Why Does My Cat Love Cardboard Boxes So Much?

by PetCloud / Pet Owner Advice / 26 Sep 2020

big cat in little box

For decades, perhaps centuries, people across the western world have thought of themselves as cat people or dog people.  Of course, there are plenty of households with both of those pets, but cat people notice certain behaviours their four-legged friends exhibit on a regular basis.  One of those common things that almost every cat owner sees all the time is their feline climbing into a random cardboard box. 

So why does everyone's cat love cardboard boxes so much? 

A few factors come into play.  Here is why your cat is often more interested in the box than the toys that you ordered that came in it.

Watching your cat approach and investigate a newly acquired cardboard box can be terrific theatre.  Pets in general can be great stress relievers in a lot of ways and watching them have fun is certainly one of them.  There are biological traits that cats possess that attract them to cardboard boxes. 

To begin with, cats are naturally curious. 

When you introduce a new item into their environment, they are sure to want to check it out.  At a minimum, they are sure to have a Captain Cook.  This is as good for them as it is fun for you to watch.  Cats, like other pets, need stimulation and the latest addition to come into your house is sure to fit the bill.

Cats and dogs, among many other pets and wild animals as well, often seek safety. 

Therefore, turtles hide in logs, dogs go willingly into their kennels and yes, why cats curl up in boxes.  Although you might think of your mouser as a fierce predator, their underlying instinct is also one of prey.  Their genetics tell them they are not at the top of the food chain and thus when they are not out hunting, either real mice or toy ones, they will look to find a place they feel secure. The empty remnant of your latest mail order delivery will work nicely.  So even if your gut tells you to clean up and put it in the bin right away, let Tiger have a go at it for a while first.

There are a couple of more reasons your furry friend will love you for leaving a box out for them to examine: they like to sleep, and they like to be warm. 

Cats typically like the temperature a bit higher than their human flatmates and cardboard is a great insulator.  So, once they climb in, their own body heat bumps the temp up nicely.  Cats can also sleep for up to 18 hours a day and combining the safety and warmth of a cardboard box your tabby will not have any notions about going walkabout any time soon.

When it comes to figuring out why your cat loves cardboard boxes so much, the best way is to just let it happen.  Be sure to fully empty the box of any contents and packing materiel so it is 100% safe for their investigation and habitation.  Also try not to leave empty boxes stacked up or on tables as this can result in an unwanted injury if they topple over.  Other than that, let your cat enjoy their new toy!

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