If your new cat is hiding from you, please know this is perfectly normally! My husband and I have fostered lots of kittens over the past 10 years, and many of them have hidden from us, whether it was under the bathroom cabinet, beneath my desk, or behind the couch. In order to minimize this as much as possible, we always keep our kittens in the bathroom when we first bring them home.
This allows them to adjust to a new environment without them feeling overwhelmed by a large, open, and unfamiliar space. They might hide under the cabinet or behind the toilet, but the small space means it’s never hard for us to reach them, whether it’s because we have to medicate them or simply want to look at them to make sure they’re in good health.
Once the kittens have adjusted to the space, we will allow them to explore our living room. Unfortunately, some of the kittens will immediately seek refuge under our sofa, which is the only area in the room where are unable to reach them. In order to prevent our foster kittens from going under the couch, we’ve done our best to fill the space with blankets and pillows. However, recently some of our very determined foster kittens — Myshka and Myla from For Animals Inc. — managed to burrow into the bedding, making it difficult for us to socialize them using treats and toys.
While we thought about trying to pull them out from under the sofa, that would probably cause them a lot of stress and make them more fearful of us. We tried luring them out using treats and toys, but that didn’t work because Myla and Myshka had burrowed so deeply into the bedding and pillows.
In order to tackle this particular problem, I thought about what the space under the couch was providing for them. I figured it probably made them feel safer and more secure, because not only were they out of our reach, they knew no one would be able to sneak up on them. Consequently, I decided to try to recreate the safety and security of the space under the couch by placing a wicker storage box on its side on the floor next to the couch.
In order to make the area more attractive to them, I took a piece of bedding from the bathroom — which had their scents on it — and placed it on the bottom of the box. Then, my husband and I waited. We were quiet and made no effort to lure them out from their hiding place.
After several minutes, Myshka — the more out-going of our foster kittens — came out and started checking out the box and the blanket. Then, Myla also emerged from under the couch, and eventually she and her brother curled up inside the box, allowing us to continue trying to social them using a wand toy and treats.
While Myla and Myshka still like to hang out under the couch, they are no longer hiding.
In fact, not only do they like cuddling in the wicker box, they like snuggling with us on the sofa, proving just how far they’ve come over the past few weeks!
If your new cat is hiding under your furniture, then you should definitely give this method a try! You can use lots of different boxes, including cardboard, but I would avoid anything clear, such as a plastic tote. Also, putting a piece of their favorite bedding in the box is super important, and you definitely want to make sure you place the box close to their hiding spot. If your cat doesn’t show any interest in the box, you can make it more appealing by spraying the bedding with pheromone spray and putting treats inside the box.
Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions or tips you might have!