Cats and boxes go together like a horse and cart. As far as our feline friends are concerned, nothing compares to those four cardboard walls. Forget the toys that were delivered in it, you can return those to the store. Wait, no you can’t because you have nothing to pack them in now! What is it about boxes that makes them simply irresistible to cats?
Why do cats like boxes? A cat’s love of boxes has strong links to its primal instincts. In their natural habitat, cats like confined spaces in which they can hide from predators or from where they can pounce onto unsuspecting prey. Our pet cats like boxes because they provide the perfect place to feel safe and secure when asleep.
Cats like boxes because they provide:
- Safety and security.
- A stress-free zone.
- Satisfaction for their curious natures.
- A safe haven for regaining composure.
- The perfect place to hide and pounce from.
- A warm, draft-free space.
- Something great to scratch.
- A cozy place to sleep in.
- Endless fun and games.
- A perfectly confined space.
Now, let’s look at these reasons in more detail.
10 Reasons Why Cats Love Boxes
1. Cats Like to Feel Safe and Secure
As mentioned above, cats get a sense of comfort and security from enclosed spaces, hence their adoration of cardboard boxes. They like to hide where predators can’t see them or creep up unnoticed. In a box, a cat has a vantage point and can see anyone or anything that comes near before it itself is spotted. The cat has the upper hand in this situation.
2. Cats Need a Stress-free Zone
Cats like boxes because the feeling of safety they instill also reduces their stress levels. If you have a nervous cat, placing boxes in strategic locations around your home will give it plenty of places to run and hide. If you ever move home boxes may also help your cat to cope with the stress of the complete change in environment.
3. Cats Love New Things to Investigate
Whenever you bring anything new into the house you can bet your life your inquisitive cat will appear from nowhere to have a nose. If whatever it is comes in a box, then your cat couldn’t be more pleased. As you unpackage your cat weaves around you and the box impatiently, waiting to take ownership. It will often attempt entry before all the contents have been removed. The first thing it will do on entry is sniff at the new smells within. Next, it will attempt to eradicate these smells and lay claim to the box by rubbing its own scent all over it.
4. Cats Like Warm, Draft-Free Spots
Cardboard boxes are the perfect place to keep out of the draught. They also provide great insulation and help your cat to keep comfortably warm. A cat’s comfort temperature is higher than ours. We tend to set our room stats at about 72°F but cats are happier when it’s somewhere between 75° and 78°F, especially as they get older. So bear this in mind and make sure you treat your cat to a box, especially in the winter months. It will save you a considerable amount in heating bills.
5. Cats Like Things That Feel Great to Scratch
Have you noticed how any cardboard scratching toys are on the market? Another reason why cats love boxes so much is because of the texture. Cardboard is perfect to scratch and bite. Place boxes around your house and hopefully your cat will scratch at them over anything else. Not that attractive, I know, but if it saves your furniture …
6. Cats Love Cozy Beds
I have said this on many occasions: why waste your money on a fancy bed when a cat is more likely to prefer to sleep in the box it came in? As cats can spend up to 20 hours of each day asleep, they do like to find a safe, secure and warm place to do this. So forget a $50 cave bed and pick up a free box from somewhere instead. Your cat will love it.
7. Cats Like Private Spaces to Regain Composure
Have you ever noticed how your cat can almost sulk with you when you do something that makes it angry, such as trying to remove knots from its fur (in our case.) An angry cat is likely to skulk off somewhere you can’t find it to cool off. A box provides the perfect haven in this situation as the confined space seems to help it to calm down.
8. Cats Need Dens to Hide and Pounce From
This is a game that cats love and a box provides the perfect hiding place to pounce from. This harps back to hunting in the wild where a small confined space provided a safe spot to hunt from whilst providing protection from predators.
9. Cats Have Fun in Boxes
A cat just loves to play around in a box in general. If it has flaps they like to get in and feel totally concealed and then burst back through the top. I’ve seen cats squeeze into the smallest boxes and end up with their heads and front legs sticking out of one end and their back legs sticking out of the other.
10. Cats Enjoy Confined Spaces
Have you ever wondered why cats sit or lay in small boxes? They just love anywhere they feel confined provided there is one escape route. As a cat lays in a box that is small enough to touch its sides its brain signals the release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins. A box can literally give a cat the same feeling it experiences when we stroke it. This is why you might notice a cat purring away on its own in a box. Some people have suggested that the experience of being in a small box reminds a cat of the way it felt when it was in its mother’s womb, though I’m not sure how this could ever be proved!
Be Box Clever – Safety First!
Before you give your cat free reign of any box carry out a risk assessment.
- sticky tape
- plastic lining
- polystyrene beans
- bubble wrap
- string or elastic bands
- glue residues
- sharp flaps
Check that any cutout handles are not of a size that your cat could get its head trapped in.
To help your cat enjoy its boxes to the full, place each one in the optimal position – ideally close to a wall, with the only entrance facing the wall with enough space for your cat to enter and exit. If your cat misses you when you are out, you could use an old jumper with your scent on as a box-liner.
Cats aren’t that fussy about their enclosed spaces. Here are other places where cats love to sit, lay or sleep.
1. A Drawer
I daren’t leave a drawer open as I can guarantee its contents will soon be coated with ginger fur. Thank you, Harry!
2. A Laundry Basket
I’ms sure our Maine Coon Harry (again) likes laying in the laundry basket when we’re out because the clothes are covered in our scent.
3. A Suitcase
Why do cats like suitcases? I believe they are attempting to prevent us from packing them to go away. As soon as we open a suitcase we find a cat sitting in it with a forlorn look on its face.
4. A Black Sack
A black sack full of Christmas gift wrap makes a great noise and provides the perfect place to pounce on any other cat that passes by. Don’t leave a cat in this situation unsupervised as plastic bags come with the risk of suffocation.
5. Paper Bag
Paper bags are irresistible. They make fabulous noise and are fun to pounce from. Break the handles to prevent your cat from getting its head stuck in it.
Finally, Big Cats Like Boxes Too
Here’s a clip to prove this!
Boxes are not just for the little domestic kitties, big cats love them too.
Finally, if you’re wondering why cat’s loaf – then take a look here.