Everyone knows cats love boxes. Doesn’t matter if it’s smaller than their fur-covered body, they will sit, lie, magically turn into a fluid, and find a position that looks uncomfortable, but will be perfect and cosy. No matter how expensive the new toy you just bought for them is, they will still prefer a simple cardboard box from your most recent Amazon purchase.
In this article we will explore the mysterious nature of cats and why boxes are so intriguing to them.
Cats and boxes
One of the reasons cats like boxes is that they are confined, enclosed spaces. Cats are fierce and powerful predators after all, and such confined spaces where they can hide and feel safe, secure and warm, is an instinctive behaviour. Cardboard boxes tick all the boxes. While inside the box, cats believe they can’t be surprised or snuck up on from behind. If something (prey, another cat or a pet, a human or something else) wants to attack them, it has to move directly into their field of vision.
Cats also like boxes, because they reduce stress and offer a safe zone where they can sneakily observe everyone and not be seen. Often, as a reaction to a stressful situation, they run and hide from their problems.
Another reason why cats seem to like boxes is that they are simply fun to play with! They can roll around in it, jump in and out, curl into a small ball and fall asleep. Give your small roommate a toy, and they will be happy. Forget to clean up boxes after assembling IKEA furniture, and you will give your cat the time of their life.
Boxes are also perfect for scratching. Instead of destroying your curtains or furniture with their claws and teeth, they will safely, and happily, sharpen their little weapons in a way no one will mind. Cat’s paws also have scent pads. When they scratch, they leave their scent on things. They will feel safer when surrounded by their scent, in a small, easy to control space.
Yet another reason why boxes are so beloved in the cat circle, is because they are great for keeping the warmth in. It may not look like it, but cardboard is a great insulator. The small space of the box encourages your cat to curl up and relax, making it a comfortable and safe spot in your house.
Some research suggests that boxes reduce anxiety and help to deal with change. Cats who had access to boxes while they were experiencing a change in their life, adapted to their new environment quicker.
Cats are also very curious animals. It should come as no surprise, that as soon as you buy something new, they want to explore it and make sure it won’t threaten their entire existence. It also smells new and different than the rest of the apartment that your cat has already had a chance to make theirs.
As masters of sleep, who spend up to 18 hours doing very productive tasks, finding that perfect spot is a task many have tried to conquer. While you may see a simple and useless box, they might see a luxurious castle made for kings and queens.
There are many reasons why our beloved household tigers like boxes and find them irresistible. We hope we didn’t betray their trust by revealing their best-kept secret.