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Will a Cat Get Stressed Out if It Can’t Hide Anywhere? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat hiding

Will a Cat Get Stressed Out if It Can’t Hide Anywhere? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Have you ever been in a stressful situation you wish you could get away from? When you’re stuck with nowhere to go, stress levels increase, you feel flustered, and you simply don’t know where to turn. Now, imagine the same thing, but put your cat in your place. When things happen around the house that upset them, cats want to get away, too. It’s their normal reaction. Unfortunately, if a cat can’t hide anywhere, it can easily increase the stress they’re feeling over the situation and make matters worse.

As a good cat parent, it is up to you to ensure your cat is in a good place both physically and mentally. This means providing them with all their basic needs, including a place where they can get away when needed. Let’s take a deeper look at cats and their need to have a space of their own so you can make sure you’re offering your cat everything they need for a good life.

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Why Do Cats Hide?

Hiding is a natural thing for cats. In the wild, they depend on their abilities to hide and be stealthy for survival. While your domesticated cat may not be on the hunt for food or hiding from predators, the behavior is still part of its genetic makeup. However, you will find there are other reasons your cat may seek out a place to hide. Let’s take a look at those now:


Cats aren’t fans of change. Something as simple as rearranging the furniture in your living room may send your cat into overdrive. The nervousness and unease they feel about the change in their environment may send them flying out of the room to their safe space to help them destress and calm down.


Some cats aren’t fond of anyone other than their family. If your cat is overly shy or gets nervous around guests, you may notice them doing a vanishing act when someone knocks on the door. The ability to hide during these times keeps them from stressing out or acting out if they are approached.

hiding cat
Image Credit: dfoot01, Flickr


You may also notice that your cat tends to hide more when the weather outside turns cold. This is not your cat’s way of telling you to turn up the heat. Your cat is simply wanting a place where they can snuggle and stay warm for their nap.


The longer your cat is in the home, it is going to get used to the family routine. If the kids have lunch at the same time every day and get a bit rowdy, you may find that your cat escapes to their favorite hideaway during that time. If a part of the normal household day is too much for your cat, they will learn to slip away before things get too active.


While some cats want to be the center of attention, others prefer to keep to themselves. With these types of cats, it’s hard to tell when they might be feeling under the weather.  If your cat hides away for an extended period without food or water, you should contact a veterinarian. They may be sick or feeling under the weather.

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Should I Be Worried?

As we’ve already mentioned, hiding away and having a space of their own is part of life with a cat. This is especially true when the cat is feeling stressed. Unfortunately, if your cat seems to continually be stressed or hiding for prolonged periods, you may need to reach out for assistance. Speaking with your veterinarian can help you determine whether your cat needs help with its stress and anxiety. Behavioral issues, stress, anxiety, and illnesses do happen. Taking the time to notice your cat’s patterns, including hiding, will help you realize whether things are going smoothly or your cat needs a check-up.

A cat hiding under a couch
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

Provide Safe Spaces for Your Kitty

With hiding being natural for your cat, it should also be natural for you to provide them with safe places to do this. You’ll find tons of items you can purchase for your cat. Cat condos, cat caves, and cat beds provide great places for your cat to call their own. However, do not be surprised if your cat chooses more obscure areas of the house when they are stressed and need to get away. Closets, under the bed, and even high shelves could be your cat’s go-to place when they are trying to escape the outside world. Before bringing a kitty into your home, you should check all possible areas of the house to ensure there’s nowhere your cat could get stuck, escape the house, or hurt themselves when they are hiding out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Some Common Places That Cats Hide?

It depends on the home and where your cat feels safe, but cats often hide in places like closets, cupboards, boxes, appliances, behind curtains, or under furniture.

What Are the Signs of a Stressed Cat?

Any behavior that is considered abnormal for your individual cat could be an indicator of stress. This could include increased vocalizations, excessive grooming, urinating outside the litter box, aggression, a change in energy, a change in appetite, hiding, and more.

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Final Thoughts

If your cat is not given a safe place to hide away when needed, their stress levels will increase. The last thing you want is your cat frantically running around the house, trying to feel safe but unable to find the refuge they desperately need. Instead, prepare for your kitty ahead of time. Have areas where they can go when needed to avoid causing them more stress in their lives.

Featured Image Credit: Mantikorra, Shutterstock

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