My cat, Max, has been hiding under my grandma's steps since the 27th of September. We had to drop off all of my cats at my grandma's temporarily, so we can move into another house. We didn't want them there when we were bringing in our items, in case they walked out the door when we weren't watching.

They have never gone to my grandmas house before. Two of my cats were fine, one was very cautious and alert while Max was just petrified. Max has moved before, it shouldn't be new to him. He didn't move out of his carrier, so we had to pick it up and literally dump him out. This wasn't easy because of his size.

We had to leave, so we left the cats in the basement thinking they would come upstairs eventually. We first put them in the basement, so we could show them the litter boxes.

The next time we came, which was yesterday, we were ready to take them to the new house. We got three of my cats in their carriers easily, while Max didn't budge from under the stairs. He wedged himself under the very last step. We thought he was stuck, but he wasn't. Eventually, we pushed him out and blocked the bottom steps with shoe boxes so he couldn't get trapped there and we could grab him.

He moved to the side of the steps wedged between the wall and the steps. He sat up so his head was actually between wall and stair.

We gave up after about an hour of trying to get him out and put him in his carrier.

He hasn't been coming out to eat or drink. We are even giving him wet food in his bowl to try to get him out. The only time he MIGHT be coming out is to go to the bathroom because there is no pee or anything by his hiding spot.

Today we found him a little ways away from the stairs under some headboards and other junk. How can we get him to warm up to us again, so we can take him to a new home? I know moving can be stressful for a cat, but is this normal? The fact that he isn't eating really worries me.

Max is a male orange tabby and weighs around 20 pounds (9 kg). We have never seen him like this. He acts like the head of the house usually, we didn't expect him to hide like this.

Ever since we found him by the stairs we've been trying to push him out. I stupidly tried to pull him with my hands and he bit me. Not a warning bite, but a real bite. He is just an animal, and it worries me that he thinks we would put him in danger.


  • 1
    Welcome to StackExchange Pets! It's not quite clear what exactly you're asking. Do you have problems getting Max into his carrier to bring him to his new home? Or did I misunderstand the question and you have a different goal? (I do understand you are worried that he didn't eat or drink but that's not the main question).
    – Elmy
    Oct 2, 2018 at 14:06
  • 1
    We want to get him into his carrier but he won't move and has attempted to bite me again today when I just walked near him. We don't know if we should leave him there for a few days for him to warm up again, but he won't eat or drink so we don't know if it's safe to do that. If we do end up doing that, we don't know how we could make him eat, drink or use the bathroom.
    – hollow
    Oct 2, 2018 at 15:41
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    He didn't move out of his carrier, so we had to pick it up and literally dump him out. While I do understand that the situation doesn't always allow for it, you should really try to take the time to have the cat move out of the box willingly. It dramatically changes the tone of his stay at your grandmother's. Dumping him against his will is going to make him feel imprisoned, more than just having moved to a place he doesn't like as much as the old one. Consider the difference between getting fired and being asked to leave, or getting physically dragged out of the building.
    – Flater
    Oct 3, 2018 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


A live trap may be worth it, if you have a deadline. Or, use a cage suitable for a giant dog, and put wet food at the back. My cat walks right in.


Put his carrier with his blanket or pillow or whatever he loves to lie on in the dark corner under the stairs and hope he likes to hide in there more than where he is now. It's important to put an object in the carrier with his distinctive smell, so he recognizes it as "home". If his favorite pillow is already at the new house, go get it.

Leave the grate to the carrier open and leave him alone for an hour or two. If he went into the carrier, close the grate and put a light blanket or pillowcase (with the smell of "home") over it to reduce sensory input for him.

If he didn't go in, go to your vet and ask for a tranquilizing spray. These are often used for pets that get panicked by fireworks and they calm the pets down instead of putting them to sleep. Explain the situation, that the cat didn't eat or drink for days and that you cannot approach him. If there is no vet nearby, go to a pharmacy. When you got the spray, follow the instructions of the vet or pharmacist. Don't spray him directly, but put a few squirts around him, then give it time to work.

(Please do go to a vet or pharmacy to get the tranquilizers. There are different kinds and some take several days to take effect. Let a professional select a quick acting product.)

If Max still didn't go into his carrier, gently and carefully steer him there with a blanket. Don't do it with your bare hands! Even better if you can hide your face behind the blanket. He will probably hate you for a few days anyway, so don't pour oil into the fire.

You may want to repeat the application of the tranquilizer for the next few days in your new home. Make sure that he has wet food, water and his litter box really near by so he can eat and drink without moving much. Give him several days to rest and calm down.

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