Cats Under the Bed: What to Know and How to Handle
Feline behavior is complex, but one thing that most cat owners can relate to is a skittish cat who hides under the bed when something scares them. A natural instinct of cats when facing the unknown is to distance themselves and assess whether the new thing is safe or not. For many cats, this means hiding under the bed.
Why Your Cat Hides Under the Bed
Jackson Galaxy calls those inaccessible places cats can hide in “the unders.” “If you’ve got cats, you should not have unders,” he cautions. I couldn’t agree more. If your cat hides under the bed during stressful situations, you won’t be able to get to them in an emergency. Like Jackson, I’ve heard stories of people being unable to get their cats out from under the bed when they had to evacuate their home on short notice.
Jackson Galaxy, who hosts a reality show about cat behavior on Animal Planet, advises owners to block off access to “unders” so that their pets can’t hide there. “Cats need to feel safe and secure, and if you’re going to have a cat that’s going to feel safe and secure, you’re going to have to create a world that’s safe and secure for them.”
How to Block Off Access Under Your Bed
There are a number of options for blocking off the area under your bed (or any other piece of furniture your cat could squeeze under).
You can use Under Bed Blockers, which are available in a variety of sizes and materials, but I found that they won’t work on carpeted floors.
Under bed storage containers come in both hard and soft-sided versions, and who can’t use extra storage! Measure carefully to make sure that the containers you buy will fit under your particular bed.
I’ve seen people run chicken wire around the legs of the bed to block off access, but while it may be effective, it’s not exactly the most attractive solution.
If you’re in the market for a new bed, replace your bed with a storage bed. They come in many different styles.
Alternate Hiding Places for Your Cat
If you are blocking access to under the bed and have a cat who considers that area her safe space, you must provide alternatives so she can still hide and feel safe. Boxes, covered cat beds or a cat cave are all good options.
Blocking off the “unders”
I used a combination of under bed storage containers and pillows. I found body pillows particularly useful for this purpose. They’re not quite the width of my queen size bed, but shoving them under the bed turned out to be easier than getting some of the storage containers to fit.
I didn’t want to block off under bed access completely, because Allegra does go under the bed when something spooks her. I blocked off everything except for about a foot wide area at the end of the bed. This way she can still go under, and the bed skirt provides the “cave effect”, but I can easily reach her if I have to get her out.
Do your cats hide under the bed? Have you thought about how to stop them from doing that?