Best Stress-Free Ways To Lure Your Cat Out Of Hiding

Cats often have independent streaks, nervous dispositions, or a combination of both. They could head out of the house for a while living their own lives or dive under a sofa when they get spooked.

So, how to lure a cat out of hiding? You need to provide an incentive for the cat to leave their current location and get close to you. Use their favorite treats, catnip, food, and toys. Place these lures near their hiding place, but make sure they still have to reach out to get the items. Don’t rush the cat, give it some time to come out on its own.

Luring a cat back to the security of your home is a helpful skill. Some will also use these techniques to try and befriend strays. So, how can you lure a cat?

How Do You Lure a Cat?

As with any animal, you need to provide an incentive for the cat to leave their current location and get close to you. They may feel safer under a sofa or up a tree than coming out in the open or close to a human. Therefore, you have to make it clear that you aren’t a threat and that they will get the same level of comfort if they leave – ideally with a nice meal too. This could mean setting up a cozy carrier to relocate the cat or simply enticing a pet with toys and treats. It can require time and patience, but this should pay off.

When considering how to lure a cat, we need to focus on the reasons for doing so as they can have a big impact on your methods. For example, are you,

  1. looking to lure a scared pet out of hiding from somewhere within your home.
  2. looking to lure a pet cat back to the house if they have been away too long or escaped.
  3. looking to lure a stray cat in order to tame them.

Each approach requires different measures for the best result. You can’t act the same way with a stray cat as you would with your pet. They don’t know you and have no trust or bond with you yet. You may also find that one solution that works for one cat may not work for the other. Sill, the following tips can help.

How to Lure a Cat Out of Hiding?

Let’s start with those cats that have crawled under the sofa or climbed onto the wardrobe because they were scared by something. They need to be sure that any threat has passed and that joining you is the best idea. Offer them something that they will want. Treats, food, and toys are all great starting points. But, there is no rush to get them to come out. Take your time.

How Do You Catch a Scared Cat?

If these pet cats are still nervous and tentative about coming down, it helps to be as calm and patient as possible. They need to come to you in their own time. The worst thing you can do is come after them and try and physically remove them. This is like a predator climbing a tree or reaching into a den. Sit on the floor, or in a comfortable spot where they can see you and maintain a safe distance. Talk in a calm voice and let them see that you have treats or toys with you. But, don’t start waving anything in their face as this could be too aggressive.

How Do You Lure a Cat Home?

Then there are the cats that leave the home and don’t come back for a little while. They could be close by and unseen. Or, maybe they climbed a tree to escape danger and won’t come down. You can take a similar approach here. Patience stops cats from feeling too stressed and nice lures like food, toys, and a comfortable place to sleep will lure them down eventually. You could place some food in a carrier with a favorite toy and cozy blanket. That will be much more inviting than a cold bare branch. But, just be careful not to leave bowls of food out at night. This could attract the wild animal that scared the cat in the first place.

Related Post: 8 Easy Steps To Get A Cat Out Of A Tree Safely

How Do You Attract a Stray Cat?

There are two common pieces of advice when it comes to trapping a stray cat so you can take it home or away for medical help. Each has its pros and cons. Many will set up a cat carrier with food and a nice place to sleep. It can take time to let the cat know that this is safe, so work with them night after night until they are comfortable. Once they are happy to go completely inside with you nearby, close the door and take them away.

The other option is to use an upturned box with a hole cut in the side. The upside here is that cardboard boxes are a familiar shelter to stray cats, so a box with some food and shelter could be tempting to them. It may be less of a concern than an unfamiliar cat carrier. However, these boxes aren’t so structurally sound and it could be harder to physically contain the animal.

What Foods Are Irresistible to Cats?

Finally, whatever your situation when dealing with luring cats, you need to be sure to use the right type of food. Some cat owners will pick dry treats that they can shake and use for a distinctive audible sound. This could work if it has brought cats to you in the past. However, cats are more in tune with their sense of smell than hearing. If they can smell something irresistible from under the sofa or up the tree, it could work. Fish products, especially canned fish like tuna and sardines, are great choices.


There is no surefire method that is going to work on every cat. A skittish indoor cat may require more patience and a different sort of lure than an outdoor cat “stuck” up a tree. Luring stray cats is a different situation again. Nice-smelling food is a big help in any case, as is the persuasion that the effort of coming back to you will be rewarded with further love and comfort. Find what works best for your cat and let them call the shots.