If you’ve ever seen those hilarious photos of cats in small spaces, you’re probably wondering why felines seem to enjoy wedging themselves into tiny cardboard boxes and oddly shaped containers. Chances are you’ve even stumbled upon your kitty curled up in the sink before. As it turns out, this quirky cat behavior has a lot to do with feeling safe.
Domesticated kitties have nothing to worry about if they live indoors (except maybe an empty food bowl or a pesky dog), but they still crave a safe space that’s out of view of potential predators, Karen van Haaften, DVM, told Chewy.com. A new shoebox or an empty giftbag are the perfect cover for a sleeping kitty.
Cats may also gravitate toward tight spaces because it helps them stay warm, van Haaften explained. They may also like the pressure of a box’s sides, similar to the way humans enjoy the pressure of a hug or a weighted blanket. On the other hand, you might simply have an inquisitive kitty who wants to explore and claim this new object.
It can be annoying that your cat wants to hang out in his new box instead of the expensive jungle gym you just bought him, but don’t force your kitty to give up his favorite spot. It’s important for cats to find places to unwind and decompress (after all, we’re sure spending 18 hours each day sleeping and the rest begging for food can be exhausting).
Experts recommend cat-proofing areas of the house you don’t want your kitty frequenting, such as under the car in the garage. But other than that, you should let sleeping cats lie. It’s not recommended that you force your kitty to hang out in a specific spot unless they want to be there.
One thing to watch for is a scaredy cat. These felines may like hiding under the bed or in the closet because something in the house — be it a person or another animal — is making them uncomfortable. Usually, your cat will eventually grow accustomed to this new stimulus (or your guests will go home), and things will return to normal. However, you may need to speak with a vet if your kitty continues to stress out and is overly anxious.
Now that you know why cats seem to be obsessed with cardboard boxes, you can at least save money on expensive cat toys.