Why Do Cats Like Cardboard Boxes?

January 16, 2019
Where do cats get this love for cardboard boxes? We'll tell you all about why in this article!

No matter how many toys you give your cats, it seems like they’ll always prefer cardboard boxes. But why do they like them so much? The answer has to do with an instinctive behavior that they’ve developed over time to hide from natural predators.

Why do cats like cardboard boxes?

Here are some of the things that help explain why cats like cardboard boxes so much:

Instinct

Like we said above, it’s partly because of a fully instinctive behavior they’ve developed over time. This instinct to hide in small places has helped cats escape from predators in their surroundings.

Cardboard boxes and other small places make cats feel safe. When they hide, they feel like nothing can attack or hurt them. So, these small spaces have become like an oasis of peace for our little feline friends. They also give cats a wider field of vision, which helps them watch out for any other animals.

cat peeking out of a cardboard box

Curiosity

Curiosity is one of the defining traits of most catsno matter what breed they are. The combination of their natural curiosity with their instinct to hide makes cardboard boxes very attractive to them.

Of course, this doesn’t just go for cardboard boxes. They’re also very curious about any object, person, or animal that comes to their house for the first time. Your cat might sneak up and sniff and try to figure out what it is. If it’s a box, your cat will probably go inside.

Cold

This is another big reason cats like cardboard boxes. The ideal room temperature for a cat is somewhere between 86-96 degrees. If it’s any lower than that, they generally try to find somewhere warmer. Cardboard boxes are a great candidate because cardboard is one of the best materials for thermal insulation.

Jumping

Boxes are also a great place for them to jump out from. While they’re hiding inside, cats can observe everything around them. If something sparks a cat’s curiosity, it will leap on top of it. In nature, cats leap out to capture their prey, but when they’re at home they just do it to be playful and surprise you.

The perfect hiding place

Cats tend to love being alone, it’s in their nature. So, cardboard boxes are a perfect place to isolate themselves from other people and animals.

Cardboard boxes are also very practical if a cat finds itself in a situation it wants to get away from. What could be a better place to do that than its favorite cardboard hiding spot, the place it feels most in control?

Less stress

In recent years, research has shown that another big reason cats like cardboard boxes has to do with stress. According to the studies, cats with access to cardboard boxes have much lower stress levels than cats without it.

Plus, boxes don’t just make cats feel safer, they also strengthen their bond to their environment. This helps them create more positive relationships with humans and other animals.

cat looking out of cardboard box

Cardboard: play material

There are also lots of other uses for cardboard. For example, you can use it to give your cat something to play with, scratch, and chew on. Cats absolutely love doing those kinds of things over and over. It’s a great surface for a cat to sharpen its claws and stretch its muscles.

So, there are lots of reasons cats prefer a simple cardboard box to even the nicest toys. Instinct and behavior, combined with warmth, safety, and cats’ natural curiosity all make cardboard boxes a perfect hiding place for them.

So, if you normally recycle all your old boxes, keep one or two and give your furry friend a place to play and feel safe from the outside world!