Why do cats love boxes? Science may not have fully solved this mystery, but there are many reasons cats love boxes, including the sense of safety and the warmth that they provide. They also provide a new area for your curious feline to explore.
Boxes as a safe space
There are many reasons cats love boxes, one of which is that boxes provide a place of safety where cats can decrease stress. Cats like to run and hide when they are stressed, and a box offers a confined space where they can hide until they feel calmer. A study discussed by VetHelpDirect showed that when boxes were given to cats in a shelter, which is a very stressful environment, the cats showed fewer signs of stress.
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While your home isn't as stressful as a shelter, your cat may still experience stressful events, such as fireworks, moving to a new home, or welcoming a new pet or child into the household. A box gives your cat a place to retreat and may even help her adapt to changes quicker. It allows her to observe her surroundings while staying safely hidden.
The sense of safety likely comes from the fact that a box is a confined space with four walls that your cat sees as protection. You can help increase the feeling of security by positioning the box on a higher shelf as long as it is secure and your cat can safely get to it or by turning the box upside down and cutting a door on one side.
Why do cats like sleeping in boxes?
While the sense of safety is reason enough for a cat to love sleeping in boxes, cardboard boxes can hold in the cat's body heat, making them a warm and snug place to nap. This is especially true for smaller boxes into which cats like to squeeze themselves. You can make a box even more comfortable and inviting by putting a small cushion or towel on the bottom of the box.
Hunting and play
Cats are curious creatures, and boxes are great places to explore and play. When your cat is in the mood to hunt and play, he may use the box as a hiding place where he can wait until it is time to pounce on his favorite toy or your shoelaces as you walk by. Boxes can also be the target of play. Your cat may leap in and out or chew on the side of the box. Many cats enjoy the texture of cardboard and may scratch the box as well.
Are boxes safe for cats?
Cardboard boxes are generally safe for cats to play and sit in them. If your cat is chewing on the box a bit, that is not a problem, but if she starts eating it, be sure to take away the box. While cardboard isn't toxic, it can be dangerous for a cat to consume nonfood items that may cause digestive problems or blockages.
Make sure that there are no sharp edges or staples that may harm your cat. Remove any tape where the sticky side is exposed. If your cat's fur gets stuck, it can be painful when she rips away from the tape.
Of course, the boxes cats love aren't limited to the kind made of cardboard. Your cat may also enjoy suitcases, laundry baskets, sinks, drawers, and storage bins.