April 24, 2017 02:26 PM

Boxes and cats, what’s the deal?

Felines seems to have a magnetic attraction to boxes, even ones made out of tape. So what powers your kitty’s drive to sit in all things square and cardboard? There’s more scientific reason behind it than you might suspect.

According to The Washington Post, it all goes back to childhood. Kittens seek out the warmth and comfort of their mom’s snuggling embrace and the cuddles provided by their fellow litter mates. This is one of the reasons why swaddling calms a cat down. In these cases, the close contact releases endorphins, giving felines a natural sense of peace and pleasure.

Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, says felines receive the same boost of happiness when they are cozied up within the close sides of a box. Think of the happiness and comfort you feel wrapped up in a blanket burrito on your couch on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Who wouldn’t seek out that calming sensation?

Additionally, cats have survived over the ages by being agile, sneaky and discreet, often hiding in small spaces to avoid threats or get the jump on prey. This innate urge to find small spaces is still present in today’s domestic cats, making boxes an ideal safe space for many meowers.

Along with being cozy and safe, boxes help felines retain heat. If you’ve ever watched a cat snooze in a sunbeam, you know natural heat is a favorite among felines.

But what about the boxes that aren’t real boxes? Like tape squares on the floor? This suggestion of a box could still trigger some feelings of safety for your cat. However, it is best to treat your cat to the real deal.

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As The Washington Post points out, a Dutch study tested the effect boxes had on shelter cats by giving some adoptable kitties boxes in their cages and depriving others. Researchers found that the felines with boxes were faster to adjust to their new surroundings than their box-less cohorts. The researchers believe this is because the cats with boxes had a secure place to process the new sensations around them.

So, now that you understand why your kitty loves boxes, make sure you keep them in stock. A cat who has a cardboard retreat to enjoy, especially one with a bird’s-eye view, is likely to be a happier pet than one stuck on the ground with nowhere to go.

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