Cats can be extremely sneaky animals, often getting highly creative with their hiding places. It’s not uncommon for a cat to “go missing” because their owner can’t find their excellent hiding place, even if it’s a spot they’ve checked multiple times. Although this skill can come in handy when hiding from predators or pesky housemates, there are many places that can be dangerous for your cat to hide. Whenever possible, these locations should be blocked in such a way that your cat can’t access them. Here’s what you need to know.
The 10 Hazardous Places for Cats to Hide
1. Washers and Dryers
While many cats don’t like water and will usually avoid the washing machine, these interesting machines can be too interesting to overlook for curious kitties. For cats that love to stay warm and snuggly, the dryer is the perfect spot to hang out. Some cats like to hang out in laundry piles as well, which can lead to them getting tossed right into the wash.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to start their washer and dryer without knowing if their cat is inside. In many cases, the cats are severely injured or even killed. It’s absolutely necessary to check your laundry before and between cycles to ensure your cat hasn’t gotten inside the clothes or machines.
2. Collapsible Furniture
La-Z-Boys, pull-out couches, and other types of collapsible furniture are highly dangerous for cats. They often have spacious and cozy compartments that provide the perfect hiding place for cats. However, some cats may still be inside the furniture when you pull it out or fold it back in. This can lead to injuries ranging from cuts and scrapes to crush injuries and death.
Always check the interior components of your furniture before folding or unfolding parts of it, or ensure you know the location of your cat.
3. Bags and Suitcases
We’ve all seen stories on social media of cats ending up being found in their owner’s luggage while they’re going through the security check at the airport. Cats love to crawl into comfy, tight spots, especially when those spots smell like their favorite people. Cats commonly get closed up in suitcases, gym bags, and even large purses.
As funny as it can be to unexpectedly find your cat in your bag, it can easily lead to your cat getting loose or being injured in transport. Always leave your bags closed and sealed when not in use, and if they’ve been sitting open, even for just a minute, check to ensure your cat isn’t inside before closing them up.
Dresser drawers are often great places for cats to hang out. They’re cozy, full of their human’s smell, and enclosed. If you’re not paying attention or if your cat is deep underneath items in the drawer, then you may unintentionally close your cat inside.
Typically, your cat won’t be injured by being closed in a drawer, but if they panic inside, they may hurt themselves. There’s also a real possibility that your cat will soil or destroy whatever is enclosed in the drawer with them during their attempts to get out. Keep drawers closed when not in use and check them thoroughly before closing them up.
When someone comes to your home to do repairs, like a plumber or electrician, their toolbox full of interesting supplies may be hard for your curious cat to pass up. They may climb inside to investigate the fun new toys or smells. Much like the risks associated with bags and suitcases, cats can get closed inside toolboxes. Of course, this could lead to your cat being accidentally taken by your repair person. It could also allow your cat to get loose outside.
Whenever possible, keep your cat away from people working in your home. If you aren’t sure of your cat’s whereabouts, make sure to have them check their bags and toolboxes before leaving.
5. Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
Wood stoves and fireplaces are loved by many cats for the warmth that they radiate. In an effort to get warm, your cat may crawl inside a wood stove or fireplace when they’re cold, thinking that the device will give them warmth. Thankfully, this isn’t a widespread problem, but there is a possibility that you may start a fire in a location where your cat is hidden.
Keep the doors to wood stoves and fireplaces closed or use grates to keep your cat away from them. Always check them thoroughly or locate your cat before starting a fire.
Much like washers and dryers, dishwashers are interesting and unique locations that curious cats may enjoy exploring. Dishwashers often take on the pleasant smell of foods, increasing your cat’s interest in them. Some cats may even climb inside to explore, only to become trapped inside the dishwasher.
If your cat is trapped inside the dishwasher while it’s running, they are at substantial risk for serious burns, skin tears, and death. Keep your dishwasher closed when not actively being loaded or unloaded and always check for your cat before running it.
8. Disposable Boxes and Bags
Many of us do a lot of our shopping via the Internet these days, which means many of us also have disposable boxes and bags lying around. Some people repurpose cardboard boxes into cat forts, while others may get rid of them as quickly as possible. Most cats enjoy spending time in boxes, and some cats may even be curious about mailers, bubble wrap, and other shipping supplies.
Check all of these items before throwing them out to make sure your cat isn’t inside. It’s also important to keep bubble wrap, plastic air packs, plastic mailers, and zip-top bags well away from your cat at all times. These items pose a choking and suffocation risk to your cat.
9. Closets and Cabinets
Closets and cabinets are fun places for cats to spend time because they are enclosed and often contain items of interest. Closets likely smell strongly like you, while cabinets often contain interesting and unique items. Both of these locations can be dangerous for your cat, though.
Getting trapped in a closet or cabinet, especially if it latches closed, can be frightening for your cat, and it may lead to them destroying items or injuring themselves when trying to escape. It’s also not uncommon for cabinets to contain cleaning chemicals and other items that are dangerous for cats. Always keep closets and cabinets closed when not in use, and if your cat tends to sneak in when the door is open, check thoroughly before closing the door.
For outdoor cats, there are a lot of risks that can cause injury and death. Some people don’t realize that during the colder months, many cats will take shelter in the warmest places they can find; oftentimes, this is near the engine of a car, tractor, or other mechanical object. Engines warm up during use and may take time to cool off, causing the residual heat to be irresistible to cold kitties.
If you start your car with a cat near the engine, it can cause very serious burns, as well as death. In some cases, cats may even become entangled in belts and other moving parts, leading to degloving injuries. It’s extremely important to knock on the hood of your vehicle and other objects with engines before starting them, especially during the winter. Even if you don’t have an outdoor cat, keep in mind that strays and cats belonging to neighbors may shelter in these places as well.
The world can be a dangerous place for cats, even if they exclusively live indoors. To keep your cat as safe as possible, it’s best to keep them indoors at all times, but don’t forget to take precautions within your home. Cats are curious by nature, which can lead to them getting into trouble. As much as we’d like to believe it, we all know that cats don’t really have nine lives.
It can be extremely traumatizing and painful to you and your cat if they are accidentally injured through negligence or being overlooked in an unusual place. Try to keep an eye on where your cat spends most of their time, and if they suddenly begin showing an interest in a dangerous object or location, deter them and provide positive reinforcement for leaving the area alone.
Featured Image Credit: Naletova Elena, Shutterstock