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The Mystery of the Cardboard Box

Friday, April 10, 2015

Have you ever bought a fantastically expensive, intricate cat tree or spent a fortune on new toys, only for your cat to completely ignore your efforts and pay more attention to the empty cardboard box? Yes we hear you say? So we thought!

So why do our feline companions love cardboard boxes so much? They’re not exactly the most exciting of things to play with, in fact they’re probably the complete opposite of interesting. However, no matter what size, shape or colour, you can guarantee if you have an empty box in the house, that’s where you’ll find your kitty.

According to Wired.com, it would appear that feline behavioural scientists have come up with a few explanations as to why cats have such a fascination:

Theory 1

Cats are ambush predators. A box is a great hiding place to sneak up on unsuspecting prey (which usually ends up being their human’s feet) and then have a safe place to hastily retreat to after their work is done.

Theory 2

Cats enjoy the security and comfort of confined spaces. An ethologist from Utrecht University has been studying the difference in stress levels between shelter cats that had a box to hide in against those without. Well you can imagine the results! Of course, the ones with the cardboard box settled in much faster. A cat’s natural reaction to stressful situations is to withdraw and hide – something that is true even for big cats in the wild.

Theory 3

According to a study by the National Research Council in 2006, cats have a core temperature range of 20⁰F higher than humans. Therefore they have to work harder to preserve their body heat. Cardboard boxes are great insulators or a small, confined space encourages them to ball up and keep warm, maintaining their body heat with the least amount of effort.

Well there you have it, the fascination behind cardboard boxes could actually be a necessary part of a cat’s life; not just some strange obsession from the depths of the bizarre feline brain. Although, we wouldn’t discount that entirely…

*Image Credit -How to catch a cat via cheezburger.com


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