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It’s a tale as old as time, the doorbell rings, or you just turned on the vacuum cleaner, and your usually stoic feline companions scatter across the house like their life depends on it.
And where do they go?
Well, they hide beneath the bed, of course, expecting you to beg for them to come out, knowing that soon the treats will follow!
So can you prevent this and block cats from going under the bed? You can stop your cat from hiding beneath the bed, by blocking every access. You can purchase under-bed blockers, or cram books, and storage boxes underneath. Eliminating stressors and creating a safe environment should also help prevent your cat from hiding in the first place.
If you want to know more about your cat’s hiding behavior and all the ways you can keep them from going under your bed, then we’ve got you covered!
Let’s get started!
Why Is My Cat Hiding Under The Bed?
There are multiple reasons behind your cat’s elusive character. One of them might be their natural tendency for secrecy, the need to be left alone in certain hours of the day, or they might simply be curious about what’s under the bed. But if you notice that your cat is hiding for hours then something might’ve scared them.
After all, like most creatures on this planet, including humans, cats love to be in a stress-free environment where they can lounge in the sun unperturbed, go from one spot to another for a quiet nap, or enjoy the view by the window. Loud noises, the constant presence of strangers, and a multi-cat household can push any kitty’s social limits, which will most likely result in hiding.
It’s also important to note that, being a new cat in the house usually means that your new friend will need an adjustment period before they’re comfortable with the house, your owner, or your other cat. Let’s not forget that cats adopted from the shelter might need time to heal from previous traumatic experiences, and kittens that haven’t been socialized properly will get easily scared of other humans, and pets.
Research that was done on the effect of hiding boxes on stress levels in shelter cats, also showed that “While staying in an animal shelter, cats may suffer from chronic stress which impairs their health and welfare. Providing opportunities to hide can significantly reduce behavioral stress in cats.”
While your kitty might not be in a shelter, they still need their own safe space where they can fully relax without interruption. In your case, it just happened to be the bed, since it has multiple escape routes, and your cat can observe anyone who’s in close proximity.
How To Keep Cats From Going Under The Bed?
Once your cat has secured his position under your bed, getting them out of there will prove a tough struggle. You can avoid this battle of wits by following a few steps that can either help your cat lose interest in that special hideout spot or completely restrict their access to it while offering them other more alluring options!
Let’s take a closer look at your possible choices!
1. Take Them To The Vet!
It can be perfectly normal to find a cat or kitten running to hide under the bed the moment you’ve brought them into your home. Depending on their history or personality it might take them some time to get used to the new environment and their owners. It’s also normal for your long-term feline companion to run for cover due to a loud sound, or an equally loud visitor.
Basically, hiding is more or less part of your cat’s natural behavior, but if you notice hiding becomes the new norm then this excessive behavior should be enough to make you suspicious that there’s a more serious underlying cause for such reclusiveness.
As your kitty gets older you might find their behavior change, and a notable sign of aging in cats is hiding. According to Richard Goldstein, DVM, assistant professor in small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Some cats may need more emotional support as they age and others may prefer to be left alone.”
Before you blame your cat’s need for hiding under the bed as an age thing, make sure you take them to the vet first. Your cat might be in pain, and suffering from an age-related medical condition.
If your cat is spayed this shouldn’t concern you, but if she isn’t, then their constant hiding might be because they’re pregnant. Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM will tell you that “many cats will prefer to be secluded during the birthing process.”
So, while you might be wondering that your kitty has simply gotten fat, in reality, they might be pregnant instead and that’s reason enough to take them for a vet check-up!
Medical or Behavioral Problem
Physical or emotional discomfort is another major reason why your cat might be constantly hiding or avoiding your attention, that’s why the best course of action would be taking them to the vet.
Tammy Hunter, DVM says that “sick cats usually become withdrawn and may hide, although this does depend on the personality of the individual cat. Some cats become more clingy or demanding of attention, while others just become cranky.”
Major stressors like moving, as well as bringing home another cat, or human, can push your cat into seeking solitude. This can be caused by their territorial nature or jealousy towards their owners. By taking your kitty to the vet not only will you exclude any health issues, but you’ll also get the right advice on how to handle your cat’s emotional wellbeing.
2. Eliminate Stressors
What makes a cat hide are usually fears and anxieties that can be part of your cat’s lack of early socialization, or something they acquired over the years from previous mishandlings or even our own unconscious mistakes. For example, too much petting and constantly touching your cat can cause overstimulation, which can lead to aggressive retaliation, or in some cases they will hide under the bed to avoid us.
The best way to eliminate the stressors that trigger your cat’s fight or as in this case flight response is by finding out what in their environment causes this behavior in the first place. Was there a major or even a small change in your cat’s life, perhaps a cat they were bonded with passed away, or you had to change their diet and feeding schedule?
Try being observant of the hours of the day your cat chooses to hide, perhaps there’s construction work being done in your area and your cat chooses to hide under your bed until the work is done. If nothing clicks then it’s possible that the reason is much simpler, your cat misses you.
Cats despite their seeming aloofness need human interaction. Most importantly cats need to play, be stimulated, and basically, a daily recreation of a hunting experience. As Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB explains “predatory play is an integral part of feline play behavior and early learning.”
Toys, tree houses that have a window view, good nutrition, and cuddle time are all crucial for the long-term happiness of a cat. If they don’t get the attention, they need then they won’t feel safe, or happy, instead, they will feel abandoned, stressed and instead they’ll seek solace in the dark space beneath your bed.
3. Offer Alternative Hiding Spots
I know that you might find your cat’s hiding behavior as something negative, and of course, it can be the result of an underlying physical or mental condition, but even the healthiest cats need some time out.
That’s why Dr. Horwitz explains that as cat parents you also need to consider “your cat’s need to be able to retreat and hide.” She also states that for recently adopted cats or the ones that have moved to a new house, “denying the chance to hide will make things harder for the cat. Instead, you should allow your pet to withdraw into safety, at least in the short term, and then work to make the home so appealing that it cannot resist the temptation to join in.”
Even in a tiny apartment (and I know this because I’ve lived in a tiny-tiny place), you can find creative ways to make small, comfy, and most importantly warm hiding spots. This is also one of the many reasons why cats really do need a cat tree.
4. Use Under Bed Cat Blockers
Now that you’ve ruled out any medical condition, and you’ve given your kitty plenty of hideouts, it’s time you sealed off the area under your bed for good!
Depending on your cat’s stubbornness and your own craftiness you could start by blocking the way with things you already own or checking for possible solutions at your local thrift store.
- If you have enough old books that are practically useless, or you’ve got a collection of shoeboxes, you could stack them onto each other around your bed.
- Cardboard boxes can also be useful. By cutting them in the right height and width you can place them all around the opening and glue them with heavy-duty double-sided tape.
- Placing sheets of crinkled aluminum foil beneath the bed could make the hiding space less desirable because of the noise and the sensation on their paws.
- The same goes for double-sided duct tape, but this option can be a bit tricky since you will probably need a ton of it!
- By tying pipe insulations together (depending on the size of your bed’s gap), you can create a barrier that your kitty won’t be able to pass through. You can secure the pipe insulation to the legs of your bed using zip ties!
If you’re thinking of changing your bed frame, then consider getting one with a solid platform that’s extending to the floor! Beds with no legs can come in handy if you have small children, cat toys will stop finding their way under your bed, and most importantly it will save you time from cleaning!
For those of you who love the feeling of an elevated bed frame, you could look for something that goes even higher. Bedframes with a high bed platform are ideal for cat owners because you can easily spot them there, and there’s no way they’ll get stuck under it.
Not to mention that taking them out in case they need a vet trip will be so much easier and so will the vacuuming!
The Best Gap Closers For Cats
If changing your bed or building a blocking solution goes against your current aesthetic here are a few options for a more discreet look.
This under-bed blocker is a seamless option since it’s made from clear plastic. They’re customizable, so you can easily cut them to fit your bed gap. Make sure you clean and dry the floor before you stick them down, for better results!
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Another similar option that promises to keep your pets from hiding under the bed is brought to you by the same company, QIYIHOME, but with a more playful design.
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My final and most favorite solution is a double win option since not only will you keep your cats from going under the bed, but you’ll also have more storage room!
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5. Keep Your Bedroom Off-limits
Keeping the bedroom as a place where your cat can’t enter might be the last and best option for some of you out there. This might sound outrageous for those of you who sleep with their cats, and I totally understand that, but it might be the safest choice for your kitty.
Especially if your cat always finds a way to hide beneath your bed, and bed blockers of any kind don’t work for you, then training them to a new rule might be the only option. It can take some time for your feline companion to learn that they can’t hide underneath your bed and let alone enter your bedroom, but with some patience, positive training techniques, and more patience I’m sure you could make it work!
What Not To Do!
As I’ve often talked about, there are certain ways we can approach our cats that can be beneficial, and there are times cat owners can forget the power of positive reinforcement can have on their little fluffballs! Veterinarians cannot stress enough that punishment doesn’t work with cats, instead, it will only make things worse.
So, if you want to stop your cat from hiding under the bed then you definitely shouldn’t shout at them or use water spray bottles to get them out of there. This will only reinforce the idea that you’re not on your cat’s side, and their need to hide will grow. It’s also possible that they began hiding when you tried to stop them from scratching the couch, by using negative tactics, or some other “bad behavior.”
If you’re trying to train your kitty, focus on rewarding the behavior you deem as favorable because that’s what will motivate your kitty to change. That’s what will make them feel safe around you and ultimately their need to hide under the bed or hide in general will decrease.
Should I Let My Cat Hide Under The Bed?
Cats will hide, and if your kitty had a slight fright, letting them stay under the bed for a short amount of time is ok. But for some cats it can become a habit and even as a short-term solution choosing that dark space underneath your bed isn’t always safe.
As we mentioned above, your cat might choose the bed as their hideout because of medical or psychological conditions, in which case the vet should be your number one option, but if this doesn’t apply to you then the dangers lie in the bed itself.
The risk factors could include:
- Your cat getting trapped under the bed if it’s too low.
- Your cat might hurt themselves when trying to squeeze out.
- Depending on the kind of bed you own, the metal legs or the metal bed frame could scratch at your cat’s back skin.
- Your cat will come out covered in dust, which could trigger yours and even your cat’s allergies.
- If your cats start fighting beneath the bed, breaking them apart will be very difficult!
- It’s also possible that your cat will try to use the mattress for their scratching exercises. This way they can also rip the material, which can lead to injuries from the box springs.
Just check out this kitty that looks a bit possessed, how long do you think this mattress is going to last?
How Long Will A New Cat Hide Under The Bed?
It’s perfectly normal for the new cat member of your family to hide beneath the bed. It’s dark, difficult for humans to access and it offers your kitty multiple vantage points. I mean if your cat is trying to run away from you or your other cat what better spot is there?
I also understand that we all expect our cats to love us the moment we bring them into our home, but the truth is some cats are shy or had terrible previous owners so they need patience and unconditional support, to come out of their shell.
Some kittens can be full of energy and trust while others might get scared easily. You can expect your cat to slowly explore the house by venturing outside step by step, and room by room, and it can even happen when you’re not at home. They will begin to feel safe as they claim each territory by leaving their scent marks.
According to Dr. Wailani Sung MS, Ph.D., DVM, DACVB “cats also tend to choose conspicuous objects, such as a corner that sticks out, whether a wall, the edge of a coffee table or sofa, or even the corner of a book or box. Male cats tend to bunt on more items than female cats. Cats also tend to bunt over the scent marks left by other cats.”
One thing is certain that it will happen in their own time, which can differ from one cat to another. If you find your newly adopted kitten or cat staying under the bed for unusual amounts of time, then call your vet. Perhaps the cat is experiencing an underlying condition or pain. A cat behaviorist can also help you navigate this new relationship and help it flourish.
For those of you who already have a cat, it’s possible that they won’t be happy with the new arrival. In this case, both cats might try to claim the house as their own and if one kitty is less confident, bullying will most likely get them cornered under the bed.
As Dr. Horwitz suggests, “with enough different litter boxes, climbing areas, and places to hide, it should be possible for many cats to adapt and remain together.” Of course, it’s in your hands to keep your bed off-limits when it comes to hiding!
How To Get A Cat From Under The Bed?
As we’ve established by now, cats can have their personal and legit reasons to hide under the bed. My fluffballs usually run there to escape any medical treatment or antiparasitic spot-on drug. It takes me a while to convince them to come out, but over the years I’ve found a few methods that get the job done!
First of all, make sure they’re not hiding there because they’re scared. If that’s the case give them a bit of time to come out by themselves, but if they’re stuck there for too long, my suggestion is to find something your cats love to lure them out.
Using brooms, or even your own hand to forcefully pull your cat out will most likely scare them even more, so staying calm and understanding should be your priority. Use a soft and loving tone when you call them by their name to make them feel safe. Cats that are on the cuddly side will see it as an invitation to be petted, but if they’re too scared a can of their favorite cat food instead should work its magic!
Simply shake the bag of treats or open the package to let the smell and the promise of a yummy meal get them out of their hiding place. If your cat prefers playing, then fiddle a cat toy close enough so they can reach it. As they get more and more focused on the game move the toy further away from the bed and finally out of the bedroom.
Let’s not forget that your cat will spend less and less time under the bed if you create the perfect environment for them around the house. Make sure they have multiple and most importantly more alluring hideouts, and a positive as well as a stress-free home to run back to!
I know that there are crucial moments when you need to get your cat from under the bed as soon as possible. For instance, a lot of cats will try to disappear when they hear their carrier rattling, as you prepare it for the vet, but even if this is the case scaring them out of their safe place will only work against you in the long run.
Tips On Where To Let A Cat Hide Instead
There are multiple ways to make your kitty feel happy, one would be providing them with hiding places. I mean most of us also need some alone time from time to time, so why would our kitties be any different?
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a hiding spot for your cat is how safe and easily accessible it is. It’s important that your feline companion can easily go in and out, especially if they’re older or they have mobility issues. An easy solution could be a cat house that you can place in a quiet room, where they won’t be disturbed. However, some cats may actually like to have a hiding area or cat tree that’s in a socially significant area so make sure you consider the location that makes the most sense for your cat.
Some cat parents might prefer crates, which they can cover with a light blanket to create the illusion of a hiding place. Depending on the crate’s size you can add lots of warm blankets and toys and let your cat relive your childhood ford experiences!
If you’re good at crafts, you can also make a DIY cat house made of cardboard boxes. And let’s not forget the most common option of leaving the door of your closet open. As always, you will have to make sure it’s a safe alternative for you and that the door remains open at all times. I usually place a warm blanket over my clothes to keep my kitty comfortable and my clothes fur-free!
Finally, make sure your cat has sufficient elevated areas since most cats enjoy staying concealed but they also appreciate a good view of the whole house. Think of your cat as your personal batman!
So, to recap what we’ve all learned here today, while bed gap blockers are an efficient way at keeping even the smallest of kittens from hiding beneath the bed, it’s also important to understand why they need to hide there in the first place.
As cat parents, we are oftentimes called to explore the needs of our feline companions, in order to make them feel safe and welcomed in our home. So, before you decide to take away that one safe spot make sure you’re offering them an alternative!
Now tell us, do you have any suggestions on how to block cats from going under the bed? Give us your unique take on this subject, because what worked for you could work for more cat people out there!