Why Do Cats Like Boxes? 7 Top Reasons

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You know when you have a package arrive, and then your cat walks past all his toys and plops himself happily in the box? If you’ve ever wondered what on earth the appeal is, we’re here to explain.

Cats of all shapes and sizes love to shove themselves into boxes, even when they don’t fit. All cats love boxes, from the smallest house cat to an enormous lion.

So why do cats like boxes?

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Why Do Cats Like to Sit in Boxes?

We obviously can’t read cats’ minds (that would be amazing if we could), but cat experts have some pretty good ideas about why cats like boxes so much. Here are 7 reasons why cats like to sit in boxes.

1. Boxes Provide Security

One of the most common theories about why do cats like cardboard boxes so much is relatively straightforward. Boxes provide our feline friends with a sense of security.

The four walls of a box allow a cat to feel hidden and safe from the outside world. This feeling of safety is significant since cats are both predators and prey. If a cat has four walls of protection in a cozy box, he can’t be ambushed by a passing bear.

2. Cats Can Stay Warm in Boxes

Cats can be quite cuddly and intimate once they trust you. Just like baby cats will snuggle up next to their mothers, many adult cats like to cuddle and get close to their owners.This demonstrates trust and affection, but cats also do this because they want to be warm.

Cats like cardboard boxes for the same reason. A cardboard box provides insulation from drafts that helps a cat stay warm. This is doubly true if the box is lined with a soft material like a towel or blanket.

3. Hunter Instincts Help Cats Favor Boxes

Just like a box may help a cat feel protected from predators, it helps hide him from potential prey. When you watch wild animals stalk prey in the wild (or if you play video games) you’ll know how important having appropriate cover during a battle. Your cat appreciates the cover provided by the box, and how the invisible mice in your living room won’t see his approach if he’s watching from The Box.

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4. Cats Have Feelings Too

Cats have a wide range of emotions. They experience many of the same feelings we do, including happiness, sadness, anxiety, and fear.

When a cat feels anxious or stressed, it may look for a small, enclosed space to help them feel safe. Just like when you are not feeling well, you may have the urge to hide under a blanket. Cats want to do the same thing. Coping with stress and anxiety is why you may see your cat hide in a box or under the bed when a thunderstorm or a vacuum cleaner is running.

5. The Novelty Factor

Boxes tend to be transient residents in your home. Cats love novelty, and feel a strong pull to understand everything in their territories. Any new item in your home, whether it’s a large bag, a box, or a new pair of shoes, is likely to get a thorough investigation from your feline. When the item is a box, your cat is compelled to try it on and see how it fits.

6. Cats Like to Play

In addition to providing security and insulation, boxes are also fun for cats. They offer an opportunity to explore and play. Most cats love a good game of peek-a-boo. A cardboard box is perfect for a cat to crawl into and around. It’s just a big-ole cat toy!

7. Sensory Enjoyment: Scratching, Chewing, sniffing

It’s no secret that cats need to scratch and love to chew. Cardboard has that lovely crunch, and cats (especially teething kittens) appreciate the opportunity to rough something up without getting in trouble for it. Some boxes will also have interesting scents on them from what they held or where they traveled from.

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Why Do Cats Like Sitting in Boxes?

There are so many reasons why cats like boxes. They’re cozy, they smell interesting, and they’re great for hiding, playing, and pouncing. While you may never know precisely why your cat likes boxes so much, you can be sure that it provides them with a sense of security, insulation, and fun. So the next time you see your cat sitting in a box, you’ll have an idea why!

why do cats like boxes

Kelsey Madison

Kelsey Madison is a cat lover, fostering enthusiast, part time vet tech & writer. She has fostered close to 300 animals over the last 10+ years, and currently has 3 beautiful tabby cats who love to stick their faces in her morning lattes. She is passionate about helping others develop a deeper understanding of their beloved felines and learn more about fostering.