Why Your Cat Likes to Hide in Small Dark Spaces

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It's no secret that when things get crazy in the house, cats will seek the quietest, most secluded spot to escape the chaos. But why is your cat hiding in the furthest corner of your bedroom closet? Why do cats like to hide in general?

It's all part of your feline friend's instinctive behavior. Although she's domesticated, her ancestors sought secluded spaces to birth their kittens and seek shelter from predators, according to VetStreet. That's why the unassuming cardboard box in which your latest online purchase arrived makes the perfect spot for your kitty to escape. She loves the security that those four walls provide. There may be times when your fur baby hides because she's stressed out, says PetMD. However, usually, she's just chilling in one of these fabulous cat hiding spots to take a break from her hectic day. Here are some of her most common hiding spots:

In a Box

The most common of escape locations is the average cardboard box (be it shoebox or soda carton). It provides a soothing space for your feline pal, and the smaller the better. In addition to the warmth generated by the cardboard insulation, the four walls of the box give her the security and comfort she craves. Additionally, she can spy on you–and anyone else invading her territory–by peeking over the sides. "To avoid a box turf war," advises Petcha, "have at least one box for every cat in the house, then add one more box." Strategically placing a variety of different-sized boxes around the house will amp up your feline friend's playtime, too. Boxes are also nice because they can provide their own place to let your cat scratch without damaging anything of value to you.

Under the bed

Gray cat with yellow eyes wrapped up in blue plaid bed sheets.

Or under the covers on the bed. Or under the pillows on the bed. Let's face it: Cats just love the fluffy coziness of their pet parent's bed just as much as you do, which you already know if you're a cat parent. When hosting a party at your house, you'll typically find your kitty under the bed because that space is dark, quiet, and too small to fit a human. In other words, it's perfect for when she's feeling shy.

In a Laundry Basket

Gray cat curled up in a white laundry basket.

A cat's affection for hiding on, in, or under a bed transfers over to a love of laundry baskets, preferably filled with fresh-out-of-the-dryer clean clothes, because your wardrobe offers the same comfort as bed covers. If you discover your cat hiding in your basket, can you really blame her? After all, it's not that much different than when her people snuggle up with a warm blanket. This might be a habit you want to break because as nice as putting on a warm, just-out-of-the-dryer piece of clothing can be, it might not be as nice covered in cat hair.

In a Closet

What's not to love about a dark closet? Cats love this space because it has at least two sturdy walls for security and an abundance of soft fabric to cuddle. Another benefit of a closet is that the enclosed space blocks much of the sound emanating from the rest of the home, so your kitty can get her good day's sleep. This is a great hiding space for your kitty if you're hosting a party, or if she's hiding from you because it's time to trim her nails or give her a bath. Just make sure you prepare yourself. Seeing a couple of eyes peering out of the dark as you go to change your shoes can give you quite a startle.

In the Sink

Black and orange calico lying in bathroom sink.

You may be taken aback the first time you catch your cat lounging in the bathroom sink, but it's actually a pretty great spot. For starters, the average bathroom sink is just the right size to contain your furry friend and give her the shelter she needs, much like a cardboard box. Additionally, she finds the coolness of the sink comfortable, and the proximity of running water to play with is a bonus. And don't be surprised if you pull back your shower curtain one day to find your cat sitting in the tub. Although it's a much bigger structure, the bathtub also provides an awesome four-walled hideout.

So don't throw away those empty boxes, or put away your laundry too soon, or tidy up that closet. Providing your cat with the things she needs to create the perfect cat hiding spot will help to keep her calm and stress-free!

Image Sources: Christine O'Brien

Contributor Bio

Christine O'Brien

Christine O'Brien


Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, and long-time pet parent whose two Russian Blue cats rule the house. Her work also appears in What to Expect Word of Mom, xoJane, Fit Pregnancy, and Care.com. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien


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