Where Do Cats Hide? Top 3 Hiding Places Indoor and Outdoor

Key takeaways

Our beloved furry friends have a sensitive nature. And that's why we love them, right? But it can also cause a lot of stress. Especially when they decide to hide.

We detail the top 3 places, indoors and outdoors, where cats often hide. This includes outbuildings, warm places, and in or under furniture.

Understanding hiding cat behavior is essential in caring for your kitty. We explore the top reasons why cats start to hide and how you can make them feel more comfortable.

If you still can't locate your kitty, follow our top tips on how to find them and be reunited in no time.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Top 3 places cats hide indoors
  3. Top 3 places cats hide outdoors
  4. Understanding cat hiding behavior
  5. Top tips on how to find your cat
  6. FAQs
  7. Final thoughts

Top 3 places cats hide indoors

Our kitties are notoriously curious. If you don't let your cat outdoors, it's likely they've explored every nook and cranny in your house for fun. This means they'll have secret places to hide that you don't even know about! If this is the case, check these top 3 places.

1. In warm places

Warmth provides cats with a feeling of safety and security. If they are distressed, scared, or just tired, they are likely to seek warmth to help calm them.
Common places include in and around household appliances:

Behind or on top of fridges

In or behind washing machines

In or behind a clothes dryer

Near dishwashers

Make sure you always check these areas first, as they can be dangerous hiding places. There are also less dangerous hiding spots like cardboard boxes and laundry baskets.
Small orange cat sitting on a rug in front of a fire

2. Cupboards, wardrobes, and drawers

You've probably experienced it. Turn your back for a second while you're getting ready, and your kitty is already making themselves comfortable on a pile of freshly washed clothes.
Drawers, cupboards, and wardrobes all make for the perfect hiding place. Because they are secure, dark, and safe, your cat will feel calm.
It's easy to trap your furry friend in these places and not notice. If you're looking for your kitty, start by opening up all the doors of your cupboards.
Two cats hiding in cupboards amongst other objects

3. Under and behind furniture

The ability to morph into any size and shape is something that astounds cat owners every day. It means that when cats hide, they hide well.
Our houses are full of opportunities for our kitties to squeeze into small spaces and fall asleep. Sofas, coffee tables, TV stands, and bookshelves all offer perfect hiding spots.
If your kitty is currently missing, it's worth moving your furniture rather than just looking underneath it. Even if your cat isn't there, the disruption to their environment will likely bring them out of hiding.

“The ability to morph into any size and shape is something that astounds cat owners every day. It means that when cats hide, they hide well.”

Top 3 places cats hide outdoors

If your hiding cat is in the great outdoors, you may feel a little more hopeless when trying to find them. However, don't worry. They have likely sought a quiet place where they feel secure. Start by checking the following common places.

1. Outbuildings

If your cat has decided to hide outside, then things can be a little more tricky. However, the likelihood is that they will seek out shelter that is secure and relatively warm. Outbuildings are perfect for our kitties because they are close to home, accessible, and secure.
However, often, there may be a small opening into a shed, garage, or outbuilding, which may be difficult to get back out of.
This means your kitty can become trapped. So, be sure to keep the doors propped open when you're looking for your furry friend. This way, they'll have a clear escape route.
Top Tip: Start a PetRadar search so your neighbors can be on the lookout for your hiding kitty too!
Two people searching a shed at night for their hiding cat

2. Under or up trees

If our kitties have decided to hide, it may be because they are feeling threatened or scared. This is when their instincts kick in. Cats like to be in an elevated position to assess their environment. It means they can keep an eye out for potential predators and understand their location better.
An obvious choice is to climb trees. Whilst a cat stuck in a tree may seem like a cliche, it happens every day.
Animal behaviorists believe this is because propelling themselves upwards by their claws is an easy movement for cats to achieve. However, coming back down proves a lot more difficult. This means if they climb too high, they can become stuck.
A hiding black cat sat on a tree branch in sunset

3. Abandoned buildings

If your cat is a little more adventurous, or they've become disoriented, they may be hiding a little further away.
If a cat becomes displaced, meaning they are no longer in their territory, they will find somewhere to hide and wait until they feel safe.
This means cats are often found in abandoned buildings and structures. Some common spots for a hiding cat include:



Empty houses

Empty sheds/outbuildings

Understanding cat hiding behavior

It's important that you question why your cat is hiding rather than just ignoring the behavior. It can be an important indication of your cat's well-being, so you need to pay attention to changes in their habits and routines.

Your cat is suddenly hiding

If you have a chilled-out kitty, but one day your cat suddenly starts hiding, this could be a sign of sickness, injury, or changes to their environment. Cats' natural instincts make them seek hidden and safe places when they feel weak and vulnerable.
If you think this might be the case, try and find them as soon as possible. If you do find them, but they don't want to come out of hiding, sit with them for a while and observe their behavior. You may be able to see if they are in pain.
Top Tip: If your cat is hiding for extended periods of time, check out our full article exploring the reasons why and tips to get your kitty out of hiding.
A scared cat suddenly hiding under a bed

Your cat is always hiding

If your kitty seems to hide most days, this may show they don't feel safe in their home. This ongoing level of stress can cause health problems, like cystitis, so it's important to find out what's going on.
If this behavior started when a change was made to the environment, like visitors or new pets, then you may need to take steps to introduce your kitty properly to the new company.
If your kitty has hidden since you got them, they may have a timid personality and need a little more comfort before they feel safe enough to come out. Try:

Sitting with your kitty at their favorite hiding place

Playing with them

Keeping the house quiet

Keeping visitors and other animals to a minimum

Trying a plug-in relaxer

Top tips on how to find your cat

If you've checked all of the common hiding places and are still having no luck, don't give up. Instead, follow our expert tips.

Search at night

It may seem counterintuitive, but trust us, it works. Cats are often very active at night, especially if they are in the great outdoors.
Searching at night means they are more likely to be out of hiding. If you use a flashlight, the light will reflect off your kitty's eyes, making it easier to spot them.
An owner searching for their hiding cat at night with a flashlight

Lure your cat back home

There will be times when you have to stop searching. Whether it is to get some much-needed sleep or to go to work. But don't worry. You can still remain proactive by taking steps to lure your cat back home.
Try leaving food, treats, and water outside your house. Your cat will likely be hungry, and their incredible sense of smell means they could detect their favorite treats from 4 miles (6.5km) away! To tap into this superpower further, leave blankets and their litter box nearby.

Keep calling their name

It may sound obvious, but it's important not to search in silence. If you do come across your cat, you may startle them. This can be detrimental to your search progress.
It's also important to note that cats can recognize vocal patterns. This means that the sound of your voice will be comforting and will hopefully help lure them out of hiding.
Image of a kitten responding to familiar sounds or calling techniques
Expert Insight: It's important you know whether your cat is simply hiding or they are lost. Read our full article exploring how to tell the difference.


How do you get a cat out of hiding?

To get a cat out of hiding, you need to use food and treats to lure them out. You'll also need to make sure the environment is quiet, safe, and secluded. This will make them feel more at ease and able to come out of hiding.

How long will a cat hide?

A cat will often hide for 24-48 hours. After this, their adrenaline will wear off, and they will be more comfortable to emerge. However, if your cat is sick or injured, they may hide for longer.

Where would a cat hide outside?[/faq-question]]

Common places for cats to hide outside include:

Abandoned buildings

Up trees

Outbuildings in gardens[[/faq-answer]]

Why would a cat suddenly disappear?

If your cat suddenly disappears, it may be because of a few different reasons. These include:

Sickness or injury


Seeking a mate[[/faq-answer]]

How do I attract my cat back home?

To attract your cat back home, try the following steps:

Leave food and treats outside

Open up doors and windows

Keep your house quiet and calm

Leave blankets and litter boxes outside[[/faq-answer]]

What if my cat hasn't come home in 2 days?

If your cat hasn't come home in 2 days, you'll need to start searching for them immediately. Start with a thorough search of the house to make sure they haven't snuck back in. Then look in your garden, under cars, in outbuildings, and ask your neighbors to help.

What are the chances of finding a lost cat?

At PetRadar, we have a 68% success rate, so you're likely to find your furry friend.

Final thoughts

At PetRadar, our one aim is to reunite lost kitties with their owners. So far, we have found 8000+ cats, so you know you're in good hands. By starting a PetRadar search, you can be sure you're doing everything you can to find your furry friend.
All you have to do is select the radius of neighbors you'd like to reach. Then, we organize a sponsored ad campaign featuring your lost kitty. This will reach over 4,000 neighbors through paid ads on their Instagram and Facebook.
The more people aware of your missing kitty, the better. So, don't delay. If you need a little more convincing, take a look at the hundreds of 5-star reviews from happy owners on Google, Trustpilot, and our site.

Written by

Image of the author
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.

Language selection