How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? [Answered]

Ready to play detective in your own home? Is your normally sociable pet playing hide and seek a little too enthusiastically? This article is the ultimate guide to coaxing out a mysteriously disappearing cat, understanding why they're hiding, and how you can help them feel safe.

While you might be thinking, 'Is my cat just playing or is something wrong?', we'll explain the difference between normal hide-and-seek games and when this behavior might be a red flag. We'll discuss what drives your pet to tuck itself away, revealing the mysterious world of your cat's hiding habits.

From exploring why our pets seem to vanish without a trace, the joy of the hunt, and the cat's love of boxes, to understanding when you should be concerned about your pet's safety and well-being, we'll cover it all.

Let's get started.

How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding?

When your cat is hiding and it's really ok

Hiding is perfectly normal behavior if you're a cat. When cats play, they mimic aspects of hunting behavior, and hiding is simply part of stalking prey. That's one reason why cats love getting into boxes so much - it's just part of being a cat!

Play behavior - of any kind - provides Kitty with much-needed mental stimulation. Encourage this type of hiding by offering boxes and other hiding places. Don't stop your cat when he or she is trying to get into a hiding place - as long as it's safe. Here are 23 funny pictures of cats hiding (or at least trying to!).

Can't find your cat?

Some cats seem to disappear for long hours. They are simply using their hiding places as nap spots. You see, cats always patrol their territory. Living indoors, that means cats are constantly searching through every nook and cranny.

When they find a spot that's secluded and hidden, they're likely to get inside. If it's comfortable enough, they may just fall asleep.

If that spot is out of sight, you may not be able to find your cat for a while. Calling the cat's name doesn't always work. If your cat is fast asleep, even the sound of a can of cat food being opened may not get through to him or her.

This can be an unnerving experience when you can't find your cat anywhere.

What should you do about this?

Whenever you can't find your cat, actively look for him or her. Learn where these nap spots are and make sure they are safe. Limit access to drawers or closets to avoid getting your cat trapped inside one while you're away.

Make a habit of keeping appliances such as the washer and dryer shut. Even then, always double and triple-check appliances before switching them on.

Offer safe alternatives too. If Kitty likes to nap in a closed space, invest in "cat caves". These cat beds offer a sense of seclusion in a safe manner, and you can place them in quiet areas of your home. Here are 15 awesome cat caves that are practical, beautiful and fun.

When hiding indicates a problem

Sometimes cats hide because they feel uncomfortable. They may be physically unwell or otherwise stressed. Here are some common scenarios and what you can do to help Kitty.

The cat is sick

Many cats respond to pain and illness by finding a quiet place to hide. If you notice your cat is hiding more than usual, suspect a medical problem and talk to your vet.

Look for other symptoms such as loss of appetite, litterbox avoidance, and any other change in your cat's routine. Here are 35 signs that your cat may not be feeling well - hiding is one of them and there are more.

Feral cat hiding in a new home

If the new cat is a feral cat, expect a longer hiding period and a more gradual adjustment. Feral cats who are adopted into homes face a long process. They need to get used to the very concept of a home and of enjoying a human's company.

In fact, an older feral cat is probably better off staying feral. As long as there's a caregiver providing food, shelter, and basic medical care (including neutering), the cat is more likely to enjoy life as a feral.

If you are dealing with taming a feral cat or kitten, read this guide first and then share your experiences in our feral cat care forum where members can help you with advice and support.


Hiding after moving into a new home

We all know how stressful a move is for us, humans. Imagine what it must be like for an unprepared cat! Many cats respond by finding the nearest hiding spot and staying there for a while.

Fortunately, in this case, your cat has you to rely on while getting to know the new place, so this is not as stressful as being a newly adopted cat in an unfamiliar environment.

Cats usually come out of hiding more quickly when moving to a new home but it can still take a few days for some cats. Read our article about how to move with your cat to a new home in a safe way for some important tips on helping your cat adjust and come out of hiding sooner.

Hiding from strangers

Some cats welcome guests into their homes, coming up to them, rubbing against their ankles, and asking to be petted. Most cats are more reserved and some prefer no contact with strangers at all. These shy cats often hide whenever someone is at the door.

They lay low in another room until the scary strangers leave. Some cats only hide from certain types of guests, usually men or children. Others turn invisible whenever anyone shows up.

The best way to handle these situations is to let the cat be. Take photos of your cat when you're alone with him and have the guests settle for those. If Kitty prefers to stay out of sight, that's just fine. If you need more help, here are 10 tips for happy living with a shy cat.

So, how to get a cat to come out of hiding?

Now that we know the reasons why cats hide, it's clear that in most cases you shouldn't interfere. A cat that's healthy and happy in her or his home should be allowed to hide as part of normal cat behavior.

What about cats that hide because they are scared of something? Some amount of hiding can be good for these cats, allowing them to relax. You should generally let them come out of hiding on their own terms and in their own good time.

You can try coaxing a cat out with quiet talking and offering treats. If the cat knows you and isn't too scared, it might even work. If yours is a newly adopted cat, use these tips to help Kitty adjust and hopefully come out of hiding sooner.

Never pull a scared cat out of hiding by force

If your cat is hiding because it's scared of something - don't attempt to pull her or him out by force. You'll only be sending Kitty into panic mode. Even a docile cat can and will use claws and teeth when panicked. Don't risk your hands and don't scare your cat even more, as it's only likely to get him or her to stay in hiding for longer.

Hopefully, you can now tell why your cat is hiding. If you're still unsure or need more help, ask a question in the cat behavior forum. Our members are always happy to help out!


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9 comments on “How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? [Answered]

Stephen February 4, 2022
We've got office ferals to whom we provide free food and medical... We have one unaltered male sneak into our basement and we can't get him out (we can't find him)... We weren't aware he was in until we got into the office this morning and found a mess--recycling cans toppled, desk organizers on the floor and, WORSE, he sprayed at several spots...our office smells awful. We did not see him run outside when we arrived, so we have to assume he's back in the basement. How do we begin to get him out of there???
SorenLikesCats October 19, 2017
What if they are hiding in a place that they obviously cannot get out of. Somehow my little Picky got underneath a massive boocase th holder. I see how he couldve gotten in but he couldnt of gotten out.
lVleow July 26, 2017
tarasgirl06 said:
Two solutions: FOOD or a favorite interactive TOY such as da Bird or Cat Dancer.
Don't forget the original string! Even the chubby ones go crazy for them.
doomsdave July 21, 2017
tarasgirl06 said:
Two solutions: FOOD or a favorite interactive TOY such as da Bird or Cat Dancer.
ssssh just sit next to me ole' buddy . . .
doomsdave July 21, 2017
tarasgirl06 said:
Two solutions: FOOD or a favorite interactive TOY such as da Bird or Cat Dancer.
In big boy's case, several months
doomsdave July 21, 2017
tarasgirl06 said:
Two solutions: FOOD or a favorite interactive TOY such as da Bird or Cat Dancer.
mostly just loving patience
tarasgirl06 July 21, 2017
doomsdave said:
Some cats hide all day and come out at night. Like Big Boy, aka as Mr. Hide.

IMG_1945.JPG by doomsdave posted Jan 24, 2017 at 6:24 AM
Love his expression and his markings! He's quite a regal kinglet isn't he?
doomsdave July 21, 2017
Some cats hide all day and come out at night. Like Big Boy, aka as Mr. Hide.

IMG_1945.JPG by doomsdave posted Jan 24, 2017 at 6:24 AM
tarasgirl06 July 18, 2017
Two solutions: FOOD or a favorite interactive TOY such as da Bird or Cat Dancer.

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