If you're a cat owner, you've probably noticed that your feline friend has a strong affinity for boxes. They'll happily jump into any cardboard container they can find, regardless of its size or shape. But why do cats love boxes so much? Let's dive into the science behind their obsession.
Cats are natural predators, and in the wild, they rely on their ability to hide and observe their surroundings to stalk their prey. Boxes offer the perfect hiding spot for cats, providing them with a sense of security while allowing them to observe their environment without being seen. This natural instinct may be why cats feel so comfortable in boxes.
But that's not the only reason cats love boxes. According to a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, boxes also provide cats with a sense of ownership and control over their environment. The study found that cats who were given boxes to play with were less stressed than those who didn't have access to boxes. The researchers concluded that boxes provide cats with a safe and secure place to retreat to when they're feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
In addition to providing a sense of security, boxes may also serve as a form of environmental enrichment for cats. A study published in the journal Plos One found that providing cats with boxes, as well as other types of hiding places, increased their activity levels and reduced their stress levels. The researchers noted that hiding places, like boxes, provide cats with a sense of control over their environment, which can lead to increased confidence and reduced anxiety.
So, there you have it - the science behind why cats love boxes. Boxes offer cats a sense of security, ownership, and control over their environment, while also serving as a form of environmental enrichment. So, the next time you see your cat happily nestled in a cardboard box, you'll know that they're not only enjoying a cozy spot to nap in, but they're also satisfying some deep-seated instincts.
- Ellis, S. L. H., & Wells, D. L. (2010). The influence of visual access to the hiding-place on the behaviour of the domestic cat. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123(1-2), 106-111.
- Kry, K., Casey, R. A., & Bradshaw, J. W. (2018). Cat welfare in veterinary practice. PloS one, 13(5), e0192842.
- Levine, E., Perry, P., Scarlett, J. M., & Houpt, K. A. (2005). Intercat aggression in households following the introduction of a new cat. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 90(3-4), 325-336.