Imagine this scenario: your most-awaited package has arrived. You take it out of its cardboard box to check it out, but then something out of the corner of your eyes makes you laugh — your cat just climbed inside that box.
As a cat owner, that’s probably not an odd scene. Cats loving boxes is just among their eccentric behaviors. Though, it makes you wonder why cats love boxes so much. While cute, it does make most pet parents curious.
Why Do Cats Love Boxes?
Cats are no strangers to cardboard boxes. What is it about these plain, flimsy square crates that excite your cats so much?
The answer still needs to be clarified since feline scientists and experts are also constantly working on this case. It’s been years, but they’re still within the inroads of researching what goes in a cat’s mind.
What can explain the strange, gravitational pull that cardboard boxes exert on felines? As with many other weird and strange things cats do, science has yet to crack this one entirely. Though, there is this predation advantage to empty boxes that might trigger the hidden hunter instincts of a cat.
It is a complex evolutionary reason why cats love boxes. These enclosed spaces provide a good vantage point for predators to help them stalk potential prey.
There are other reasons why cats like sitting in boxes. Here are the main ones:
Felines are notoriously curious beings. At this point, it should not be surprising that they would want to investigate something new that enters their home immediately. Cardboard boxes are not an exception.
While the new item and purchase will ignite their curiosity, the large empty Amazon boxes will certainly steal their attention instantly after. They would make a beeline for it, no doubt. Don’t be too surprised if the cat ends up rubbing itself around the outside of the box.
Naturally, they would want to see the insides of it — and if they find it comfortable to settle themselves and sleep in? Well, that’s just how cats are.
A Good Space to Sleep In
Second on the why does my cat love boxes list is sleeping space. It turns out, empty cardboard boxes are excellent sleeping quarters for cats. They naturally gravitate towards these boxes as they are a great place to find some rest.
Cats spend almost 15 hours a day sleeping, and that could go up to 20 hours sometimes. You can imagine how vital it is for them to find the perfect place to sleep and nap.
While you see a simple and plain cardboard box that you should throw away, your cat sees a safe and luxurious cave that promises them nothing but protection and warmth. While piles of cardboard crates might seem unsightly, there is no harm in keeping a couple of them for your feline friend to use.
Safety and Comfort
Although there are several theories as to why do cats like boxes so much, the most popular explanation is that it offers safety. Cats are naturally cryptic creatures that take comfort and protection from enclosed spaces.
Cardboard boxes can help a cat reduce stress. They also serve as a hiding spot where they can observe their surroundings. Natural predators need a secure space to relax and monitor threats.
Cats are at ease inside a box, knowing nothing can pounce on them from behind. Inside, they have a direct field of vision to anything approaching. A box offers them a coping mechanism that provides them with a way to relieve anxiety.
Helps Them to Adapt
A Dutch study about hiding boxes and shelter cats indicated that cats with boxes were less stressed than those without. The results confirm that hiding boxes offer comfort and a sense of stress reduction.
The same Dutch study also discovered more reasons why do cats like to be in boxes. Research shows that the hiding boxes also helped the cats adapt quickly to their new surroundings and environment, proving how beneficial these boxes are especially in dealing with changes.
Keeps Them Warm
One more plausible reason why cats like boxes is due to the warmth they provide. Being descendants of the desert-dwelling cats from Ancient Egypt, these felines are biologically adapted to surviving and living in hot and dry places. This is why they adore being in a warm and cozy space
While these furry animals are more spoiled in the comfort of your homes than toughing it out in the desert, they still can’t help but complain when the air conditioner is turned on.
Aiming for a temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Though, it could go higher than that.
Some cats prefer the heat to amp up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Small, enclosed spaces, like cardboard boxes, can offer that kind of insulation, helping your cats retain their body heat.
The texture is another potential candidate for the list of why cats like cardboard boxes. A box’s texture is tempting for cats, triggering their itch to scratch and chew.
It’s this very reason why corrugated cardboard scratchers exist. You can purchase or make one to give your feline an incredible and satisfying scratching experience.
Many fur parents discover that their cat’s love for cardboard boxes is rooted in their desire to chew and bite. To your pet, these plain and boring boxes are the most exciting toy in the room — one that can keep them thoroughly entertained for hours.
Gives Them Privacy
The last reason why cats go in boxes is privacy. Like how you would want to lock yourself in your room to give yourself some needed alone time, cats would sit and hide inside boxes as a sign that they need space.
Cats are unlike dogs, who crave attention and touch most of the day. These pets don’t need as much affection and prefer hiding away when they sleep and rest. Cardboard boxes provide them with that much-needed isolation and alone time.
How to Make Boxes More Interesting to Cats
The reasons why cats love cardboard boxes are now established. What should you do next?
Making cardboard boxes more enticing and appealing to your cats is an excellent way to spend your weekend! You might as well do something and then ask yourself, why do cats get in boxes over and over again, right?
Suppose you prefer ordering online instead of physically purchasing items from actual stores. In that case, you probably have a couple of used and empty Amazon cardboard boxes lying around your living room or garage. If left alone, these boxes will likely accumulate over time.
Your next idea is undoubtedly throwing them away, but you may want to hold that thought. You now know why cats like to sleep in boxes. For now, also keep in mind that there’s no harm in indulging this interest.
Try making these plain boxes more inviting and appealing to your cat. Padding the insides with a soft blanket and pillows while throwing in a few of their favorite toys will make the box much more welcoming for your cat.
You may also use a calming diffuser that releases a safe, odorless vapor that mimics relaxing pheromones. It can make your cat feel safe inside the box.
You can also create an impromptu cat condo with some cardboard boxes. Stack two boxes and build a cardboard castle for your cat’s entertainment and joy. Other exciting things you can make using a cardboard box for your cat are:
- Box Tunnel
- DIY food puzzle toy
- Cozy bed
- Cardboard scratcher
- DIY scratching post
How to Keep Your Cat Safe in Boxes
Now that you’re aware of why cats sit in boxes, the next step is making sure that they feel safe while they are in it. Here are a couple of valuable tips you can follow to ensure your cat is perfectly safe as they play or sleep inside the box.
- Remove any hazardous items your cats might eat
- Ensure no staples remain attached
- Check if the box has any plastic or is lined with one
- Keep the box in a steady and sturdy position or spot
- Remove the tapes and any other adhesive
- Keep the box away from high foot traffic areas
- Remove any handle or strap, especially cut-out ones
As a cat owner, one of the biggest mysteries in living with a cat is their box obsession. It makes you wonder, why does my cat like boxes?
Surprisingly, there are a variety of reasons. From making them feel safe and comfortable to providing them with enough privacy, it remains that these empty boxes are one of their favorite things in the world.