Whilst hiding is a normal, healthy activity in the repertoire of feline behaviours, it can become excessive and be a cause for concern.
The key with hiding behaviour in cats is to be observant of any changes. The more observant you are of how often and where your cats are hiding, the better you'll be in tune with their feelings.
Here are a few possibilities at play:
If your cats who are naturally shy have just recently come into your household, it may take time and patience before they are ready to bond with their new human parents and relax in their new home. Give your cats time to settle in, explore and adjust, and make sure introducing new furry friends is gradual to keep them calm and friendly.
Hiding in small, secluded places to get warm and doze off is your cats' idea of nirvana, not worry about being stepped on or interrupted. You may notice your cats spending more time napping in quiet spaces as they get older.
Cats have incredible hearing, and so may react to unfamiliar or loud noises in the house. New people, such as a new baby or guests, and bigger changes to the environment can also cause stress in cats.
Illness is a sudden spike in hiding behaviour. Cats don't wear their feelings on their sleeves when they're sick. As elderly cats become more susceptible to age-related illnesses, they may hide more.
How to calm your cats and entice them out:
Usually cats acclimate to the changes and resume their normal behaviour. The best thing to do is to let your cats come out on their own terms. You can toss them some treats when you see them, but never force them out until they are ready. You can try the following few tips to encourage them to come out more.
- Give your cats time.
- Eliminate any stress triggers in your cats' environment.
- Coax your cats out with treats or toys. If they need extra inducement, you can rub some catnip on the toy or along the ground outside the hiding area.
- Provide your cats with alluring hiding spots within the areas where you spend the most time.
If your cats all of a sudden decide to start hiding for long periods of time or change their hiding behaviour, it's recommended that you take them to the vet for a thorough evaluation to rule out any health concerns. Your vet can determine if your cats are hiding to deal with pain or a behavioural issue.
Featured image by Krysten Merriman