Have you ever found your cat in a hiding space under a bed and tried to lure her out without success?
Usually, luring a cat out of hiding is as easy as offering food, catnip, or a toy!
Other times, however, luring your cat out takes a bit more. Read on to find out why your cat is hiding and some tips to lure her out!
Should I lure my cat out?
Evaluate the situation that is causing your cat to hide.
If your cat reacts to new people, animals, or environmental changes, it’s a good idea to let it come out on its own.
She most likely will feel more comfortable if she doesn’t feel pressured and has the freedom to choose when to come out.
In this situation, she may wait until the person or animal leaves, and her home is how she’s used to it. This is absolutely normal!
A few visits of the unfamiliar guest or some time with a new addition to the household can be enough to familiarize your cat, and she may be comfortable enough over time to investigate.
When your cat is sick, she might hide instinctively.
Some cats like to isolate themselves when they feel unwell. They do this to hide their weakness from public view.
In this case, intervention is necessary to ensure the well-being of your cat. She may not like to be checked on, but it is important to watch for any new behaviors or symptoms of illness.
If she is hiding and seems unwell, visiting your trusted veterinarian might be necessary.
If your cat is on the timid side, luring her out with food or encouragement can help her associate coming out of hiding with something positive.
It might take some time to help a shy cat feel comfortable coming out of hiding, even with lots of treats and love, but it’s worth the effort!
5 tips to lure your cat out of hiding
#1 Establish the reason your cat is hiding.
To solve a problem, you got to first identify the root cause. Did you change something at home recently? Or have you brought a new item home that irritates your cat?
If it’s something unusual for your cat to do, or if you’re unsure what the cause is, talking to your trusted veterinarian can offer advice.
If there aren’t any health issues, there are a few things you can try next.
#2 Bribe her with food!
Her favorite wet food or a kitty treat should do the job. Simply set the food or treat nearby the hiding cat, ensuring it’s out of reach.
If the food is put directly into the space where your cat is hiding, that can reinforce her desire to remain hidden. By putting it just outside her comfort zone, she might be brave enough to venture out.
She might be uninterested or intimidated by the distance if it’s too far away. Try moving the food to a few different spots to see which area works best for your cat.
#3 Use some catnip!
Cats love it, and catnip can help with stress reduction when used in moderation.
Catnip is also a mood booster for cats and can even reduce anxiety. The scent helps attract cats and could be enough to get your cat to come out.
While catnip can be very helpful for most cats, it doesn’t work for all of them.
Usually, kittens under one year of age aren’t affected by catnip. This method works better for adult cats, ages 1 and up.
#4 Try her favorite toys!
A little mouse, some feathers on a stick, or a ball with bells inside are popular choices for cats. Another great option is a laser pointer, but be mindful of your cat’s eyes!
For a double-duty item, try using a toy with catnip inside! Not only will the toy itself be appealing, but the catnip also has a very attractive scent to cats.
#5 Be patient.
If one thing is true about cats, it’s that they do things in their own time.
Using a calm voice, gentle motions, and lots of patience is crucial. Cats can be very skittish at times and often need reassurance.
During the process of helping your cat feel secure in her environment, there could be times when it feels like an uphill battle.
Maintaining a subdued temperament is critical to avoid losing any progress that has been made.
How to provide a safe space for your cat to hide
Choose an area that is quiet and dark.
A closet is a great choice! Generally, any dark corner will do, as long as it’s safe. Choosing a space where your cat can be alone is helpful, so pick a room with less activity.
Another great option is under a bed if there’s a spot for that!
An area that’s higher up.
Cats prefer to have a good vantage point of their area and often look for hiding spots above the rest of the room.
A bookshelf is a great idea, preferably one that has been mounted to the wall or is otherwise secured.
A cat tower is an excellent pick if you have space. Some are quite tall, but there is a variety of sizes available.
Offer a box!
A medium-sized box, basket, or other mostly enclosed device works wonderfully. Line with a few soft blankets or towels for added comfort.
Also, ensure the opening of the box or other item is facing outward. Facing the room entrance can be comforting.
Cats prefer to have something around them, allowing them to feel protected on all sides but still able to watch their surroundings.
The combination of being hidden and keeping an eye on the room helps provide a sense of security for cats.
Have the essentials nearby.
Food, water, and a litter box close to their hiding spot will allow your cat to have everything she needs to survive right when she needs it.
When a cat is hiding because of fear, she probably won’t want to venture too far from her safe space, even if it’s for an important reason.
Having all the essentials nearby will help her eat, drink, and go to the bathroom more regularly since she won’t have to travel far to care for herself.
When to let your cat hide
If she is scared.
Cats most often hide when they feel afraid or anxious. If this is the case, giving your cat time is very important.
She needs to be able to come out on her own terms. Trying to force her out of hiding can scare her even more, leading to more time hiding.
Offer food and water in an area near your cat is hiding, and be patient. She’ll come out when she feels comfortable and will appreciate having the time she needs to calm down.
New people and animals can cause your cat to go into hiding. Cats can sometimes be skittish, especially around people and animals who aren’t familiar.
It can be intimidating for a cat to engage in interactions she finds distressing.
Social anxiety is common in cats who are newly adopted or otherwise new to the household, cats who aren’t used to socializing, and those who have had a negative social interaction, among other causes.
In this situation, kindness and patience are the most effective tools.
During nap time.
Cats are sleepy creatures, that’s for sure! While it probably won’t hurt them to be lured out, your cat might be annoyed by the wake-up call.
Since cats are nocturnal and we aren’t, it can seem like cats sleep their days away. While technically true, cats are a little more active at night and prefer to sleep during the day.
Your cat and her hiding habits
Hiding is instinctual for your cat and not usually cause for concern.
In nature, cats look for small, dark places to hide. This not only provides them with a better vantage point while hunting but also gives them protection.
Providing a safe place for your cat to hide might be the best option.
Your cat might not change her elusive behavior and giving her an area of her own will keep her safe and feeling secure.
A common problem cat parents have is finding their fur baby in an unsafe place, such as a car engine or clothes dryer.
Creating a safe place for your cat can help her feel better and can help reduce the worry of her getting hurt.
Knowing when to look for help.
Whether it’s an issue of health or even anxiety, your vet can provide some very helpful advice.
Veterinarians are an amazing source of information and can help put your mind at ease if you’re unsure what to do for your cat.
Be gentle with yourself through the process of providing your cat with the tools to be safe and feel comfortable.
It might take a few different methods to be successful, but your cat will thank you for the effort!