If you type “cat and boxes” on YouTube, you’ll get a bunch of funny and adorable videos of cats jumping head-on in cardboard boxes, bags, and other kinds of packaging. They might say no to any kind of new, shiny toy and go for the box that it came in. “Cat logic has no sense”, you might be tempted to think. Or “cats are ungrateful beings who don’t care about the good things I give them” might also come to your body. If you’re lucky enough, your cat might also play with the toy while staying in the box at the same time. And no, she’s not playing with you or want to make fun of you or want to show you she doesn’t care, no. There are multiple other reasons why she likes the box and we’ll explore them in the following.
Why do cats like boxes?
In short, cats like boxes because they offer them security, a way of relieving stress, avoiding conflict, and also keeping themselves warm. Moreover, the boxes are really fun to play with, because they satisfy a cat’s predatory instincts and also offer a good medium for safe scratching and chewing. On the sides, the cardboard boxes could also serve as simple, cozy places to sleep in and they won’t cost you too much overall. So, it’s a win-win. Don’t be disappointed that your feline friend loves such a simple toy and sleeping place.
1. Cats like boxes because they offer them security
Maybe the number one reason on the list is security. Boxes make them feel safe. Boxes can serve as a cover for stalking their “prey”. It’s true, they don’t need to hunt anything around the house, but the boxes offer them a much needed “practice time” because those instincts would never die out. Besides, with their behind and sides well-covered, they can also sleep better.
2. Cats like to sleep in boxes and you don’t need to waste money on expensive cat beds
For the reasons mentioned above, cats like to sleep in boxes and you could just throw a blanket in there and thus create the best sleeping place for them. They’ll enjoy the perfect nap knowing they’re safe and sound. They’ll curl up in there and you won’t hear from them for a long time.
3. Boxes can offer stress relief for cats
You’ll find these are interconnected. Your cat will feel less stress because she’ll feel safer in the cardboard box. No stress means happiness and a happy kitten is adorable, cute, funny, and playful, just as you like it to be.
Yes, cats do feel stress and it mostly happens when they are introduced to new locations or other feline fellows. Before getting used to the new environment, they’ll go through a great deal of stress. That is why they will really feel comfortable in a box that provides them shelter.
How do you know your cat is stressed for whatever reasons? Well, stress cats tend to urinate outside the litter box, over-groom themselves, might develop digestive issues, become aggressive, and show signs of depression. You should rush them to a veterinarian if you notice all these signs or more than one.
4. Cats like to be warm and cozy all the time
Cats like warm temperatures; even warmer than what you’re used to. So, even though you think the temperature in your house is perfect, for your cat it might prove to be a little bit colder than what she likes. That is why she will curl up in any closed box or space she finds around the house.
Cardboard is a very good insulator. It can retain body heat quite well enough for a cat. If we humans like a somewhat 72-degree environment, cats are most comfortable at 86-97 degrees. So, one reason why they enjoy spending time in a cardboard box might just be insulation. They will feel more comfortable and warm in it and thus won’t have to generate extra heat to keep their body warm.
5. All about instincts
Cats are predatory beings and even though they live in a domestic environment and have food and water and treats provided for, instincts will still kick in at times and they’ll want to hunt something. Whether is a fly. a little bird outside the window or just an invisible enemy, cats won’t renounce pouncing on prey. And they can pounce even better and make it even realistic when their back and sides are secured by a box and when they can hide and wait, out of their enemy’s vision. Boxes offer just that. They’ll like the fun of hiding inside the box and then springing out in search of that invisible enemy that their instincts dictate. It’s great fun to watch, too.
6. Boxes are fun to scratch and chew on
You probably already know that cats are great fans of scratching and they would scratch anything they could find. They don’t mean to get you angry, they just need to sharpen their claws and what better place to do that than your favorite couch or office chair, something valuable, something expensive that you really care about. Yeah, I know, I’ve felt that anger, too.
However, we should understand it’s in their instinct to do so. What is more, a cat’s paws have scent pads, so scratching is also leaving their scent on a certain object, to mark their territory. So, scratching on a cardboard box they love for the extra protection, warmth, and hiding place it offers them is perfect, won’t you say so. Moreover, cardboard is extremely “scratchable” and they’ll enjoy it. Some cats might even chew on cardboard and even eat a little bit of that. You should keep an eye on them from this perspective.
All in all, cardboard boxes are not bad for your cat and she or he loves them because they’re fun to play with, they offer the perfect hiding place, warmth, comfort, and can fulfill their hunting instincts. The only downside might be that they will make a mess of them in time and you’ll have to replace the boxes often. However, you should think about arranging such a spot for your cat at home.