What does it mean when cats hide?

Cats enjoy hiding in objects like paper shopping bags and cardboard boxes. Even better, your cat would like to curl up behind a coffee table and chair. Why do cats enjoy hiding so much, and how can you give your cat safe places to do so?

What is the reason for cats hiding?

Cat hiding

Cats prefer to feel safe and comfortable, so they like to be in enclosed locations such as beneath furniture or within cardboard boxes. For a cat, hiding is a common behavior. It can have patterns, such as sheltering behind the water heaters or dryers during the winter. When a cat begins to hide considerably more frequently, there is cause for concern. A cat that regularly interacts with people but is now hiding more frequently could be unwell, agitated, fearful, or a combination of all three.

Make sure your cat is eating, drinking, and using the restroom properly before noticing any increased hiding behavior. If they're not feeling well, cats may begin to hide more, and any discomfort or pain that the cat may be experiencing may also have an impact on their nutritional and toilet habits. In cats, hiding more frequently due to a medical condition is regarded as a non-specific symptom. Therefore, if your cat hides because of a health issue, it could be brought on by a variety of illnesses. A comprehensive physical examination, together with testing like blood work and radiography, may help your veterinarian narrow down the cause.

The cat's unusual interest in concealing all the time may be a real behavioral worry if your veterinarian is unable to diagnose your cat with a medical condition. Cats frequently experience stress when their surroundings change. A cat can become stressed out by things like moving into a new house, bringing in new people or animals, or even a simple rearrangement of the furniture. In a household with numerous cats, it is quite conceivable for one cat to bully another cat, in which case the victim cat might be hiding out of fear that the bully cat would catch them in public. Intercat aggressiveness is the word used to describe this issue, which is actually rather prevalent in homes with many cats.

Strong thunderstorms or fireworks may cause your cat to hide out of pure fear because cats, like dogs, may suffer from noise phobias as well.

Your veterinarian might suggest anti-anxiety drugs like amitriptyline, clomipramine, and fluoxetine if the cat is hiding more frequently due to stress or fear. In times of extreme stress, like during vet appointments, thunderstorms, fireworks displays, or travel, medications like gabapentin can aid. However, drugs aren't a long-term fix, as they aren't for the majority of behavioral issues. Instead, they aid in your cat's stress relief as you both try to lessen the stressors. You may help your cat feel more at home by introducing pheromone diffusers like Feliway.

While you won't be able to smell this diffuser, the pheromone it emits may help soothe cats, so don't worry. Allow the cat to gradually become accustomed to guests in your home. A cat will become friends with a person who respects their personal and dwelling space much more rapidly, and they are going to be far less agitated if they aren't coerced into unwelcome cuddle sessions. Intercat aggressiveness is a more complex issue, and your veterinarian may recommend making adjustments to the layout of your home, such as installing cat shelves in high-traffic areas like corridors and adding more supplies, such as water and food bowls or litter boxes.

How to provide safe hideouts for your cat


Since concealing is a common behavior for cats, it's preferable to offer your cat safe places to hide rather than try to prevent it from doing so. They won't be able to conceal themselves in dangerous areas, such as under appliances or in the washer and dryer. Most cats enjoy being elevated above the ground. So creating cozy areas can be a seductive hiding place, such as a cat bed on a strong bookshelf or a cat tree in a built-in cube room.

Older cats may value low-lying hiding places since they may be arthritic even though they don't display it. This may involve cardboard boxes and scratcher houses created at home or in a factory, as well as their carriers. In fact, if you keep your cat's carrier out all the time and fill it with cozy bedding, it will be easier for you to take the cat to the vet. It will be simpler to put your cat in their carrier when they are ready to leave if they perceive it as a secure hiding place.

For your cat, hiding is a completely typical behavior. Really, the only time you should be concerned is when they hide more often or in dangerous places. Speak to your veterinarian for additional suggestions on how to design safe hiding places for your cat or for advice on when you ought to be worried about your cat's hiding.

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