Cats are well-known for their ability to hide when something happens that is out of the ordinary and makes them feel uncomfortable or scared. This behavior is a natural instinct that has been developed over time to help protect them from danger. However, as a pet owner, it is important to be aware of how long your cat is hiding and how you can create a safe space for them.
Cats hide for various reasons, and these can vary from cat to cat. Generally, cats hide when anything happens outside of their comfort zone. Some felines are terrified of anyone else other than their owners, while others take a lot to get worked up. Some will fear thunderstorms, others will fear the vacuum. But typically, sudden hiding has to do with environmental change that you are aware of as well, such as moving or bringing a new animal or person into the house.
The length of time a cat will hide just depends on the circumstance and how scared they are. Some cats only hide for a few minutes, while others take cover for quite a long time, if they think it’s necessary—which can last hours or days. It can be tricky to find your cat, but it is important to do so. As long as you know where they are hiding, you can take measures to help them until they are more secure.
If you bring a new cat home and they’re hiding immediately, this is perfectly normal. You’ll definitely want to keep note of where they are, but give them their time and space. New cats will acclimate in the first 2 weeks, and hiding should subside. In this scenario, the best thing to do is only to initially give cats access to a small portion of the house. The hiding behavior should gradually stop as they get used to their surroundings.
However, your cat hiding probably isn’t cause for major concern unless it starts interfering with their ability to live comfortably in the home. One of your primary concerns with cats hiding is their ability to eat and use the bathroom. If they’re hiding for long periods or don’t feel like they can come out, it could cause accidents, weight loss, and dehydration. Your cat should feel like they can freely go to and from the food dishes and litter box at their leisure. If they no longer come into the main spaces to do either one of these activities, some adjustments will need to be made.
Cats can develop long-term issues with trust and might be more withdrawn. This can impact the relationship between the two of you and other household members. If your cat is constantly hiding, they need to get proper socialization. The longer this goes on, the more impactful it might be—so make sure to correct the problem before it gets out of hand. If something is going on in the home that your cat cannot get used to, it can cause problems with anxiety. Some cats will be more inclined to nervous behavior than others. If these tendencies are not fostered correctly, it can become an ongoing problem.
It’s one thing if your cat is hiding indoors where you know they’re safe. It’s quite another if they’ve darted off somewhere outside and you can’t seem to find them. Because if they are outside, there is a very good chance they are just hiding somewhere local, but they might have run off. Not knowing the difference can be very alarming for owners.
If you notice your cat hiding recently, or it’s a frequent problem for them, you can make some changes to create a safer environment for them. If something is causing anxiety in your cat’s environment, try to adjust the situation to meet the needs of all involved. If you know something is upsetting to your cat, keep it as far away from them as possible. Since you are the owner, you are ultimately responsible for the well-being of your animal. If that means addressing other behavioral issues in the household, it is your job to do so.
Sudden changes in your cat’s behavior like hiding for long periods might be a sign of something wrong. If you are concerned about your cat’s behavior, always follow up with your veterinarian. They will run tests on them, including blood work, a physical exam, and additional testing if necessary.
In conclusion, cats may hide when they are anxious or scared and the length of time they hide depends on the circumstance and how comfortable they feel. Pet owners should create a safe space for their cats and take measures to help them until they are more secure. Hiding probably isn’t cause for major concern unless it starts interfering with their ability to live comfortably in the home. If you notice your cat frequently hides, you can make some changes to create a safer environment for them.