If you have some spare time and look up cats and boxes on the internet, you are definitely going to have a good time. It seems empty boxes have a strange attraction on cats that usually can’t be resisted. You buy a nice new accessory for your cat, everything is set up and ready to go. The only thing missing is your cat hanging out in it. But when you take a look, your little purry friend seems to prefer the empty box to take a cat nap. Sounds familiar? But what’s up with cats and boxes?
Biologists, veterinarians, scientists and other smart people have already tackled this question and tried to find an answer. There is an easy and obvious reason: empty boxes provide good protection. Cats are so called ambush predators. They like to hide and stalk their prey from a distance before they suddenly strike. Their prey usually never sees it coming. How do you think your cat catches all those mice it brings triumphantly to you? But is this the only reason or is there more going on here?
As you may have noticed from other blog articles on our website, we can guess a lot what our cats are thinking, but at the end of the day only the cat itself will know what it’s been thinking. An interesting study performed in the Netherlands by ethologist Claudia Vinke has proven that boxes can lower stress levels of cats. They tested this with two new groups of cats in a Dutch animal shelter. One group received boxes to hide in, the other group didn’t. The difference in stress levels between the two groups was significant. The group with boxes showed less stress, got used to the surroundings faster and interacted more with humans. When cats are confronted with new situations, they usually like to hide or calmly adjust to it. That’s why it makes sense the empty boxes help.
Now we know hiding is one the explanations for this behavior, but the body temperature of a cat could also play a role. A cat’s normal body temperature ranges from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. This is slightly higher than humans. This explains why cats usually like to sit close to the fire place, on the hot asphalt in summer or on your warm laptop. Cardboard boxes and other confined spaces force your cat to curl up into a (cute) little furry ball. This helps to preserve their body heat.
To summarize, boxes are stress-relieving and insulating places where cats can hide, sleep or wait to attack until the right moment has come. So what are you waiting for? Gather all the empty boxes you find and put them everywhere in your house!
My Purry Friends
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