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Why do cats love boxes so much?

 by lucy on 17 Mar 2017 |
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Empty cardboard boxes may seem like trash to us, but to our feline friends, they offer a safe space to sleep, keep warm and hide from passersby. It’s no wonder cats love to play in boxes, then, which offer them safety and security from the outside world.
 
Predators by nature, cats are experts at finding spots to hide while watching their prey. Though our domesticated pets no longer need to hunt to survive, the instinct remains and cardboard boxes provide the perfect vantage for scoping out passersby. By hiding, your cat can quickly dash out and catch whatever walks past—though his target is more likely to be your feet than his next meal these days.
 
Cats’ love for boxes stretches to comfort, too. Small spaces provide the ideal retreat or “safe zone" for Kitty to have an undisturbed catnap. This is important, given that cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day and don’t want anyone sneaking up on them while they’re asleep. Cats also naturally have a higher body temperature than humans—around 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to our 98.7 degrees—so they are more comfortable in warmer settings. Boxes provide great insulation, so it’s no wonder owners often find their felines nestled up inside one.
 
Though they have many practical purposes, boxes also pique cats’ curiosity. Inquisitive by nature, your pet can’t resist exploring any new object left in his home. While cardboard doubles as a great scratching post and is a feline favorite, cats will explore any small containers left out, from suitcases to wooden crates and open dresser drawers.
 
Because they offer safety and security, boxes can help put nervous pets at ease. When moving, try placing a box or two in your new home to give your cat a safe space from which to explore his new surroundings. When introducing a new pet to the household, or if you’re away for long periods of time, leave an empty box out to help calm your cat. A report published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science backs claims that boxes help relieve stress: Researchers found that, among a group of cats arriving at an animal shelter, those randomly assigned to receive a box adapted to their new surroundings faster than their box-free peers. It’s our feline friends love cardboard boxes and the comfort and security they provide.

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Emily Borrelli
Emily Borrelli
Manhattan Beach, CA
25 May 2017
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