Pam Johnson-Bennett with Cat Behavior Associates says most cats will feel more at ease if they have a place to hide that has been marked by their own scent. Making a cat hideout is an ideal way to give a cat somewhere to go if they feel threatened, scared, or just want to rest for a while.
Creating a Cardboard Cat Hideout
Choose a cardboard box that will give the cat room to comfortably fit inside, something that will give the cat some room to move around. Ensure that the box will fit into the desired location -- Catsvet.com suggests that cats fall into a routine, so choosing a place they are familiar with is ideal.
Tape the box shut, and turn the box over so that the tape is on the bottom. This will ensure that the structural integrity of the box is not compromised and that the cat does not chew or paw at any loose tape ends.
Mark the box with one or more holes for the cat to enter and exit through. The holes should be large enough to provide easy access for him but not large enough that the entire interior of the hideout is exposed. You can mark smaller holes at varying locations on the box to give him a way to see out on the other sides or to serve as emergency or alternative entrances and exits. Cut the openings, making the edges as smooth as possible to prevent tearing. Use packaging tape to enforce the edges and create sturdier openings.
Attach Velcro to the bottom of the box in order to keep it in place. For hardwood or tiled floors, both sides of the Velcro will be necessary, but if you're placing the box on carpeting, you'll need only the hooked side. Placing a strip of Velcro in each corner and two in the center provides maximum anchorage, even for a cat who leaps into and out of the hideout.
Place a blanket or bed that has his scent on it inside of the box. This may be an added incentive for the cat to enter and grow accustomed to utilizing the hideout. Having a comfortable place to sleep will also encourage him to use the hideout throughout the day -- not just when he is startled or hiding.
- To stop the cat from damaging furniture, place a small piece of scrap carpeting in front of the hideout, and sprinkle it with catnip. This encourages him to use the carpet scrap as a scratching post -- not the couch.
- Decorate the outside of the hideout if you desire.
- Don't place anything heavy on top of the hideout unless you make it out of something other than a heavy-duty box. A box that will fit in or under another furnishing hides itself under a throw, as long as your cat will utilize the hideout in that spot.
- Check inside regularly for food, litter and other unwanted items, and to ensure that the blanket or bed remain clean.
- Do not pull a cat from the interior of his hideout. This can cause anxiety in a place meant to be his secure sanctuary. You're not allowed.