Cats naturally prefer to hide in corners or under tables. If your cat tends to hide when it takes naps but spends most of its waking hours interacting and playing, it probably just prefers some privacy.
However, if hiding is accompanied by other unusual behaviours such as loss of appetite, changes in litter box habits and uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour, there may be an underlying problem.
Common reasons why your feline friend may want to avoid the public spotlight include one or more of the following conditions: a medical problem, pain, fear or stress.
Reason: MedicalA change in behaviour is often the first sign of an underlying illness or disease that may be causing discomfort. If your feline friend's behaviour has changed recently and she stays hidden for long periods, then seek veterinary advice immediately. If your veterinarian proclaims a healthy cat, then seek a behavioural explanation.
Reason: PainCats instinctively hide their pain as a survival strategy. A cat in pain is seen as weak and vulnerable - therefore, she will often seek out quiet, shaded areas and places in order to avoid contact with a perceived threat.
Reason: FearCats see the world through the eyes of a predator and the eyes of prey, which makes them somewhat unique. They respond to any type of threat or perceived threat with avoidance. For example, some cats share better than others. So, if your cat must share her stuff with another cat who is bullying your cat, she may be afraid of public places or may just choose to avoid conflict. Territorial aggression is normal in felines - so if you have more than one cat, be on the lookout for cat bully behaviour.
Reason: StressIs a new cat or dog now part of the family? This may be one reason why your cat is hiding. Simple things that we don't even think of may make cats feel threatened, and this could be a person, noise, or another pet in or near the home. Felines also commonly hide from visitors. Note that cats bond to territory and therefore are stressed by changes in the environment. For instance, cats are upset with changes in the household. - so try to keep your cat’s feeding bowl, litter box and climbing trees in the same place. If you are not sure why your cat might be stressed, seek the help of your vet.
Ways To Help
First and foremost, do not scold or shout at your cat to correct or control any behaviour. Do not forcibly remove your cat from her perceived safe area. This is because cats feel less stress when they are able to choose movement and are able to move freely. And lessening stress will likely decrease the cat’s hiding behaviour. To give your cat extra comfort, add a tall floor to ceiling cat tree with plenty of comfy perching places. Add calming feline pheromones to her sleeping areas or to her favourite rooms with a diffuser or mist.
Think of ways you might make it worthwhile for your cat to come out of hiding. You can call your cat for meals and treats. If your cat will eat near you, try hand feeding your cat. In addition, visit your cat frequently to give mental stimulation and ensure she is getting nutrition, water and access to the litter box. A visit to the veterinarian is recommended to rule out any medical issues too.