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Why Is My Cat Hiding Under the Bed? 5 Common Causes

Jessica Rossetti

By Jessica Rossetti

a cat hiding under the bed

Cats hide for many reasons. Some of these are completely normal, but others can be a sign of something serious. If you notice that your cat is hiding under the bed, the first thing that you want to do is find out why. Once you know what’s causing this, you can take steps to fix the issue if necessary.

In this article, we look at five common causes for this behavior and what you should do if you notice it happening.

Five Common Reasons That Cats Hide Under the Bed

1. Medical Issues

The first thing that you want to do if you notice your cat hiding under the bed is to rule out a medical issue. When cats are sick or injured, their instincts tell them to hide their symptoms¹. Hiding in a quiet, isolated place can be a sign that your cat isn’t well.

Sometimes there are other signs indicating illness, but not always. Cats are masters at keeping their symptoms hidden until they’ve progressed. That’s why it’s important to take any change in your cat’s behavior seriously and go get them checked out by your vet. Once your cat receives a clean bill of health, you’ll know that the issue is behavioral and can work to help fix it.

black and white cat hiding under the bed
Image Credit: Robert Way, Shutterstock

2. Stress

Changes in the household or to your cat’s routine can cause stress. Adding another family member or pet can make your cat anxious. Cats are creatures of habit and dislike having their routine interrupted. If your cat feels overwhelmed, they may retreat under the bed for relief.

Adding family members to the home can overwhelm your cat, but so can losing them. If your cat recently lost a favorite family member or companion animal, they may hide under the bed to cope with their feelings.

If you notice that your cat is spending time under the bed and has recently experienced a stressful event, give them time to adjust. Make sure they are still eating, drinking, and using the litter box as normal. Try to keep their routines as consistent, as possible and spend as much time as you can with them. Schedule time for play and petting if you have to. Reassure your cat that they are still a loved member of the family.

3. Fear

Nothing can get a cat to hide fast quite like fear can. Cats hide under the bed when they’re scared. This is different from stress because a particular event will send them scurrying under the bed seeking safety instead of retreating there regularly.

A few things that can make cats hide out of fear are strangers coming over, another animal in the home, thunderstorms, fireworks, dogs barking, and even the doorbell ringing. If your cat feels threatened, they will run to their safe place. Once the perceived threat has passed, your cat should come out again when they feel that it’s safe.

If they don’t come out on their own, you can try to lure them out with treats and toys. Don’t force them to come out before they feel ready, though. If the treats don’t work, give them time to come out on their own.

scared British blue-point cat hiding under the bed
Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock

4. Comfort

Cats like to sleep most of the day, and they want to be comfortable while they do it. Is the space under the bed comfortable for your cat? It’s dark, which they like. Is it warm? Is the floor carpeted? If the spot is cozy enough, your cat may not be hiding under the bed, but rather choosing to sleep there because they enjoy it.

Cats like to seek out new places to sleep. If you know that your cat doesn’t have a health issue and they’re sleeping under the bed but acting normal in every other way, they may just like the spot. Try adding a blanket or pet bed for extra comfort for them.

5. New Home

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, your cat will need to get used to the new surroundings. Under the bed is a place where they can go to take a bit of time for themselves and observe their new home from a safe place. They can get used to new sounds, smells, and sights while feeling secure.

Cats should eventually venture out and explore their new home. However, they’re sensitive creatures and may need a bit of coaxing. Keep food, water, and a litter box close by so your cat doesn’t have to travel too far to get what they need. When your cat feels safe and brave enough, they will come out and start their new routine in their new home.

cat hiding under the bed
Image Credit: ivSky, Shutterstock

When to Worry

Unless it’s caused by a medical issue, your cat hiding under the bed could be nothing to worry about. However, there are times when the issue is serious.

If your cat is healthy and eventually comes out from under the bed, there’s no problem. If your cat is healthy and is too scared to come out for long periods, you’ll need to intervene. Sometimes a cat’s fear is so overwhelming that they will hide for days and not come out for anything, not even food, treats, water, toys, or the litter box.

Cats need water more than they need food. If your cat has not come out from under the bed for 48 hours, it’s time to force them. By this point, your cat will be hungry and dehydrated. If they don’t start eating and drinking on their own once you’ve gotten them out from under the bed, bring them to the vet.

How to Get Them Out

You don’t want to yell at your cat or scare them further. Keep a calm tone and try to lure them out with treats or toys. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to go under there too. Pet them softly, and then try to carefully pull them toward you. In some cases, you may need to move the bed to get them.

Once they’re out, remain calm and reassuring. Pet them, speak softly, and offer comfort. Cats feed off your energy, and if you’re calm, they can remain calm too.

Ginger tabby cat hiding under the bed
Image Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

Other Symptoms

Cats may hide under the bed when they’re sick, as they try to hide their symptoms. If you do notice any other symptoms in addition to the hiding, bring your cat to the vet immediately.

These can include:
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Dull, greasy coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not consuming water


Cats hide under the bed for many reasons, but there are only a few serious circumstances. Most cats come out on their own once they feel more comfortable, but sometimes very scared cats refuse to come out for days. If the cat doesn’t emerge after 48 hours, bring them to the vet.

It’s important to rule out a medical issue if you notice that your cat is suddenly hiding under the bed, especially if other symptoms go along with it.

Featured Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock

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