Kitty Conundrum: Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

Cat playing Peek a Boo in a boxThe image of a cat in a cardboard box is so ubiquitous it’s becoming cliche. Countless jokes, stories, cartoons, internet memes, even entire websites are devoted to the love affair between cats and boxes. Most of us take it for granted, but have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that cats love boxes so much?

Here at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we prefer to tackle life’s mysteries head on. We’ve looked at the research and outlined, for your reading pleasure, the most compelling reasons why Fluffy bypasses the adorable DJ Kitty Scratching Pad you bought her and heads straight for the box it was delivered in.

Safe and Secure

Multiple studies over the past 50 years or so have shown that our feline friends derive feelings of comfort and safety from enclosed spaces. Cats often hide as a response to stress and conflict. Cats in the wild will retreat to caves or other hiding spots in order to avoid dealing with a negative situation, such as a confrontation with another cat.

Cat owners don’t need studies to prove how much our kitties like to hide. Even the most social cats tend to spend the majority of their time alone and curled up in an out-of-the-way spot in the home. Providing your cat with a box or two is the perfect way to ensure that she has access to a secure hiding spot at all times.

Warm and Toasty

Domestic cats tend to prefer a warmer environment than humans; most of us keep our homes around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, while a cat’s “comfort zone” ranges from 86 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the reasons cats love boxes so much may be that the combination of tight quarters and the superior insulating properties of cardboard (especially corrugated) can make a wonderfully warm and cozy spot for a cold kitty.

Observation Station

Cats are natural predators, and wild cats prefer to observe their prey from a hiding spot before going in for the kill. As most cat owners know, this ancient instinct is alive and well in our domesticated felines.

A box is the ideal location from which kitty can survey his or her domain before going in for the pounce, whether that be your pant leg, foot, or anything else unfortunate enough to wander too close.

We’re Glad Cats Love Boxes!

While we always recommend that cats be kept indoors for their health and safety, we understand that cats can and do get bored without adequate stimulation. Without proper outlets for their energy and instincts, cats can become stressed, leading to behavior problems, such as destructive scratching, house soiling, and aggression.

That’s where boxes come in! By keeping a few empty boxes of varying sizes around the house, you can help your cat fulfill a variety of emotional, physical, and mental needs, and possibly save your furniture and clothing in the process!

Your team at Rocklin Ranch is always here to help. Give us a call with your questions or concerns.