Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?

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 Photo: Flickr

Cat owners the world over know one thing to be true: cats love boxes. It's baffling, mindboggling, and even a bit frustrating when you buy your cat a comfy new bed and they're more interested in the box that bed came in. So why are cats so obsessed with boxes? Let's explore why our feline friends prefer the humble cardboard box. 

They're great hiding spots.

Even though our friendly little house cats are considered domesticated, they are still governed by their natural instincts, passed down for generations from their wild ancestors in the deserts of Africa. Following in these sandy pawprints, cats naturally seek out sheltered, covered hideouts from which to stalk their prey. Cats are ambush predators, and cardboard boxes provide the ideal hiding spot from which to pounce on unsuspecting mice (be they real or stuffed with catnip.) 

They can help cats adapt.

A study by the University of Utrecht showed that shelter cats who had access to cardboard boxes recovered faster and more readily adapted to their new environments. The study revealed that hiding in boxes helps reduce stressful behaviors and harmful hormone levels in our feline friends. If your cat is a fiend for cardboard boxes but you're tired of the eyesore, consider finding a hooded bed or enclosed cat house, or a similar build that replicates the safe, anxiety-reducing environment of a cardboard box. 

They're warm.

Cats are all about warmth; ever wonder why they sleep in sunbeams? Or steal your warm seat as soon as you get up? Cats are fiends for sources of warmth that help them regulate their body temperature - and conserve energy! Cardboard serves as a great insulator, keeping in your kitty's body heat. And what's more, the small, confined space of the box helps trap heat and create a calming, warm environment - encouraging your kitty to curl up for a catnap and get their energy back for their next mouse hunt! 

They're mini playgrounds. 

Aside from the ample cover cardboard boxes give your kitties, they also make the purr-fect playgrounds! Most boxes are made cardboard, which is the perfect material to scratch, bite, and tear apart. And the enclosed space makes it easy to chase down anything that looks like prey - a balled-up receipt, their favorite toy, even their own tail. 

When it comes down to it, cardboard boxes are a kitty paradise mainly because of their, well, box-like qualities: sturdy, warm, enclosed, and fun to destroy. All important things on a kitty checklist! 

Does your cat prefer boxes over beds? Let us know in the comments!  

1 comment

  • Kristy Keating

    My cat spent so much time in boxes that I covered one in his favorite size with Contact paper. When he is unsure of something, he will run into in, but he never stays in it for longer than about 15 seconds. It is definitely a safe space he needs for just a few seconds—like when the doorbell rings!

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