Ask A Vet: Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on June 17, 2015

Some of the funniest cat videos and photos on the internet are made of cats playing in boxes. You will see piles of toys (maybe even the ones that came in the box) and the cat will be hiding in a cardboard box. We get a tremendous amount of entertainment from watching cats in boxes (and yes, I see cats every day, but I am memorized by funny cat videos too).

Think about life through a cat’s eyes.  The things that make domestic cats unique are also what make them need opportunities to play.

Cats are small in the scheme of animal sizes, but have the heart of a lion. Your cat is a predator driven by the instincts of a hunter. But because of her diminutive stature, she knows that she could also be prey. A cat’s life is a paradox which can create stress, much like our jobs and life situations can create stress for us.

A box is a like a vacation to your cat. You remember vacations, right? Vacations are the time when you can pretend you are a loafer with no responsibilities, lying on the beach or a movie star perusing expensive shops. You can tour sites that had significance in history or do nothing at all, knowing that your responsibilities are not creeping up behind you (at least not that day). Vacations are fun!

Fortunately for your cat, vacations are cheap and easy and can come in cardboard delivered right to your living room. He can fit perfectly inside and it makes him feel hidden and safe.  Being in the box frees his mind from its constant wariness of something sneaking up and allows him to play and be happy, secure in the fact that nothing can surprise him.

A cat can live her “mighty hunter” dreams too because the box is a hiding place from which she can spring at passing rodents or bugs, even the imaginary kind.  Much like your vacation is fun for you, the box allows her to live her predator dreams while securing her from her prey nightmares.

We even added a box in the corner of my cat exam room so cats can feel safe when they see me.

Never underestimate the power of a vacation, for you or your cat. In fact, just watching your cat enjoy his mini box vacation can free your mind for a while too!

Do you love cats? Do yours do quirky and endearing things? Ours too. Check me out on Facebook to see what other cat lovers are posting about! Click here.


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