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Why do cats like boxes so much?

To catch a cat, place… a box. You’ve probably seen more than once that a cardboard box just pulls the cat in, and the chances of the cat not getting in it are simply zero. Even when you buy an expensive cat bed or a new scratching post, it is often the cardboard box in which these new items have been packed that impresses the cat most. So, the question is, what is it about those boxes that attracts cats?

Closed spaces create a sense of security

Security is one of the most important needs of cats: they are always happy to have a corner where they can rest undisturbed. Cats like to observe their surroundings and calm down more quickly when they are in a box, no matter how small the space is. All cats like to be away from what’s going on around them, so why not crawl into that little box? In a Dutch cat shelter, a study was carried out: some cats were placed in cardboard boxes in their cage. Interestingly, cats with boxes in their cage had lower stress levels. Cat fanciers have noticed that cats often choose other objects with walls, such as a bath or sink. This is where cats feel safest because they are enclosed by walls.

Cats are not only attracted to cardboard boxes

It’s not just cardboard boxes that create a sense of security, but we have to agree that cardboard boxes are one of our favourites. The sound of rustling cardboard appeals to many cats, and it’s a pleasure to sit in a box like this. Cats often scratch cardboard boxes – their claws dig into the material and the sound it makes is really pleasing to the cat’s ears (which is why scratchers for cats are often made of cardboard). Crates are also attracted to boxes made of other materials, and sometimes you don’t even need the box itself – draw a circle on the floor and you can be sure that your cat will soon be settling in! A perceived or real limitation of territory helps cats to calm down and feel „untouchable“. If your cat has just arrived in your home, it is recommended to limit its territory in the first few days, as this will help to create a feeling of security. Later on, you can extend your cat’s territory until he or she is finally used to the new home.

I can’t see anything – they can’t see me

Cats sometimes follow this logic too. When they are in the box, they are often on the lookout for prey – trying to catch the eye of a passing owner or another pet in the house. The box is also an excellent hunting „bunker“ – they often jump out of the box to catch flies or other small prey that have entered the house. It is also a good place to hide when you want to get away from trouble. Cats generally do not like to get involved in conflicts and prefer to hide when they do arise. A box is really good for this, especially if it is closed – after all, nobody can see the cat!

Warm in the box

There’s no denying that cats love warmth. A cat’s normal temperature is higher than that of a human – it can range from 38 to 39 degrees Celsius. According to zoologists, cats also feel good when the air temperature rises to 30-36 degrees (dogs usually find it difficult to endure such heat). Many people’s homes are between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius, so cats are looking for a place to warm up. Crates trap heat, making them a pleasure to lie in. If you are wondering where the best place to put your cat box is, place it close to the wall, with the crawl space facing the wall. This will keep the box warmer, which will make it feel even better for your cat.

Curiosity is to blame

Sometimes cats climb into boxes simply out of curiosity. We have to agree that hiding new things from a cat is really difficult, so a new box will not be out of the question.

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