You know the story - you left your closet door slightly ajar and before you know it, your cat has slinked their way into it. Why is that cats love to find particular hiding places to make themselves at home?
If you're reading this article because the description above sounds just like your cat, you're probably joining thousands of other cat owners in the same boat. Say 'hi' to one another!
For some reason, it always seems to be closets, pantries, wardrobes, and freshly washed and folded clothing that get targeted by our feline fur friends. And if your cat moults a lot... Argh!
In truth, we love our pets so much to get too angry, and besides, do I really want to move that pair of squinting eyes watching my every move?
To help understand why cats seem to love hiding places (and clothes) so much, we can break this type of behaviour down a little more.
A territorial habit
We know that curiosity often motivates cats, but is this the reason why they love to sneak into cupboards and other dark or closable areas? We are all defined by our genetics and the same goes for cats.
A closed door usually represents mystery for a cat; even if they've been through it a hundred times already, they'll always remain curious about what's on the other side (just in case the kitchen pantry, you know, changes!). It's almost as if they feel obliged to patrol and have access to this 'unknown' region at all times, even if they're on the other side of the house!
In truth, it's possible that another animal may find its way inside without the cat's knowledge, which could represent a danger to them and/or their territory. Knowing what is inside this space can even become a kind of obsession for your cat. That's why, as soon as your guard is dropped or you're out of the room, they'll take the opportunity to sneak right on in.
That, and because what a comfy place that looks like to keep watch from!
Your cat sees you open doors and either take or return with items on a regular basis. In their eyes, these spaces are also part of their territory.
For items that they are not allowed to touch, it's possible that your cat identifies them as being of value to you and believes they should be sharing that interest on equal terms (at least until they determine what it is). The importance and/or interest you place on these items can also influence the attractiveness to your cat. In some ways, it's a case of what they can't have they want.
It is likely that this behaviour stems from territorial ownership. This is to ensure its safety from potential dangers and that it has access to resources such as food or shelter.
An odd contradiction
As we've just learnt, cats can be attracted to what they cannot have - not unlike humans. For this reason, the desire for knowledge or enjoyment can outweigh their desire to please. Enter your four-legged friend *cue incessant meowing, cheekiness or pester power*.
For example, if you open a door to a room, your cat may sneakily dart in. However, they may well come straight back if they see that you are not following them. Similarly, if you stroke your cat they may not want to be bothered. But take your hand away or ignore them and they immediately want your attention again.
Who hasn't experienced these little, daily contradictions?
It's definitely not possible to explain every motive behind our mysteriously cheeky feline friends, but the above can help. And when we just don't know, we just accept that cats are unique!
So why does my cat sneak into the closet?
It would seem that there are many reasons why your cat enjoys sneaking into the closet (or pantry): they could be inspecting the zone out of curiosity; they could be attracted by what they might find there; they want to mark their territory with pheromones; or maybe they are simply searching for a dark and quiet corner to rest.
It's also possible that your cat seeks the reassuring smell of your scent on your clothing. This is especially the case if your home is filled with people or there has recently been a change in their environment. And your closet is the perfect, quiet place to do just this!
Just keep in mind that if your cat is constantly seeking places to hide away quietly, it could be worth consulting your vet. When cats feel their health begin to deteriorate, they often hide like they would in nature to protect themselves from predators.
Where is your cat's favourite hiding place?