Anyone who lives with cats knows they're world-class hiders. They nap in the most unlikely places and never put up a Do Not Disturb sign to let us know where they are. Does your cat seem to evaporate into thin air? In more than 30 years as a cat sitter, these are some of the places where I've learned to look for hiding cats.
- Behind the washer and dryer.
- On bookshelves (behind the books or stereo speakers).
- Behind the flat screen TV.
- In a mattress box spring (this is a favorite and one of the first places I look)
- In a pile of clothes in a closet. If a pile of clothes isn't already there, the cat will make one.
- On a shelf in a closet or behind the shoes on a shoe rack.
- Behind a pile of pillows on a bed or sofa.
- Under a comforter on a bed.
- Under a treadmill or any large piece of exercise equipment. It doesn't matter how close the bottom is to the floor. Cats can make themselves very small when they're intent on hiding.
- Any open box. One of my cats likes sleeping in a shoe box, although most of him doesn't fit.
- Paper shopping bags
- Inside an armoire or TV cabinet.
- In a kitchen or bathroom cabinet. This is another favorite at my house.
- On top of the kitchen cabinets or a tall piece of furniture.
- In the basement ceiling, on top of the recessed tiles.
- Behind floor-length draperies or closed blinds.
- Behind a open door.
- In the bathtub or shower.
- In the laundry basket under the clothes you've just folded.
- Under a bed, squished on top of all the stuff you're storing there.
I have no idea where Pi was tonight. But I'm willing to bet it was someplace small, dark and warm. That's what cats look for when they want to get away from it all for a little while.
Sometimes, the more you look for a cat, the harder she is to find. Pi reminded me of that tonight. If I had just hung out in her family room pretending all I wanted to do was watch the evening news, she might have appeared. Or she might not. It's hard to know about cats, and I just wanted to come home. But you can also train your cats to come when you want them to, at least most of the time. Try wandering around the house shaking a bag of treats, or open a can of food. That usually gets their attention. Just follow through on your promise and give the cat the treats or food when she appears.
Pi and I love each other, and she was sound asleep somewhere. But if you're looking for a cat who's hiding because she's scared, close doors behind you as you're going from room to room. Then the cat can't move to a place where you've already looked.
While it's normal for cats to seek out small, cozy spots to snooze, there are some places where you never want them to sleep. Never let them nap in the washer or dryer, the dishwasher, drawers, gym bags and backpacks and any other place where they could be trapped or carried out of the house. Recliners are also dangerous hiding places. You could injure the cat as you adjust the chair.
By the time I was ready to leave her house, Pi was wide awake and wishing she could play in the garage. But it was cold in the garage, and besides, I wanted to come home.