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Why Does My Cat Hide and Sleep in the Closet? 8 Interesting Reasons

Cats are fun pets, but they can exhibit many strange behaviors, one being hiding and sleeping in the closet. We know it can be alarming when your pet suddenly disappears, especially if you aren’t sure why your cat might be doing it. Usually, cats like closets because they provide a dark and private spot to hide. Keep reading as we list several of the most common reasons that a cat might hide in the closet and provide tips for getting them to come back out.


The 8 Reasons Why Your Cat Hides and Sleeps in the Closet

1. Health Issue

It’s common for a cat that doesn’t feel well to seek out a dark and quiet area of the home, like a closet, to rest and heal up.

What Can I Do About It?

Cats can heal quite well from many injuries and health issues by hiding away to rest, but it’s usually better to take them to the vet to get them examined. Your pet will almost always heal faster with the proper medical treatment, and the vet can tell you about any serious health issues that might be present.

bengal cat hiding between stacks of clothes in the closet
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock
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2. Fear

Frightened cats will often hide in the closet for shelter. Things that can frighten your cat include loud noises from fireworks or a storm. Large vehicles driving by and people knocking on the door also frequently send a cat running for the closet.

What Can I Do About It?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do about most things that might scare your cat. However, if you know that loud noises from fireworks or thunder are about to occur, you can try to help comfort the cat by turning on a radio or television to help mask the sound.

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3. New Surroundings

Cats like to know every inch of their surroundings, so a new environment can send them into a closet or another dark space for a few days until they adjust.

What Can I Do About It?

If you recently moved into a new home, the best thing that you can do is give your cat time to adjust to their new surroundings. Start doing your normal daily routine to help keep their stress levels low. They will likely come out of the closet and explore when they hear familiar sounds and activities. Once they adjust their routine to match yours, they will spend more time outside the closet.

cat hiding in the cabinet
Image Credit: Varavin88, Shutterstock
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4. New Pet

Cats are territorial animals and can take a while to get used to a new pet. They might look for a hiding place, like the closet, to observe and get familiar with their new family member.

What Can I Do About It?

The best way for your cat to get along with other pets is for you to socialize them as much as possible with other animals while they’re still a kitten. If the cat is an adult, it can be difficult to get them to accept a new pet, and it usually takes a while, especially if the new pet is another cat or a large dog. If you anticipate trouble, keep the animals separate, and introduce them slowly over a few weeks to help manage stress levels for you and the pets.

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5. Strange Visitor

Many cats don’t like it when visitors come to the house and will often run for the closet as soon as you open the door—if the doorbell or knock didn’t already send them there.

What Can I Do About It?

If the person at your house is only an occasional guest, there likely isn’t anything that you can do to coax out the cat. However, if the guest comes over frequently and spends time visiting, there is a good chance that the cat will get curious about the increasingly familiar sounds and come out. Keep the guest calm, so they don’t startle the cat, and give the cat a treat after they say hello, so they consider it a pleasurable experience.

Scottish Fold cat hiding in the closet
Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock
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6. Birthing

The closet is a popular choice among female cats for giving birth. If you didn’t spay your female cat and suspect that she might be pregnant, her suddenly vanishing into the closet is a sure sign that she is getting ready to give birth.

What Can I Do About It?

The best way to prevent your cat from giving birth in your closet—or anywhere—is to have her spayed. However, if she wasn’t spayed, got pregnant, and is now ready to give birth, you can make her more comfortable by providing a box lined with comfortable towels and plenty of food and water. It’s also a good time to research how you can help your cat through birth and tell if the kittens are healthy before the time arrives. Be sure to consult your vet too.

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7. Stress

Stress is another reason that your cat might be hiding in the closet. If the children in your home get loud or people are fighting, it can cause your cat to seek shelter in the closet. Other things that might stress out your cat include neighborhood dogs, construction, and city traffic.

What Can I Do About It?

If you have children that get noisy or play ball in the house, ask them to keep it down, especially when they see the cat heading for the closet. Soft music or white noise generators can also help your cat feel more comfortable.

grey cat hiding in the closet
Image Credit: Yuliasis, Shutterstock
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8. Quiet Time

Many cats like to spend time alone, and no matter how much effort you put into making the rest of the house comfortable, you might find your cat seeking out the dark closet at a certain time each day.

What Can I Do About It?

Since there is nothing wrong with the cat, there is not much that you can do besides preventing them from entering the closet. It’s just a place that they like to visit for whatever reason.

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How Do I Get My Cat to Come Out?

In most cases, your cat will come out on their own. You can try to coax them with their favorite food or treat, but trying to dig them out might only frighten them more, and they will likely return to the closet as soon as possible. Going in after them is only a good idea if you think that they are sick and need to go to the vet.

Does a Cat Hide When They Are Sick?

Cats frequently hide illness or pain, so you should take them to the vet for frequent checkups to determine any health issues. However, many cats do hide when terminally ill. Although no one knows for sure, it is likely an instinctive behavior to protect themselves from predators in the wild.

What Are Other Popular Hiding Spots for Cats?

Cats frequently like to box themselves in when trying to hide. Common hiding places include under the bed, inside laundry baskets, on shelves, and under furniture.

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Your cat likes the closet because it’s a dark, out-of-the-way spot where they can hide. They usually go there when they hear loud noises or when someone they don’t know comes over, but they may also rely on it to give birth or deal with an illness. If you think that a health issue is to blame for your cat’s behavior, you should take them to the vet. Otherwise, they will usually come out on their own when the noise subsides or they get used to their surroundings.

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Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock