Have you ever called your cat only to find her pop out of some unexpected place? Maybe you went looking for her and couldn’t find her anywhere and wondered where she might have hidden. Cats love to hide both indoors and outdoors, but why is that?

Photo by Kazuky Akayashi on Unsplash

Kitties aren’t always super social

Cats can be social creatures, but they also like time to themselves. They can feel overwhelmed if they are constantly around other animals or people. They often need time alone to sleep, clean themselves or simply de-stress. 

Your cat probably loves you to pieces, especially if you are the one who feeds her, but you shouldn’t be offended if she doesn’t always want to spend time with you. If cats are depressed, upset, scared or overwhelmed, they will often seek a space where they can get away from everyone and everything, just like humans do in those same circumstances. 

Checking things out incognito

If your cat is in a new environment or is alerted to something strange happening in the house, she may go into hiding. This allows her to assess the environment in a careful way without being noticed. According to Feltcave, your cat feels safer when she is hiding. If she thinks that no one can see her, she will be able to comfortably take a look around the room and determine if there is any danger there. Once she is satisfied, your cat may pop out of hiding and come where you can see her.

This is a pretty common reaction when you have company over. If your cat doesn’t know your visitors very well, she may go into hiding and wait until she feels safe before showing herself. Even if you can see her, she will feel safer if she is in a cubby hole, a cat cave, high up on a cabinet or just out of most people’s sight. There may not always be a good hiding spot for your cat, but she can usually find someplace to stow away where she feels comfortable.

Cats can hide when they feel anxious, and introducing strangers into your home or the cat’s environment can cause anxiety. Once the feeling subsides, your cat should reappear and might even introduce herself.

Hiding is part of a cat’s natural instincts

Just because your cat is domesticated, that doesn’t mean that she is no longer a hunter. Cats are natural hunters, and part of that hunting instinct requires them to go into hiding to stay out of sight of their prey. If your cat is hunting mice or even hunting as a form of play, she may go into hiding to get a better vantage point or to be able to pounce from cover when the moment is right. 

Some cats will play with their owners this way. Whether they are hunting for real or just pretend hunting, this is a way for them to keep their senses and brain sharp and engage their ancient instincts. Even if you cannot see what they are hunting, that does not mean they are not stalking some sort of prey. Their sensitive ears and nose can pick up trails and indications of movement that you would not be able to notice. 

You can encourage this hunting behavior and give your cat a sense of fulfilment by creating an environment that is good for hunting. Cat Health has a number of great tips for doing just that. 

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It’s cozy and comfortable

Just like us, cats like to control the temperature around them. Your cat probably isn’t trained to adjust the thermostat(!), so cats will sometimes go hide to keep themselves warm or cool. 

In the summer, a hiding spot provides shade, while in the colder months it can provide a place of warmth. Boxes and other hiding spots provide excellent locations where your cat can go to find a comfortable temperature. Depending on the outside temperature, your cat could spend hours hiding away just to keep itself either warm or cool.

Final thoughts

Learning about your cat helps you to better understand her behavior and know when something is wrong. Hopefully, you won’t worry so much when your cat is hiding, but can rest assured that she’s probably doing it because she likes it! 

Emma Williams is a professional writer who enjoys spending her spare time blogging about pet behaviour, pet health and pet lifestyle topics on //wereallaboutpets.com and volunteering for PawMaw, the lost cat register. She has two furry friends of her own.