Why do cats like cardboard boxes?

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As a cat connoisseur, I have never met a cat that didn’t like old-fashioned cardboard boxes. Oh, and let’s not forget shoeboxes, laundry baskets, and tote bags! I think everyone who has a cat would agree that cats love cardboard boxes and enclosed spaces. Anywhere, big or small, where they can hide or squeeze their furry bodies in is a good place for them! But have you ever wondered why cats love boxes so much? Read on, cat lovers!

This box makes me feel safe!


Plain and simple, cats love the security that a box gives them. Whether you put a kitten in a big box or squeeze a big cat into a small box, the box gives the cat a safe, secure, and comfortable space.

Steven Zawistowski, scientific advisor for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says, “Cats love boxes because they are a safe place for their owners to keep them:

Cats like boxes because they are secretive animals. The box gives them a safe and secure place to be,” he says.

For our feline friends, who sleep up to 15 hours a day, the walls of the box provide the perfect hiding place, making the box an ideal place for a long nap. Cats don’t like to be disturbed while they sleep!

A cat bed? No, this box will suffice!

Cat owners will undoubtedly feel the same way! They spent all that money to buy a new one for their cat, but the cat prefers to stay in the box than in the one they bought just for the cat. There are many stories of cats being accidentally stuffed into moving boxes, not just by this owner. If you have a cat wandering around your house, pack carefully.

Regardless of the size of the box, cats will try to squeeze into a box because, in their minds, the box provides a safe place to hide from potential danger/threats. Cats are not aggressive by nature and will never avoid conflict. For them, hiding is more in their nature!

Big cats like boxes too!

I don’t know about you, but I love big cats too! There are many differences between big cats and our feline friends, but there are some super cool similarities too. Have you ever seen the reaction of a big cat when confronted with a cardboard box?

Cardboard Boxes Used to Reduce Stress Levels in Shelter Cats

ScienceDirect featured a study from the Netherlands. Researchers provided cardboard boxes to shelter cats in stressful environments and tested whether the boxes could lower their stress levels. Shelters are usually noisy, and as we all know, cats do not like loud noises!

The results of the study clearly show that the boxes provided to the shelter cats helped to significantly lower their stress levels and calm them down. See below for more details!

Why and how of this study:

Domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) can experience severe stress in shelters. Stressful experiences can have a significant impact on cat welfare and may increase the incidence of infectious diseases in shelters due to immunodeficiency caused by elevated cortisol levels.

Although several comprehensive studies have shown that cats prefer hiding places and that hiding boxes have a stress-reducing effect on cats, none of these studies have shown whether appropriate hiding place enrichment is effective in quarantine catteries. Such stress reduction effects are important in the first weeks after cats are housed, when novelty stress is greatest.

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of cat hide boxes on the stress levels of newly arrived cats in a Dutch animal shelter. To this end, 19 newly arrived shelter cats were randomly divided into two groups: with cat hide boxes (n = 10) and without cat hide boxes (n = 9). Behavioral observations based on the Kessler and Turner Cat Stress Score (CSS) were conducted over a 14-day period to determine the stress levels of the newly sheltered cats.

Findings and Conclusions

The main findings of this study are that (1) there was a significant difference between groups with respect to mean CSS values on days 3 and 4, with the hidden box group having lower mean CSS values (p<0.01), (2) the hidden box group had the least variation in mean CSS values, which means that the hidden box was effective for the majority of experimental cats, while the group without the hidden box (3) The group without the hidden box showed a larger variation in CSS values. (3) The mean CSS values at day 14 were the same, but the hidden box group reached this recovery level around day 3.

These results suggest that cats with hidden boxes, as measured by CCS, can recover more quickly in their new environment than cats without hidden boxes.

In conclusion, it appears that hidden boxes are an important reinforcer for cats to effectively cope with the stress of their new shelter environment during the first weeks of their arrival at the shelter. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of hiding boxes on colony cats, their long-term effects, and their correlation with the frequency of infectious disease outbreaks.

So, have you learned anything new about our feline friends? Use this information to help increase your feline knowledge!

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