Cats are masters at making themselves disappear (or cramming themselves into really tiny boxes), so what’s a Pet Grandparent to do when you’re pet sitting your favorite grandcat and she won’t come out from under the couch? Before you call the movers, check out these tips first.
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1. Rule out any medical issues.
A grandcat may hide under a sofa because she’s not feeling well, so make sure you have your grandfeline’s latest medical records on hand. (Are you part of a Buddies Family? Keeping your grandpet’s Buddies timeline updated is a great way for all family members to track their wellness.) If the hiding behavior isn’t due to a medical issue, she might be scared, especially if she’s in new digs.
2. Lure her with her favorite toy.
Whether your grandcat loves a laser pointer, feather wand, or balled-up sock, sometimes shaking her favorite toy under the sofa, within her line of sight, can be enough to engage her sense of play and curiosity. Once she starts to emerge, back up until she’s all the way out from under the couch.
Tip: Don’t swoop in and pick her up once she’s out. Close the door to the room so she doesn’t try to escape. If she heads back under the sofa, try the toys again.
3. Break out the noms.
Crinkling her food bag or running the can opener (if she’s a wet food fan) can be enough to get a lot of cats to come running. If your grandfeline turns up her nose at the mere sound of food, you many need to put a small amount of it or a few cat treats on a plate and leave it in front of the couch. Don’t stand by the sofa and wait for her to take the bait — retreat to the doorway and see what she does. Ignore her until she does come out from hiding, then give her praise, more treats, and love.
4. Give her a safe (and quiet) space of her own.
Since cats feel secure in smaller spaces, give your grandcat a spot of her very own to retreat to. You can line her carrier (or a clean old box, turned on its side) with old towels, or you can purchase a hiding cubby from your local pet store. Put the carrier (with the door open) or box in an out-of-the-way place, preferably a small, quiet room that doesn’t get a lot of family use.
5. Recognize that sometimes a girl (cat) just needs a little alone time.
Patience is key. If you’ve tried all the tips above and your grandfeline isn’t budging, don’t force it. Leave the living room and go to another room, and let her emerge when ready (usually for food or to use the litterbox).
When you finally do get your grandcat to leave her sofa cave, savor the moment — you never know when she’ll decide it’s time to find another out-of-the-way space to decamp to, like under your bed!