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Ever wonder why your cat hides away or likes to disappear in a cardboard box? Find out more in our guide.

Why do cats hide?

It’s part of a cat’s normal behaviour to hide – whether this is finding a safe place to sleep, lying in wait to pounce on a toy, or just because they feel safer hidden away.

If you notice your cat hiding more than usual, however, it could be that they’re feeling stressed or anxious, or are feeling unwell. It’s best to take them to the vet to get checked over and rule out any illnesses.

There are a wealth of benefits to providing play for your adult cats. Find out why play is important and how it is best to play with your cat. Watch our video to find out more.


Sometimes, if there’s no medical reason for your cat hiding, they might hide because they’re feeling stressed. Lots of things can cause our cats to feel stressed and hide away, especially things like other cats or fireworks. Noise from things like building works and home renovations can upset your cat too and cause them to hide away. You can read more about keeping your cat safe during building works in our free guide.

Is it normal for my cat to hide away?

If there’s no medical reason for your cat to hide and they’re not feeling stressed, you might be wondering why they’re choosing to spend their time in the bottom of a dark cupboard rather than with you.

As you probably already know, cats like to sleep a lot. In fact, they can spend at least 12 hours a day sleeping. Finding somewhere hidden away might be warm and comfortable for them and provide the perfect place for a cat nap. Your cat might also feel vulnerable while they’re sleeping so their natural instincts will tell them to sleep somewhere hidden and safe where they won’t be disturbed.

Sometimes your cat might hide when they’re feeling playful. In the wild, most cats will hunt their prey by staying out of sight then pouncing on them. Our domestic cats can mimic this behaviour. They might hide then pounce on a toy (or even a passing leg!).

Cats are curious by nature and like to explore new things in the home. So that empty cardboard box might be a nuisance to you, but your cat might see it as a fun new playground. Don’t worry about your cat hopping into a cardboard box – just make sure they can get out of it easily and always check for feline visitors before you go to throw it away!

Providing the perfect hiding place

You should make sure there’s a safe space for your cat to hide if they need to. You should provide hiding places that are:

  • somewhere quiet they won’t be disturbed
  • up high as cats often feel safer further off the ground
  • covered over, like an igloo bed or the Hide & Sleep®
  • away from their food, water and litter trays
  • in a place they normally like to hide

How to help a hiding cat

If you notice your cat hiding more, you should take them to the vet first. If your vet can’t find a medical reason for their hiding, then it might be time to find a cat behaviourist to get to the bottom of it.

If your cat is feeling stressed because of a trigger such as fireworks, hiding might be their way to cope with this. It’s best to leave them alone in their hiding place until they feel happy and safe enough to come out. Trying to coax them out might make them feel more anxious and make them hide for longer.

If you have another cat in the house, it’s important to make sure each cat has a safe hiding place away from the other. Cats are not social animals so they need their own space away from each other. You can read more in our cats living together guide.

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