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Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

By August 19, 2021Cats

Cats are well-known for being drawn to boxes. But why do cats like boxes so much?  They feel no toy in the world is better than a basic cardboard box. Many cat owners, especially those who just bought a wonderful new bed or new toy, are baffled when their cat seems to prefer the package it arrived in. In this post, we explain why cats prefer boxes and teach you all you wanted to know about how they create ideal places for resting and hunting.

Boxes Provide Safety and Security for Cats

The most obvious reason why cats like boxes is safety and security. Stress or fearful cats often seek refuge in an enclosed area. It’s natural. Nothing can creep up behind her or from the side. She has a clear field of vision. Boxes help cats adjust by offering comfort and reducing anxiety. A concealing box helps a cat adjust to a new environment. The Holiday Barn Pet Resorts Cat Condos provide guests with lots of hiding places, while each level gives the felines with comfort and protection. A multi-level cubicle design. Cats leap from one cubicle to the next, each being a three-sided private room.

The University of Utrecht separated a group of 19 new arrival cats into two groups. During their acclimation period, one group received “hiding boxes”. The cats who were given concealing boxes showed much less stress than the cats who were not given boxes. So they adapted faster. These worried, scared cats found comfort and safety in the company of a box.

Boxes Are Clean (Usually)

Although your cat can enjoy a snooze sometimes in a stinky shoe box, most boxes are not too smelly most of the time.  This makes a box a perfect spot to relax for a smell-distinguishing cat but also less inviting to other potential predators. Empty boxes also provide clean space, which is best for cats who appreciate a clean environment.

Cats are Just Curious

You should not be surprised to learn that anytime you acquire something new, your cat will be inquisitive about it. Your cat is curious to find out what the new object is for in their home. Don’t be surprised to see your cat scratching around and having a nice look!

Scratching and Chewing

Cats are known for scratching things, and will more often than not sharpen their claws on furniture like couches, drapes, or carpets. Many different boxes make great scratches. Cats like the way cardboard feels when they bury their claws into it. The smell pads on cats’ paws contain scent, when they scratch they leave their own scent on whatever they’ve touched. When in their own den, they leave their scent to establish their territory. Certain cats are also chewers. It is believed that they enjoy chewing and shredding boxes as they satisfy their instinct of killing and ripping their prey.

The ‘If it fits, I sits’ principle

In addition to boxes, many cats seem to prefer other strange resting places. Some curl in a sink. Others prefer shoes, bowls, shopping bags, coffee mugs, and empty egg cartons That leads us to the other reason your cat may prefer small boxes (and other uneasy places).

National Research Council study (2006) found that a domestic cat’s thermoneutral zone is 86-97 degrees Fahrenheit. Within that temperature range, cats are “comfortable” and do not need to generate extra heat or use metabolic energy to cool. That range is also 20 degrees greater than ours, which explains why your neighbor’s cat may be lying on the scorching asphalt in the middle of the day, soaking up the sun. This is why, many cats prefer curling up in small cardboard boxes and other odd places.

Corrugated carton is a great insulator and tight areas force the cat to ball up or form another impossible object that helps to maintain heat in the body.

Boxes Not Just for House Cats!

A shocking fact that can catch you off guard is that huge cats have a lot in common with your pet cat. Providing big cats in wildlife preserves and zoos with cardboard boxes provided the same degree of fun for the cats that you may expect your cat to have! It appeared that they were jumping, sitting, and having a fantastic time in the boxes. Cats have several reasons for finding boxes appealing, but the primary reason is because they are closed spaces.

So, Why Don’t Cats Love Cat Carriers? After all, They are Basically Boxes.

If they are naive about their purpose, cats will cheerfully explore cat carriers.  But after one drive in the car to the vet’s office or kennel, that excitement is gone. They see the cat carrier as a sign of negative memories and will want to get away from it as soon as it is found in the attic or garage.

Ultimately, cats like boxes because they provide a warm, safe place to rest and a convenient spot to seek shelter when they are stressed or in the process of hunting. They’ll play with and in boxes with great fun so you can make the most of your Christmas shopping and save your money on cat toys this year.

How are Cats Able to Fit into Boxes of All Sizes?

As predators, cats should be able to enter a location swiftly, regardless of its size. Cats that are hunting small, fast-moving prey need to be able to hide and attack quickly. Because cats are so flexible, this is possible.

According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine expert James R. Richard, cats have a marvellously nimble body shape with a free-floating clavicle (collarbone), In addition, their spines are flexible, and their shoulder blades are muscle-attached rather than bone-attached.

Whatever drives your feisty feline buddy to seek out your late-night online shopping cardboard, one thing is certain: cats are purr-fectly weird, hiss-terical, and paw-some… and the next time you want to buy a nice cat bed you might save your money


How to Safely Prepare a Box for Your Cat

  • Take away the staples from any boxes you leave for your cat.  A staple can lead to a nasty and painful puncture.
  • Remove any strings, twine and rubber bands.  These things can be twisted or lodged in the intestines of your cat or may even cause a blockage in their internal organs. It can endanger life.
  • If there is a cut-out for the handles on the box (which kind of flaps back and forth) especially where the cut-out piece of the box remains, you should completely cut them off so that your cat doesn’t suffocate himself or cut its skin through it by inserting his head. Actually, any form of handle or strap should be removed.
  • The taste of adhesive attracts many cats. The tape left in a box may be dangerous and, if consumed, may induce intestinal obstruction.
  • Ensure that your box isn’t covered with plastic of any type that could potentially choke your cat.


So there you have it: boxes are insulated, stress-relieving comfort zones – where cats can hide, relax, sleep and sometimes sneak in at the giant, unpredictable apes with which they are living.

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