Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

You've ordered a new toy or bed for your cat, and the package has just arrived. You open up the box and take out the items when you notice that your cat has jumped into the box, making herself right at home.

Have you ever noticed that your cat seems to be drawn to cardboard boxes more than she may be attracted to her toys (even the toys you've spent a pretty penny on)? There are a number of reasons why cats love boxes, so if you've ever wanted to learn why, read on.

SAFETY

The first reason why cats might enjoy playing in boxes is because it gives them a space where they feel safe. Because domestic cats are fairly small creatures, they like to find enclosed spaces that can separate them from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.

Don't worry, though – if you notice your kitty hanging out in a cardboard box in your home, it doesn't necessarily mean that he or she feels uneasy in your house. It may simply be instinctual! Being in a small, enclosed space may remind your cat of snuggling with its mother when she was a kitten and provide her with a sense of comfort. Cats also have a natural hunting instincts, and hiding in a cardboard box can make them feel like they have a safe spot to watch and hunt for prey, even if that "prey" is simply a toy or your feet! They may also just want a spot where they can be left alone to observe what's going on around them without being bothered.

a cat hiding under the flap of a box

WARMTH

Boxes provide warmth, which is another thing cats are drawn to. Have you noticed that your cat loves to lay in the sun or by your fireplace? Boxes provide adequate insulation to help them retain their regular body temperature, which can range from 99.5° Fahrenheit to 102.5° Fahrenheit. Cats also have an instinctual need to find shelter, which is another reason why they love settling into an enclosed space. If you find your cat napping in a box rather than on a bed or cushion, then, it may be that your cat wants a little extra warmth and shelter. If there's a box that you've noticed your cat napping in time and time again, consider putting a blanket or pillow inside to make it a little extra cozy!

CURIOSITY

Cats are curious creatures! When you're opening up a package that was recently delivered, they may be curious not only about what you ordered, but also about the box that your item came in! They may jump inside and hang out in the box simply because it's something new and exciting. Cats are also curious about different scents and textures. They may enjoy sniffing, biting, and rubbing their face against the edges and corners of a cardboard box. It's all about experiencing something out of the ordinary!

a cat relaxing inside a box

STRESS RELIEF

As you already know, cardboard boxes provide a sense of safety and comfort to your cat, which can relieve any stress they may be experiencing. Cardboard boxes are a great way to help your cat adapt to any new environments. If you have a new cat coming into your home, you may want to consider setting out a cardboard box for them to easily access so that they can have a warm and sheltered space in your home. The same goes for it you've recently moved and are bringing a cat into a space they are unfamiliar with.

You may notice that your cat seems more at ease in a cardboard box than it does in its carrier that you're transporting them in. This is because cats will often associate their carriers with unpleasant memories such as trips to the vet or traveling to unknown places. To help ease their anxiety when coming to a new space or back from a vet appointment, having a carboarded box set out and ready for them at home is a great idea!

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

If you've noticed your cat taking an interest in cardboard boxes or want to help your cat destress, you may want to leave one or two out for your feline friend! But keep in mind a few safety tips when doing so.

Be sure that the box is short enough for them to be able to easily jump in and out of so that they won't get stuck or feel trapped. Check the box to make sure that it is free of any tape, staples, or other things that could stick to your cat's fur or potentially injure them. You may want to also keep the box out of the busiest spots of your house so that your cat can relax in a space where they will have a little bit of privacy. As stated earlier, you might consider putting a pillow, blanket, or some toys inside as well.

CONCLUSION

There are a number of reasons why cats love boxes, and it's completely normal behavior! Provide your cat with a space it loves by setting out a box for them to play in and hide. Doing so not only gives your cat something to explore, but it also gives them a space to sleep, hunt, and relax in!

Sources:

  1. https://www.wired.com/2015/02/whats-up-with-cats-and-boxes/
  2. https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/cats/behaviour/common-questions/why-do-cats-like-boxes
  3. https://www.comfortzone.com/behavior-blog/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-like-boxes
  4. https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/why-do-cats-like-cardboard-boxes

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