Special Delivery: Why Cats Like Boxes
Cats know there’s nothing as fascinating as a plain old cardboard box. Almost any cat owner who has ever left an empty box lying around for more than a few minutes can attest to this feline behavior. In fact, even non cat owners are familiar with the image of a cat squeezed into a too-small cardboard box. But it begs the question: Just why do cats like boxes so much anyway?
Cat In The Box
Cats in the wild are solitary predators who are curious, secretive, and spend hours sleeping and hiding. It makes sense, then, that a box could fulfill a variety of needs for a cat, including:
- Safety in small spaces – Small spaces (including boxes) give felines a sense of safety and security surrounding them. They like spaces they barely fit into (and it is amazing how small a space they can squeeze into).
- Stress relief – A box as a place to hide can provide kitty with a sense of security during times of stress or anxiety.
- Stalking – An empty box can be a safe place to hide and wait for “prey” (which could be your pant leg as you walk by) or to simply watch the world go by.
- Sleepy time – A cozy spot to curl up in for a nap (cats tend to prefer a warmer environment than humans, making a box or other small space the perfect spot to trap body heat).
- Kitty cavorting – Cats love to play and explore their environment. An empty box or two lying around can be akin to a cat condo or an uncharted mountain or canyon just waiting to be explored.
- Scratching spot – Cardboard boxes can make wonderful places for kitty to stretch those claws for a good scratch. Cats tend to scratch their boxes not only to satisfy the natural urge to scratch, but also to mark their territory (with scent glands located in the paws).
- Chewing fun – Cardboard is also good for chewing and gnawing on the edges.
Cats And Boxes: A Boredom Busting Combination
At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services we always recommend that cats be kept indoors only for their safety and well being. The downside to living inside is that the same old four walls can often bring with them a lack of excitement for our feline friends. Boredom can be stressful for cats and can lead to destructive behaviors such as:
- Scratching on furniture, clothing, etc.
- House soiling/ Litter box issues
Keeping a few empty boxes in the house for your cat to enjoy is a cheap and easy way to provide him or her with entertainment and security. Now, if only we could get our cats to love their cat carriers as much as they love our empty Amazon boxes, we’d be set!