Why Do Cats Like Boxes?
Cats are funny creatures, aren’t they?
Have you ever noticed you spent a lot of money on an awesome toy for your cat, only for them to get more use of the box to toy came in rather than the toy itself?
You are not alone. Cats tend to be strangely drawn to boxes, using them as hiding spots, strategic sneak attack locations, or makeshift beds. You’ve probably wondered from time to time, “Just why do cats like boxes so much?”
In short, cats like boxes because they feel safe, they provide good hunting hideouts, they keep them warm, and boxes are new and mysterious additions to your home.
But still, the mysterious behavior between cats and boxes is something that we want to dive deeper into.
Boxes Make Great Hunting Hideouts
One obvious reason why cats like boxes is they can use them as their own little hiding spots. Boxes provide concealment that can give cats a chance to hide from their prey, catching them unaware. And for most of our indoor cats, that prey is either you, a family member, or another pet of you.
If you have multiple cats in your home, you’ve no doubt seen one cat hide in a box waiting for the unsuspecting second cat to wander by. Boxes are great for sneak attacks on fellow cats and your unsuspecting ankles.
The cutest thing is when I see my cats little ears peeking out of boxes and nothing else. They think they are so well hidden that I have to act “scared” when they pop out of the box so excitedly.
Boxes Make Cats Feel Safe
There is a theory around humans that a sight squeeze can actually lower our blood pressure and calm us down when we are stressed.
Boxes can do something similar to that with cats. They can help cats feel safe.
With their four walls around them, is it tough for another creature to sneak up on them while they are sleeping. Even more so, the closeness of a box might even remind cats of how they felt when they were with their moms as kittens.
That could be why we see cats trying to squeeze into tiny boxes to take their little cat naps. The boxes help reduce their stress, just likes squeezes do for humans.
If you are bringing a new cat home, one addition to their safe room may be to add in a cardboard box for them to play with and sleep in. Your cat might feel right at home and much less stressed if there’s a box greeting them.
They Help Keep Cats Warm
Did you know that boxes actually do an excellent job at providing warmth to cats?
Cardboard can provide insulation that helps them retain their body heat.
When cats are outdoors, this insulation could be crucial to keeping these cats warm. They may also provide shelter from inclement weather as well, although cardboard is not excellent for those conditions.
The Box Is New and Mysterious
Let’s face it, sometimes the box is just a new and exciting toy for the cat. The “new” factor of a box might be enough to grab your cat’s interest.
Think about it, boxes travel in so many different locations, and therefore carry so many different smells that your cats can enjoy.
Cats love exploring the lay of the land, so they can get excited if you bring something new into your home, whether it’s a toy, a grocery bag, or a box. They to explore every inch of new landmarks, and that includes finding out if they fit inside your new box.
It’s like with a toddler, the box will be this amazing new adventure for them to play with and use their imagination in. The same thing is true for cats.
This “new” factor might also explain why cats like paper and why cats like bags. A new crinkled-up paper or bag can be very enticing because it provides a new opportunity for exploring.
I know my cats love to rub their faces on the new boxes, almost as if they are joining the party and putting their scent on the box too.
How You Can Help Make Boxes Safer and More Inviting
There’s nothing wrong with your cat loving boxes, but there are things you can do to make sure the boxes are a little safer. Before giving your cat a box, you might want to check for any leftover staples or tape that could get caught on your cat’s fur.
The last thing you want is for your cat to be jumping in and out of a box and end up getting hurt. Which also leads to the placement of boxes.
Consider keeping the box on a sturdy surface where it won’t tip over. That means the floor could be preferable instead of putting a box at the top of a cat tree or table.
If your cats are anything like mine, if the box is up higher, they will find a way to knock it over. An issue much less common than when they are on the ground.
If your cat is shy, you also want to keep the box away from areas with high foot traffic.
Finally, adding a calming diffuser for cats nearby can also make the area more inviting. A calming diffuser releases a drug-free, odorless vapor that mimics the pheromones a cat releases that indicate an area is safe and secure. This is kind of like sending a signal in a cat’s own language that lets her know she can relax.
A cat’s love for boxes is something to celebrate and encourage. So before you go spending a lot of money on cat toys, try spoiling yourself instead, and spoiling your cat with the box that your presents came in!
Regardless of the reason your cat likes the box, if it brings them happiness, celebrate it. Boxes are a simple toy to add to your cats collection.