Why does your cat like boxes?
Holly O Purr relaxes in her box.
Understanding why your cat like sitting in a box, bag or drawer.
Charlie ShortTail says : Cats like boxes because:
Cats enjoy a feeling of safety and security when sitting or sleeping in a box.
A box can be lovely and warm –the cardboard provides insulation and cats love warmth.
The ideal temperature for a cat is somewhere around 86-97 degrees or 30-36 oC – our homes are generally cooler than this.
Play – cats enjoy hiding and then pouncing on unsuspecting prey or toys, and even other pets or family.
A cardboard box is great to scratch and bite.
Lando sat in this little box to play and also hid his favourite mouse toy in the box.
Do not disturb – your cat can sleep or rest and not be bothered by you or others.
Cats sleep for around 18-20 hours per day.
A box can provide stress relief – a sort of getting away from it all.
Research by some scientists seems to show that rescue cats given boxes are able to cope better and adjust to new surroundings quicker.
Cats are difficult to study and we still do not know all the reasons why cats love boxes, large, small, tiny and of course drawers, suitcases, handbags, bowls and even shoes.
Leo loves to hide away in a bag.
Holly O Purr sitting pretty in the drawer.
Sources and more detailed information on why cats love boxes.
According to the metro.co.uk
‘Studies collated by Bryan Gardiner at Wired.com have revealed the main reasons behind your cats affinity with boxes.
Firstly, they’re a source of stress-relief. Gardiner cites a recent study by veterinarian Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University in the Netherlands who monitored the stress levels in shelter cats.
After providing hiding boxes for a group of newly arrived domestic cats while depriving another group of them completely, she found a dramatic difference in stress levels between the two groups.
In a nutshell – cats with boxes became accustomed to their new surroundings faster, seemed less stressed faster and sought human company sooner.
Secondly, your cat prefers to flee, rather than fight and a box might represents the perfect shelter from conflict, or just too much attention.’
The ‘Metro’ also refers to ‘The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behaviour’ : ‘Cats do not appear to develop conflict resolution strategies to the extent that more gregarious species do, so they may attempt to circumvent agonistic encounters by avoiding others or decreasing their activity.’
An article in Cathealth.com refers to a recent study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that boxes can actually help reduce a cat’s stress levels.
Reducing stress for new cats or for shelter cats
A group of new shelter cats were randomly assigned to either receive a box or not. After just a few days, researchers reported that the cats that were given boxes recovered faster and adapted to their environment more quickly than the cats without boxes.
The dailymail.co.uk also states that according to a report by Bryan Gardiner in Wired.com veterinarian Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University in the Netherlands recently studied stress levels in shelter cats. She discovered that cats who had boxes got used to their new surroundings faster than those who didn’t because the boxes acted as a coping mechanism.
Care2.com refers to an article by Steven B Williams /February 9, 2015
Steve writes that: ‘This box-loving aspect of a cat’s personality has long puzzled their human carers, and it’s also caught the attention of scientists. Researchers, who published their findings in Applied Animal Behaviour, investigated whether hiding in boxes might reduce stress for cats in animal shelters.
While most species of dog can adapt to shelter environments relatively quickly, cats often experience high levels of stress. Previous studies have shown that cats prefer areas where they have the ability to hide, but until now scientists have not studied whether so-called “hiding enrichment” might benefit a cat’s sense of well-being and specifically if providing boxes for cats to hide in might help to ease those turbulent first few weeks in a new shelter.
To investigate this, researchers took 19 newly arrived cats in a Dutch animal shelter and randomly split them into two groups, one where the cats would be given access to hiding boxes, and one group who wouldn’t have access. The researchers then observed the cats for 14 days, and they used a scale known as the Kessler and Turner Cat-Stress-Score to estimate, based on visual clues and habits like grooming and eating, how stressed the cats were during this initial settling-in time.
The researchers found that by day three and four there were significant differences in the stress levels exhibited by cats without boxes to those who had boxes, with the cats who had hiding boxes showing a total average stress score lower than their non-box counterparts. An interesting note is that box-access seemed to reduce stress no matter the breed of cat, suggesting that this isn’t just a preference for some but a much more firmly ingrained cat trait.’
Charlie says that a box can be a nice place to relax away from stress and all cats like to feel secure and safe.
Providing a box or hide-away container can help nervous, new or cats that are in new and strange surroundings.
Charlie would like to thank his furriends Holly, Jo, Lando and Gertie for their gorgeous pictures.