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Pet Cat: Why do cats like boxes?

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Boxes are a great place to hide.

In nature, cats have to find hiding places to avoid being attacked by their predators. And although domestic cats do not have the need to protect themselves as much, the wild instinct makes the kittens continue looking for spaces where they feel sheltered. In addition, the pet cat spends a lot of time of the day sleeping. Therefore, it will look for a space to take a quiet nap somewhere, without thinking about “the dangers” of not being hidden. That would be their safe zone.

For pet cats, they are perfect spaces for observation.

Just as high places can be makeshift watchtowers, boxes can do the same. In nature, the pet cat is also a predatory animal. So, it looks for spaces where they can hide and observe their prey. And the domestic cat plays it too: it likes to see its humans or animal companions from a place where it feels invisible.

The boxes also serve as a space to jump from.

The pet cat not only hides to observe discreetly but also uses this hiding place to jump on a clueless passerby. In its wild state, the kitten would hide to observe the prey and, when it least expected it, would jump on it. If you notice, the domestic cat also plays hunting like this, with the other cats, jumping at your feet, etc.

The boxes provoke the pet cat’s curiosity.

This not only happens with the boxes. It can happen with anything new you bring home. It would catch the attention of your kitten, who sniffs it, looks at it, touches it… And the boxes have that mystery so striking for cats that they cannot resist checking what they are. They would probably put their head in to see what is hiding.

Grey pet cat in cardboard box
By Yuriy Seleznev

The boxes are made of irresistible material.

The carton is ideal for scratch and bite and a perfect space to leave the usual cat marking its olfactory glands. The pet cat also leaves visual marks and has the need to stretch its body and muscles and sharpen its nails. As a result, the cardboard for the box is perfect for doing so.

Boxes are warm for pet cats.

Cats always look for the only ray of sunshine in the house to be in the warmest place. And the box is a perfect place to find that pleasant warmth that kittens love so much. Cardboard is a material that retains the hot temperature very well. Also, if the box is small on top and the pet cat can become a curled up ball of fur, all the better.

Boxes reduce stress.

In 2014, a study conducted by the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands uncovered a new reason why cats were so fond of boxes. They reduce stress. The study was carried out in a Dutch animal shelter, where some cats were given boxes and others were not. Using the indicator called Cat Stress Score(from Kessler and Turner, 1997). they were able to verify that cats that had boxes suffered much less stress than those that did not.

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