Some cats systematically crouch under furniture as soon as their owner approaches. Funny at first, this attitude can be destabilizing, even discouraging when it persists, especially if you have decided to welcome a kitty into your home in order to be able to cuddle it. It is in any case important to identify the cause in order to find a solution capable of making the cat want to no longer hide all the time. Here are the main reasons that can explain this behavior and what we can try to do to change it.
What causes a cat to hide all the time?
A cat does not always hide out of play, far from it, and there are many reasons for this behavior.
This reason concerns, for example, the cat which, with its previous owner, was very often scolded or mistreated. This attitude reflects a clear lack of confidence in Man. But fear can also be caused in an extremely noisy environment because the little feline has a more developed hearing than that of humans. Sometimes it is enough to listen to music at a high volume for him to be frightened, even seized with a fear of panic. Whatever the reason, the scared cat is uncomfortable and stressed. He needs to get to safety. This is why he is constantly looking for a hiding place.
Hiding is an attitude a cat can adopt systematically mistaken for a toy by young children. By dint of having his ears pulled or the vibrissae cut, the kitty does not really want to expose himself to these little men of great playfulness. He shows, by rushing under the bed or the dresser, that he needs to be left alone. Parents should discuss this problem with their children.
During the acclimatization period, when a cat has just been adopted, it may need time to be comfortable in its new environment and to get to know its new owner. It is therefore not worrying if he is hiding all the time. It all depends of course on his character, but it’s a safe bet that after a few days or weeks, he will spontaneously come begging for caresses.
We can more exactly speak of a lack of socialization. This behavior which evokes this famous shyness in cats is due to a lack of learning to live in society and this concerns kittens who could not be sufficiently exposed to different stimuli for any reason whatsoever. This caution is common in cats who have lived on the streets for a long time.
The loss of reference points
It does not take much for this great lover of rituals to feel so confused as to spend his time hiding under an armchair, under a kitchen cabinet or in the first cupboard with the door left ajar. As it is very attached to its territory, and that it considers as such the accommodation of its owners, the cat can be very destabilized by the reorganization of a room or, worse, of the whole of the house. Partition knocked down, installation of a room divider, change of sofa, moving his basket or bedding, total transformation of the children’s room in which he spent a good part of his day … the kitty sees this upheaval with a bad eye. So he takes refuge in a well-hidden corner because he feels a little lost in all this commotion.
This is quite common when hosting a second pet, like a rabbit, a dog or a second cat. It is indeed not sure that this audacity pleases the kitty in place and who can consider the new resident as a intruder. Disturbed, jealous or simply not in agreement with the irruption of a new kid in his life regulated like music paper are all reasons which push the twink to take refuge … perhaps momentarily, the future will tell . For him in any case, hiding all the time is the only solution allowing him to avoid the other animal.
There, it is more a story of disagreement between domestic animals which is at the origin of this withdrawal into oneself. A cat can suddenly hide under furniture almost systematically because his bowl is emptied by another resident on all fours, or because the latter has been squatting his basket for a long time. No doubt there is a conflictual relationship between the two animals and apparently, the kitty who prefers to hide is not the more aggressive of the two … Competition can exist between two pets of the same species or not. It is important to be careful about this because one can make the other’s life impossible.
How to deal with a cat that hides all the time?
The first piece of advice is to do not force the animal to come out of its hiding place. We should not prevent him from hiding either because that would only amplify his discomfort. By taking refuge under a piece of furniture or another at all times, the kitty has the feeling that he is in perfect control of the situation and that he can always find in his environment a place in which he is protected. It is very important to him. If he couldn’t take refuge anywhere, maybe he would be aggressive or in such a state of stress that he would probably fall ill.
Not to impose
The right attitude to adopt when your cat is constantly in hiding, even if it is difficult to bear, is not to impose yourself. We adopt an attitude of withdrawal which can only give trust to the animal.
Offer him a treat
As soon as he gets out of his hiding place (yes! You have to go for a bite to eat, a drink or visit the litter box from time to time), you can present him something that he loves to eat by accompanying this gesture. of encouraging words. It is not sure whether the owner will get a satisfactory result on the first attempt, but with a cat patience is a must. The main thing is not to grab the cat if it comes to take its treat, otherwise it will be wary of its master for a long time to come.
Develop a space just for him
If it is a newly adopted cat, it is essential to let it acclimatize at its own pace because in this area, little felines are not equal. Some are bolder than others … Especially since life story of the animal greatly influences its behavior. It is fundamental that he feel loved, which does not happen overnight. So that the kitty gets used to his new family quickly, we take care to create a space of tranquility that no one should disturb. It’s just as important when he doesn’t appreciate the arrival of another animal.
Offer him a scratching post with catnip
With a cat that hides all the time, good results are obtained with a scratching post containing catnip, an aromatic herb with exceptional euphoric powers on small felines, and called catmint or catnip (not to be confused with catnip with only digestive properties).
Appeasement is also obtained with spray pheromones that we can spray on the sofa for example to encourage the cat to settle there and that he feels good there. It is a natural product that veterinarians recommend when a cat does not get used to its environment or is particularly stressed.
Playing with your cat
We do not imagine how much share games with his kitty allows to put the animal in confidence, to help it acclimatize in a new environment. It is also crucial so that the cat does not get bored. It is necessary that vary the toys so that he does not get bored. The ideal is to reserve for your animal a parenthesis complicity at the end of the day, or even two or three times a day if there is enough free time spent at home.
Finally, a consultation is required if the cat has been hiding all the time for a little while whereas previously it was always near its owner. A cat who suffers physically can withdraw or even if it is infested with parasites. It must therefore be seen by the veterinarian without delay.