How To Get Your Cat To Come Out Of Hiding
The reason why your cat might be hiding is because he/she is stressed, anxious, sick or simply bothered. These are 11 proven methods (proven by me at least) that work for me. The 11 ways on how to get your cat to come out of hiding are:
- Play meow sounds
- Play bird sounds
- Train them to know their name
- Sound of food
- Tease with a toy
- Give them time and space to come out on their own
- Don’t pick them up
- Get vertical
- Talk sweetly
- Throw a treat closer and closer to you
Let’s dive deeper into each one so you can try these at home, but first, let’s understand why your cat is hiding.
Why is My Cat Hiding in Dark Places
Have you recently introduced something new and foreign to your household? Is there a new person or a new animal in your home? Is there construction on your block that’s making a lot of loud noises?
These are just some of the ways that your cat might be hiding in dark places. They are fearful and anxious of the situation, so they want to feel safe by hiding, particularly in a narrow, dark place, where they feel that they are not exposed.
Or, maybe your cat is sick. Make sure your cat isn’t displaying symptoms of being sick.
Now, before you even try to get your cat to come out of hiding, consider whether the environment is creating stress for your cat.
I hate, HATE seeing video clips online of kids torturing cats. They hold them, won’t let them go, they chase them around and grab the cat by the tail, and they yank the cat out of a hiding place.
I am a proud cat advocate trying to teach everyone that cats should not be treated like a plastic bag.
Please read through this list of reasons why your cat might be scared and the cause of stress for your cat.
How to Get Your Cat to Come Out of Hiding
Which one of these 11 methods works best to get your cat to come out of hiding will depend on your cat, so try them all and see which one works for you.
But I can tell you I’ve personally tried all of these methods on my cats at one point or another.
Depending on the reason for your cat hiding, one method will work better than another.
What you will NOT find on this list is reaching your hand in under the bed and pulling your cat by the front leg or tail, etc. I implore you, please don’t do this. Your cat is hiding for a reason. You don’t need to cause their heart to beat faster. Also, this will only entice your cat to hide even more all the time.
Now that the PSA is out of the way, let’s get started on these safe and friendly ways to get your cat to come out of hiding!
1. Play Meow Sounds
The only time cats meow at each other is between kittens and their mom. So, instinctively, the sound of other cats’ meows perk up the ears of cats and are immediately attracted to the sound.
I’ve found that Charlie, my male cat, is just as engaged by the sound of meows as Nala, the female cat, is.
I think also the fact that cats curious animals, they are interested in whether the meows mean there are other cats nearby. Maybe for territorial reasons?
So, one thing I do to get my cats to come to me is to play meow sounds. I also use this method to give mental stimulation to my cats when they’re bored.
I either play the meow sounds from Youtube on my phone if I want them to come to me or I play it on my bluetooth portable speaker and hide the speaker so my cats are amused and try to locate the sound.
If you play the sound when your cat is hiding, it might take a while for your cat to feel comfortable with coming out but his/her curiosity will get the better of them and come to the sound of the meows.
2. Play Bird Sounds
If you’re a cat owner, you’ve invariably witnessed your cat watching birds from the window making clicking sounds and flicking his/her tail really hard.
Well, we want to emulate that. Nala once jumped at the bug screen and the bug screen broke that her body hurled out of the 3rd floor of the apartment. All because she saw a bird.
Normally, she would not be that stupid to jump out of the window, but all common sense went out the window (pun intended, of course) when she saw the bird.
Just like that, playing bird sounds can be effective in trying to get your cat to come out of hiding. It could distract your cat from being anxious. Afterall, natural instincts come first.
Similar to playing meow sounds, play bird sounds that you can find on Youtube on your phone or on a bluetooth speaker close to their hiding place without you being there, just so that they can feel a little more comfortable to come out.
3. Train Them to Come When They Hear Their Name
It takes a while to get your cat to recognize their name and even longer to train them to come to you when you call his/her name. But, it’s definitely doable.
When my cats are sleepy, it’s rare that they will come when I call their name except for one instance.
This happened by accident, but when I saw a big spider one time, I anxiously called out (almost yelled) Nala to come and attack it. She gladly did.
Ever since then, she knew that when I called her name in that tone, there was a bug for her to eat. It’s so cute and super effective.
For both Nala and Charlie, I also called their name and gave them a treat every time they came. Since then, they do know their name. Although, they will only come to me when I call their name if they feel like it, that is…
Also, when they come after you call their name, give them a lot of praise “good job, Nala! Good job, Charlie!” with gentle strokes.
Another tip is to know how to call their name. According to this vet, you should call your cat’s name with a high-pitched tone. It’s actually kind of funny watching this man call his cat in a high-pitched voice.
Getting your cat used to their name increases the probability of your cat coming out of hiding when you call their name.
4. Shake a Bag of Treats
Do you guys remember the cat treats commercial, Temptations, where the guy shakes the bag of treats and the cat jumps 2 stories and does backflips for those treats?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not going to happen. But, what does work is if you associate a particular sound to the cats getting treats. Yes, shaking a bag of treats does work. It’s an easy sound to associate for your cat’s ears.
So, when your cat knows that shaking a bag means treat time, then this could help your cat come out of hiding.
5. Teasing with a Toy
If your cats aren’t little kittens like mine, then it will be difficult to get your cat to play with toys. Kittens love playing with toys at first sight, but adult cats are more lazy, and they develop an attitude of, “I know that toy is not a real bird. So boring.”
If this is the case, then you need to level up your playtime with your cats. Instead of waving a cat toy in front of their face, you need to hide the toy under something with a bit of it peeking out.
For example, with my Da Bird wand, I hide the feather under the sofa or under the bed covers with just the tip showing.
First, the sound of the feather rubbing on whatever it’s hiding perks up their ears. If your cat sees a little tiny bit of the feather as well, then they will really be curious.
Cats almost have this obsessive compulsive behavior where they can’t live with the feather half showing. They get the need to pounce on it.
Another toy that all cats love is a box, as we all know. So, if you hide the toy in a box and rub the end of the toy against the box, the cat will come out of hiding to chase the toy inside the box.
6. Give Them Time and Space
You might appreciate this method if you want a rather passive method. Yup, you guessed it. Just leave them alone to come out on their own.
Give them time and stop making them come out.
The only thing is, in order for them to calm down so they come out on their own, create a quiet and soothing atmosphere. In other words, don’t be causing a racket.
Turn on some jazz or classical music or this music that was designed specifically for cats in mind.
No, you don’t need to light candles. In case you think I’m being sarcastic about the music, no, I’m not! Play the music, create a quiet and stress-free atmosphere for your cat to come out on their own!
Provide them space with porous material where they can mark their territory.
7. Generally Leave Them Alone
Now, us cat lovers have a hard time leaving our cats alone, because everything they do is just gosh darn cute!
But, you really oughta try to avoid picking them up and holding them. This is important if you want to build a trusting and loving relationship with your cat.
They have to know that they have the freedom to roam around without being bothered. Then, they won’t feel stressed to have to hide.
If you want their love, you have to leave them alone and they will come to you.
You can give them gentle pets, but try not to pick them up.
8. Vertical Space
Do they have a cat tree or cat shelves where they can “hide” from up above? An area where they can perch high up is crucial for a happy cat living indoors.
Cats need this vertical space to be able to observe their surroundings so they feel safe from any “attack”.
An affordable cat tree is all you need in the house to prevent your cats from having to hide in a nook that’s impossible for you to reach. Or, if you’re more of a handy person, you can install your own DIY cat shelves.
9. Talk Sweetly to Your Cat Always
Cats are so intuitive, it’s actually really surprising how intuitive they are.
If you’re used to reprimanding your cats if they wreak havoc in your home, then your cat will increasingly become afraid of you. Then, any little loud sound or sudden movement will get your cat to go hide.
But, if you earn the trust of your cat by always talking sweetly to them, they will associate you as their friend, not their foe.
Even if they’re being a jerk and knock something over the counter, instead of yelling at them, I encourage you to just spray the area with water when they do that or try to ignore them altogether.
Tell them words of affirmation as cats can pick up what you say to them. Give them confidence in your home. Let them know they are welcome in your home as much as any other being in the house.
And, the benefit of talking sweetly to them on usual occasion is that if something startles your cat which makes your cat hide, your sweet talk can also get them out of hiding because they trust you.
Some cats hate whistling, but my cats react well to it. Whistling apparently sounds like prey to your cats due to the high-pitch, which irritates them.
But, I found that Nala responds to my whistling with affection. When I whistle, Nala comes running and she rubs my legs with her face.
And by the way, if you feel like a crazy person just whistling random notes, whistle a song like twinkle twinkle little star.
Try whistling and see if your cat comes out of hiding with a look of vengeance or with sparkle in their eyes. Either way, you’ve accomplished getting your cat to come out of hiding.
11. Throw a Treat Closer and Closer to You
If your cat is food driven, throw a treat close to their face, so they can sniff it from where they’re hiding.
If they eat it, then throw another treat but about a foot away from their face now. Then, they will have to get up and eat it.
If they eat that, then throw another treat again another foot away from where they are.
Keep repeating this until they are now close to you and have come out of hiding.
At this point, don’t yank them out when they’re in arm’s reach, because you’ll scare them and they will hide again later.
This trick also helps you practice your arm control for shuffleboard.
We looked at 11 methods to get your cat to come out of hiding. Some of these methods will work better than others depending on the temperament of your cat.
Whistling and playing meow sounds or bird sounds are easy ways you can try to see if your cat responds to it.
And other methods like training them to recognize their name and earning their trust over time so they don’t feel scared takes effort and patience. But once you achieve it, you will become a boss cat owner and you will be rewarded with a stronger bond with your cat.
But first, please create a safe and happy environment for your cat, so that your cat doesn’t feel the need to hide because of stress.
Remember, happy cats make a house a home. Good luck.