Why Do Cats Like Boxes so Much?

Here's what the experts had to say.

1/7 ● Newsweek
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The Hiding Places

Because "hiding is a natural behavior for cats."



Zazie Todd, author of the upcoming book Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy, believes a key explanation for cats' box compulsion is because "hiding is a natural behavior for cats."

She told Newsweek: "When something stressful happens, they like to be able to hide. A cardboard box is a great hiding place (especially if it is the right size, just for them to fit into).

The Comfort of Small Places

Instead of being exposed to the clamor and possible danger of wide-open spaces, cats prefer to huddle in smaller, more clearly delineated areas.



Nicholas Dodman, Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Pharmacology and Animal Behavior at Tufts University, believes the security associated with being enclosed is a primary driver for this conduct.

He told Newsweek: "It's just a fact of life that cats like to squeeze into small spaces where they feel much safer and more secure.

The Warm Smell

In a box there are no drafts. The interior of the box will keep their body warmth to themselves.



Cat expert Celia Haddon believes these most cozy of creatures enjoy the sensory environment of a box can provide.

"So boxes are going to be cozier than ordinary flat surfaces, even if they are not put under the radiator!

"Sometimes if they ignore the new bed and jump into the box it came in, this will make humans laugh, some cats enjoy getting human attention.

A Place to Play

Curious by nature, cats are always ready to play or explore the surrounding world.



Deni Olsen, supervisor of Fantastic Services' pet care teams, suggests kitties' inquisitiveness could explain their fascination for these 3D shapes.

"That's why it is no wonder that among their favorite places are the boxes, regardless of their size or shape.

Why Do Cats Sit In Cardboard Boxes?

a rather odd bit of science.



Photo: Getty Images.

Cats do not only use boxes as enclosed spaces to hide, seek comfort and play—they are well known to simply use them as a private stage to just sit.

A 2021 study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science found cats are as attracted to two-dimensional contours "as they do real contours."

Professor Dodman explained: "This virtual box may provide some misplaced sense of security and psychosomatic comfort.

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