Why has my cat stopped eating and started hiding more?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Being a cat parent is as difficult and challenging as being an actual parent to a baby. If your cat is acting strangely you might be concerned like any other parent.

Not to worry my friend. We have almost all the possible reasons and solutions for you.

So, take a deep breath, relax yourselves and start reading below.

Your cat may have stopped eating because it may be stressed, there is a change of location, a change in the environment or even an illness. These same problems can also be a reason for your cat to start hiding or even reasons like they do not feel comfortable or maybe because they are scared.

Why is my cat hiding so much?

The key to solving a problem is taking it step by step. For starters, let’s focus on getting your cat to stop hiding from you. Once we can get it out in the home and make it comfortable in the surroundings, we will try and make sure that it starts to eat properly again.

Just like humans, cats have different nature and their own preferences. If your cat is one of those who do not like to mingle a lot and usually hides during the day, then that is normal behavior. On the other hand, if it has been a social and friendly cat and has started to hide a lot, then you need to find the root cause.

The many reasons why your cat is hiding and the solutions to get your cat out are right here in this article:

Observe your cat’s behavior and its hiding spots

You need to be very observant of your cat. You must make sure that you know its hiding spots and are sure that the spots are not dangerous. The more observant you are the better.

If your cat has started hiding more often, you need to make sure that this behavior is not interrupting the daily activities of your cat, like eating, drinking, urinating, etc. But if they are getting in the way you need to check if there are some other reasons for this behavior.

Visitors or a new addition

Cats are very observant of their environments. If they feel that someone is invading their place or trying to enter their territory, they will hide somewhere. This behavior is just to make themselves safe. Cats like to mark their territory and since they are wild animals, they have this instinct to protect themselves against any predators.

The cats are scared of temporary guests as well as permanent ones. They may feel neglected and ignored when other individuals or even a new pet has recently joined the family. With the addition of a new pet. This may also be a reason for your cat hiding.

Solution

If there is a temporary visitor, try and not force both the parties to interact. Instead, the visitor can sit near your cats hiding spot or bribe your cat with a treat or a toy. This way they will see that the visitor is just trying to be friendly and may come out of the hiding spot. The treat and the toy will give it the confidence that your cat is not prey to the visitor and your visitor would not hurt it.

If the new addition of another human being is permanent like a baby or your partner, then according to the experts at petmd.com the new member can rub a clean new towel against themselves and leave it in the middle somewhere your cat has access. This will help your cat to understand the scent and accept the new person at its own pace.

Experts say that another solution to your cat’s hiding behavior can be of setting up a safe space. Creating a safe space for your cat will help you as well to see where it is hiding and whether it is safe or not. Safe spaces can be created in a cardboard box turned on its side with a few sheets or blankets, or even just a box with your cat’s size hole to run and hide inside. The hole can be used by the cat to see that new entrant is no threat to it.

Environment change

Cats are the kind of animals who like to have their place as it is. They are not at all flexible and do not adjust to changes well. The changes in the environment can be moving to a new house, rearranging the furniture in the house or even a frequent visitor to the vet. These all stress out your cat and they retreat by hiding in a safe place.

Solution

As far as the moving around of the furniture goes, do not do that, and if you have rearranged then put the things back to their original place or allow your cat some time to adjust. You can try to lure out your cat from its hiding spots by offering treats etc.

If you have moved the house, then be quick to get things sorted and in place. Try and make sure that you place the things in a similar manner specifically your cat’s food dish, its litter boxes, etc. so that it can adjust quickly.

If the frequent visits to the vet have caused your cat to start hiding more, then be patient with it. your cat is stressed out with frequent visits outside and will take a few days to get back to its normal routine. Keep a close eye on its behavior, in case there is some unusual activity you can act on it accordingly and quickly.

Illness

When your cat starts to hide more often than usual, it is essential for you to start keeping an eye out for any kind of illness. Cats feel more vulnerable and prone to attacks if they are sick and tend to hide. The predicted health problems can be non-specific diarrhea or limping or some discharge etc.

Solution

If you find some medical problem with your cat, instantly book an appointment and take your cat to visit the vet.

Your cat may be napping

The cats can and normally do sleep for at least 15 hours a day. When a cat naps or sleeps properly, it tends to lower its guards and therefore requires places where it can feel safe and not vulnerable to attacks.

Solution

Try to give your cat safe spaces mentioned earlier so that it can hide inside it for deep sleep and not be scared. This will help you as well because with safe spaces you will be able to know where your pet is and if it is safe or not.

Weather and temperatures

With changes in weather, you need to make sure that the temperature is adjusted accordingly. Cats are sensitive to their environment and the temperatures. If its cold, they may find some dark and warm spaces inside the house to stay comfortable and the same is the situation for summers. They will look out for cold and airy places to get themselves fresh air.

Solution

Try and find these places and just let them be there for a while. Then make sure that you regulate the temperatures inside the house and make it comfortable for your cat. Throughout do not force your cat to get out of its private space. Just make sure that it gets the food and water and has a litter box because it does not spoil your carpet or linen or anything.

Why is my cat not eating?

Now that we have discussed thoroughly the reasons and solutions for your cat hiding unusually, let’s see why your cat has stopped eating.

Illness

The first and most common reason for your cat to lose its appetite is that it may be sick. When cats go through illnesses like infections, kidney failures, intestinal problems or even cancer. Cats may stop eating even if they have something as small as a toothache.

Sometimes your cat eats things that it really should not. It irritates their food passage and gets stuck in their stomach or intestines. This will cause them to vomit and even though some blockades may pass through causing mild diarrhea others may not and you will most certainly need to get it checked.

Recent visit to the vet

If your cat has been losing its appetite after returning from the doctor and getting a shot, then its most probably just a side effect. Make sure that such behavior does not prevail for long in case it does, consult your doctor immediately.

Food issues

If your cat is not getting any variations in its food, it may end up stop eating as a protest. Food may also be an issue if you have recently introduced your cat to something new in its diet and it does not like the taste or smell of it. this may also lead to loss of appetite.

Unknown places

If you are travelling or have introduced changes in the surrounding of your cat, they will stop eating the food that is served to them. Even if you have had a change in routine, they will act up by stop eating food and staying hungry for long hours. Even something as little as a change of food dish or placement of the food dish can make your cat stop eating.

How can I get my cat to start eating again?

When you notice your cat is not eating properly or not eating at all, the first thing you need to do is get it checked by your vet. This will help us rule out any medical issues.

If there are medical issues, your vet will give you a specially designed meal plan for your cat to at and if it still refuses to eat, the vet will draw in a tube to ensure your cat gets the nutrients it needs. Once your cat is healed it may start getting its hunger and food appetite back. In some cases, the doctor will advise you about some hunger-stimulating medicines that will help your cat to start eating again.

If your cat only has nasal problems, you will need to give it steamy baths and use nasal drops so that your cat can have it’s smelling sense again and it may start to eat.

If this is or any other medical problem is not found, one can try out a few more methods to lure your cat into start eating again.

A good trick of the trade is to cook or cover the food with fish oil, broths or even eggs. The smell of the food would tempt your cat to try out the food and it may start eating it. Other than that, you can try offering your cat something new.

It may not be eating just because your cat is bored with the daily meals it has been getting. You can offer it canned tuna or even wet cat food. With canned tuna, you will have to ensure that your cat is not eating too much of it because this can lead to severe consequences in the future.

Sometimes cats are being picky with the shape or even texture of food. You can try and experiment with new shapes and textures to get your cat eating again. Look out of a change of ingredients in the food they may be eating.

Sometimes your cat is just a picky eater and with a new environment and new food, it will need some time to adjust before it starts eating again.

Word of advice

If your cat is doing both things that are hiding and not eating, the above-mentioned solutions will get you through a difficult time. All the steps and all the solutions will require you some patience and some time, but they will get you through. If you feel that your cat has some medical problems, make sure to consult with your vet at your earliest to avoid the situation from escalating at all.

Related questions

How long will a scared cat hide?

A scared cat can hide up to a day or two. In case of a traumatic experience, a new house or a new pet in the house can lead your cat hiding for a few more days. Just make sure you are giving it the food and water and it will come out once it feels comfortable.

Will cats purr if they are in pain?

Even though purring takes up a cat’s energy, they will probably purr if they are hurt or in pain.

How often should you force-feed a sick cat?

A sick cat should be force-fed at least three times a day so that it is getting enough energy and nutrients to heal from the medical problem it is facing.

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