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Why Do Cats Like Boxes? (6 Reasons Cats Love Boxes)

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: March 15, 2023 - Author: Laraib Shah
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: August 11, 2022  
Author:  Laraib Shah

Cats in boxes! What's all that about then?

If you are a proud owner, you would know that your cat loves boxes. However, even if you don’t own a cat yourself, you must have seen various videos on YouTube or TikTok in which cats simply love playing with boxes.

why do cats like boxes

So, why do cats love boxes so much? What’s in them that gravitates the cats towards boxes, be they full or empty? Why do you always see these cats being so joyous and happy around random boxes?

And yes, big cats such as tigers and lions react to boxes in a similar way too.

Honestly, my feline friend cannot resist running towards a box as soon as she sees one. No matter the size of the box, it always makes my four-legged pal joyous to no limits! If yours does the same, it’s time to unravel the mystery. 

This cat behavior article will reveal to you why cats adore boxes so much.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

1. Security

Yes, you read that right. Boxes, especially if they are huge, make the cats feel safe and protected. They appear as walled boundaries, which have the potential to protect them from outside threats.

Wild cats that live outdoors still sneak into huge boxes randomly lying on the streets. 

why do cats love boxes

The coziness offered by a box gives them much-needed comfort and protection during extreme conditions.

A lot of studies conducted, especially in this regard, have revealed that the cat feels sheltered under a box. It has a direct connection with lowering stress levels, making it cheerful and relaxed. 

The environment of a box may even remind cats of how they felt when they were with their moms as kittens 

This is also one reason why the pet breeder or shelter owner may hand over your new cat to you inside a box. You can keep the box in your home for a few days, and the cat will feel comfortable and homely around it. 

2. Hiding Place

By nature, cats are outdoor animals that are supposed to roam out freely. However, when they stay outside, they may end up meeting a lot of predators and attackers. 

This is why they are on the constant lookout for a hiding place.

A box appears to be the perfect hiding place for the cats. It's a confined place, which helps them conceal themselves from the roaming predators. 

Also, as a wild animal, a cat wants to attack prey; they can easily stay inside the box for some time and then attack it as soon as it comes closer! 

Hence, we can say that these boxes not only act as the perfect hiding place for the cat but also work as an excellent ambush strategy. 

3. Warmth & Comfort

Yes, you read that right! 

A box made of cardboard offers a great level of insulation to the four-legged, keeping them toasty!

During the winter, cats are always searching for one way or another to keep them warm. 

A box lets them spend an entire night curling into it, keeping them comfy. 

According to a 2006 study by the National Research Council, the thermoneutral zone for a domestic cat is 86 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. 

That's the range of temperatures in which cats are "comfortable" and they don't have to generate extra heat to keep warm or expend metabolic energy on cooling. 

why do cats like sitting in boxes

Anything below or above that zone can seriously distress it. 

A cardboard box tends to offer this ideal temperature to them, which is why they stay in them for long hours. 

If you find your pet finding boxes and sitting in them throughout the day, you should consider adjusting the thermostat down! 

Maybe the temperature around the house is way too cold for the comfort of your cat. As soon as the cat feels comfortable in the house, it might even stop curling in the box!

4. Playtime!

Cats just want to play! They are self-entertainers and even confined within a box, they will find ways to play.

Also, cats can easily scratch the walls of boxes which is great for their claws.

They may even chew the cardboard, gouge them or scratch through the material with their paws. 

If your young cat has developed the habit of biting or scratching everyone who tries to play with it, simply let it play in a box for a little time. 

This could help satisfy its need to bite and use its claws and nails on you!  

5. Curiosity

We all know that cats are curious creatures! They need to nose around in everything. So a box, randomly lying on the floor, is definitely a thing of great interest for them. 

The moment they set their eyes on it, they will be curious to see what's inside of it!

If the box is filled with various items, such as soft blankets or your cat's favourite toys, a retreat for them is naturally created.

6. Recovery and Adapting to a New Environment

A study conducted by the University of Utrecht recently discovered another fascinating reason why cats love boxes. A study was performed on a group of animal shelter cats. 

Half were given boxes and the other half were not. 

The research discovered that the control group of cats with boxes actually recovered faster and adapted to their environment quicker. 

This shows that boxes are instrumental for cats to help deal with change

Why Do Cats Like Boxes? The Verdict

A huge box made out of cardboard and your cat makes a great playing combo! 

Just make sure that the box is completely safe for your pet, super clean and that nothing toxic to them has been stored in the box previously. 

Just to end on, if you have a new cat then pop one of these next to them in order to ease them into their new home.  

Cats! Funny things aren't they!

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About the author

Laraib Shah is a freelance writer and a proud cat mom who shares her home with an exceptionally perfect cat named Simba. As an experienced cat mom, she is the trusted authority on cat care and cat breeds for the team. Apart from cats, Laraib loves cooking, travelling plus cookies, ice cream, and coffee!