The Hiding Cat

The Hiding Cat

Monday, October 12, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

For some cats, moving into a new home can be overwhelming. It’s not uncommon for cats to spend the first few days hiding while they adjust to their new surroundings. By giving your new cat some time and space, you can help him become a happy companion.

A Kitty Safe room

  • Choose a quiet room where your cat can stay while he settles in. Provide him with food and water, a litter box, a comfortable place to sleep, a safe hiding space, and an appropriate place to scratch. It would be ideal if the room had a window so he could look out while adjusting to his new home.
  • Spend time in your cat’s room speaking softly to him and allowing him to get used to you. Don’t try to reach in and grab him out of hiding as this could cause him to become frightened. Let him come out on his own time.
  • If he seems curious, try engaging him in play to help him relax and bond with you. As he becomes more comfortable in his room, allow him time toexplore new areas of your home.

Hiding in a Strange Place

  • As long as it’s a safe place, don’t try and force your cat out of hiding. He may just need a few days to relax. Set food, water and a litter box out near his spot. Try setting up hiding spaces, such as a cat tree, in more convenient locations and encourage him to use it with food or treats. Cats feel safe off the ground so providing him with vertical space might help boost his confidence.   
  • Monitor his food and water intake. It’s not uncommon for the cats to show zero interest in food for several days when frightened. If he goes longer then 24 hours without water or several days without food, contact your vet.
  • If you need to move your cat for safety reasons, use a towel around his body to pick him up. Help him feel secure by holding him close to your body but away from your face. This will help prevent injury.

Resident cat suddenly hiding

  • Cats are skilled at hiding an illness or injury, so any abnormal hiding behavior should be taken as a red flag.
  • Take note of any behavior changes and monitor your cat’s food and water intake, as well as litter box usage.
  • Schedule a vet visit to ensure that he’s healthy. 
  • During your visit, report any unusual behavior that may have developed. These small behavior changes may help your vet narrow down any issues.
  • If your vet finds no medical issues, there is likely something in the cat’s environment triggering the behavior change. Use the tips above to try and help him feel more secure.

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