Why Your Cat Likes to Hide in Small Dark Spaces

Published by Christine O'Brien
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3 min read

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It's no secret that when things get crazy in the house, cats will seek the quietest, most secluded spot to escape the chaos. But why is your cat hiding in the farthest corner of your bedroom closet? Why do cats like to hide in general? It's all part of your feline friend's instinctive behavior.

Why Do Cats Hide?

Although they're domesticated, your cat's ancestors sought secluded spaces to birth their kittens and seek shelter from predators, according to Feline Behavior Solutions. That's likely why your cat gravitates toward the unassuming cardboard box left over from your latest online purchase. There may be times when your fur baby hides because they're stressed out, says ASPCAPro. Usually, though, they're just relaxing in a space that feels secure. Here are some of the most common hiding spots and why cats love them.

In a Box

The most common escape is your average cardboard box — be it a shoebox or a case of soda. Boxes provide a soothing space for your feline friend. For many cats, the smaller, the better. In addition to the warmth that cardboard insulation generates, a box's four walls give cats the security and comfort they crave. Additionally, they can spy on you — and anyone else who invades their territory — by peeking over the sides. Strategically placing different-sized boxes around the house will amp up your feline friend's playtime, too. Boxes also provide a place where your cat can scratch freely without damaging anything of value.

Under the Bed (or Under the Covers & Pillows)

Gray cat with yellow eyes wrapped up in blue plaid bed sheets.

Let's face it: Cats love the fluffy coziness of your bed just as much as you do. Hiding under the bed feels especially secure, however. If you're hosting a party at your house and you don't see your cat around, you may find them here because it's dark, quiet and too small to fit a human. In other words, it's perfect for when your kitty feels shy and would rather not interact with your house guests. You also likely spend a lot of time in bed, so the general area may remind your cat of you, which can be comforting.

In a Laundry Basket

Gray cat curled up in a white laundry basket.

Your cat's affection for lazing on your bed may transfer over to a love of laundry baskets, preferably filled with fresh-out-of-the-dryer clothes. Freshly dried laundry appeals to heat-seeking kitties. While you may not love having cat hair all over your clothing, if you discover your cat hiding in your laundry basket, can you really blame them? After all, it's not that much different from when you snuggle up with a warm blanket. Cats also love to relax in baskets filled with dirty laundry since it smells like you — their favorite person.

In a Closet

What's not to love about a dark closet? Cats love this space because it has sturdy, secure walls and an abundance of soft fabric to cuddle. The clothes also smell like you, and your scent can be a great feline stress buster. Another benefit of a closet is that the enclosed space blocks much of the sound emanating from the rest of the home, so your kitty can get a good day's sleep. This is another popular cat hiding spot if you're hosting a party or if they know that it's nail trimming time or time for a bath. Just make sure you prepare yourself. Seeing a couple of eyes peering out of the dark as you go to change your shoes can give you quite a startle.

In the Sink

Black and orange calico lying in bathroom sink.

You may be taken aback the first time you catch your cat lounging in the bathroom sink, but it's actually a pretty great spot. For starters, the average bathroom sink is just the right size to contain your furry friend, much like a cardboard box. Additionally, cats find the coolness of the sink comfortable. The proximity of running water to drink is a bonus (many cats love drinking running water, and some may even turn on faucets!). One day you may pull back your shower curtain to find your cat sitting in the tub. Although it's a much bigger structure, the bathtub also provides a cool, secure hideout. Keep in mind, however, that this could signal a health issue, as some cats experiencing urinary tract inflammation may seek out the cool bathtub to urinate. Notify your veterinarian of any change in your cat's normal behavior.

Next time you go to break down those empty cardboard boxes, put away your laundry or tidy up your closet, think again. Providing your cat with an array of hiding spots around the house will help to keep them cool, calm and collected.

Image Sources: Christine O'Brien

Contributor Bio

Christine O'Brien

Christine O'Brien

 

Christine Brovelli-O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in English and is an accomplished storyteller and lifelong pet lover. A professional member of the Cat Writers' Association, her work has received Muse Medallions and Certificates of Excellence. When she’s not exploring pet health and behavior, she’s busy mothering one child and four pets.

 

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