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Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 10, 2019
Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

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Cats are very playful animals that often get distracted by anything they find that looks interesting. You may spend money on expensive toys for your cat, but you'll find that your pet prefers a simple ball of paper or a pen.

The same applies to beds. Have you noticed that your cat prefers to spend the night in any empty cardboard box, rather than in its own soft bed? This is something that amuses cat owners, who cannot explain this behavior.

To clear up any doubts once and for all, here at AnimalWised we'll talk about why do cats like boxes. You will see that it is not about indulgence: your cat has very good reasons for preferring cardboard boxes.

You may also be interested in: Why do Cats like one Person more than Another?

What if your cat doesn't like its bed?

The scene is typical: you just bought a new bed for your cat, or a toy, and it turns out it prefers to use the box the item came in, and not the item itself. This can be frustrating for owners who have carefully chosen a gift for their cat.

In cases like these, don't be discouraged. Your cat is grateful that you brought home the perfect box just for them. This doesn't mean it doesn't appreciate the other things you got, and it is not ungrateful either. Despite being simple, the box has many irresistible attractions that can be difficult for humans to see.

Why Do Cats Like Boxes? - What if your cat doesn't like its bed?

Why do cats like boxes?

So what are those mysterious factors that make boxes so attractive for cats? There are six possible explanations.

1. Survival instinct

Although it is very unlikely for a cat to find something that wants to hurt it inside a house or apartment, it still feels the instinct to stay safe from predators, which is the same thing that often leads them to prefer high places to sleep. Remember that cats spend most of the day sleeping, so in order to be calm they need to find a place that gives them a sense of security.

The same thing applies to boxes. For your cat, it is like a cave where it feels safe from any danger. Besides, a box is isolated from the outside world and can become the cat's own space, where it can be calm and enjoy being alone.

2. Hunting

Your cat might look like a small and cuddly animal, with its shiny coat, adorable funny whiskers and pads on its paws. You must remember that in the wild, cats are hunters and natural predators to smaller animals.

From the darkness of the box, the cat feels like it is on the lookout for its next prey, ready to surprise it at any moment. The "prey" may be a toy, a passing insect, or even the leg of an unsuspecting human. A reason why cats like boxes is that it awakens their hunting instinct.

3. Temperature

You will have noticed that your cat loves to lie in the sun, hiding between the sheets or sofa cushions, or even inside the cabinets. This happens because its body needs to be at a temperature of about 36º C (97º F), so it looks for the best places to stay warm and comforted.

Cardboard boxes provide a sheltered and warm refuge for your cat, so it's no wonder it goes crazy just by seeing one inside the house.

4. Curiosity

It is quite true that cats are very curious - anyone who has one at home will be able to verify it. Cats always want to smell, bite and stick their head in or near things that seem new and interesting. If you brought something that comes inside a box, your cat will want to investigate what it is.

5. The perfect toy

The texture of the cardboard box is perfect so that the cat can scratch and bite, which is something that you will have noticed it loves doing. In addition, it can sharpen its claws and mark its territory with ease.

6. Stress

A recent study carried out by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands found that another reason why cats like boxes so much is because it helps them manage stress.

The research was conducted in an animal shelter, where they chose to 19 cats that had recently arrived. This situation tends to make cats nervous, as they are in a new place, surrounded by people and many unfamiliar animals.

Out of the group selected, 10 cats were given cardboard boxes and 9 were not. After a few days, it was concluded that the cats that had a box adapted more quickly than those without one. This is because boxes allow cats to have their own place where they can relax when the environment makes them flustered.

Why Do Cats Like Boxes? - Why do cats like boxes?

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do Cats Like Boxes?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Shawn Mills
Why does my cat get upset when I leave and want let anyone else feed him but my boyfriend

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