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A Secure Hiding Place

Some cats choose to live alone while others prefer the company of other cats. But no matter how they choose to socialize, they always hunt alone. 

Avoiding injury is critical to the survival of solitary hunters like your cat.

Even though she doesn't need to hunt in order to eat in your house, her instincts still drive her behavior and, if she doesn't satisfy those hunting urges, she will not be happy. In fact, she can't be. She has no control over her instinctual cravings.

A secure hiding place enables your cat to feel secure and protected.

It's important for a solitary hunter to have easy access to a private and secure place that enables her to escape from uncomfortable situations and feel safe and protected. The option of exiting the hiding place from two sides is a valuable feature in case the cat feels threatened in the hiding place.

Most cats prefer a place in a raised location, with enclosing sides and just enough space to accommodate only themselves. In a multi-cat household, there should be a minimum of one safe place for each cat. 

One secure hiding place for each individual cat, in different locations, is essential.

In it's brochure entitled, Your Cat's Environmental Needs--Practical Tips for Pet Owners, the AAFP explains the need for a safe hiding place as follows:

  • "Provide a safe place. Every cat needs a safe and secure place where it can retreat to so that it feels protected or which can be used as a resting area. The cat should have the ability to exit and enter the space from at least two sides if it feels threatened. Most cats prefer that the safe space is big enough to fit only themselves, has sides around it, and is raised off the ground.

  • Good examples of safe places are a cardboard box, a cat carrier, and a raised cat perch. There should be at least as many safe places, sized to hold a single cat, as there are cats in a household. Safe places should be located away from each other, so that cats can choose to be on their own."

~~Your Cat's Environmental Needs--Practical Tips for Pet Owners

Here are a few suggestions for easy, affordable solutions:

  • A cardboard box placed on its side can be a simple and effective hiding place

  • A cat carrier that is always left out in an area that is easily accessible to the cat is a portable safe place that minimizes stress associated with transportation (such as a trip to the veterinarian). To provide a familiar scent for the cat, place the cat’s own bedding, a favorite blanket, or an article of clothing with the scent of a familiar person.

  • For kittens and older cats that have limited mobility, boxes, perches and shelves should be placed at a relatively low height or at levels that can be reached via ramps to ensure easy access.

These are just a few examples. For a full discussion, review the AAFP and IFSM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines by following the link to our Learning Resources in the menu at the top of the page.

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