Why Do Cats Like To Stay Inside Boxes?

A hypothesis that is often attached to this behavior of cats is that they are inherently predators, speaking in evolutionary terms, so they like to assume a position that covers them sufficiently from each side in order to ambush their prey. There are some other hypotheses too….

If you’re a cat owner, then you might have noticed that your cat really loves your empty shoe boxes or packaging cartons (depending on the size of the cat). Oftentimes, your feline friends make those empty, seemingly useless boxes their favorite snuggling place. Why is that? What’s so special about these cardboard kingdoms?

Unboxing a Cat

Unboxing a cat (Credits:Werner Gillmer/Shutterstock)

Cats tend to love boxes, regardless of shape or size. Honestly, you should try it. Just drop a box in front of them and what you witness next is real, unadulterated happiness on the face of your cat, or at least curiosity and intrigue!


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Cats are predators!

One theory that is often attached to this behavior of cats is that they are inherently predators, speaking in evolutionary terms, so they like to assume a position that covers them sufficiently from each side in order to ambush their prey. Obviously, they’re not going to attack someone every time you see them playing with a box, but it’s their natural, instinctive behavior to act that way.

We will always stay like this

We’ll always stay like this (Credits:Tiplyashina Evgeniya/Shutterstock)

A tool of comfort and security

However, there is something else going on with your cat as well, but this is related to the behavioral aspects of cats. There was a study conducted by Ethologist Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University about the stress levels of cats. It was found that those cats which were provided with empty boxes were more interactive, friendly and comfortable with the people around them as compared to those cats that did not have a box to snuggle in. So, it can be said that cats derive comfort and security from boxes.

“Let’s just hide from our problems”

Another reason for this behavior is attributed to the general nature of cats. Cats are found to be very poor at facing tough situations. They find it easier (like most humans) to simply avoid the situation instead. Then, voila! A box offers just that option – an escape from the outside world. The enclosed environment gives them a sense of security from any impending stressful situations that may be in store for them throughout the day.

It should be noted that not all cats show this kind of affinity towards boxes. But for the cats that do, these are some of the most widely believed hypotheses that explain cats’ love for boxes.

Therefore, put your hands together for this brave little beast:

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About the Author

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spearheads the content and editorial wing of ScienceABC and manages its official Youtube channel. He’s a Harry Potter fan and tries, in vain, to use spells and charms (Accio! [insert object name]) in real life to get things done. He totally gets why JRR Tolkien would create, from scratch, a language spoken by elves, and tries to bring the same passion in everything he does. A big admirer of Richard Feynman and Nikola Tesla, he obsesses over how thoroughly science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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