From the Editors of The Daily Cat
Hiding is a normal cat behavior, although it can be very unsettling for owners. A cat is a territorial creature. In free-roaming environments, unfamiliar cats that enter the territory of a colony would do so very carefully because there is a protocol to follow. In a typical indoors situation, when a guest comes to the house, your resident cat still has those feelings of self-protection about his territory. While some cats are social butterflies and feel secure around visitors, others feel threatened. When the doorbell rings, some threatened cats run for cover, while others stand their ground and try to look intimidating.
To help your cat, here is an exercise you can do. Have one guest come over. Make sure it is someone who is quiet and liked by the cat. When the guest enters, let the cat run and hide if he wants to. The guest should sit down and engage in a few minutes of conversation with you. Then excuse yourself and go to where the cat is hiding. Take a fishing pole toy with you and very casually conduct a play session. The cat may or may not choose to play, but the message you’ll be sending is one of relaxation and security. Use your voice to soothe the cat as you play. You’re telling the cat through your actions that all is right in his world. Then go back to your guest. About 10 minutes later, if the cat hasn’t ventured out, go in and do another casual play session.
Do this exercise several times a week if you can. If the cat does eventually venture out of his hiding place, keep the toy with you so you can casually entice him into a play session in the presence of the visitor.