Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?
Many a feline owner have observed their furry pet’s obsession with cardboard boxes. Some of these kitties have had their owners buy chewy toys that came in cardboard boxes only to notice the cat seems more excited about the box than even the toy. From snuggling on the sides to rubbing their furry bodies and playing ‘peekaboo’ with you from the inside of the box, our feline friends just can’t seem to get enough of boxes. Their excitement is such that when trying to get an item out of the box, they are all over you; they just can’t wait for you to be done with opening already, just so they can have their personal playtime with the box.
Most of the time watching your feline pet so enthusiastic over such a simple thing as a cardboard box is so cute and has you reaching for your camera to record those “Kodak moments”. When you just splurged for that fancy kitty bed you saw online, your mind filled with images of how adorable your cat would look snuggled up in it only to see it all in raptures over the torn up, old cardboard box it came in, it can get annoying really fast. So, what exactly is up with the feline obsession with boxes? Read on to see our six explanations.
Kitty is Answering the Call of the Wild
The love of cardboard boxes by your cat is a reflection of its predatory nature whereas a hunter scoping out prey, it needs to be concealed for a successful hunt to happen; it is more of instinct than anything else. Although can be quite the struggle to imagine your furry, cute little feline companion in a predatory light, the truth is that you simply have the domesticated version of a wild cat. Cats are typically reserved and anti-social animals whose instinct is to seek out caves and secluded places to stalk prey, waiting for the right moment to pounce.
That kitty has got you providing food on a ‘silver platter’ without having to hunt for it does not mean that predator instinct is all gone. The sight of a cardboard box looking like a cave wannabe is just what it takes to have it reminiscing and eventually tapping into its wild side. The box makes for just the right hiding spot to stalk you and do those pounces you’ve always found cute the whole time thinking it was all fun and games. For kitty, it was a connection with its roots, getting a feel of that hunter vibe lying dormant all this while. The thrill of the ‘hunt’ has a way of making food taste so much better. Not that your cat has ever tasted mice.
The Cozy Factor
Remember those rainy nights when you could hear the pitter patter of raindrops on your roof, the deep rumble of thunder and the flash of lightning brightening up your room? Still remember how you snuggled deeper into your thick, warm duvet enjoying the warm comfort feeling safe and protected from any ‘bogeyman’? That ‘cozy factor’ is very similar to how your feline friend feels in a cardboard box. Curled up in a box with its four corners covering all its angles makes for a very safe and protected feeling for a cat.
As you feel protected from a ‘bogeyman’ under your duvet, your cat also has concerns of being snuck up on too. Within the confines of a box, it can hide from perceived dangers while also keeping its immediate environment under surveillance. With such a safe and protected feeling, sleep comes easy especially as cats are known to sleep the better part of the day, sometimes even up to 20 hours.
It is a Stress Relief Mechanism
With all the pressures of life ranging from a grouchy boss to overdue rent payments and aged ill parents to worry about, sometimes, you just want to retreat into a quiet place away from the ‘madding crowd’. Felines also have such an urge to seek solitude as a way to de-stress. The warm confines of a cardboard box shielded from prying eyes and hands reaching to pick it up can be very relieving for a cat. If the cat is in a new environment, perhaps you just moved to a new house, it can be stressful for it being in unfamiliar terrain.
To further back up the statement that boxes are a stress-relief for cats comes, a study that took place at an animal shelter had some interesting observations. Two groups of cats that were new to the shelter were observed. The first group was provided with boxes during the acclimation period. Upon further studies, this group of cats with the boxes showed much less stress than those without boxes. It amazing how therapeutic a plain ole box can be to felines.
They Just Want to Scratch Away
You really should be thankful your kitty feels at home in a box rather than on the sofa with you considering how much it needs something to exercise its little claws on. You might not really get how strong the need to scratch is as a human but consider this. Remember how worked up you get on those nights when you’re home alone and your lower back decides to start itching? Despite being contorted into some kind of human pretzel, you just can’t seem to get at that spot. Just when you think you are about losing your mind, you remember an old back scratching device stashed up somewhere in the house. With it working its magic on your back, sweet relief seeps through every inch of you.
Enough talk about you, we need to get back to felines. For them, it is a throwback to their hunter instinct of taking down and ripping up prey. Only this time, the ‘prey’ might be your expensive leather sofa or favorite running shoes. Best let that kitty have at the cardboard box instead, huh? Chewing and tearing away to its heart content.
The Urge to Curl Up
There is just something about being curled up in a snug and confined space that gives an almost instant sense of security. That warm feeling that has you leaving that wide bed of yours in the large bedroom after hours of fitful tossing and turning to find respite and finally some sleep curled up in the little armchair you’ve had for years, is the same feeling your feline is gunning for with the cardboard box. That comfy feeling they get tucked into a snug box is the stuff of feline dreams. Cats instinctively seek warmth with their ideal temperature being around 37C.
What better place to bed down for the night with just the right amount of warmth made even more snug with the preservation of its body heat than in a cozy box! Not to forget the fun that comes with boxes playing hide and seek with you, popping its cute head out to see if you will find it. Watching that kitty go gaga over a box would have you reminiscing on your younger days of heading for the clothes-filled warm wardrobe to hide when you were tagged ‘IT’. A cat in a box is a classic case of enjoying life’s simpler pleasures.
It’s a Texture Thing!
You might struggle to see what the allure is in a cardboard box much less being ensconced in one. For felines though, the texture of a box alone rubbing up on it fur is pure kitty bliss. Ever notice how even human babies sleep better with a ratty old shawl they have come to associate with comfort possibly due to its soft and well-worn feel? Even adults are not left out with some having special oversized shirts that they just can’t get enough of its feel against their skin, even when no one else seems to see what is so remarkable about it, possibly even urging you to get rid of that scruffy thing already.
The very texture of a cardboard box addresses at least two major needs of cats. The need for a warm snug place to curl up and the need to chew and scratch at something. Its firm texture makes it an unrelenting surface where it can feel as though in a cave in a vantage position to ensure its personal safety. The same firmness makes a box perfect for clawing, chewing at and eventually shredding without fear of reprisal from you. A cardboard box is a kitty version of you sprawled out in front of the TV on game night with an armchair that comes along with side trays loaded with your favorite brand of beer and some spicy wings. Simply chew on a wing, wash it down with ice cold beer, scream ‘GOAL’ when it matters and let a burp/fart rip.
Now that you know why cats love boxes so much, next time you see your precious kitty bouncing at that old cardboard box you thought was well hidden in your kitchen cupboards, just let it have its moment.