Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much, Anyway?

Large boxes, small boxes, if it’s big enough to climb into, almost all cats seem to love boxes. Most cats also enjoy other similar enclosed, box-like objects such as drawers, laundry baskets, sinks and paper bags.  What’s the attraction? While no one can say with certainty what goes on inside the feline mind, there are some theories:

  • They like the security of an enclosed space. A box resembles a cave and may make your cat feel secure knowing they are protected and, theoretically, cannot be attacked from behind.
  • Boxes are fun! Lots of cats seem especially playful in and around boxes. Cats enjoy jumping in and out of a box, pouncing, stalking and climbing atop boxes. Cats are little predators, and a box is a great spot from which to pounce on their prey, even if the prey is just a catnip mouse toy.
  • Boxes are cozy. Try putting a soft blanket in the bottom of your cat’s favorite box. The sides help retain the cat’s body heat making a comfy nest.
  • It’s instinctive.  When was the last time you saw your cat sleeping in the middle of a wide-open space? Cats seem to instinctively prefer smaller, more confined spaces.

Luckily, it is inexpensive to provide a box or two for your cat to enjoy. Try throwing a cat toy or two inside the box for added fun. Just make sure the box is in a safe place and that your cat can easily get in and out of the box with no risk of becoming trapped inside.

About author

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby on Google+

There are 12 comments

  • James The Cat says:


  • […] to PetMeds, the sides of the boxes help retain the cat’s body heat and the cat feels that it won’t […]

  • LBC says:

    This was really helpful!
    Thank you!

  • Joshua Goldberg says:

    You ask: “When was the last time you saw your cat sleeping in the middle of a wide-open space?”
    Answer every day, first thing in the morning my cats are asleep in the puddle of sunshine on my bed. Then, around about 1pm (give or take depending on time of year) when the sun moves to the south side of my house, you’ll find them sprawled in a puddle of sunshine in the middle of the living room rug.
    The rest of the article seems pretty legit though.

  • Dan says:

    I find my cat lying in the centre of hallways, or even in the middle of the kitchen or living room floor.

  • MyMiniMonk says:

    Mine just love cardboard. The reasons listed say that it’s because it’s a confined space, but mine will lay on a flat piece of cardboard without sides. And they sleep out in the open all the time. We also have a stray who loves our barn, so we decided to feed him and he’s stuck around. I see him sleeping out in the back yard without anything else around him. Just right out there in the open, enjoying the sunshine, snoozing away.

  • JimmyMac says:

    I had an outdoor cat, not mine, a neighbors, who would come and sun himself by laying in a cluster of leaves in the afternoon sun… In the winter he would use a cardboard box stuffed with hay that I placed on my porch to keep warm…

  • […] prefer smaller, more confined spaces." <- so you could be onto something. ; P Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much, Anyway? | PetMeds.org Reply With […]

  • […] The sides help retain the cat’s body heat making a comfy nest. […]

  • total says:

    You’re stupid joshua goldberg. The cats are sleeping in those places on purpose. its because of the sunlight you Nimrod

  • wow says:

    Wow, strong response there, “total”. Nothing Joshua said was wrong. I’m sure he realizes the cat likes those spots because of the sunshine. But they’re still wide-open spaces, so his reply is legitimate, unlike your ridiculous personal attack.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    Receive updates from 1800PetMeds