Why is my kitten hiding?

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

20 August 2019

Your kitten is new and afraid of their new home

If you’ve just brought your new kitten home and you find that they go into hiding — for instance under a bed or in a closet — you have nothing to worry about. Your kitten is simply not used to their new surroundings or the people in it.
The best thing you can actually do in this case is to go about the house as you normally would. Your kitten will come out of their hiding place to eat and use their litter box (be sure to either show your kitten where they are first, or place them in the room with him).
Soon enough they’ll work up the courage to look around the rest of the home and see that there’s nothing to be scared of. If you really get worried, you can try to coax them out from their hiding place with a treat or two, but don’t force them from their hiding place, as that will only make them more fearful.

Your kitten is looking for a warm or cool place

Your kitten may just be looking for somewhere cosy — or cool if it’s a very hot day — to curl up and take a catnap. They will usually seek out the back of closets or drawers (make sure not to close the drawer!), or may even creep in behind chairs that are next to a window for a bit of sun.
They will, likewise, seek out cool places that are darker if they need to cool down a bit.
You don’t have to do anything if your kitten is hiding like this besides making sure that their bed is nice and comfy and warm enough. But what kitten — or cat — can say no to a catnap in a spot of sunlight or between your woolly winter wear?

Stress and anxiousness

There’s a good chance that your kitten will go into hiding if you have guests over or switch on the vacuum. The simple reason for this kind of hiding is that they are feeling stressed and anxious.
One way to counter their level of stress, is to give them a room all to themselves while your guests are there. Put their food, bed and litter box in the room as well — and don’t forget some toys and their scratching post! This will give your kitten access to everything they need without having to venture out of the room.
You can then simply go and check on them a few times to make sure that everything is alright and maybe to even give them a treat and a quick pet.
Rather let them venture out of the room on their own than forcing them to confront a house full of people when they aren’t ready yet.


If you see that your kitten is hiding only in high places — and especially if they also don’t want to go to their bed or favourite spots — it may be that you have an infestation of fleas on your hands.
Don’t panic! Unless your kitten is very young, their lives won’t be at risk with anaemia setting in, for instance. But fleas are a huge irritation you need to get rid of pronto.
To do this, you’ll need to not only treat your cat for fleas, but also clean the house to eradicate them. The fleas usually make a nest in your kitten’s bed or underneath a carpet.
Look in all your kitten’s usual haunts first to find the critters and their nest. Then it’s time for a quick vet check-up and a visit from the exterminator!
The vet will be able to make sure that your kitten is in good health and doesn’t, for example, have anaemia from all the bites.

Pain or illness

When your kitten goes into hiding and doesn’t come out — not even to sniff at their favourite treat — and you’ve excluded the reasons above, it can be that your poor kitten is ill or in pain.
If you think that this is the case, it’s time to act ASAP and get your little fluff ball to the vet.

Other symptoms to look out for, are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Sneezing
  • Crusty eyes
  • A cough
  • You suspect a fever
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Lethargy
If you suspect that your kitten is ill or in pain, even if you think that you’re just being an overly protective kitten parent, get them to the vet, as illnesses in kittens are very serious indeed.
Try to coax your kitten from their hiding place and try not to force them from it, as you may do more damage, especially if they’re injured in some way. However, as a last resort, you may need to take your kitten from their hiding place. Do this as carefully as possible, while talking in a low voice all the time.
Also, have the cat carrier ready for once they are out of their hiding place. You can also phone the vet beforehand to tell them that you’re bringing your kitten in.

Photo by hang niu on Unsplash


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