Cat Behavior 101: Is Cat Hiding Something to Worry About?

Has your cat been hiding recently? Are you worried about what this could mean? Do you need to be concerned about hiding behavior in your cat?

Hiding behaviors are not normal in cats, but there are many potential underlying causes of hiding. It’s important to try to understand what your cat is telling you with this change in behavior. Read through the article below to find out more about some of the most common causes of hiding behavior in cats, from mild to more serious.

cat hiding

Fear

Fear can sometimes contribute to temporary hiding behaviors in cats. If something frightens your cat and they run away to hide under the bed, for example, this is completely normal and is usually nothing to worry about. Typically, a cat will emerge from hiding out of fear after a couple of hours at most.

If your cat seems to be afraid often, however, this may be a cause for concern. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication for your cat to help them stay calmer and reduce this fear response as well.

Pain

Pain is one of the most common causes of hiding behavior in cats. A cat who is in pain is very likely to tuck under a piece of furniture or hide in the depths of a closet to stay away from the activity of the household. They may show signs of either fear or aggression if you try to remove them from the hiding place.

If your cat is in pain, you need to figure out why. If they do not have a visible injury, you’ll need to take your pet to the vet to determine what is causing the pain.

Illness

Cats who become sick are prone to hiding. This is an instinctive move; in the wild, a sick cat would need to hide to avoid predators who might take advantage of the sickness. Although your house cat doesn’t have to worry about predators, this habit is still common in most domestic pet cats.

Watch your cat carefully for other signs of illness. If possible, check their temperature to see if they are running a fever, too. If you suspect your cat is sick, or if you confirm they have a fever, take them to the vet as soon as you can.

Pregnancy

If you have an intact female cat—meaning an adult female cat who has not yet been spayed—there is a chance she could be hiding because she’s expecting kittens. Consider whether it is possible for your cat to be pregnant while you work to figure out the cause of her hiding behavior.

Pregnant cats tend to hide because they are trying to find a safe, secure place to give birth to their kittens. If you find that your cat is pregnant unexpectedly, you’ll need to work with your vet to make a plan for her pregnancy.

Adjusting

If you have recently moved to a new home, brought home a new pet, had a baby, or made any other significant changes in your household, your cat may be hiding while they work on adjusting to the new environment. Hiding for a short time during an adjustment period is normal and is nothing to worry about.

If it seems like your cat is taking a long time to recover from this adjustment, however, you may need to speak to the veterinarian for more information. The vet may give your cat some temporary anxiety medication to help ease the changes.

Old Age

For some cats, reaching old age contributes to an increase in hiding behaviors. If your cat is a senior and has started hiding more often, this may be because they know they are nearing the end of life. It can be difficult to think about this potential cause of hiding behavior in your pet, but it is one possibility to keep in mind.

If you think your cat is hiding due to old age, talk to your vet about helping to make their remaining time comfortable and happy. Your vet can give you plenty of suggestions for caring for your aging cat.

What to Do When Your Cat is Hiding

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn more about hiding behaviors in cats, you can recognize when your cat may be dealing with some issue. Hiding usually indicates something is wrong, so you should take time to examine your cat and work to determine the underlying cause of their hiding.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s going on with your cat, or if you suspect they are dealing with a significant problem, take them to the vet sooner rather than later. Your vet may need to perform some tests to determine the root of your cat’s hiding behavior.

Be sure to book an appointment with the Heart + Paw veterinarians to determine why your cat is hiding and how to help them.

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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