Why Do Cats Hide from Their Owners? Plus 6 Common Hiding Places

Breathe! It’s not something you did. Staying true to the wonderfully strange nature of our feline friends, your cat is probably a hider. But why do cats hide from their owners? We’ve got all the answers you need.

It’s never a nice feeling not knowing where your pet is. For dogs, it’s the same feeling you get with kids: something is just a little too quiet around here. For cats, on the other hand, their silence is not unusual which makes it even more worrying when we can’t figure out where in the world they are.

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If you’ve found yourself here because your cat is hiding – you can relax, you haven’t lost your mind, and your cat doesn’t hate you. Think about how cats would have to survive in the wild. Whilst they’re master sleuths and great at pouncing on small rodents, they’re a very easy target for larger animals both on the ground and in the sky.

Felines are instinctively inclined to be hiders. So, if you happen to keep finding your kitty in your bathroom cupboards, under beds and behind pot plants, it may not be an immediate cause for alarm.

However, it could be an indication of underlying feelings, fears, or illnesses and this is what we’re going to chat more about!

Why do cats hide from their owners?

Like we mentioned above, the number one reason cats like to hide is to feel safe. You’ll probably have noticed this behaviour in your own cat – they scurry at every noise, scrape, doorbell, and squeak. So mostly, your cat is hiding as a reaction to stress and any changes in their environment, even ones that aren’t a threat to them: guests in the home, the doorbell, a dropped pan etc.

Another reason your cat could be hiding is to keep these lovely yellow eyes on their environment. In the wild, cats are tree creatures. They like to have a good vantage point of their surroundings and if you find your cat hiding in high places it’s likely they just feel more comfortable when they can check out the scenes below.

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Because cats like to find a chill spot that gives them both comfort and security, they’ll often choose something that is enclosed but still has an escape route or vantage point. If you’re ever doing a search for your cat, make sure to tick these locations off your list!

The cupboard

If they’re here, you definitely shouldn’t be taking their hiding as anything against you. Cats tend to retreat to their owners closest when they’re feeling stressed out because it’s warm, dark, secure and hey! It smells like you too.

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Under the furniture

Some cats like to go high, and some like to go low. Make sure to check underneath any couches, beds or tables. Cats like being underneath furniture because they are out of sight and usually have multiple points of exit.

Inside any boxes

Sometimes cats just love to be in a box, what can we say. Cardboard ones seem to be the most favoured. They enjoy the confined, warm space and the privacy it provides.

The car

It is better to be safe than sorry so if you have a weird feeling about where your cat may be, always give your tires, engine, and underbelly of your car a check for a sleeping cat. This is more common for stray or outdoor cats but a good thing to know, nonetheless.

Could something be wrong?

As always, nobody knows your cat as well as you do.

Cats are known to become distant and withdrawn when they’re ill and also when they know that they’re dying. Track your cat’s hiding habits and know when they start to change. Perhaps they become more frequent, longer or they become more difficult to find.

Knowing your cat’s personality and hiding behaviours will help you know whether or not their hiding problem is something to be concerned about. Obviously, you should consult your vet if you feel something is out of the ordinary and make sure your cat is getting routine care to monitor her health.

A new cat in the home

Firstly, yay! Secondly, here’s a quick tip on getting a cat hiding under control when you have a new cat in the home. Set up a small space for them to get accustomed to before introducing them to the whole home like a bathroom or scullery. Have all the essentials prepared like a litter box, food, water, and some cool things for them to do!

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You’ll probably find them getting into nooks in the small space! Then, once they’ve settled in you can leave the door ajar and let them wander as they please. Enjoy your weird and wonderful searches for your cat – it’s one of the many quirks of being a cat-parent.

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