Cat owners love to spoil their precious feline companions. You buy them toys, catnip, cozy beds, tree-like perches and much more. However, it’s all too common among cat lovers to notice that your cats want little to do with these things day after day. One thing you are sure to see your cat gravitate towards after unpacking all its new goodies, though, is the box they came in. Yes, that’s right—not the expensive cat tree or the luxurious heated bed you just set up. Instead, your cat is sure to make a beeline for its packaging, climb in and never want to get out.
It doesn’t even seem to matter what size box it is, if it has a lid or if it’s filled with packing peanuts. As the popular saying goes, if it fits, your cat is sure to sit. But why exactly do cats love boxes so much? What about those cardboard cubes make cats not only want to, but need to make themselves cozy?
While there’s no way to be absolutely sure of the answer, cat experts believe your feline’s infatuation with boxes might be because of a few different things.
- Tapping into instincts: By nature, cats are predatory animals. In the wild, they like to hide and observe their prey, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, you’ll likely see it creeping behind the furniture and crouching just out of sight, waiting to lunge at a feather toy or dangling string. This is because of their hunting instincts.
Boxes provide the perfect place for your domestic cat to hide and observe, unseen. Even if there’s nothing to “prey on,” per se, your cat’s instincts lure it into hidden spaces like boxes thanks to biology.
- Safety and security: Much like how humans need a space they feel safe in, cats love to use small, enclosed hiding spaces to relax and unwind from stress. Additionally, cats tend to literally run away from their problems, seeking hiding spaces to feel safe and secure. Studies have shown that stress levels are usually lower in cats who have ample “private” space to retreat to, like boxes. In these small spaces, cats may self-groom, relax or nap the day away.
While it’s perfectly normal for your cat to hide for a while each day, cats with anxiety problems will often hide for much longer periods of time. If you notice your cat is seeking out every available hiding space and refusing to emerge, you may want to take it to the vet to see if it is suffering from extreme stress or anxiety and find a solution.
- Body temperature regulation: Cats don’t just love to curl up in boxes. Cat owners can attest to their pets getting cozy in a million other strange, small spaces around the house, like the sink or laundry baskets. Another reason cats might enjoy curling up in small areas like these is because it helps them maintain their body temperature.
Cats have a higher body temperature than humans, usually sitting around 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.05 to 39.16 degrees Celsius). This means that, while the temperature in your house may feel comfortable to you, your cat might find it chilly and will need to expend more energy to stay warm. Hiding away in tight spaces can help your cat maintain its body temperature by curling up into a ball and enjoying the insulating properties of the space.
Creating safe hiding spaces for cats
It’s totally normal for your cat to instantly pounce into your newly-emptied box at home. You might even be able to save money on toys and perches by letting it hang out in there, instead!
If you’re going to gift a new box to your cat, remember to remove any choking hazards like small twist-ties, as well as any staples or handles that your cat could potentially injure itself on. Place the box near a wall so it doesn’t accidently get pushed or kicked by the people in your home.
Additionally, consider adding more comfort items to the box to make it an even better place for your cat to relax. Bunch up blankets or old T-shirts that smell like you or your home to give your cat some extra insulation and a soft bed. If your cat is a little anxious, you can even spray some pheromones into the box to mark it as a safe space and help your cat feel more at ease.сервис анализа конкурентов в контекстной рекламесумку купить