7 Reasons Your Cat Is Hiding & How To Help

Avatar photo
Fact checked by  Ma'ayan Gutbezahl
Share Email Pinterest Linkedin Twitter Facebook

Do you spend hours of your day searching for your cat only to find them hiding under the bed? It’s completely normal for cats to hide away in dark spaces to get a bit of alone time or to take a nap. But hiding away under the bed can also be a worry for cat owners, especially if they are spending more and more time in hiding. So, when should you be concerned?

Key Takeaways

It can be normal for cats to sleep and rest under the bed or in other dark, secure spaces.

Fear, anxiety, illness, and disturbances to the environment can cause a cat to hide away.

Never remove your cat from a hiding place, always encourage them out slowly.

Your cat hiding under the bed might be nothing to worry about. However, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Cats are highly independent and self-reliant creatures, and when they are faced with a threat, they will usually choose to avoid it while they assess the level of danger.

There are a number of reasons why cats choose to tuck themselves away under the bed, so let’s explore those a little more.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Hiding

1. Fear

One of the most common reasons cats hide is due to fear. Tucking themselves away in a dark, quiet place away from whatever is frightening them helps them feel safe and secure. It also gives them some time to relax and decide how frightening the threat really is. There are a number of things that commonly instill fear in cats, such as:

  • Loud noises
  • Tensions with other pets in the house or with a neighbor’s cat
  • Visitors
  • Changes in the house such as a new baby, a new kitten, or someone moving in or out
  • Moving into a new home
  • Not being able to access their food, water, or litter box

2. To Feel Secure

Cats like to feel secure, and they like to be able to see the way out of any given space. Their hiding spots are somewhere they can go to rest in the knowledge that they won’t be disturbed or threatened. If your cat is choosing to take a nap under the bed often, it may just be that it’s their favorite spot.

3. To Get a Bit of Alone Time

cat with scared eyes hiding under a bed

We all need “me time.” Cats are independent creatures and are no different than us in this regard.

Sometimes cats just need a little bit of space. Our feline family members are highly independent and certainly like to pick and choose when and how they interact with each other and with us. Sometimes, they just need a bit of space from other cats in the house or noisy visitors.

When they crawl into their hiding place under the bed, they know that they won’t be disturbed and no one will be joining them there, so it makes the perfect spot to get some peace and quiet away from it all.

4. They Feel Anxious or Stressed

Stress and anxiety are very common reasons for cats to hide under the bed or in any other small or high-up space. By hiding, they are able to isolate themselves and have some time out. Cats are very sensitive creatures, and any small change or upset to their routine or environment can cause them to feel stress. Stress can be caused by:

  • New cats or other pets arriving in the house
  • A new baby, or people moving in or out of the house
  • Regular visitors
  • Being left home alone for long periods of the day
  • Loud noises
  • A new environment, such as a new home
  • Another cat in the neighborhood bullying them

5. Illness

When cats are feeling unwell, they tend to become withdrawn and hide away. In the wild, a sick cat is an easier target for predators, so by hiding away they are protecting themselves and are less at risk from threats. This natural instinct still remains an integral part of domestic cats’ habits.

However, it can be very worrying for us as cat owners and sometimes means we miss the early signs that our pet is unwell. But there are other general signs to look out for that might mean your cat is not feeling well such as eating less, sleeping more, spending more time indoors, or changes to their toileting habits.

If you are concerned your cat is hiding because they are unwell, you should make an appointment to get them checked over by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. They Are About To Give Birth

A cat should be left in their hiding space until they are ready to come out unless they are very ill or injured.

It’s a mother’s instinct to find a safe and quiet place to give birth. A pregnant queen will pick the perfect spot that is quiet, dark, and secure. Under the bed is a common and very good spot for giving birth, but if you would rather your cat didn’t give birth under the bed then you’ll need to set up another area for her about 2 weeks before her due date. Your vet can advise you on how to do this.

7. They Are Dying

As difficult and emotional as it is to discuss, it is quite common that a cat will choose to isolate themselves and withdraw to a hiding place when it comes to their time to pass on. This is an innate instinct that cats have, and under the bed is a quiet and safe place where they can go when they are weakening and in a vulnerable state.

If you think this is the reason your cat is hiding under the bed, you should speak to your vet, and you should provide comfort for your cat by keeping the space quiet, giving them lots of love, and staying close by.

How Should I Help My Cat if They Are Hiding?

If you are worried your cat is spending too much time hiding away, here are some ways you can help.

Make your home a safe space for your cat. This will help them relax. Keep their litter box in the same place and their feeding routine consistent. If there are tensions between more than one cat in the house, make sure that both cats have some time apart.

You can also limit the noise from visitors or outside by closing the curtains, restricting your cats’ access to certain parts of the house, or playing music. Nutritional supplements and pheromone diffusers such as Feliway can also help to create a calm environment for your cat.

Never drag your cat out from under the bed, unless you think they are sick or injured. Your cat needs some alone time after something they deem threatening. If you want to encourage your cat to come out, you should coax them gently and calmly. Using treats, food, or their favorite toy can be helpful.

Your cat will come out of hiding on their own time. Never punish your cat for hiding or restrict their access to hiding places. This will likely be perceived as a threat and increase your cat’s stress further. When your cat emerges, be calm and gently reassure them.

If you think your cat is hiding and showing signs of illness, get them checked out by your vet. Your vet can also help with other behavioral problems and discuss ways to make your cat feel more relaxed in their home.

Final Thoughts

Allowing your cat some alone time and giving them space when necessary will strengthen their trust in you, and the bond that you both share.

Cat behavior is complex and fascinating. As cat owners, we are always intrigued (and worried) by our pet’s habits. Hiding can be completely normal and a cat’s way of taking a nap or getting a bit of alone time. But if your cat is hiding more often or in unusual places it can be a sign of fear, stress, illness, insecurity, or even a sign that a pregnant cat is ready to give birth.

You should always leave your cat in peace if they are resting. If you do want to encourage them back out you should do so gently and calmly to avoid increasing their stress. If you are concerned about your cat’s health or hiding behavior, always contact your vet for advice.

Also Read: Do Cats Know When You’re Sick?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my cat to stop hiding under the bed?

If your cat is hiding due to fear or stress, you should try to identify the cause. You can calm your cat by giving them safe spaces to rest, keeping their routine consistent, and creating a calm environment in your home. Never restrict their access to hiding places as this can increase stress.

Why is my cat just hiding under the bed?

Cats hide because they are simply resting, stressed, scared, have a medical issue, are giving birth, or dying.

How do you find your cat when it's hiding?

Quietly check dark and quiet places like under the bed or behind a piece of furniture. You might also spot your cat hiding on top of wardrobes. You can call your cat’s name or rattle some treats to encourage them out.

Help us do better! Was this article helpful and relevant?
What can you say about this article?
I am completely satisfied, I found useful information and tips in this article
Article was somewhat helpful, but could be improved
Want to share more?
Thank You for the feedback! We work to make the world a better place for cats, and we're getting better for you.
Avatar photo

About Dr. Holly Anne Hills BVMEDSCI MRCVS

Holly has worked as a small animal vet in several clinics across the UK and has taken short breaks to volunteer in India and the Caribbean working with street dogs. Her interests are in surgery, caring for geriatric patients, and client education. She writes behavior and nutrition articles for Cats.com.

Want to give your cat better care every day? Get our free day to day care guide.

Based on advice from cat behaviorists, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to a healthy routine that brings out your cat’s best. From daily habits to yearly must-do’s, we’ve laid out everything you need to set the foundation for a stress-free, happy life.

Inside the day to day guide, you’ll find:
  • Easy to understand infographics
  • Checklists for simple management
  • Must-do’s for a healthy cat

Get your free guide! Get your free guide!