trip to the vet or even just you feeling stressed can temporarily stress your kitty out.

Cats are predators, so they see the world as either a predator or prey.

If a cat feels threatened their first response is to avoid the threat by hiding from it. If there’s more than one cat (or even pet) in your household, one will always dominate the others.

Why is cat hiding chipolo pet finder 2 Why is cat hiding chipolo pet finder 2

If one of your cats is hiding, they might be bullied and are trying to avoid that.

Most often cats feel stressed because of a sudden change in their environment. Babies, new roommates, new pets, new furniture or a new home are all major stressors.

Cats run on instinct and usually Change = Bad.

Don’t force them to come out of their hiding place, but slowly coax them out with treats or a toy or better yet, let them decide when it’s safe to come out.

Stress-related hiding usually only happens for a short period of time and if it continues, it might be time to check for other possible causes.

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Is Your Cat Not Feeling Well?

Although stress is most likely the reason your cat suddenly starts to hide, the problem could also be medical.

If you can’t be 100% sure that the problem is just environmental stress, monitor your kitty in case anything in their behaviour is out of the ordinary.

Grey cat sleepy burak k Grey cat sleepy burak k

Keep a close eye on your cat’s drinking, eating and other bodily functions.

If you’re still not sure, a quick trip to the vet might be a good idea.

Check Your Cat For Fleas

Cats will try to hide from fleas.

Fleas will usually nest in cosy places like your cat’s bed or in the carpet underneath the furniture, where you don’t usually vacuum.

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If your cat is suddenly hiding on elevated surfaces like shelves, the top of your fridge or closet it’s time for a visit to the vet (and to do a thorough cleaning of your home).

Is Your Cat Pregnant?

If your cat isn’t spayed and is allowed to roam around outside, her new behaviour might mean that she is looking for a warm, safe space for her coming litter of kittens.

Cat with kittens freestocks org Cat with kittens freestocks org

A few days before giving birth, pregnant cats will set up a secure spot to give labour, most likely under the bed or your desk or inside your closet.

5 Popular Cat Hiding Places

Can’t find your cat?

The best way to find a lost cat is to start checking around their favourite hiding places. And if you're not sure where your cat might be hiding, start your search by checking these top 5 cat hiding places:

  • Boxes of any shape or size
  • Under or in your bed, under the covers
  • Laundry baskets
  • Closets and drawers
  • The sink

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