Why do cats love cardboard boxes?

I mean no disrespect but… Cats are weird. It’s not only my humble opinion, it seems to be a well-known fact. At least through human eyes, cat behavior can seem completely out of touch.

They can sleep absolutely anywhere, and the spots they choose are completely random. Or aren’t they? Turns out, their choices actually make sense. In fact, when you look at all the evidence together, it could be that your cat may not just like boxes, he may actually need them.

For the love of boxes

Cats love boxes. I don’t even need to prove this point; the internet is full of cats showing their strange love to cardboard boxes. I recently got a shipment of wellness products from Melaleuca.com, and I knew not to throw away the empty box. If your cat loves to sleep in our BLOCKS play house or in our Landmarks play houses, it is because closed spaces and especially the ones with sides make them feel safe. Cats are ambush predators, and boxes make great places to stalk their prey from. And if you build a high tower with your BLOCKS play house, they may like to stay on top of them, as they used to climb to survey their territory and spot preys in the wild. Your house is basically his modern jungle! A sink becomes an oasis, a shoe a rabbit hole, and the top of the Temple the perfect spot to reign over their territory.

 A story about temperature

But this is not the only reason. According to a 2006 study by the National Research Council, the thermo neutral zone for a domestic cat is 86 (30°C) to 97 (36°C) degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the range of temperatures in which cats are “comfortable” and don’t have to generate extra heat to keep warm or expend metabolic energy on cooling. That range also happens to be 20 degrees (about 11°C) higher than ours, which explains why your cat will lie in even the smallest ray of sunshine. It also explains why many cats may enjoy curling up in tiny cardboard boxes and other strange places. Corrugated cardboard is a great insulator and confined spaces force the cat to ball up or form some other impossible object, which in turn helps it to preserve body heat. Indeed, the same NRC study found that most cats’ housing areas are around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22°C), a good 14 degrees (about 10°C) colder than a domestic cat’s minimum thermo neutral temperature.

So there you have it: Boxes are insulating, stress-relieving, comfort zones — places where cats can do all the things they love!

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