Why Cats Like Boxes?

As a cat owner, you’ve probably seen your furry friend’s fascination with cardboard boxes.

It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, your cat loves the feeling of being in a cozy and confined space. But why do cats love boxes so much?

Are they just cute creatures trying to find a good hiding spot or is there something more to it? The truth is, cats are instinctively drawn to small and secure spaces.

It reminds them of a time when they were in the wild and needed shelter from the environment and prey. In those times, they found safe havens in small caves and crevices.

Furthermore, cats are territorial creatures who like to have their own space. That’s why they happily claim the boxes as their territory and refuse to leave, even if you offer them a better or more comfortable spot.

But what makes cardboard boxes so special? One theory is that the material gives off a slight scent similar to their natural pheromones, making them feel more at home.

So next time you see your feline friend snuggled up in a box, remember that it’s not just cute antics; it’s their natural instincts at play.

What is the Appeal of Boxes to Cats?

Boxes offer cats a sense of security and comfort, which is vital to their well-being.

Cats may be curious creatures, but they also crave a cozy place to call their own. Boxes provide the perfect enclosed space for cats to feel protected while still being able to keep an eye on their surroundings.

Moreover, boxes are not only comforting but offer endless opportunities for playfulness. Cats love to hunt, and boxes give them a chance to indulge in their natural instincts.

They can hide inside the box and pounce on unsuspecting prey such as toys or other household objects, providing hours of entertainment. In addition to security and playfulness, warmth is another factor that makes boxes so appealing to cats.

As we all know, cats adore warm spots to curl up in, and boxes offer just the right amount of insulation to keep them cozy. Boxes also provide a sense of privacy, which is especially important for cats that live in multi-pet households or need a quiet space to retreat.

Lastly, it’s possible that cats are attracted to the texture and smell of boxes. Cardboard boxes are made from wood pulp, which contains chemicals that some cats find pleasing.

Additionally, boxes may have traces of food or other scents that attract cats. As you can see, there are multiple reasons why cats find boxes irresistible.

The Sense of Security Theory

Well, the Sense of Security Theory suggests that it’s not just a coincidence.

As predators, cats have an innate instinct to seek out small, enclosed spaces where they can hide and observe their surroundings without being seen. Boxes provide the perfect environment for this behavior as they offer a cozy and secure space where cats can retreat and feel protected.

But it’s not just about safety. Boxes also give cats a sense of ownership and control, which is crucial for territorial creatures like them.

By claiming a box as their own, cats can establish dominance and control over their environment, reducing anxiety and stress levels. It’s important to note that not all cats are drawn to boxes in the same way.

Some may prefer other enclosed spaces like bags or baskets, while others may not be interested in enclosed spaces at all.

However, for many cats, the allure of a cozy box is simply irresistible, and understanding the Sense of Security Theory can help you provide your feline friend with an environment that meets their natural instincts and makes them feel safe and secure.

The Vantage Point Theory

This theory suggests that cats are instinctively drawn to boxes because they provide a sense of safety and control. As natural observers, cats feel more at ease when they can survey their surroundings while still feeling hidden and secure.

Boxes offer the perfect combination of these elements, allowing cats to peek out and observe their environment while remaining hidden from view. Not only do boxes offer a safe vantage point for cats, but they also allow them to monitor their surroundings without being noticed.

As predators, cats need to remain vigilant for potential prey or threats. By using a box as a lookout spot, they can stay alert and aware without being exposed, which makes them feel safe and secure.

But the benefits of boxes don’t end there. The enclosed space of a box provides a cozy and snug environment that appeals to cats’ natural instinct to seek out warm and secure places to sleep.

The Texture and Smell Theory

Cats have an incredible sense of smell and are extremely sensitive to scents in their environment.

This is where the Texture and Smell Theory comes into play, suggesting that cats are fond of boxes because of the materials they are made of and the smells they hold. Boxes have a particular scent that is appealing to cats, particularly if the box has been previously used or contains an item with a strong aroma.

It’s no secret that cats enjoy exploring and interacting with their surroundings using their sense of smell. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they find boxes alluring.

Moreover, the texture of a box can be satisfying for cats to scratch and rub against, which can help them mark their territory and release stress. The rough texture of cardboard boxes offers the perfect surface for scratching and rubbing, making them irresistible to our feline friends.

In addition to texture and scent, the size of the box can also be appealing to cats as it provides them with a snug and enclosed space where they can feel secure. It’s like having their own personal hideout where they can observe their surroundings without feeling exposed.

Research has shown that the Texture and Smell Theory is supported by the fact that cats prefer boxes that have been scented with catnip or other familiar scents. Some cat owners have even reported their cats ignoring expensive cat beds in favor of a simple cardboard box.

The unique sensory experience provided by the texture and scent of a box is comforting and stimulating for our furry friends, making it the perfect hiding spot and play area for them.

How Can Cat Owners Take Advantage of This?

You’ve probably noticed your feline friend’s obsession with boxes.

But did you know that you can use this behavior to your advantage? Here’s how to take advantage of your cat’s love for boxes and provide them with physical and mental stimulation while also serving as a form of relaxation and stress relief.

Firstly, cats have an innate love for enclosed spaces, which is why they seek refuge in boxes. But it’s not just any box – providing them with boxes of different sizes and shapes, along with a soft blanket or cushion inside the box, makes it a cozy and comfortable spot for your furry friend to relax.

Boxes can also be used as a tool for environmental enrichment.

You can create a maze or obstacle course using several boxes, providing your cat with a fun and stimulating activity. You can even hide treats or toys inside the boxes to encourage your cat to explore and play.

This not only keeps your cat entertained but also helps to keep them mentally sharp. In addition, providing your cat with a box can serve as a stress-reducing mechanism.

If your cat is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, they may seek refuge in a box as a form of self-soothing. By providing them with this safe and enclosed space, you can help alleviate their stress and anxiety.


In conclusion, the age-old question of why cats love boxes can be answered by looking at their natural instincts.

Boxes provide cats with a sense of security, ownership, and control over their environment. The cozy and snug environment that boxes offer also appeals to cats’ innate desire to seek out warm and secure places to sleep.

But it’s not just about comfort – boxes can also serve as a tool for environmental enrichment. By creating mazes or obstacle courses and hiding treats or toys inside them, we can stimulate our feline friends’ minds while providing them with a fun activity.

As cat owners, understanding why our furry friends love boxes is crucial in creating an environment that meets their natural instincts and makes them feel safe and secure. Offering different sizes and shapes of boxes with soft blankets or cushions inside can create a comfortable spot for them to relax.

So the next time you catch your cat curled up in a box, remember that it’s not just cute antics; it’s their instinctual behavior at play.