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December 5, 2021 |0 min read

Why Is My Cat Hiding?

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Cats are peculiar creatures, and it seems like every time we think we have them figured out, they start a new odd behavior that has us scratching our heads. One of those behaviors is hiding, which is common for even outgoing indoor cats to do every now and then. 

But why is your cat hiding? And what can you do to help?

Here, we will learn about the reasons why your cat might be hiding and provide some tips and tricks to help them feel comfortable in their surroundings and hopefully hide less. 

6 Reasons Why Your Cat is Hiding

There could be countless reasons why your cat is hiding, from thunder outside to new visitors in the home. Here are some of the most common reasons why your cat might be hiding:

New Pets

If you introduce a new pet into the house, chances are that your resident cat will get a little spooked. This event is a huge development in their lives, and they may retreat to a hiding spot for comfort. Cats are very territorial, and it can take them months to completely warm up to new pets in the household.

New Guests

You might love having friends over, but your cat might feel otherwise. If your cat is hiding when you have guests over (especially new people), that’s completely normal. They’re feeling out the situation to see if they’re in danger and will hide until they feel comfortable enough to come out.  

They Got Startled

While some cats might be so brave they aren’t afraid of anything, others are total scaredy-cats and get startled by the smallest things. That could be the weather outside, a dog barking or a car backfiring, you getting up too quickly, or just because they're a fearful cat. There’s no telling what will startle certain cats. If you notice your cat gets startled by the same thing, try to eliminate the stressor as much as possible. 

It’s Comfortable

Sometimes, a cat isn't actually hiding but napping in their favorite spot! You might think they're hiding under the bed, but really they're taking a cat nap. Who's to blame a cat that enjoys a quiet, dark hiding place to curl up in?

They’re Nocturnal

Did you know that cats are somewhat nocturnal, meaning they rest during the day and are more active at night? This might be one of the reasons why your cat is hiding during the day. This behavior is natural for indoor cats and generally isn’t cause for concern. 

They’re Sick

Lastly, a sick cat might hide if he or she isn't feeling well. This is especially the case for cats that are normally active and start hiding all of a sudden. If you suspect that your cat is hiding due to injury or illness, contact your vet right away. Also, keep an eye out for changes in their eating and bathroom habits. Our catlitter offers a convenient way for you to monitor your cat’s health.

Why is My Cat Hiding All the Time?

There is a difference between a cat suddenly hiding for a short period if they’re scared and a cat who is always hiding.

If your cat is hiding for prolonged periods of time, there is likely something in their environment that’s stressing them out. This could be another pet, a human, or something else making them a stressed out catAs a cat owner, it’s important to understand what is causing your cat to hide so that you can fix the situation and make them more comfortable. 

If you notice that your cat’s behavior has changed and they are hiding more often and not coming out for food, water, or to use the litter box, contact your vet as there might be a bigger issue going on. 

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How to Stop a Cat From Hiding

Before we share some tips and tricks to help make your cat more comfortable, we want to start by saying that you may never be able to completely stop a cat from hiding. You can do everything you can to make a welcoming home, but hiding is one of our housecat’s evolutionary behaviors. You should have places for them to hide or sleep in peace and let them come out when they are comfortable. 

That being said, there are a few things you can do to help your cat if they are hiding a lot. 

Introduce New Pets Slowly

If you are going to introduce a new cat, do it slowly to get both pets used to their new roommate. Cat behaviorists recommend introducing a new feline friend one sense at a time. 

  • Before you put the two cats together completely, start by giving them each a toy or piece of clothing that you rubbed on the other cat so they can get used to their scent. 
  • Then, create a barrier so they can see each other but not touch each other (such as a playpen or baby gate). 
  • Lastly, introduce them together and supervise them to make sure both cats are safe. 
  • Create positive associations with each cat by rewarding them after spending time together. 

Let Your Cat Warm Up to Guests

Whether you have a temporary visitor or a new person living in your house, give your shy cat time to warm up to the new guest and never force the interaction. Cats learn by feeling out their surroundings and you should let them do this in their own time. Rushing the interaction will only make your cat more stressed and likely to hide. 

Create Safe Spaces for Your Cat

Wait, aren’t we providing tips on how to limit your cat hiding? And now we’re suggesting giving them more hiding spots? Well, yes. When a cat feels comfortable and has their own safe space to retreat to, they may feel more inclined to come out of a hiding spot and explore more. Have different spaces for your cat to feel safe, such as a cat tower, cubby, bed, or even a favorite cardboard box. This way, your cat has a healthy place to hide. 

In addition to creating safe spaces for your cat, also make sure that they always have an escape route. Cats hate to feel trapped, and if they feel like they can’t escape a situation, they won’t want to come out. 

Give Your Cat Everything They Need

If you have a fearful cat, make sure to give them everything they need in their little safe space so they don’t have to venture far and risk getting more nervous. Place food, a water bowl, and a litter box within reach of them so they don’t have to forego these important resources just because they are getting used to a new environment. You can also give them treats every time they come out to get a bite to eat or a drink of water to create positive reinforcement. 

Remove the Stressors

Sometimes, cats can get scared by the littlest things (such as a vacuum cleaner or a dog outside) and you can’t always control their triggers. But, if you notice that certain triggers stress your cat out and make them go to a hiding place, try to remove those triggers from your home as much as possible. 

Ask Your Vet

If your cat is still always hiding after trying these tips, contact your vet to make sure you don't have a sick cat or there isn’t a bigger issue at play. They may be able to recommend behavioral tricks or medicine for extra anxious or stressed kitties. 

Hiding is a natural behavior for indoor cats, but we also understand that you want to spend time with your feline friend and not have them hiding all day. Finding the right balance with your cat is important because it will make them feel supported and safe, while still giving you two time together. 

Sources

  1. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/cat-keeping-you-awake-how-manage-night-activity
  2. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/introducing-your-new-cat-resident-cats

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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