Sharing our homes with one or more cats is a fun and rewarding experience.
It’s fascinating at times watching how these wonderful and curious creatures behave.
One such behavior that always amuses me is watching my cats investigate empty cardboard boxes, and often climbing in and making them their own.
Which raises the question; why do cats like being in boxes?
I mean, we’re much more interested in what was inside the box. But we’re not cats!
The plus point here is that boxes have provided some inexpensive and fun times for my cats over the years, so I’m not complaining.
Being the curious person I am, I’ve always studied this behavior and tried to find out ways to make boxes even more enjoyable for my kitties.
Here are some of the reasons I think cats love being inside and playing with boxes so much:
Why Do Cats Like Being in Boxes? (Some interesting insight)
Boxes Provide Stress Relief
I am not suggesting your cat is stressed and needs a safe place to hide.
But I’ve read some studies that once inside an enclosed place like a box, a cat finds it much easier to relax. Which I can totally understand.
Cats typically feel safe when they are aware of their surroundings with good vision of what’s around them and where the exit and entry points of a room are.
This is why they will often pick somewhere high up or with their backs to a corner to sleep or relax.
Boxes Provide Security
Much in line with the previous point about being able to reduce stress, the four or six sides of a box provides security for cats.
Even the most placid domestic cat has all the natural hunting and survival instincts of wild cats running through their blood.
So having somewhere safe to chill out is always welcome when it’s time to sleep.
An example being that providing a box or two when introducing new cats into a home is a good tactic to give them places to feel safe.
Boxes Are Fun
Let’s not forget that cats love to play. There is a massive fun factor for cats playing with boxes (much like we used to get out of them as kids).
Just try adding some holes and poking toys (or your finger if you’re brave) through and you’ll see what I mean.
If you enjoy home crafts the possibilities are endless. You can build an obstacle course of boxes with tubes joining them and so on.
So, next time you have a box left over from a delivery remember it’s a quick fix for cat boredom and a great toy. Keep it around until you cat has shredded it up a little.
Cats Are Curious by Nature
Cats are incredibly curious by nature and are always on the lookout for something new to investigate.
If you put a new box in a room there is a good chance they won’t be able to stop themselves taking a look. (It’s hard for us not to look inside boxes too that appear in our homes, right?)
And a look just isn’t often enough, jumping inside and getting a feel for a box is a lot more interesting.
So, as you can see. Their curious nature leads to getting in a box, then the fun, security, and comfortable factors come in….why would they get back out?
If you’ve ever wondered why do cats like to sit on paper, or why do cats like squares, it’s the same thing – curiosity.
Don’t just take my word for it. Put a box, a piece of paper, or something else in the middle of a room and see how long it takes for your cat to check it out.
Boxes Are Great as Scratching Material
Both of my cats like to bite cardboard boxes and scratch at the edges. This is because cats need to keep their claws trim and love scratching certain materials.
As owners we would love them to direct all of their scratching focus on the scratching posts we buy them – but it’s not always that simple.
Some cats prefer to scratch the couch or other pieces of our expensive furniture. However, if you see your cat like scratching cardboard you have a lifeline.
Sure, shredded cardboard can be bit messy, and the noise isn’t the best. But if your cat likes sharpening their claws on boxes it’s better that your furniture.
Should You Give Your Cat a Cardboard Box?
As I’ve explained in this article there are loads of reasons why a cat would love to have a cardboard box to investigate, play with, and sleep in.
Now, there is some science behind the best position for a box.
Recent studies have shown that the best position for a box is a meter or so away from a wall. With the flaps of the box open towards the wall if on its side.
This provides easy access for your kitty. And, because the box is not opening into a large space they’ll feel more secure while sleeping.
If your cat does sleep in the box try not to disturb them. Let them come out on their own accord (or let them hear their food bowl being filled).
This way they will be able to completely relax without being on high alert for someone or another cat approaching.