cat hiding under the bed but why my cat won't come out from under the bed?

Are you wondering, “Why won’t my cat come out from under the bed?”

It’s normal to be overwhelmed if you have to spend hours coaxing your kitty out of hiding or worrying about their health.

So, keep reading to discover why your cat hides under the bed and what you can do to get your feline to stop hiding.

Check: Why Does My Cat Dig at Everything?

Why Do Cats Hide Under Beds? 6 Surprising Reasons 

Let me tell you a secret. Cats love to hide around the house, especially in places you’ll never think to check. I think it’s a game to see how worried they can make you. 

So, it’s normal to come home and find your cat hiding under bed frames, wardrobes, or furniture.

But why do cats hide under beds and refuse to come out? Let’s discuss the most common 6 reasons. 

#1 Fear

scared kitty hiding so why my cat won't come out from under the bed?

Fear is the most likely reason why your cat won’t come out under the bed. Loud noises, doorbells, strangers, dogs, or other pets can scare your kitty so much that it dashes into hiding. 

In these cases, your kitty is hiding until they can evaluate the threat and decide if it’s safe to approach. It’s not a good idea to try and get the cat in these situations because your kitty can turn aggressive. 

New cats also hide under the bed because they’re in an unfamiliar environment and afraid. Hiding under the bed allows the cat to observe their surroundings without being seen.

In general, once the cat calms down and gets used to your presence, it should come out from its hiding spot for food and cuddles. 

#2 Security 

Cats nap in dark spaces, such as under the bed or the wardrobe, because they feel safe. They know that nothing dangerous can sneak up on them and hurt them.

While domestic cats have nothing to fear in their environment, this preservation instinct is too strong, especially in times of stress. 

And hiding under the bed is the perfect way to stop humans from interrupting their beauty sleep. 

#3 Stress and Anxiety 

scared kitty hiding under the bed

Besides fear, many new cats hide because they’re stressed and anxious. And many things can stress a cat – changes in the routine, new additions to the household, not enough mental stimulation, etc. 

Other obvious signs of stress are changes in appetite, urinating outside the litter box, clinginess, and obsessive behavior. 

RECOMMENDED: How to Stop a Cat From Crying All Night

#4 Illness

Unfortunately, a cat hiding under beds and refusing to come out can be a sign of an illness, especially if it’s a new behavior. 

As Tammy Hunter, an expert from VCA, explains, “Cats have evolved to hide signs of illness and pain.” Otherwise, they are easy prey for predators. [1]

So, when cats are very sick, the natural response is to hide until they feel better and can fend off for themselves again. 

As such, if your cat refuses to come out of under the bed for food and water, contact your vet to rule out a medical issue. 

#5 Pregnancy

Is your cat pregnant and hiding under the bed? Then your pregnant kitty might be about to give birth. You’d be surprised how many cats choose to give birth under their owner’s bed. 

While under the bed isn’t the most comfortable birthing spot, it has all the qualities a mother cat seeks – it’s dark, secure, and easy to defend. 

Moreover, some cats will give birth under the bed because they want to be close to you or feel safer in your presence. 

Still, I wouldn’t allow the cat to give birth under the bed because it will be hard to notice if anything goes wrong with the mother or the kittens. 

#6 Dying

adult cat hiding under the bed

If your elder cat starts hiding under the bed, you might have to say goodbye to your pet soon.

As I already explained, cats hide when they’re not feeling well. Dying cats know that something is wrong with them, so they disappear or hide to protect themselves. 

Still, you shouldn’t panic and think the worst. Instead, talk to your vet as soon as possible. 

READ: Why Won’t My Kitten Sleep in Her Bed?

Will My Newly Adopted Cat Come Out From Hiding? 

I recently stumbled upon the following question:

My newly adopted cat won’t come out from under the bed. Will she always be scared like this? Or will she be a “normal” cat once she acclimates to her new home?

Since this is a common problem for new cat owners, let me reassure you. There’s nothing wrong with your cat, and she/he just needs a little bit of time to acclimate. 

Once the cat gets used to the surroundings, your kitty should stop hiding under the bed and warm up to your presence. 

However, as one Reddit user notes, “Some cats are terrified and can take a few weeks to really acclimate.” So, don’t give up on your cat after a couple of days. [2]

And since the cat doesn’t know you, it’s best not to force the kitty out of its hiding spot. Otherwise, the cat will have a negative assassination with you, which will make it hard to earn the cat’s trust and respect. 

READ MORE: Cat Trauma Symptoms and What to Do About Them

How to Get Cat Out From Under Bed? 8 Tips To Follow 

So, you’ve been calling your kitty’s name over and over, but your cat won’t come out under the bed. What can you do to get your kitty to come out without getting scratched?

Well, I’ve got a couple of tricks on how to get cats out from under the bed, which should do the job. 

#1 Give Your Cat Time 

If your newly adopted cat won’t come out from under the bed, it’s best to leave the cat alone for a couple of days. Provide all the necessities – cat food, litter box, water, and toys – and be patient.

Once the cat calms down, they will come out under the bed to explore the surroundings, first at night and then during the day. 

Try to spend time with your new cat without overwhelming them too much. You want your cat to learn to trust you and be less fearful in your presence.

One Reddit user recommends that you “Go in and lie down on the floor and read for a while, not really paying attention to the cat.” [2]

# 2 Lure Your Cat with Treats

As studies show, cats recognize their owner’s voice. But they don’t care enough to respond, especially when they’re snoozing under the bed. [3]

cat about to touch her treat

In these cases, you can try luring with treats. Most cats will stop pretending to “sleep” when they hear the treat bag or the wet food can. 

You can also place enticing food near the bed and wait for your cat to show itself. But don’t try to grab the cat because you’ll lose your kitty’s trust. 

If you don’t have any luck with your usual treats and dry cat food, you should try something with a strong, temping smell, such as tuna or homemade salmon treats. 

#3 Lure Your Cat with Toys

When cats aren’t hungry, you can use a toy to lure them out from under the bed. I recommend a fishing rod since cats can’t resist when you dangle it just out of reach.

Of course, laser dots and chew toys that make noise can also tempt your cat to leave its hiding place. The type of toy depends on what your cat likes to play with. 

#4 Reduce Stress

If your think your cat is hiding under the bed because they are stressed, removing or reducing the stress triggers should do the trick:

  • Consult with your vet about using calming products for cats 
  • Play soothing music and limit loud noises 
  • Keep pets or people that make your cat anxious away from the room

#5 Use a Cardboard Box

maine coon inside a box

Cats sometimes hide under beds because you haven’t provided another suitable napping place. So, try placing a cardboard box with blankets in the room.

Most cats love cardboard boxes as much as they love hiding under the bed, so they will likely come out from hiding to investigate. 

#6 Consider Catnip 

Is your cat crazy for catnip? Then you can use it to get your cat from under the bed without a fight. 

As specialists explain, “It only takes one or two sniffs of that wondrous oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling head-over-tail in kitty bliss.” [4]

#7 Leave the Room

My cat sometimes hides under the bed because she wants to play with me. So, she is out of hiding the moment I leave the room.

If your cat is hiding to attract your attention, leaving the room for a few minutes is all you need to get your cat to come out from under the bed. 

#8 Chase the Cat from Under the Bed 

Some people recommend scaring your cat from under the bed by turning on the vacuum cleaners, moving the bed, or sweeping with a broom to chase the cat in the open.

I don’t like such tactics because they increase the cat’s anxiety and damage your cat’s trust in you. And you can scare your kitty so much they hide somewhere you can’t find them. 

However, you can try them if you’re desperate, and there’s a very good reason why your cat shouldn’t be under the bed. 

Related: Why Won’t My Cat Sleep in My Bed Anymore?

How to Stop Cats From Going Under the Bed? 

You don’t always have the time to get your cat under the bed, especially early in the morning when you’re already late for work. 

So, I’ve prepared 6 tips on how to block cats from going under the bed to make life easier for you. 

#1 Block the Acess

The easier way to stop your cat from going under the bed is to block access to the area:

  • Place boxes, old books, and towels under the bed so that the cat can’t get. 
  • Cut some old cardboard boxes and tape them over the open area.
  • Don’t let your cat have access to rooms with beds.

#2 Use Smells Cats Hate

Did you know that there are some smells that cats hate so much; they'll go out of their way to avoid them? Read on to find out what they are!

Cats hate certain smells because they’re too potent for their delicate noses. You can use such aromas to prevent your cat from going under the bed. No cat will sleep in a place that doesn’t smell right. 

For example, you can place some citrus peels under the bed, fresh herbs, such as thyme/rosemary, or purchase cat deterrent sprays. 

#3 Try Aluminium Foil

Besides certain smells, cats also don’t like crinkly material. That’s why placing aluminum foil under the bed can make this favorite spot undesirable. 

#4 Use Packing Tape

Packing tape is another clever trick, which you stop your cat from going under the bed. You just have to cut some tape and place it with the sticky side up under the bed.

The cat’s paws will get all sticky and uncomfortable, so your kitty will think twice before they decide to venture under the bed again.

#5 Make a Den

If nothing else works, you can convince your cat to leave the area under the bed by providing another suitable hiding location. 

Make your cat a safe den in a dark, quiet place, and reward your kitty whenever they stay in their den. After a while, the cat will switch preferences. 

#6 Place Something Scary Under the Bed

Is your cat afraid of something around the house? Then place this object under the bed and your kitty will never again step in this location. 

READ MORE: How to Help Cats Get Along

FAQs

What Do You Do If Your Cat Won’t Come out of Under the Bed? 

black cat hiding under her owner's bed

If your cat won’t come out of under the bed, you should try to lure your kitty out with treats, favorite food, and toys. If nothing else works, you can try using force to remove the cat from under the bed. 

Is it OK for My Cat to Sleep Under the Bed?

Yes, it’s OK for your adult cat to sleep under the bed unless your cat is hiding because of sickness or there’s something dangerous beneath the bed. 

Where Might My Cat be Hiding?

Cats hide in closets, wardrobes, laundry baskets, washing machines, drier, cupboards, and empty cardboard boxes. They can also hide behind furniture or up high.  

Conclusion

It’s normal for cats to stay under the bed and refuse to come out when you call them. For some of our furry friends, it’s a source of entertainment since they get to watch us panic over their behavior. 

However, if you’re worried about your kitty’s hiding you should bring it up with your vet to ensure your cat is healthy. 

What do you think about this topic? Why cats won’t come from under the bed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. 

Resources

  • 1. Hunter T. Recognizing the Signs of Illness in Cats [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/recognizing-signs-of-illness-in-cats
  • 2. My newly adopted cat won’t come out from under the bed. Will she always be scared like this? Or will she be a “normal” cat once she acclimates to her new home? [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 15]. Available from: https://www.reddit.com/r/cats/comments/6in4n7/my_newly_adopted_cat_wont_come_out_from_under_the/
  • 3. Saito A, Shinozuka K. Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus). Animal Cognition. 2013;16:685–90.
  • 4. Fries WC. Truth About Catnip [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; 2011. Available from: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/catnip-effects-on-cats#1
  • 5. Cat Won’t Come Out From Under The Bed [Internet]. TheCatSite. [cited 2021 Dec 15]. Available from: https://thecatsite.com/threads/cat-wont-come-out-from-under-the-bed.361208/
cat hiding under the bed

“Why my cat won’t come out from under the bed?” Let us know your thoughts on this topic below!

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.

Find her on Instagram. Read her latest articles..

Learn more about Grigorina here