Why Does My Cat Hide In The Weirdest Places?

Ever notice a pair of eyes staring at you from the back of your closet? 👀

cat hiding places

If you’re a pet parent and you often find yourself wondering, “Where the heck is my cat?!” you’re not alone.

And if you eventually find her curled up and staring at you while she’s wedged behind the TV, you’re STILL not alone.

Cats love hiding, so it’s kind of inevitable they always end up in the weirdest places.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, to find out just why it's such a common cat behavior to prefer those cramped, dark spaces.

Why do cats hide?

Plain and simple, a lot of the time cats just want some time to themselves.

“All cats ... like time and space alone to decompress,” Dr. Spano told The Dodo.

But sometimes, your cat might be hiding because she’s actually afraid of something — or someone — around her. It could even be more serious than just feeling spooked.

“Cats with fear and anxiety certainly will hide,” she added. “Those cats who tend to be more fearful than others may have an underlying behavioral disorder due to genetics or a traumatic or inadequate socialization period.”

Where do cats hide?

When your cat does take some time to decompress, you might find her in strange spots, like:

  • Under beds
  • Behind furniture
  • On high shelves
  • Inside drawers
  • In boxes

Basically, she’ll most likely be somewhere dark and isolating.

How to tell if your cat’s hiding is normal or fear-based

According to Dr. Spano, this can be tough to tell because the signs can be subtle.

“Body language is key,” she explained. “If a kitty goes to a self-designated, isolated ‘safe place’ to recover from a recent fear-inducing event ... she may show [other] signs of fear.”

Some of these signs include:

  • Ears back
  • Hair standing up
  • Squinting
  • Hissing
  • Swatting
  • Making herself as small as possible

What to do if your cat is hiding

For the most part, you shouldn’t actually do anything. Odds are your cat just wants some space, the same way you value your own alone time.

“Cats should be allowed to hide and decompress,” Dr. Spano said.

She also recommended that you make sure your cat can’t get into any hiding spaces that could be dangerous.

But if your cat is hiding because of fear and anxiety, you should definitely reach out to your vet.

“If you bring a new cat home and they are hiding days on end instead of acclimating to their new environment, consult with your veterinarian,” Dr. Spano explained. “If your cat suddenly starts hiding and this is unusual behavior, definitely bring [him or her] in for an evaluation with your veterinarian.”

On top of that, hiding could also be a sign of a health issue.

“Outside of anxiety, cats who physically do not feel well may also hide.”

But aside from these more serious situations, it’s suuuper normal for your cat to hide. So don’t get too startled when you catch a big pair of eyes creeping on you from inside your closet!