Why Cats Love Boxes So Much

There are several reasons why cats love boxes so much. One of the main attractions is their confined nature. Cats are ambush predators, so finding tight spaces where they can hide while hunting prey and feeling safe is an instinctive behavior. The snugger the better! Hence the cute term “if it fits, I sits.” These confined spaces also provide a stress-reducing hiding spot for a cozy, warm cat nap where they feel secure.

  1. Boxes give cats a territory all to themselves: As a fairly solitary species, although they can be very sociable in the right circumstances, it’s good to provide them with options for some alone time. Research shows that cats haven’t developed conflict resolution skills like some other species and prefer to retreat after a stressful situation arises.
  2. Boxes are like cat sensory deprivation chambers: Few things are more stressful to a free-roaming cat than being scooped up by animal control and taken to a strange, loud, bright animal shelter. Boxes to the rescue! A recent study found that providing hiding boxes to rescue cats as they arrive at an animal shelter reduces their stress and gives them the time they need to recover from the transition.
  3. Boxes keep cats warmer: Cats like to be in warm rooms, warmer than most of us prefer. This might be because they are descended from desert-dwelling cats of Egypt. It’s also the reason that cats are attracted to warm spots like heating vents, sunny areas, and the tops of appliances. Boxes help retain heat and make for cozy sleeping.
  4. Boxes can make a cat feel like they are in a warm embrace: These sensations of gentle pressure stimulate the body to produce endorphins, neurochemicals that boost pleasure, reduce pain, and create a sense of well-being.
  5. Boxes allow cats to explore their curious natures: Boxes are a constant source of fun and exploration. They serve as a cozy hideaway, a playground, and a safe place to sleep as cats do for 12-16 hours a day. This provides an uninterrupted spot to snooze.

Fun Tip:

When providing boxes for your kitty, don’t forget to change them out, offering different sizes and locations. Flip them on their side or upside down after cutting an entrance/exit. Cats love scent enrichment! Try placing a couple of different boxes in close proximity, positioned differently, with their favorite treats hidden inside for them to hunt and seek.

Article by Krista Schulte

I am a fear-free, force-free, and positive reinforcement Certified Cat Trainer and Behaviour Specialist in Canada. I volunteer in shelters and work on feline enrichment and socialization, and behaviour modification for TLC cases. I threw myself into the Cat Behaviour community and began a path of rigour study, gaining various certificates to attain this goal and will always continue my education. After helping get cats out of the shelters, I transitioned to a Behaviour Counsellor with Toronto Cat Rescue (still with them) to keep cats from going back to the shelter. I am passionate about these cats and their welfare.


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