Cats in Boxes: The Inseparable Duo.
A couple years ago, there was a craze that took over the Twittersphere.
Cat owners from all across the globe were joining in to find out whether they’d see the same results.
So, what is this craze we are referring about?
We all know that cats love climbing into cardboard boxes and other tight spaces,
But what about ‘climbing’ into a tape-marked square on the floor?
Thousands of cat owners took to marking out a square on the floor, before sitting back and watching their cats’ reactions.
Guess what happened?
Most cats ended up ‘climbing’ into this imaginary box!
We are all use to seeing cats in boxes, but why do they have this natural inclination to be in tight, secure spaces?
Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?
It seems to be common sense that cats love squeezing into tight and secure spaces, at least for us cat owners.
We can understand that just as we feel comfortable and relaxed under our duvets at night, cats must feel comfortable and relaxed in their favorite boxes.
From birth, cats are exposed to multiple siblings – what we refer to as a litter.
In these early stages, while the kittens are still young and unable to fend for themselves, they spend the majority of time tightly snuggled with their mother and siblings.
This provides them with warmth, security and comfort.
Researchers have suggested that the reason why cats love climbing into tight spaces, such as cardboard boxes, is because the contact with the interior of the box replicates the experience of huddling.
More specifically, the feeling of being in a tight and secure area causes the release of endorphins – natural feel-good chemicals – which reduces stress and provides a feeling of comfort to the cat.
So, seeing cats in boxes not only makes us smile, but also makes them feel great too!
How Can We Use This Knowledge of Cats in Boxes to Improve Their Wellbeing?
The knowledge of cats feeling comforted and relaxed while in tight spaces has been put to the test by a group of Dutch researchers.
They studied whether providing hiding boxes to shelter cats would help them adjust to their new environment quicker than those without boxes.
Their findings showed that cats who were provided a hiding box were better able to adapt to their new environment compared to cats who weren’t provided a hiding box.
The study concluded that a hiding box appears to be an important enrichment to enable cats to cope effectively with stressors in a new environment – especially during the first few weeks.
Cats in Boxes: What Does It All Mean?
From all we have discussed in this article, we can conclude a few things:
- Cats will happily climb into an imaginary box as marked on the floor by tape.
- Cats enjoy tight, secure spaces as it makes them feel relaxed and comforted similar to when they were first born.
- Tight, secure spaces releases endorphins in the cat’s body which makes them feel happy and relaxed.
- Providing hiding boxes for cats being introduced to a new environment, such as a shelter, can significantly improve their wellbeing (at least in the short-term).