People ask, why do cats hide? The answer is a commonsense one. Why do we hide? Because we don’t want to be seen. The same goes for the cat and the reason why a cat doesn’t want to be seen is:
- fear. My cat hides when she hears a lorry nearby or men’s voices. Horrible men! They frighten her except me! This is perhaps because of a bad experience she had when very young before I rescued her. When she hears their voices she really hides and I wouldn’t be able to find her if it wasn’t for the fact that I know her hiding places. It can take quite a while for her to come out and it is well after the “danger” has gone.
- to simply be undisturbed. Cats in my experience rarely hide to find a quiet place to sleep but it can look like it if that place is tucked away in a warm spot such as near the boiler or near the hot water cylinder. These are out of the way places.
- to be more effective when hunting. Watch the wild cats stalk. They are all but invisible. Or the big cats when hunting. They need to get close to increase the chances of a successful kill. The proximity to the prey before the charge is a vital ingredient to success. The same goes for domestic cats.
- to die quietly alone and to be left alone. This is controversial but some people report that their cat disappeared when very ill, say with cancer. This is probably true and an extension of their behaviour when ill.
Many cats have a coat that is pure camouflage, which allows a cat to hide without actually hiding behind something. This is a defence mechanism and for hunting efficiency.
I don’t think that cats hiding is exclusive to cats. It is just that cats are one of the species who are good at it as it is a skill and a behaviour that has evolved over millennia.
Can anyone think of some other reasons?