How to Get My Cat Out of Hiding: Essential Techniques to Try

Key takeaways

If you're reading this, chances are you're concerned about your cat's hiding behavior. It can be stressful when our beloved pets seem to vanish into thin air, leaving us wondering how to get our cat out of hiding.

First, take a deep breath and remember that this is a common issue many cat owners face. We're here to guide you through the process and offer helpful tips to bring your fur baby back into the open.

We're going to explore why your cat may be hiding, techniques to lure them out, and ways to help destress them.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Understanding cat hiding behavior
  3. Preparing to approach your hiding cat
  4. Techniques to lure your cat out of hiding
  5. Dealing with specific hiding triggers
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion

Understanding cat hiding behavior

Cats are naturally inclined to hide as a survival instinct. They might seek out cozy spots for various reasons, such as feeling scared or stressed. Let's explore some common reasons why cats hide:

New environments or changes in the household

Sudden loud noises (e.g., thunderstorms, fireworks)

Introduction of a new cat, other pets, or people

Illness or pain

Cats are naturally inclined to hide as a survival instinct. This behavior can be triggered by new environments, loud noises, introduction of new pets or people, and illness or pain.

A cat hiding in a garden

How to recognize signs of hiding

Cats can be quite creative with their hiding places. Keep an eye out for subtle body language cues that indicate they're seeking shelter. If you're unsure how to locate your hiding cat, check our guide on how to find a cat in your house. Here are some popular hiding spots to check:


Under beds, sofas, or other furniture


Inside closets or cupboards


Behind appliances (e.g., washing machines, refrigerators)


In boxes or bags


High shelves or rafters

It's essential to differentiate between hiding and napping, as cats enjoy dozing in various spots. However, if your cat seems tense or anxious, they may be hiding due to stress.
To better understand your cat's behavior and the reasons for their disappearance, refer to our article on common reasons for cat disappearance.
cat hiding under a bed

Preparing to approach your hiding cat

Creating a safe and calm environment is key to ensuring your cat feels comfortable enough to emerge from hiding. Remember, your cat might be feeling scared or stressed, so it's important to approach them gently and avoid causing further distress.

Tip 1: Remove any potential stressors from the room, such as loud noises or unfamiliar objects.

Tip 2: Speak softly and use a soothing tone of voice to help calm your cat.

Tip 3: Avoid making sudden movements or standing directly over your cat, as this can be intimidating.

Tip 4: If possible, sit or lie down on the floor to appear less threatening.

Tip 5: Give your cat space and time to get used to your presence before attempting to interact with them.

Tip: Be patient and persistent. Cats are naturally curious creatures, and given enough time, they'll come out to explore their surroundings. If your cat is hiding outside, you may want to know where they're likely to hide to better locate them.
Cat hiding in a bedroom

Techniques to lure your cat out of hiding

As a cat-loving pet-parent, you want the best for your fur baby. When it comes to coaxing them out of hiding, there are several techniques that can be both effective and gentle on your cat's emotions.
Important: Never force your cat out of hiding by physically pulling them out or cornering them. This can cause severe stress and damage the bond between you and your cat.

Using food and treats

The way to a cat's heart is often through their stomach. Food and treats can be a powerful motivator when trying to get your cat to come out of hiding. Here are some popular treats that can help you achieve this:

Canned tuna or salmon: The strong smell of these fish can be irresistible to cats.

Boiled chicken: Unseasoned and shredded, it can entice your cat to investigate and eat.

Commercial cat treats: Choose their favorite flavor, and shake the bag to make that irresistible sound.

Catnip: For some cats, the smell of catnip can be more tempting than food.

cat coming out of hiding for food

Utilizing toys and playtime

Interactive toys can be a fun and engaging way to lure your cat out of hiding. By stimulating their natural hunting instincts, you can entice your cat to leave their safe spot for a bit of playtime.
If your cat is still not coming out, consider some insightful tips on how long a cat can hide when scared to understand their behavior better. For kittens, try this 8-step guide on how to get kittens out of hiding.

Interactive toys can be a fun and engaging way to lure your cat out of hiding. Stimulating their natural hunting instincts can entice them to leave their safe spot for playtime.

indoor cat surrounded by toys

The power of scent

Familiar scents can offer comfort and reassurance to your hiding cat. Using personal items or pheromone products can help create a sense of security, enticing your cat to emerge from their hiding spot. Here are some common scent-related items to consider:

Your clothing: A worn shirt or a pair of socks can provide your cat with the comforting smell of their favorite person.

Blankets: A blanket your cat likes to sleep on can serve as a familiar scent to lure them out.

Pheromone spray: Products like Feliway mimic the natural facial pheromones of cats, helping to create a calming environment.

Pet beds: If your cat has a favorite bed, place it near their hiding spot to encourage them to come out.

Catnip: As mentioned earlier, the scent of catnip can have a powerful effect on some cats, drawing them out of hiding.

‍💻 Expert Tip: Cats have an excellent sense of smell. Utilizing familiar scents can provide comfort and reassurance, helping your cat to feel safe enough to come out of hiding.
A cat sniffing the air

Familiar scents can offer comfort and reassurance to your hiding cat. Using personal items or pheromone products can help create a sense of security, enticing your cat to emerge from their hiding spot.

Using Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be an effective way to coax your cat out of hiding. Here are some techniques to encourage your cat:

Praise: Speak gently and use a soothing tone when your cat comes out of hiding.

Treats: Reward your cat with their favorite treat for emerging from their hiding spot.

Petting: Offer gentle strokes and scratches in their preferred spots, such as behind the ears or under the chin.

Playtime: Engage your cat with a favorite toy to reinforce their decision to come out.

Cuddle time: Offer your cat the opportunity to snuggle with you, reinforcing the bond between you two.

Tip: Consistent positive reinforcement can help build trust and confidence in your cat, reducing their need to hide.
A cat owner cuddling their cat

Dealing with specific hiding triggers

Cats can hide for various reasons, and unique situations may call for tailored techniques to encourage your cat to come out.
Did You Know? Cats' hiding behavior can be influenced by various factors such as their environment, past experiences, and individual personalities.

Hiding during storms or fireworks

Loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks can be terrifying for your cat. Here are some steps to help them cope with these events:


Create a safe space: Set up a cozy, quiet area in your home where your cat can feel secure.


Close windows and doors: Minimize the noise by keeping windows and doors shut.


Use white noise or calming music: Drown out the sounds with soothing background noise.


Stay close to your cat: Your presence can provide comfort and reassurance during these times.


Use calming products: Pheromone diffusers or sprays can help create a relaxing atmosphere.

Create a safe space, minimize the noise, use calming sounds, and stay close to your cat during storms or fireworks.

scared cat hiding in a cupboard

Managing cat anxiety

Recognizing and managing your cat's anxiety is crucial to addressing their hiding behavior. Here are some tips to help reduce anxiety:

Maintain a consistent routine: Predictability can help alleviate anxiety in cats.

Create a calm environment: Reduce loud noises and chaos in your home to help your cat feel more at ease.

Offer safe spaces: Provide hiding spots and perches where your cat can feel secure.

Socialize your cat gradually: Slowly introduce your cat to new people or pets to avoid overwhelming them.

Recognize and manage your cat's anxiety to address their hiding behavior effectively.

A cat sleeping peacefully by a window


How do you lure a cat out of hiding?

To lure a cat out of hiding, tap into their powerful sense of smell. Leave strong-smelling food and treats outside their hiding place and leave them alone.

Will a cat eventually come out of hiding?

A cat will most likely eventually come out of hiding. However, if they have been hiding for more than 24 hours, you should intervene to ensure they are getting enough food and water.

How do I get my cat to stop hiding?

To get your cat to stop hiding, you should make sure they feel comfortable and safe in their environment. Avoid having guests over and keep noise levels down, a scared cat is more likely to continue hiding.

Should I drag my cat out of hiding?

No, you should never drag your cat out of hiding. This will frighten and stress them, making them hide for longer.

Why is my cat hiding?

Your cat may be hiding for a variety of reasons, including fear, stress, anxiety, injury, and illness.

What does it mean when a cat hides and doesn't eat?

If your cat is hiding and not eating, this may indicate that they are sick, injured, or in some kind of pain. It may also indicate high stress levels, anxiety, and fear.


In summary, understanding your cat's hiding behavior and knowing how to approach them in a safe and patient manner is crucial. Utilize food, treats, toys, and familiar scents to lure your cat out of hiding, while managing anxiety and addressing specific hiding triggers.
Most importantly, be patient and compassionate with your cat – with time and care, you can help them feel more comfortable and secure. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and your love and dedication will go a long way in strengthening the bond between you and your feline friend.
If your cat's hiding behavior persists or worsens despite your best efforts, it may be time to consult a professional for help. A veterinarian or certified cat behaviorist can assess your cat's situation and provide tailored advice and solutions.

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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