Why Does My Cat Hide?

Why does my cat hide? From squeezing in between pillows without disturbing a perfectly made bed to reaching the highest spots in your home, cats are masters at hiding. Most cat owners have experienced at least one heart-pounding moment trying to find a cat hidden so well that you fear your cat has run away. 

If a cat does not want to be found, good luck laying eyes on her until she decides she wants you to see her. We know cats like to hide, but why do they do it? If you’ve ever wondered why your cat hides, this post is for you. 


Often, when a cat hides, it is because he or she feels afraid and anxious. Something may be happening in the home, or it may simply be that your cat has a more anxious temperament. Your cat may hide when you first bring him or her into your home or when you’re moving. A new furry or human family member can send your cat scurrying. You may also notice your cat hiding if you invite people over or during a loud holiday like the 4th of July

Other signs your cat might be feeling anxious include:

  • Decreased appetite or thirst
  • Vocalizing more frequently
  • Changes in grooming habits
  • Changes in litter box habits
  • Changes in behavior (hiding more, acting more aggressive, etc.)

An Instinct to Feel Safe

Cats are natural-born hunters, and many of their instincts from the wild follow them to their forever home. Even when they are on the hunt, they are driven to hide so they can sneak up on their prey. They will also hide to feel safe. Something as seemingly harmless as an unfamiliar scent in the house could make a cat feel a little unsettled, and hiding can help them recalibrate and feel themself again. 

Illness or Pain of Some Sort

Any signs of weakness can put a cat’s life in danger in the wild. Because of this, they have very strong instincts to minimize any signs of illness or discomfort. Hiding behavior might increase if your cat is not feeling well. When cats feel sick or are in pain, they will stay away from their typical hiding spots. They don’t want to adhere to their usual routine. If you notice that your cat is hiding and you must look beyond the usual spots, you might want to schedule a wellness visit.


If your female cat is not altered, her hiding behavior could be a sign that she’s expecting. Mother cats have instincts to keep their babies safe—even before birth. A cat that is expecting might seek out new hiding places where she can make it safely through her pregnancy without any harm coming to her kittens.

Why does your cat hide? It could be any of these reasons, and you know your cat best. Is it situational or ongoing? Does your cat hide often or rarely? You’re closer to understanding why your cat decides to hide. Should you worry about this behavior? This article can speak to that. 

At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we understand cats. From their quirky behaviors to their unique medical needs, our team of feline lovers offers stellar veterinary services for the cats of Waterford and the surrounding areas. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment for your cat, please call (248) 363-1508.