Bringing a new kitten home certainly is exciting. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things that you’ll need to learn about how to properly take care of your pet, and one of those things is how to get them to stop hiding. This knowledge will prove useful during their first few days with your family.
Sometimes, you will notice that your new kitten feels the urge to hide. If you find that this is occurring, don’t worry. Many kittens participate in this behavior. There’s no reason to feel like you’re not doing a good enough job as a pet owner.
Still, it’s understandable that it can be stressful when you notice that your new kitten is hiding a lot. You might be tempted to analyze the behavior, which is totally understandable. Luckily, you can gain some insight as to why this occurs — and the steps that you can take to make it stop.
To begin, learn about some of the reasons that new kittens engage in this behavior. Afterward, take time to read about the ways that you can encourage your new pet to stop this behavior. While it might take time and will surely take effort, you should begin to see a difference. Finally, learn some tips and tricks as to what you should do if you’ve tried everything and it doesn’t appear to be working.
Why is my new kitten hiding?
If you notice that your kitten is frequently hiding, you’re probably wondering why this is occurring. It is essential that you know this is an extremely normal behavior and not necessarily a sign that something is wrong with your new cat.
When a young cat is in an unfamiliar environment, hiding is considered to be a typical reaction. This is because your new pet is dealing with some uncertainty. Therefore, they’ll want to hide away until they can be confident that they’re in a threat-free, safe location.
Therefore, if you notice that your cat makes a mad dash to under your couch or bed the instant they get in your home, don’t panic. This isn’t necessarily indicative of their long-term behavior. Instead, it just shows that they’re — understandably — anxious about being in a new, unfamiliar place.
New kittens are acclimated to spending time with their mother cat, who provides warmth and safety for them. When they come home to their new house and don’t see their mama cat present, they can understandably become anxious. As a result, they’ll seek out a comfortable, safe, warm place. Another reason why cats look for spaces like this is that they can be reminded of where they spent their youth, often in a nesting box.
Remember: your cat is simply looking for a place to decompress and rest their head for a second without the threat of a predator. They’re still learning their new home — and the people and other pets that inhabit it. As a result, it’s completely normal for it to take a while for your pet to stop hiding out.
How can I stop my new kitten from hiding?
Now that you have learned more about some of the reasons that new kittens hide, you can begin to think about how you can get your cat to stop this behavior. Of course, there’s no substitute for time — so don’t feel bad if it takes a while to see a change in your pet’s mannerisms.
Give your cat time to stop hiding on their own
The best, most useful suggestion is to give your new kitten the time that they need to get acclimated to their new home. It is not recommended that you pester your kitten or try to force them out. This could actually have the opposite effect and make your cat want to hide away more.
Therefore, if your cat wants to hide, you should let them. Give them ample amounts of space and time, and let them explore on their own timeline. They won’t be like this forever, but you should be sure not to overwhelm them more by forcing them to spend time in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.
Cats are territorial creatures by nature, so when your kitten arrives in their new home, they’ll probably feel unsettled until it’s established that this is their new abode. Give them time, and when they’re more comfortable, they’ll begin to come around.
Pawp lead veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson says that it “It can take awhile for cats to adjust to their new environment. Be patient, let them come out in their own time. If they don’t want to come out, provide food and water in the area of their hiding place and a litter box close by.”
While a cat hiding is not an immediate concern, Dr. Robinson recommends that “if it has been longer than a month, it may be worth a visit to the veterinarian to make sure there is not a medical reason for hiding, such as pain or nausea.”
Offer reinforcement for positive behavior
Another thing that you can do is offer positive encouragement to your new pet. For example, when your cat does venture out of their hiding place, you can give them some treats that you know they love or even play with your new cat.
It’s a good idea to have these treats on hand so that whenever you find that your cat comes out, you’re able to reinforce the positive behavior. Another way that you can harness the power of positive reinforcement is by leaving treats outside of their hiding spot.
Make sure your new kitten isn’t feeling trapped
Here’s a fact: cats like knowing where the nearest escape route is. Therefore, if you find that your cat is hiding away, it might be because of the fact that they are feeling a bit trapped. There’s an easy way to attempt to fix this, though.
It’s simple: just leave the doors open so your cat can enter and exit as they please. Generally it is best to not block the room’s exits and entrances; this will ensure that your pet feels they can meander as they please, and can even encourage that behavior.
Think like a cat and eliminate anxiety-inducing triggers
So, you’ve provided your pet with several days to come out of hiding, but they still seem anxious to leave. What do you do? The best idea is to consider the fact that there might be external triggers that are causing anxiety for your cat.
Perhaps it will make it easier to think like your cat. Think about what would cause them anxiety. For example, noisy people (or even appliances) in the home could be causing stress. Young children or even a larger, older pet that your kitten doesn’t know may be a source of discomfort.
Create an environment that your cat can begin to feel comfortable in
Your kitten went from being in a place that they knew with their littermates and mother cat to a place where they don’t know anything or anyone — yet. It will take a little while for them to settle in, and understandably so.
The best thing that you can do is to ensure that your environment is a place where your cat can feel comfortable. This means cultivating a safe haven for your cat. This can prove especially helpful during the first few weeks in their new home. This will help provide your cat with the confidence that they need to begin exploring your house.
There are several ways that you can create a safe, comfortable spot for your cat. First, it is recommended that you provide your cat with comfortable bedding, their favorite toys, and a quiet spot where other pets and family members won’t prod at them.
It’s an excellent idea to seclude a new kitten to just one room of the house at first. This will provide them with time to adjust to their new surroundings. In addition, they’ll get comfortable in one part of the home and then they can find the confidence to begin to explore outside the confines of their one space.
Also, be sure that they have the necessary resources, including food and water too. This can help your cat begin to build trust with you.
I’ve tried everything, and my kitten is still hiding. What should I do?
If you’ve tried absolutely everything and your kitten is still hiding out, it might be time to reevaluate your tactics. The best thing to do in this case is to have a vet take a look at your pet. This could effectively eliminate any anxiety that there is something medically wrong with a kitten.
When looking at concerning behaviors, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your vet will be able to check that there are no additional or underlying health conditions that are leading them to hide away.
It is always suggested that you err on the side of caution — especially with a young kitten. This is even more important if your cat appears to be extremely anxious or if they’ve quit eating or drinking. In that case, act immediately and get your pet seen by a vet.
Pawp is here to make pet ownership easier
The vets at Pawp know that pet ownership can sometimes be tricky — and that’s why they are here to help. One way that they make owning a new kitten easier is by offering 24/7 telehealth visits. These are top-notch, knowledgeable vets who are available to help you with any kitten-related questions whenever they pop up.
Whether you have a question about your kitten hiding over the weekend or overnight, Pawp’s telehealth vets are here to help the moment that you need them. The best part? You don’t even have to bring your new cat to the vet to receive professional advice from the comfort of your very own home.
KITTEN HIDING SOURCES:
Why Do Kittens Hide? | The Nest
Why is My New Cat Hiding From Me? | Humane Society of the Nature Coast
Moving With Cats: How to Move to a New House With Cats | Pets MD
How to Lure a Cat out of Hiding | Cuteness
Comparison of positive reinforcement training in cats: A pilot study | Science Direct