Hiding behavior isn’t so uncommon in felines.
You could notice your cat hiding for the most basic reason, such as to get a nice nap and some time for herself, away from the others. Once she feels she has had enough time alone, she will go back to her usual routine and engage in play with you.
However, if your cat starts to hide quite often and shows some other behavioral changes, such as not eating, this might not be so harmless.
What is happening? Why is my cat not eating and hiding?
There are five possible explanations for this change in behavior in cats. Let’s explore them, and see what are some ways to help your furry friend.
1. Your Cat Doesn’t Like Her Food
Your cat could not be eating simply because she doesn’t like the cat food you choose for her. During the mealtime, instead of waiting impatiently in front of her food bowl, she rather chooses to hide to avoid eating her meal.
Of course, it’s not a good thing when a cat doesn’t seem to be eating at all. Healthy cats should be fine without getting any food for about two days, but this isn’t recommended.
A cat that’s not eating can soon start to look weak and malnourished. When a cat goes about three days without eating anything, she’s likely not to be able to survive.
Upon noticing your cat isn’t thrilled about her food, you should consider changing her diet. This is even more necessary if you also notice her hiding every time you’re about to fill up her food bowl.
There are many options out there nowadays, even some great tasty cat foods for especially picky eaters.
There’s a chance you’ll need to try several different cat foods to find the one that fits your pet the best. It’s also a good idea to ask a veterinarian for advice on the best type of food for your cat depending on her age, health, and activity level.
2. She’s Scared Of Something
A cat that’s not eating and is hiding could be scared of something in her surroundings.
In most cases, cats get scared of people or animals. As PetMD explains, this most likely occurs due to a limited exposure to people and animals while a cat was growing up.
Therefore, socialization is one of the most important parts of raising a kitten. According to Sandra McCune , socialized cats aren’t only friendlier to unfamiliar people, but are also less distressed when approached and handled by them.
Cats adopted from shelters are more likely to be afraid of people and other animals. Besides hiding and not eating, a scared cat can also show some other signs of fear. These can include pulling her ears back, arching her back, hissing, and displaying aggression.
If your cat seems to have mild fears, you will probably be able to help her. First of all, you need to identify the stimuli. It’s very important you’re able to control your cat, meaning that she responds to some basic commands for rewards.
Most likely you will be able to teach her how to face a situation that makes her scared with food rewards.
However, your cat’s fear could be too severe, meaning that there’s a possibility you’ll need to ask a pet behaviorist specialist for help.
3. Stress And Anxiety
A cat that faces stress and anxiety might stop eating and start to hide in some quiet, private place, without having to deal with anybody.
Many felines experience stress and anxiety, and there are various triggers for these emotions in them.
These can include veterinary visits, a new family member, moving to another location, some kind of change in their daily routine, loud noises such as fireworks, vacuum cleaner, or construction works, and so on, as the Spruce Pets points out.
To help out a stressed cat, determine the source of her anxiety. After discovering it, you need to eliminate it from your cat’s surroundings. There are also some natural remedies that can be helpful here, such as herbs or flower essences.
Of course, I recommend you to first check with your veterinarian before using products like these.
It’s also possible they could prescribe anti-anxiety medications for your cat, if they notice her anxiety is too severe.
4. Medical Problems
Another possibility why your cat is hiding and not eating are underlying medical issues.
Your cat could be hurting, which is making her unwilling to eat. Cats aren’t likely to show their pain easily, which occurs due to their natural instincts.
Back in the wild, felines would do their best to hide their pain, so as to not become an easy target for predators. This is why your domestic cat might run away from you and hide when she’s in pain. She thinks this can make her too vulnerable and exposed.
There are many potential causes behind this behavior, such as dental diseases, joint issues, diabetes, kidney problems, and so on.
You shouldn’t even try to guess what could be wrong with your cat’s health, since there are so many possibilities. You also shouldn’t try to find out the cause of her behavioral change on your own, since this can make her defensive and even aggressive.
Instead, it’s best to take her to the veterinarian for a thorough examination to determine the root cause of her behavioral changes and address any potential medical concerns.
5. Your Cat Could Be Dying
If your cat is in advanced age, her not eating and hiding could, unfortunately, be a sign that she could die soon.
Besides seeking solitude and showing no interest in eating, a dying cat will also be extremely weak, have a low body temperature, and will show decreased mobility.
Your cat hiding from you might make you think as you’re leaving her to die alone. However, you need to understand that some cats will like their owners to be by their side in these times, while others will prefer just to be by themselves.
It’s crucial you’re able to recognize your cat’s needs in these moments. If she’s hiding, make sure she has enough space and a quiet and private place to rest. Also, eliminate anything that could be disturbing from her surroundings.
Of course, you’re just a couple of feet away, in the case your feline friend needs anything.
Why is my cat not eating and hiding?
She might just be protesting against your choice of the food for her. But, she could also be scared or stressed about something.
Moreover, a cat that’s hiding and showing no interest in food could be dealing with underlying health issues. Finally, cats with these symptoms could also be dying.
The crucial thing here is that you recognize your cat’s body language and the cause of distress that’s making her seek solitude and showing lack of appetite.
It’s great to be able to help your pet on your own, but, in the case you’re not, you shouldn’t panic.
Remember that your veterinarian is only a call away, ready to help you with any problem.
 McCune, S. The impact of paternity and early socialization on the development of cats’ behaviour to people and novel objects, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 45, Issues 1–2, 1995, Pages 109-124. DOI, Retrieved September 18, 2023.