Feb 16, 2019

Among the many mysteries this world has, one that continues to mystify us is why cats like cardboard boxes so much. Cat owners would go to the extent of buying expensive toys only to found out that their cat would prefer the cardboard box that comes with the toy. No matter the size and the shape, house cats are always fascinated with boxes.

Scientifically speaking, the very reason why all house cats do this is still not clear. But because the human brain is always thirsty for knowledge, veterinarians and behavior biologists come up with few explanations. Here's a cute video to keep you entertained as well before you dive into the technical stuff. 

Instinctual Behavior of cats

Among the many instinctual behaviors of cats, one of which is seeking out enclosed spaces. In the wilderness, felines do these to stalk their prey or hide from their predators. That is why it is very common to see cats, both wild and pets, in a confined space because of the sense of security and safety that they get from it. From the inside, the feline will see their prey and predator in their field of vision. More so, they are able to see the world without having the world seeing them.

A cat in hiding can easily stash away a toy or prey that passes in front of them so easily and the moment they seize it, they hide away again.

A Place to Sleep for cats

Cats can sleep to a maximum of 18 to 20 hours a day. That is why they are drawn to boxes because it provides them with a safe and cozy place for them to rest and sleep. What you see may be a box, on the other hand, the cat sees a luxurious cave to snuggle.

A Source of Warmth that Cat Needs

Cats love a warm environment and cardboard boxes are avail to give that to them. Cats love to curl which is why even the tiniest and weirdest box will be a place of heaven for them. Typically, the cat’s ideal temperature is 37 degrees Celsius and warmth is very precious to the cat.

The Curiosity of a cat

Cats are very curious creatures, hence it is not surprising that the moment they see a cardboard box, and they come closer to investigate. Whenever they see a box, do not be surprised that your house cat will immediately check and rub itself onto the box

The Texture of the Cardboard Box

Cardboard boxes are perfect for cats to scratch and bite into. The texture of the cardboard box draws the cat towards it making the box not only an ideal spot to sleep into but also a perfect toy to play with, bite, chew and eventually destroy it.

A Source of Stress Reliever for Cats

Cats, just like humans, also have to feel stress and pressure in their life. More often than not, when a cat is in a stressful situation it will always run and curl itself into an enclosed space like a cardboard box. The box may be ordinary to us but to cats, it has a great impact on their physiology and psychology aspect.

A study has shown was once conducted in cats where cats where introduced to new surroundings. Half of the cats were given access to cardboard boxes while the rest did not have access. The study concluded that cats with access to cardboard boxes were able to adjust easily the new surroundings and they are able to cope up with the stress easily. On the other hand, those cats with no access can be seen as much stressed and more withdrawn with human interaction.

Cat’s Anti-social Behavior

Another study has shown that cats are not very adaptable behavior and they do not have the capacity to resolve conflicts with other species. So in order to resolve the conflict, cats withdraw to enclosed spaces to avoid.

They run away rather than work thing out. A cardboard box comes in handy when the cat is avoiding someone or something. The box represents the safe zone for the cat to relieve them from hostility, anxiety, and unwanted attention.


However, this surprising behavior does not only apply to house cats. Wild and big cats also have the same characteristic and attraction to enclosed spaces. Big cats in the zoo and in the wildlife reserves, like tigers, lions, and leopards were given cardboard boxes to see their reactions. And just the same, the glee in their eyes were very noticeable and they keep on going in and out of the cardboard box having the time of their lives

Cats are not among the easiest subject to study which is why they are very difficult to understand. All the things that were mentioned above are not conclusive of why cats love cardboard boxes. There are still many reasons why they are very drawn to boxes but one thing is for sure that any enclosed space the cat will surely love it! 


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