Gracee is pictured above hiding under her favorite rug with only her head showing. She usually sleeps on top of the rug. Do orange cats like orange rugs? I used to have a blue rug there and she never slept on it or under it.
Gracee learned to hide under everything imaginable from her older brother, Tigger (who has crossed over the Bridge) He taught her to burrow and hide under comforters, blankets, towels, etc. Sometimes at night when I was ready to go to bed, I drew back the covers and there, all curled up and comfy, was Tigger. Now, it is Gracee gazing up at me with her big, sleepy golden eyes.
Hiding is a natural cat behavior; it is not always a negative behavior. For an animal that is uniquely predator and prey, the ability to hide is important. Most cats like to hide; they like to find quiet, dark spaces. Cats in the wild look for places to hide to watch for prey and to be protected from prey. Even while cats doze, they can be hyper-vigilant. An enclosed hiding place helps them relax and feel secure.
As caretakers, it is our responsibility to create hiding places for our cats. If they don’t have a place to hide, then they might become frightened and stressed. Multiple cat households must have hiding places available. Some want to hide up high and some at ground level. And, for one cat, a hiding place can just be a cozy napping area. But for another, hiding places may be sanctuaries from fear.
Some safe hiding places are:
- Boxes, bags, suitcases, backpacks and briefcases.
- Tunnels that can be made or purchased
- Closets (don’t let them get closed in, they can die from dehydration); under beds; behind shower curtains, vertical blinds and floor length curtains
- Bathroom and kitchen sinks, bathtubs
- Behind or under furniture & warm appliances (see postings with Sophee and Spirit napping on the top of the flat screen TV monitor)
- Under shrubs or trees; a porch or deck
- Under bedspreads, blankets, couch or chair covers (be sure to warn guests to check before they sit)
Some unsafe hiding places are:
- Garages – KEEP THEM OUT!! They can get into poisonous chemicals that can be painfully fatal; your car’s engine where they can get trapped when you start the engine; or under your car -- when you back out you might run over him
- Kittens can crawl into places where they might get electrocuted or stuck. Examine your house and try to block any areas where a kitten might get hurt.
- Inside appliances – clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers – check the interior before you start the load. Also check inside refrigerators and recliner chairs (manual and electric) before you close or operate them
- Plastic bags (they can suffocate); open drawers and cabinets (they can get trapped if you close a drawer or cabinet door without realizing they were in it or, worse yet, if they get behind an open lateral file drawer, they might get smashed when you close the drawer); open file cabinet drawers can be particularly dangerous as the weight of your cat might cause an unbalanced cabinet to tip over on you, members of your family...including your cat
- Cabinets filled with cleaning supplies and dangerous chemicals. Some type of locking mechanism for cabinet doors can be a lifesaver.
- Tool cabinets belonging to workers in your home.
- Before I leave my house, I do a head-count of the Cat Authors to be certain that no one is locked in a closet or room. If I can't find one, I call to them (sometimes they come flying down the stairs or around a corner). Usually, I find them stretched out on the catwalk or high in a cat tree... watching me look for them.
If your cat starts hiding behavior that you haven’t seen before, your cat could be ill, injured or stressed. If it lasts for more than a few days, consult with your veterinarian.
Information for this article was obtained from the books, “Cats for Dummies” and “Catification” by Jackson Galaxy as well as the following websites: catbehaviorassociates.com (Pam Johnson Bennet) and cats.lovetoknow.com as well as my own experiences with cats, including the Cat Authors.