Imagine that a postman knocks on your door carrying a brown cargo box. He tells you to sign here and there so you could formally receive the package. He bids you farewell and walks away, while you gingerly carry the box and close the door with your feet.

You take it to the living room and you proceed to open it. Inside are a new plush-toy mouse, cat pillow, and water bowl that you bought for your cat. You call and show her the items, only to be met with disinterest, as she makes her way to the box. You’re left sitting on the couch, smiling in confusion and asking yourself “What is up with cats and boxes?”

The Science Behind this Odd Affair

For cat owners, they’ve seen this kind of scenario a couple of times already. They buy stuff for their cats, they call their cats, they show it to the cat, and the cat just ends up falling in love with the box at first sight. It’s like how Garfield’s eyes light up whenever he sees a tasty plate of lasagna in front of him.

So what exactly compels a cat to fill the void in a box’s life? Well according to Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, “Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide.” That may be so, but it still doesn’t directly answer the question: what is up with cats and boxes?

So what exactly compels a cat to fill the void in a box’s life? Well according to Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, “Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide.” That may be so, but it still doesn’t directly answer the question: what is up with cats and boxes?

Instinct and Behavior

Cats are natural born predators. Their bodies are made for hunting, catching, and eating prey smaller than them. They’re nocturnal. Their teeth are used to inflict tons of damage. Their claws hold prey down the same way Vise-Grips lock into position. Their paws are padded for stealth, and their bodies are flexible enough that they can fit through certain openings. Their physiology spells out that they are natural born predators, and what do predators like to do when they’re not chasing prey? Hide and rest.

Confined spaces have always attracted cats and it is in their instinct to seek it out. This is how cats keep themselves safe in the wild. Confined spaces allow them to stalk and sneak up on prey, as well as conceal themselves from other predators.

The Role of Boxes

To cats, boxes act like shelters and dens—making them feel safe because nothing can sneak up on them from behind. This means that anything with the intent of approaching a cat would have to come into direct contact with their field of vision, letting them observe the world with the comfort of not being seen. If a prey—or that new plush toy you just bought—happens to pass by, they can just jump out, grab, and return to safety in a matter of seconds.

Cats and boxes may have a peculiar relationship, but it’s not so bad. Boxes provide a comfortable and safe place for cats to rest, and cats fill in the void in the boxes’ hearts. NOW THAT’s a better love story than Twilight.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This