Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

Cats and boxes: we've all witnessed this love story. It's almost impossible to resist smiling at the sight of a cat cozying up inside a cardboard box. But why do cats like boxes so much? 

In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind this curious behavior, examine its evolutionary explanations, and discuss the benefits of box play for cats. Whether you're a cat parent or simply curious about your furbaby's behavior, you will enjoy this post!

Here are 5 reasons why cats like boxes:

  1. Sense of security - Boxes provide a small, enclosed space that can make cats feel secure and protected. It's a cozy spot where they can hide away and observe their surroundings without feeling vulnerable.

  2. The appeal of a confined space - Cats are natural predators who tend to seek out small, confined spaces to stalk and pounce on their prey. Boxes offer the perfect environment for this kind of play.

  3. Conservation of energy - Cats are known for being expert nappers, and they love to conserve their energy whenever possible. Curling up inside a box provides a warm, comfortable spot to rest and recharge.

  4. Comfortable and warm - Many boxes are made of materials that retain heat, such as cardboard, which makes them a cozy and warm spot for cats to lounge in.

  5. Playfulness - Finally, cats are curious creatures that love to explore and play with their surroundings. Boxes provide endless entertainment and fun, whether it's playing hide-and-seek, jumping in and out, or batting at flaps and corners.

Boxes reduce stress in cats

Giving cats hiding boxes is a straightforward method to manage stress and adjust more quickly to life in a shelter found in a study published in PLOS ONE. The researchers measured the Cat-Stress-Score (CSS) of 23 European shorthair stray cats. 

The score measures feline stress that considers the posture of various body elements (such as the belly, legs, tail, head, eyes, pupils, ears, and whiskers) and behavior, including vocalization and activity. 

The CSS decreased for all cats, but those with access to a hiding box demonstrated a notably faster decrease in this score. This group also recovered from their stress a full seven days earlier than the control group.

Why Do Cats Like Boxes?

Benefits of Box Play for Cats

Playing with boxes offers many benefits for cats, including physical and mental stimulation, an opportunity to express their natural behaviors, and a sense of control and ownership over their environment. 

Boxes provide cats with a fun and safe space to engage in activities like stalking, pouncing, and scratching, which help to keep them physically active and mentally sharp. 

For cats, playing with boxes also mimics the natural environments of their wild ancestors, who would hunt and hide in small, enclosed spaces. By providing cats with boxes, we're allowing them to express these innate behaviors in a safe and enjoyable way. 

Additionally, having their own designated space can give cats a sense of control and ownership over their environment, which can be especially important in busy households or shelters. 


There are many reasons, including evolutionary ones, why cats like boxes so much.

The benefits of box play for cats are also numerous, including providing physical and mental stimulation, opportunities to express natural behaviors, and a sense of control and ownership over their environment.

One study even found that providing cats with boxes to hide in can help them manage stress and adjust more quickly to life in a shelter.

In conclusion, cats and boxes go together like purrs and kneading. It's a match made in furry heaven!

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