How Long Will a Cat Hide in a New Home? Exploring the Truth

Key takeaways

Discovering that your beloved cat is hiding after you've moved house can be a heart-wrenching experience, setting off all kinds of alarm bells. As an experienced pet parent, I understand the emotional turmoil that accompanies such moments.

Rest assured, it's a situation many cat owners face and overcome. This guide aims to unpack this behavior, addressing the question on your mind: how long will a cat hide in a new home?

We'll delve into the underlying reasons, signs to look out for, and practical advice on what to do in such instances.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. How long will a cat hide in a new home
  3. Why do cats hide when they're scared?
  4. Preventing future scary situations for your cat
  5. When to seek professional help for a hiding cat
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion

How long will a cat hide in a new home

As a loving pet parent, you're likely asking, how long will a cat hide if scared? and how long will a cat hide in a new home? The answer, like our beloved cats, isn't as straightforward as we might hope. Various factors can influence how long your cat hides for, such as the intensity of their fear and their individual personality.
For instance, a cat that's mildly scared might only hide for a few hours, whereas one that's extremely nervous cats may hide for a day or even longer.
Tip: A cat's body language can help you gauge their fear level. Watch for signs like flattened ears, wide eyes, and a bushy tail to better understand their emotional state.

When your cat is hiding out of fear, it's important to remember that patience is vital.

It can be distressing not knowing exactly where your fur-baby is or when they'll feel safe enough to come out, but rushing them or trying to force them out of their hiding spot can only intensify their fear. When your cat feels secure, they'll come out in their own time.
If you're struggling to find your hiding cat indoors, consider reading this guide for helpful tips.
Cat hiding in a new home

Why do cats hide when they're scared?

Nature has hardwired cats with an instinctual reaction to perceived threats. Like many creatures, when fear strikes, cats have a "fight or flight" response. More often than not, our domestic companions opt for the latter, seeking out safe hiding spots to escape the source of their anxiety.
This fear response can be triggered by a myriad of stimuli. Loud, unexpected noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, are common culprits. But it's not always about the big bangs; even subtle changes, like a new piece of furniture or a different brand of cat litter, can upset our fussy friends.
Transitions into a new environment, like moving house or introducing another pet, can also evoke fear and increase your cat's stress levels.
scared cat hiding underneath a bed

Signs that your cat is scared

When it comes to identifying fear in cats, there are several signs you can look out for. Recognizing these cues can be a great help in locating your hiding cat and discerning fear from other emotions.


**Puffed-up fur: **Cats will often puff up their fur to appear bigger when scared, specifically the tail.


**Arched back: **An arched back coupled with puffed-up fur is another classic sign of a scared cat.


**Hissing, growling, or spitting: **These are vocal signals indicating your cat is scared and wants to be left alone.


**Ears laid back: **Cats tend to lay their ears back when they're feeling threatened.


Dilated pupils: Fear can cause a cat's pupils to dilate, making their eyes appear larger.

Knowing these signs can give you a headstart in reassuring your scared kitty and coaxing them out.
scared cat hiding in a bedroom

Common hiding places for scared cats

If your cat is scared, they may tuck themselves away in a variety of locations, both indoors and out. Inside your home, frightened cats will seek a dark, quiet refuge. The following places should be checked:

**Closets: **The darkness and quiet can be very comforting.

**Under beds or behind furniture: **These areas provide a sense of security.

**Laundry baskets: **Your cat can find both concealment and familiar scents here.

**Cabinets or drawers: **A cat might seek out these enclosed spaces for a sense of safety.

**Behind appliances: **These tight spots can provide a hideaway for a scared cat.

Did You Know? Cats are masters at hiding, a skill they inherited from their wild ancestors. Hiding helps them avoid predators and stay safe in their environment.
If your cat has managed to escape the new house and is now exploring the great outdoors, check these common hiding spots:

**Bushes: **Dense foliage can provide excellent cover.

**Under porches: **This provides shelter and concealment.

**Parked cars: **The underside of a car can offer a quick refuge.

**Sheds or garages: **These structures can provide both shelter and hiding spots.

**Trees: **A terrified cat might climb to escape perceived danger.

A scared cat hiding in a bush

When searching these areas, it's crucial to be slow and gentle, as not to frighten your cat further.

Use a flashlight to check dark corners and speak softly, letting your pet know it's you. Remember, patience is key in these situations. If you're still struggling to find your cat, explore these effective tips for finding a lost cat.

Tips for luring a scared cat out of hiding

It's heart-wrenching when your beloved cat is hiding in fear. But there's no need to panic - there are some tried-and-true techniques that can help coax your cat out of hiding. Remember, you're not alone in this. A calm, patient, and understanding approach can work wonders. Try the following:

Use familiar scents: Cats have an excellent sense of smell, and familiar scents can make them feel safe and secure. Try placing their favorite blanket, or maybe your own worn t-shirt near their hiding spot. The familiar scent can provide a sense of comfort and draw them out.

Call out to your cat in a calm and reassuring voice: Your voice is a sound your cat associates with safety and love. Avoid shouting or sounding frantic, even if you're feeling worried. Instead, use a soft, soothing tone. It might take a little time, but your voice can be a beacon of safety for your cat.

Lure them with treats or toys: Cats are natural hunters, and their curiosity often gets the better of their fear. Waving their favorite feather toy or rolling a treat towards their hiding spot might just entice them out. To better understand why your cat may be hiding, learn about common reasons for disappearance.

cat attracted to the smell of food
Expert Advice: If you're struggling to find your hiding cat, try searching at night when the house is quiet. Cats are more active during the twilight hours, and you might have a better chance of finding them. Discover how to find a lost cat at night for more tips.

Preventing future scary situations for your cat

Moving forward, there are steps you can take to create a safe and comfortable environment for your cat. This can prevent future hiding incidents and help your cat feel more secure in a new home.
Gradual introductions to new experiences are crucial. Cats are creatures of habit, and sudden changes can be stressful for them.
Overcoming fear and anxiety is a process, but with your love and support, your cat can feel safer over time. Remember, every cat is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Patience and understanding are your best tools in this journey.

Creating a cat-proof home to prevent hiding

A comfortable environment can make a world of difference in preventing your cat from hiding after moving house. Here are a few tips to make your new home more cat-friendly:


**Create safe zones: **Areas where your cat can retreat to if they're feeling overwhelmed can provide a sense of security. Choose a safe room or safe space designed just for them.


**Minimize loud noises: **Cats have sensitive hearing, so try to minimize loud noises as much as possible.


**Offer plenty of hideaways: **Providing hideaways like cat trees or beds gives your cat a safe place to retreat to when they need it.


**Keep routines consistent: **Cats are creatures of habit, and maintaining consistent routines can help them feel secure.


**Use calming products: **Consider using cat-friendly calming sprays or diffusers around your home.

relaxed cat sleeping in a new home

When to seek professional help for a hiding cat

Despite our best efforts, there may come a time when professional help is needed for a persistently hiding cat. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it's okay to seek advice from a professional.
Sudden changes in behavior, such as extended periods of hiding, can sometimes indicate a deeper issue. If your cat's hiding behavior is coupled with other concerning signs, like not eating or drinking, lethargy, or changes in litter box habits, it's time to consult a vet.
Additionally, a behaviorist can be incredibly helpful if your cat's fear and hiding seem to be more psychological than physical. They're trained to understand cat behavior and can provide personalized strategies to help your cat feel safe and secure in their environment.
Expert Insight: Remember, you know your cat best. If their hiding behavior has you worried, don't hesitate to reach out for help. It's always better to err on the side of caution.
Cat being checked by a vet


Is it normal for a cat to hide in a new home?

Yes, it is normal for a cat to hide in a new home. This change in environment can be scary and stressful and cause their fight-or-flight instinct to kick in which can lead to them hiding.

How long should I let my cat hide after moving?

You shouldn't pressure your kitty to come out of hiding after moving. Be patient and continue trying to encourage them, but don't force them.

How do you get a cat to come out of hiding?

To get a cat to come out of hiding, lure them out with strong-smelling food, treats, toys, and cuddles.

Will a hiding cat come out at night?

A hiding cat is more likely to come out at night. This is because it is often quieter and, therefore, safer. Cats are also naturally more active at night so they'll be more likely to come out to try and find food.

Should I drag my cat out of hiding?

No, you should not drag your cat out of hiding. This can make them even more scared and anxious, causing them to hide for longer.

Where would a cat hide in a new home?

Common hiding spots for cats in a new home include: laundry baskets, bathrooms, closets, wardrobes, cupboards, and under beds and furniture.


We've covered quite a bit of ground, haven't we? Understanding why our cats hide when they're scared is the first step towards helping them feel secure. From their innate fight or flight response to common fear triggers, it's clear that this is a deeply rooted instinct. Knowing the signs of fear can help us locate our hidden pals, and being aware of common indoor and outdoor hiding spots can make the search a bit easier. For more help, check out our guide on where do cats hide outside.
Remember, the duration of hiding can vary greatly depending on factors like the severity of fear and the cat's unique personality. Patience is key here. With time, care, and understanding, we can help coax our scared friends from their hiding spots.
Making our homes cat-friendly, reducing fear triggers, and managing introductions to new people or pets can help prevent future scares. And remember, professional help is always an option if you're worried about your cat's behavior.
In the end, what's most important is that we provide a comforting presence for our cats, especially when they're scared. Let's offer them our patience, understanding, and unwavering love, and we can help ensure they feel safe and secure in our homes. Remember, we're not just cat owners—we're their trusted companions. Let's make sure we live up to that title.
Key Takeaway: Understand the reasons behind your cat's hiding behavior, address their fears, create a cat-friendly environment, and be patient. With love and understanding, you can help your scared cat feel safe and secure.

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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