Cat hiding and healing: Ursula finds her own apartment

Chocolate brown cat on a table beside a poster featuring the same cat with headline "Ursula is missing!"
Ursula the chocolate brown cat found her own apartment or health spa for self-healing

Is cat hiding and healing a thing? Elegant Ursula hid for three days and emerged looking like her healthy old self. Or rather, her healthy middle-aged self.

Ursula is almost seven years old. That’s middle age for a British shorthair. Anyway, she wasn’t well, went to the vet, and was on a special diet with a side of steroids.

Then once, twice, thrice she disappeared. Inside my apartment. We (my sharp eyed daughter and I) looked and looked and looked and then we searched, again and again. After her first night AWOL, she reappeared at 10 am, bounced upstairs to where were were having a gloomy cup of tea. Bounced up as if nothing had happened. Where had she been hiding? Same thing happened another day.

But her third absence lasted three days. No sign of eating, nor the slightest dampening of her litter box. I deduced that by some freakish accident or Machiavellian cunning she had got herself outside without alerting me.

With a heavy heart I made flyers and posted them in mailboxes up and down the street. Came inside. And out of the pot cupboard emerged a little brown cat, perkier and shinier than before. Such timing! Sure enough there was a hole carved in the back wall of the cupboard. Plumbers have to do that sometimes. And it was now blindingly obvious.

Why do cats hide away?

Had Ursula been retreating for three days — or adventuring? Had she just been taking the traditional cat cure, curled up in the dark for three days, hiding her discomfort in private? Or was this her midlife reckoning, when she figured she was old enough to leave home and move into her own apartment?

Or had she just lost her way? After all, an old ditty says, “The cat’s in the cupboard and she can’t see me.”

I can’t say she moved out because she moved further into my apartment. Whatever, I think she is over her food sensitivity. She’s looking much better.

With typical insensitivity I sealed the door to her secret apartment and washed the pots. It can always be opened again… but no. (You know what I’m thinking.) She has other places to hide that wouldn’t involve removing all the kitchen joinery.

Do old humans hide away to heal?

It’s certainly not my style. I flaunt my age-related ailments and procedures. I have worked hard for them all. I believe a stiff upper lip is an ailment in itself and does more harm than good.

inside a corner pot cupboard. A shelf with pots and  bowls and a yoghurt maker and cheese grater. A hole in the wall behind it.
Entrance to the cat’s apartment: a hole in the wall of the pot cupboard

I’m afraid Ursula may skite about her adventure in future postings as a self-styled social media influencer. So I’m getting in first. With the truth.

Hiding behavior in cats

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17 thoughts on “Cat hiding and healing: Ursula finds her own apartment

  1. Myra says:

    Sweet Ursula. My previous cat Shiwa hid for 3 weeks healing after a car accident. Came back very thin but looking ok. Lived another decade after that. Glad Ursula reappeared. Myra 🍀❤️🍀

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Heavens, three weeks! But that was a good news sorry too xx

  2. It’s a challenge to deal with a self-exiled cat, and you won the battle eventually. I love your humour and the way you write. Long live Ursula and your rebellion against aging!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Self-exiled is a great word for this behaviour. Isn’t that what children do when they leave the family home? And thank you!

  3. I’m glad that you discovered her secret portal and that she wasn’t shape shifting as I previously thought!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Oh wow, that too, possibly.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Good to know Ursula is safe and sound. An influencer, now that made me smile.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      She does influence me

      1. Suzanne says:

        I’m sure she does.

  5. What a nice tidy pot cupboard! I’m so glad Ursula came home from wherever she was. I reckon there’s a few writers on Twitter who could do with a day or two hiding in your pot cupboard… so much chatter and complaining about so little. Bravo Ursula.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Very funny. I can do AirBnB…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ursula infuriates and inspires. Cats do what cats do, which might be a great takeaway from her adventures. Be yourself until the end– don’t let anyone muffle your meow.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What a line! Don’t let anyone muffled your meow!

  7. Anonymous says:

    That was me, Ally Bean, leaving that comment. I’m not Anonymous… but yet I am…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      And what a comment. Indeed you are, Ms Bean.

  8. jameswharris says:

    We always keep our pantry door shut so the cats won’t go in there because there’s a pathway to the inner walls. It’s not not easy to get to or fix, but a cat could find it. And I worry that once Ozzy or Lily found there way into the wall maze they’d never come out.

    Glad Ursula came back. But I do feel sorry she lost her hidey-hole.

  9. cedar51 says:

    wow, outsmarted the humans but reappeared looking well again…

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