Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Cats are notorious for finding the perfect boxes to sit in — aka, if I fits, I sits! You may be wondering why a cat is always looking for a way into any box. Interestingly, there are a couple of reasons for it.

Whether your furry friend is looking for warmth, is curious about the new box you have brought home, or has an absolute favorite box that only they are allowed to touch, consider having some lying around your house.

Boxes Make a Cat Feel Safe

When a domestic cat sits in an empty box, it might be helping them feel safe in its surroundings. Boxes are four walls that create enclosed spaces for cats.

For someone who is claustrophobic this might sound like a nightmare, but for a cat, they know this hiding box protects them from all angles. If a predator was to approach them, they would likely not be seen (especially if they are a healthy weight and fit in their favorite boxes). That means your feline friend could pounce and ambush predators or prey at any point.

A study on animal shelter cats showed when a cat was given a box to sit or sleep in, they showed fewer signs of stress during their stay. The boxes were great insulators and can give the effect of protecting the cat from the outside world. This can ultimately lower their stress levels and give them a sense of security in stressful situations.

Once your cat has made a home in a box, it will also smell like them. A lived-in box gives them a solid home base if they need to relax.

Boxes can offer hiding places for both domestic house cats and street cats. This kind of hiding spot can help if your cat is looking for a place to rest or if an outside cat needs shelter from the weather and cold.

Additionally, sitting in a box might remind your cat of what it was like to be in their mother’s womb, snuggled up next to all of their kitten siblings. If you have a new cat coming into your home, they might look for a box to sit in to adjust to a new environment.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes? It’s Pure Curiosity

Cats are famously curious, constantly seeking enrichment. When you get a new box, whether you ordered something offline or are about to ship something off, your cat will likely be involved with whatever is going on.

Your cat might be looking for the box’s purpose, wanting to check out how it smells or wondering where you will be putting the box, especially if they are avid box sitters.

For some cats, the box is something to make into a play toy, and this is completely valid! Your cat might like to sit in them, scratch them, bite them, or even bat them around. It’s a low-cost toy that might keep your cat entertained for hours. Of course, you will want to pay attention to how many boxes you end up keeping so that you don’t end up under a mountain of cardboard.

If your cat does like boxes, consider looking into cat trees and hideouts that you can create for feline enrichment and entertainment.

Warmth and Security in a Small Space

Cats, whether living in a home, in the outdoors, or in a shelter, deserve to feel warm and secure in their own safe zone. A cardboard box is an insulated object that is easy for cats to nest into that can help regulate their body temperature.

According to the American Veterinary Society of Applied Behavior, cats prefer environments around 86 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter how much we care about cat care, this temperature might prove tricky to maintain. A box can help our cats stay max comfy.

There are also plenty of broken down or beat-up boxes out on the streets that unhoused cats can make into their safe space. You may have even heard of people asking for donations of boxes and blankets to put out for cats that might get cold at night.

If a cat doesn’t have a home or is moving into a new place for the first time, they might become overwhelmed, especially if they are unsure where they’ll sleep. Most cats like to be warm and cozy, and boxes can provide them with this. It makes sense, as their own body heat is trapped and redistributed back to them.

How To Make Cardboard Boxes Safer for Cats

Before you let your cat sit or play with a new cardboard box, make sure there are no staples, nails, or tape that could be left over in the box. The last thing we want is for cats to get hurt when trying to get comfortable! If there are any rough edges or pieces that could cause a cut, you might want to get rid of the box altogether or remove any dangerous parts.

Ensure your cat can’t fall out of the box and hurt themselves. Placing it on the ground is the safest option because if you have it on a table, counter, or even the couch, they could accidentally knock the box over and fall. You can put blankets, towels, and toys into the box to make it more inviting and comfortable — your cat will surely be grateful!

Out of the Box Solutions With AskVet

When it comes to having cats, they can get into a lot of trouble (and fun, of course). Questions are bound to arise, and having AskVet at the tip of your fingers can ease you into animal parenthood. It’s harder to communicate with our animals than we want it to be, but AskVet bridges that gap and helps to come up with answers to any question you may have.

Join AskVet today and meet with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) who can help come up with diet plans, introduce behavioral support, and answer general questions you may have about your pet’s health or cat behaviors. It shouldn’t be difficult to get your pet help, and with 24/7 access to our CPLCs™ and veterinarians, you don’t have to wait long at all!

Reach out if you have any questions about how AskVet can help you.

Sources:

Assessment Of Clicker Training For Shelter Cats | NCBI

The ‘feline Five’: An Exploration Of Personality In Pet Cats (Felis Catus) | PLOS ONE

Innovative Cardboard Based Panels with Recycled Materials from the Packaging Industry: Thermal and Acoustic Performance Analysis | ScienceDirect

The “If I fits, I sits” instinct: Cats will sit in a box even it’s an illusion (cat pics inside) | BBC Science Focus

Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats? | ScienceDirect

Can We Keep Our Cats Warm Enough? | AVSAB

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