We love boxes more than anyone, except maybe cats (man, they’ve always got to one-up us humans, huh?). You know what we’re talking about. You put down an open box, turn your head for a few seconds and suddenly your feline friend is snoozing away like he owns the place. Why do cats love boxes?
It’s one of the life’s biggest mysteries, right up there with the meaning of life (we hear it’s the number 42)—why are boxes like corrugated catnip? After much research (we ran with a pack of cats for a few days), here’s why we think cats have such great affection for our beloved corrugated containers.
It’s a throwback to being a kitten
Mother cats swaddle and encase their kittens to calm them. They’re less stressed this way and adapt to their environment fast. It’s widely believed that’s one of the reasons cats love boxes. The enclosed space take them back, makes them feel safe and lets them adapt to their new home faster. Kittens that have been raised without the safety of swaddling or a box to retreat to end up being more skittish and much less social. If you bring a new cat home, it’s highly advised that a box be the first thing you give them.
It’s all about basic instinct
Cats are born hunters. If they’re not sleeping, they’re likely hunting their next target (whether they plan to eat them or not). Since they’re also smaller than a lot of other predators, they prefer to use ambush tactics, getting the drop on whomever they’re after. That’s why boxes are so ideal. They’re a secure spot to survey their surroundings, plan their angle of attack—and swat at any unprotected ankles passing by.
They’re a safe place
Cats may be hunters, but their small size makes them targets too. In the wild, they look for small hiding places for protection, so corrugated boxes in your home are a workable substitute. They’re a place to relax and enjoy some snooze time, free of pet-happy adults and overly-grabby young children. They ultimately feel safe from potential attack, hidden from sight and other annoyances by the high walls of such a non-descript object.
They’re nice and temperate
The layers of paper and fluting act as easy insulation. Boxes hold back drafts and help cats stay a little cooler in summer and a bit warmer in the winter—this way it’s easier for them to relax, unwind and nap.
They’re a great place to sleep
As animals who love to snooze their lives away, they’re always keen on a chill, comfy place to lay low for the bulk of a day. Who needs an overpriced fluffy cat bed, right?
They’re a toy unlike any other
They can hide or hunt, leap in and out, even move or flip them around. The possibilities for them are semi-endless—after all, boxes are both beds AND scratching posts! Some cats clearly get bored, and a box is an easy way for them to occupy themselves.
Bonus: It’s a cheap purchase for you. No more spending $50 on a toy they’ll bat around once and never grace with their presence again. Just drop the box, walk away and your cat will claim it instantly!
Cats are (secretly!) eco-warriors
Shhh—we hoomans aren’t supposed to know this fact, so it’s best we keep quiet about it! It’s rumored that cats prefer eco-friendly, recyclable toys and materials. Boxes can certainly meet those requirements. Remember, we didn’t tell you that.
Bonus #1: It’s not limited to house cats either!
The bigger, just-as-fluffy-but-much-more-dangerous cats out there love boxes too. Tigers, Lions, Leopards and Lynxes (oh my!) kept in zoos are often given boxes in their compounds—and they play, hide and hunt using them just as much as our pet felines do. All cats love boxes!
Bonus #2: Everybody loves Maru!
Maru the Cardboard-Loving Cat is a Scottish Fold cat who lives in Japan. He loves boxes of all shapes and sizes, from big boxes to shoeboxes (he even loves cardboard wraps for yogurt packs!). Were there a Kitty Cardboard Olympics, he’d win gold with his favourite moves—the fold-in, the sprawl-out and the run-and-dive.
If it fits, I sits indeed.