Do you ever wonder why your cat does the things it does? Despite having been around cats my whole life, I still don’t always understand them. They do so many strange things!
Why cats hide
I jokingly refer to my tabby, Clancy, as a mole cat. Recently, he started lifting the edge of my comforter with his paw, jumping up beneath it, and then burrowing to a point somewhere near the middle of my neatly made bed. He’ll snooze there for hours. Sometimes he even purrs.
If he slept under the covers at night, I’d probably just shrug this behavior off as an early bedtime. But he sleeps on top of the covers near my knees each night. So why does the mole cat burrow under the covers during the daytime? The only theory that makes sense to me is that he’s hiding.
Cats love to hide inside boxes and bags, on shelves and cabinets, and under furniture or blankets. According to Purina, cats seek out enclosed spaces to hide in to foster a sensation of security. Small spaces also help them stay comfortable by allowing them to conserve their body heat. Hiding is a natural behavior that doesn’t necessarily mean your cat is scared or stressed. Many cats find hiding relaxing, so they’ll conceal themselves whenever they get the urge to nap.
The problem with a hiding
Unfortunately, cats don’t always pick safe places to hide. I grew up listening to a family story about the cat who took a brief spin in my great grandmother’s washing machine after hiding in a load of rugs. Thankfully, the cat was damp, but unhurt. If you’re cat is hiding, be extra cautious about using appliances like washers and driers, moving reclining furniture, and closing up closets, cabinets and attics.
When to worry
When a cat is hides for a few hours at a time, there is no need to worry. But if a cat misses a meal or remains secluded for a long period of time, it raises the concern that they may be ill or trapped, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
If your cat doesn’t emerge from its hiding spot, go looking. If they seem listless or ill, a visit to the vet may be in order. If they are trapped, they may need help to free themselves. Cats have been known to venture into the strangest places, include the vents of HVAC systems, the space between walls or above drop down ceilings, basements or crawl spaces and even fire places. One of our cats, Martian, somehow managed to get pinned between the water heater and the two walls that formed the corner the water heater sat in. My husband had to disconnect the water heater and shift it aside to free the cat. Needless to say, we installed a shelf directly over that space to prevent any reoccurrences!
Hiding is a natural cat behavior that will keep cat lovers on their toes. To prevent accidents or injuries, be aware of your cat’s favorite hiding places.
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