Facts about the animal kingdom

10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. August 24, 2020
10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places

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Have you ever looked for your cat everywhere, only for them to emerge from the most unlikely of places? Cats love to hide in remote, dark, warm and quiet places. This is a common behavior among all felines and its origin lies in their wild ancestry. Despite having lived with humans for thousands of years, many of their wild instincts remain. In some houses, there is good reason for this.

In this AnimalWised article, we show you the 10 most common cat hiding places. We show you where cats love to hide and where you might want to look the next time they go missing. We also reveal some dangerous spots a cat may hide which we need to avoid.

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  1. Cat hiding places
  2. Boxes
  3. Vegetation
  4. Pipes and vents
  5. Radiators and heaters
  6. Behind the curtains
  7. Shelves
  8. Appliances
  9. Drawers and cabinets
  10. Bags
  11. Car engine
  12. Dangerous cat hiding places
See more >>

Cat hiding places

In their natural habitat, cats had to be very cautious to protect themselves against predators. Being in a constant state of alert is taxing when you need to rest. Finding a remote place which is well protected helps them to feel more secure and relax a little. The same thing can happen in the domestic environment, especially when there is much commotion.

Houses where there are children, music being played loud or any general commotion can be stressful for cats. Unfortunately, the need to stay alert has caused cats to become sensitive to sound and motion. Although they spend much of the day sleeping, they will not always be able to rest easy. Even when asleep, they need to be aware of threats in their surroundings. This is why cats will often choose one of the following places to hide:

  1. Boxes
  2. Vegetation
  3. Pipes and vents
  4. Radiators and heaters
  5. Behind the curtains
  6. Shelves
  7. Appliances
  8. Drawers and cabinets
  9. Bags
  10. Car engines

As you can see, these are all places you can find in and around your own home. While all of them can be a quiet refuge when needed, some of them raise concerns. We detail these in the sections below. To know more about why cats hide in general, take a look at our article on why cats hide in dark places.

1. Boxes

These are perhaps the quintessential hiding place for cats. All types of boxes may provide a good refuge for cats, but they are particularly fond of cardboard boxes. They are often good insulators and will keep them warm and cosy when they need it.

Not only do the boxes provide a comfy place to relax, they also provide lots of fun for many cats. They can jump in and out, use them to attack something they are hunting or even scratch their claws against them. We can make them even more hospitable by putting a blanket or cushion in them to help them sleep.

For those who want a fun project which enhances the instinct to hide in boxes, you can use our video to make your own DIY cat house for your favorite feline:

2. Vegetation

Of course, this is mainly for cats which have access to the outdoors. Whether in trees, bushes, flower beds or even in a nearby field, cats will use vegetation as a means to play safe. Before houses were common in their environment, wild cats would use vegetation to hide from predators. It can still be seen in the fact cats like to sleep in high places, similar to the trees of the wild. Indoor cats often do the same with houseplants.

3. Pipes and vents

Often, pipes and ventilation shafts won't be hospitable for a cat that wants a place to hide. They are often either too wet or windy. However, some may seem like the perfect place. If a vent has warm air passing through it, it might seem like somewhere nice to keep warm. Since cats are very good contortionists, they can often manipulate their bodies and stay somewhere we wouldn't even assume they could access.

4. Radiators and heaters

As we have stated above, cats love warm places, especially when the weather is cold. One of the top 10 places a cat loves to hide is a radiator. When it isn't burning hot, a radiator can provide a lot of comfort. Especially since it is a little high up, radiators can seem like the ideal spot to stay cosy. Our article on why cats love the sun will help you to learn a little more about the subject.

5. Behind the curtains

As with boxes, cats not only love to hide behind curtains, they enjoy playing with them. They will often chase after the fabric as they sway, the moving curtain often appearing like a living creature. Curtains are also usually made of heavy fabric which is very comfortable to sleep behind, especially when they are cold. Cats also like to be near windows so they can see the outside world, another reason cats may hide behind a curtain.

Unfortunately, cats also often use curtains as a scratcher to keep their nails in check. One way to avoid this is to choose a scratching post to help them redirect this behavior in a less destructive way.

10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places - 5. Behind the curtains

6. Shelves

As cats like to be in high places, shelves are often one of their favorite hiding places. Whether a shelf for decorations or one filled with lots of books, cats like to go up here so they can see what is going on in their territory. Also, since heat rises, the selves are often warm places to feel comfortable. If your cat likes to climb shelves regularly, you should be careful not to put anything too delicate up there in case it gets knocked over.

7. Appliances

The drum of a washer or dryer can seem to fit the requirements of the best hiding places for cats. It is dark, quiet and very protective. Unfortunately, it is also very dangerous in the wrong circumstances. When the cat is inside and the machine is turned on, they can drown. Even if it is not turned on, but the door is closed, it can be very traumatic, especially if left for extended periods.

Always ensure you check if your cat is inside any appliance you use before turning it on. This includes if we walk away to find more clothes, as they can jump in when our back's are turned.

8. Drawers and cabinets

If you leave a drawer or cabinet door open, don't be surprised if your cat takes up residence inside. In fact, many cats are dexterous enough to open some cabinets themselves. Within is a dark quiet space which can be the perfect space to stay safe from a busy household. Ensure you don't leave them closed for long periods in case they can't get out again, although they will likely make enough to noise to let you know where they are.

9. Bags

As with boxes, some bags are perfect for hiding. However, some of these can provide a suffocation hazard. Your gym bag or luggage will likely be breathable enough to not suffocate the cat, but we should still be careful. Don't throw them about if there is a chance inside.

It is unlikely a cat will suffocate themselves in a disposable plastic bag. This is only likely to happen if the cat becomes entangled in it. However, some cats may start a habit of chewing plastic bags. Suffocation and choking hazards are two reasons why you should keep plastic bags out of their way.

10. Car engine

If you have a garage and your cat has access, they might sneak up to the engine of the car two get some rest. This is more likely when the weather is cold. Since the engine warms up when it is running, it can be irresistible to a cat which is feeling chilly. We need to be very careful when we start up the car if we don't see the cat around. If the cat becomes startled, they may not be able to get out when the car is in motion. They may either become entangled in the mechanism or be run over when they fall out.

The car engine is one of the most dangerous places for a cat to hide. We should do all we can to stop them from being able to enter under the hood. In the next section we explain some of the other dangers in a cat's favorite hiding places.

10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places - 10. Car engine

Dangerous cat hiding places

Although our list about provides the 10 most common cat hiding places, it doesn't mean the cat should hide in these places. Some of them might not be great for you since they can cause property damage. This is similar to why we want to keep cats off counters.

However, some of the places actually provide a serious health hazard to the cat. The following places should be avoided:

  • Household appliances: if the cat gets stuck in a washer or dryer, they can suffocate, drown or, at the very least, experience serious trauma.
  • Heaters: if a cat sits on top of a radiator, they will know to get off if they are too warm. However, sitting on top of electric or gas heaters provides serious electrical or fire hazard risks and should be avoided.
  • Ventilation shafts: although they might be comfy for a while, ventilation shafts can be used to extract smoke or dangerous vapors. The cat can also become lost easily in large ventilation systems.
  • Car engine: perhaps the most dangerous of a cat's favorite hiding places, we need to be very careful. A cat can become crushed or run over very easily. It would be a very traumatic experience if they somehow were able to survive.

One of the best ways to avoid a cat sleeping or resting in these inappropriate places, is to provide an appropriate place for them. Give them a cat bed or a box with a comforter in it to have a cosy place to rest. Also, scratching trees or special cat shelves provide places which meet the need to be up high.

If your cat has a favorite place to hide, let us know about it in the comments. When a cat wants to rest, but doesn't want to hide, it is common for them to sleep on top of us. Check out our video below to know why:

If you want to read similar articles to 10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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10 Most Common Cat Hiding Places