Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Cat Hide and Sleep in the Closet? 4 Likely Reasons

Krystal Facey

By Krystal Facey

a cat hiding in the closet

Vet approved

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats are curious creatures with unique personalities, leading to some interesting behaviors. A common behavior for cats that you may have noticed is when they hide or sleep in closets. However, there is no reason to be concerned when you search high and low for your cat, only to find them snuggled up among your sweaters.

Continue reading to learn about four likely reasons your cat hides and sleeps in the closet.

The 4 Reasons Why Your Cat Hides and Sleeps in the Closet

1. Clothing Smells Like You

tabby cat hiding in closet
Image Credit: Marie-Claude Lemay, Shutterstock

You may have noticed that when you leave a sweater or coat out on your couch, your cat gravitates toward it when they’re feeling sleepy. Why is that? Well, think about how many animals recognize friends or companions from their smell! You might see similar behaviors in dogs when they sniff each other’s backends to introduce themselves to each other. Cats might not be caught sniffing rears, but they do associate their owners and other creatures with scents. Cats always sniff something before they approach it.

When it comes to your clothes stacked in a closet, they recognize your scent. This gives them a sense of comfort, calm, and a cozy environment.

2. They Enjoy Enclosed Spaces

Cats overall prefer privacy or some space to themselves. Closets are usually quiet, full of soft clothing, and dark. They can offer cats a place to escape from loud noises, too many guests, or maybe their kitty brother or sister. They generally feel more comfortable when they are not out in the open, which comes from their natural instincts to hide from predators. Being able to hide in a calm spot for hours on end makes them feel at peace.

3. For Play and to Practice Hunting

cat hiding in the wardrobe
Image Credit: Rebecca Scerri, Shutterstock

It can also relate to relatively playful moods cats do sometimes have, in the sense that they like to remain sight unseen and pop out when something passes by for a bit of a laugh! This relates to the natural behavior of their bigger cat ancestors and hunting. Cats need engagement and play that reminds them of hunting for prey. This includes things like feather toys, toy mice, and anything that moves rather quickly.

Being able to hide away from everything and coming out at their own risk provides a situation of hunting and play.

4. To Avoid Stressful Situations

Hiding in closets helps cats avoid situations that will make them upset or frightened. You might notice when cats hear alarm bells, loud crashing or bangs from trucks outside, the front door opening, or the sound of toddler voices, they look for the closest space with a door that can shut. This can be a box, under the bed, in the basement, etc.

Cats usually prefer to hide in the closet because they are more difficult to find under a pile of clothes or up on a shelf.

Final Thoughts: Cats Generally Love to Hide

Cats are quite cautious animals and generally prefer to inspect their surroundings with care. They are creatures who tend to prefer quiet spaces with less commotion and will only let you show them up close and personal affection when they ask for it. When there is ever a situation they don’t like, a closet is the perfect private getaway.

Featured Image Credit: Yuliasis, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database