Thinking Outside The Box: Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?

Thinking Outside The Box: Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?

There are a billion YouTube videos and pictures of cats in boxes spread generously across the internet. Yes, a billion. I counted. I take my research very seriously. Even my own baby girl Marzipan loves curling up in her cardboard box painted to look like a delivery truck (aptly dubbed her “little beep beep box”, obviously!)

It’s a running joke – how cat parents spend tons of money on toys for their cats, only to have them sit in the box instead. In fact, this behavior is not even limited to house cats. That’s right! Big cats such as tigers, lions, and jaguars can’t get enough of them either. But what is the fascination? Is there a reason cats love hiding in your Blu-ray player box that you got for Hanukkah, like, seven years ago? The answers might surprise you!

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Just as most things are with cats, the love of boxes can be traced back to instinct. Cats love confined spaces, and there’s a reason for that. They feel a sense of security in being all curled up in a tiny hiding place where – they think – no one can see them. (Spoiler alert, Fluffy; we can totally see you. We literally just watched you go into that box.) When they’re hunting in Thinking Outside The Box: Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?

the wild, cats seek out spaces where they are hidden from prey, but also serve as good vantage points for surveying the area. Do you ever notice your cat jumping up onto absurdly high surfaces? They want to be able to see everything – and I mean everything – that’s going on around the joint. It is their house, after all. Boxes provide the perfect (and sometimes, not so perfect) covers for cats to sit incognito and still see what’s going on.

Does your cat love trying to fit herself into the smallest box she can find? As the ancient feline proverb says, “if I fits, I sits”. For some cats, the smaller the box, the more protected and “hidden” they feel! And really, when you start to think about it, it does make sense. Cats feel that, while safely tucked away in a box, no one can sneak up on them. (Sorry, cats HATE surprises. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your cat’s birthday party this year.) Moreover, if they happen to see something of interest to them strolling along, they can quickly dart out and grab it.

Best Seat In The House

In addition to their hunting instincts, cats are also creatures of comfort. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day, just like me! And who wouldn’t want to be comfortable while they’re doing all that sleeping? A small box means the perfect place to sleep. The tighter the confines of the box, the more curled up your baby can be. The more curled up she is, the more hidden she becomes. The more hidden she is, the less likely she is of being surprised with any rude awakenings. See the connection here? No one likes being disturbed in their sleep, so it makes sense that a cat would want to make sure she can get all 20 of those hours of beauty rest.

Who Needs A Reason

The third and final reason for why cats love to cram themselves into tiny boxes is simply this: because they can. Cats LOVE doing things just because! And sometimes, it’s as simple as that. Cats are well known in the animal kingdom for being agents of chaos – sweet, fluffy, precious little chaotic neutral babies. With their insanely flexible spines, they can weasel their way into any small space, just for the fun of it. Could one classify cats as a liquid for this reason? Perhaps! How is this possible? It all starts with their spines! A cat’s vertebrae can rotate more than the vertebrae of many other mammals and have cushioning discs between them that are exceptionally elastic. This means that cats can twist around into just about any shape in order to fit inside of some shockingly small spaces, and cats love pushing the limits! The smaller the box, the bigger the challenge, and the more fun it is to try to squeeze inside.

So, not sure about what to do with all of those left-over boxes you’re sure to have once the holidays are over? Why not make your precious kitty a little Box Castle like Mowgli’s mom did? Just picture it; a Box Kingdom fit for a Kitty King! What cat could possibly ask for more?

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