Cats are a mysterious and ever-entertaining pet. They are notorious for sitting in boxes, finding high perches, and hiding in odd places. Why do they do the things they do?
Cats hide because it makes them feel safe, keeps them warm, and allows them to rest easy, knowing they are protected from external dangers. Cats may also hide to give birth, or if they are seriously ill or scared.
If your cat is hiding, it could be a natural habit she uses to rest and relax, but it could also be a dangerous sign of something more. Find out why cats hide in this article.
Table of Contents
They Are Scared
When it comes to hiding, there are also perfectly logical explanations. Cats are innate hunters, and in the wild, they are formidable predators against smaller creatures. However, cats must also be on high alert as they are not at the top of the food chain. Other, more viscous, or perhaps hungry, predators can hunt cats; house cats are both predator and prey in the outdoors.
Coyotes, raccoons, dogs, and large birds of prey can all be a deadly threat to a cat. If a cat needs to rest outdoors, she won’t do so in the open unless she feels completely safe. If you’ve ever seen a cat lounging on a patch of warm pavement or lolling about on a doorstep, you can bet that cat is sure there are no predators around. If any perceived dangers arose, the feline would most definitely have a nearby hiding place already picked out.
If a cat is hiding in your home, it could mean that there is some nearby ‘danger,’ or, by extension, something she doesn’t like in the house. Your cat may hide when new people come over, or perhaps only when certain people come over. If you get deliveries to your home, your cat might take shelter at the sight of the odd person approaching. Garbage day could also be a time of contention for your cat.
Essentially anything that makes your cat uncomfortable could cause her to run and hide. This isn’t too much to worry about unless your cat hides for extended periods. If you notice that your cat has been hiding for days on end, she may be traumatized from a specific event. You should discuss options to lower the stress in her environment with your vet if this occurs.
They Want To Take a Nap
Another reason your cat could be hiding is simply to get some undisturbed rest. These animals sleep an average of 15 hours per day, and if they don’t get enough rest, they can be cranky and volatile. If something in your home prevents her from getting the amount of sleep she needs and wants, she may take to hiding away to catch some Zs.
Things that may prevent your cat from sleeping include:
- Loud noises like the blender or vacuum
- Children playing loudly or running around
- People disturbing her by touching and petting
- Sudden sounds from a dramatic movie or surround sound
- Nearby traffic or sirens
- Company coming over or a party
If any of these things occur and your cat runs to take shelter under the bed, don’t be offended. She is simply finding a safe place where she can sleep uninterrupted.
They Need To Keep Warm
Another reason why cats hide and seek out small spaces is that they love to be warm. Cats have a higher resting body temperature than humans do, and therefore cold temperatures affect them more. Your cat may take to hiding more during winter or at night, especially if you keep your house cool. She may seek a fluffy location like a nest of fresh laundry or a carpeted spot under the bed that will keep her body heat trapped.
You can likely coax your cat out from its hiding place if you create a ‘warm zone’ for your kitty to rest. A hooded cat bed like the Winsterch Warming Cat Bed makes a cozy shelter for your pet. Place this near a fireplace or space heater, and your cat will likely prefer to hang out in its bed than seek out the pile of clothes in your closet.
They Are Sick
If your cat is not a regular hider but has suddenly disappeared under your bed for days on end, it could be a sign that she is unwell. Cats hide when they’re sick to preserve their energy and rest up in a safe place where they aren’t also at risk from a predator. Your cat could have caught a kitty-cold or the flu, or it could be the signs of more serious health development.
Keep an eye on your cat’s behavior throughout the day. You can move their food and water to nearby their hiding place to make it easier for them to eat. If you notice your cat has left the two bowls untouched for a few days, it’s time to call the vet.
They Are About To Give Birth
Cats also take shelter to give birth to their kittens. Many people have found community cats hiding under their raised homes or porches, surrounded by a mess of mewling kittens. Felines hide in these enclosed areas to protect their young, providing them with a safe place to develop for the first few weeks of their vulnerable lives.
If your cat has been out of sight for a few weeks, she may have run away, but it’s also possible that she is hiding out somewhere nursing a posse of kittens that she recently gave birth to. If your cat is not spayed, be sure to keep this option in consideration, and ask your neighbors to check any secure areas they have where a cat might hide to give birth.
Why Do Cats Hide From Their Owners?
Cats may hide from their owners if the owner is doing something the cat doesn’t like. For instance, if you are using a noisy appliance like a blow dryer or a blender, then your cat may run from you. They may also hide from you if you suddenly appear different– say, wearing a Halloween costume or face mask.
Cats may also hide from their owners if they have recently been traumatized. The trauma could be something simple like you scared your cat by accident, or it could be a larger event. If your cat was recently spayed or neutered, they might hide from you, thinking that you’ll bring them back to the vet for another hated procedure. If your cat has to take medicine or you give her any sort of shot, she may also hide from you to avoid the necessary interaction.
Where Do Cats Like To Hide?
Cats like to hide in small spaces that are warm and dark. Since cats see very well in the dark, a dim room would be a safe space they would have the defensive advantage. Cats also like to hide in warm spaces as they are comfortable. Small spaces with enclosed or nearly enclosed walls are also a favorite of cats. The surrounding walls create fewer directions from which a predator may catch them by surprise.
How To Get Your Cat Out From a Hiding Place
If your cat has been hiding for an extended period, or if you suspect your cat is ill, then you’ll want to coax them out of their hiding place to check on them. The best way to do this will depend on your cat and her preferences, but here are tactics you can try:
- Tempt her with her favorite treat
- Make sure the house is quiet
- Ask all other family members and guests to leave
- Call her name gently
- Get close to her but give her space
- Sit with her in the quiet for a while
Cats hide for many reasons, some of which are completely normal, and some can signify something more dangerous. Your cat may be hiding because she wants some space to sleep and hide away from high traffic areas in the home, or she could be avoiding you because you need to give her medication.
Cats may also hide because they are ill or about to give birth. If your cat has been hiding for days on end, watch to see if she is still eating and drinking. If she isn’t, you should consult with your vet.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.