why do cats love boxes
The Box Love Affair
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
If you’re a pet parent to a simply adorable fur ball of awesomeness (a.k.a. cat), you’ve likely noticed her extra affection for boxes, especially those of the cardboard variety. Yes, it seems there has been a long term love affair between our feline friends and the corrugated containers we use for packing and such, but why? What is it about cardboard material that appeals to cats? The smell? The texture?
According to researchers (yes, a group of researchers actually studied cats and their affinity for boxes):
- Cardboard boxes help reduce stress in cats. In fact, the boxes help them adjust to new environments.
- For reasons unknown, cats seem to adore the smell of cardboard, explaining why a box made from any other material simply isn’t good enough for them.
- Cats enjoy hiding inside cardboard boxes. Seeking out a confined space fulfills an instinctual behavior for cats, providing an area to hide from predators and stalk prey.
- A cardboard box offers safety and security. Being surrounded by five sides, with only one option for entry, gives cats an opportunity to relax, knowing nothing can sneak up from behind or from the side.
- Boxes provide cats with a cozy place to sleep, which is very important given that felines sleep for up to 20 hours each day.
It appears the love affair between cats and cardboard boxes has much to do with a cat’s primal instincts. And encouraging the love affair by providing your cat with a cardboard box or two can be beneficial to her health, by lowering stress levels, making her less prone to disease, and keeping her happy.
So, are there any downsides to allowing your cat to rendezvous with a cardboard box or two? Only one – they aren’t very visually appealing, standing out like a sore thumb among your home’s stylish décor. Use your creativity and craftiness to create the perfect cardboard box “house” for your cat. Perhaps cover the outside of the box with fabric, or turn on its side and drape a pretty piece of fabric over the top. But whatever you do, do not apply paint as it will mask the smell of the cardboard, which will take away much of the appeal for your cat. Need some inspiration? Simply search for “cardboard cat house” on Google or Pinterest and you’ll be bombarded with ideas!
So, now that you know the reason behind your cat’s affection toward cardboard boxes, think of the many ways a box can be reused before you toss it away. Surely your cat will love to get a new hiding place!
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Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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