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Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

  • Post category:Behavior
  • Post last modified:September 2, 2020
  • Reading time:6 mins read
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Why do cats like boxes? If you have a cat in your home, then you probably noticed how intrigued your cat is with boxes. Never in my lifetime have I ever known a cat to not like cardboard boxes. They don’t even have to be made out of cardboard either. If it’s in the shape of a box, chances are your cat will try to sit in it. 

I would even go as far as to say that cats prefer boxes to any type of toy you can get them. A great example of this is when I order cat toys from Chewy. The boxes from that online pet store always tend to come in a decent size no matter what I order. I’ll get super excited to give my cats a toy that I ordered and all they seem to care about is the box that the toy came in.

Eventually, they do warm up to the toys I buy them, but that darn cardboard box always seems to grab their attention first. I’m guessing if you have a cat in your home, you can relate to this. 

They Like to Have Their Own Space

Even though your cat may follow you around sometimes, they still like having their own space to chill out and relax in. Boxes are the perfect mechanism for that innate feline need. 

This is especially true if you live in a multi-cat household. The more cats you have, the less personal space they have. So if you do happen to live in a home with multiple cats or other pets, be sure to leave an empty box or two around somewhere for your feline companions to enjoy. 

An cat house also provides a safe haven for your feline.

Hiding out in the nearest box may also help your feline’s stress levels. Studies have shown that cats who are able to escape to a confined space have reduced stress levels in comparison with cats who do not have a safe box to hide in.

Boxes Are Comfortable to Sleep In

Boxes also make great places for your cat to sleep. And because cats sleep a majority of the day, boxes are just naturally comfortable for them to lay in. 

Have you ever bought your cat a cool new cat bed only to see them completely ignore it so they can use the box instead? If so, you’re not alone. If you always have an empty box or two laying around, there is probably no need for you to spend any money on a cat bed. They will likely prefer the cardboard box anyway.

Cardboard is also a wonderful insulator which can keep your cat warm throughout the night. A small, confined, warm cardboard box is all your cat really needs for it to get some good shut-eye.

Is Cardboard Safe for Cats?

For the most part, cardboard is pretty safe to have around your cats. It’s also not a cause for concern if your cat chews on a cardboard box as long as they don’t eat too much of it. 

While cardboard itself may be okay for your cat, the stuff attached to the box might not be. Staples, paper with ink on it, and those silica gel packets that sometimes come with boxes are a definite no-no for your feline companion. If your cat eats one of these dangerous packets, bring them to the nearest veterinarian immediately.

Another thing to watch out for is styrofoam packing peanuts. Packing peanuts are non-biodegradable and they have toxins in them. These little buggers can block up your cat’s intestines if they eat them, so definitely watch out for this when you get the next Amazon package in the mail.

How to Prepare a Box for a Cat

Anytime that you bring in a new box for your cats to enjoy, it’s important to make sure that anything dangerous or harmful to your cat is removed from the box.

The first thing you should do is dispose of any packing materials that your cat might try to eat such as the styrofoam peanuts that I mentioned above. After all the packing materials are disposed of, the next thing to check for and remove is any staples that might puncture your cat’s skin. Be sure to look the box over very closely for these staples because sometimes they are hiding in the weirdest crevices within the box. 

Another thing to remove from the cardboard box is adhesives or tape of any kind. Some cats are drawn to the taste of certain glues and tapes, and this is a definite no-no for your cat because of the toxicity of these substances.

In general, if you’re not sure about the box, it’s just not worth it. Cats are known to eat, chew, and play with all sorts of things that are bad for them. If in doubt, throw it out.