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Why Do Cats Love Boxes? 5 Likely Reasons

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

ragdoll cat in the cardboard box

Cats are a lot like children in that no matter how many fancy toys, beds, or accessories you buy them, they’re just as happy with a literal cardboard box. It can be a little confusing, but you’ve got to admit that it’s really cute.

If you’ve ever wondered why cats are magnetically attracted to cardboard boxes, let us demystify it for you. There are a few reasons that work hand in hand to make cardboard boxes a cat’s favorite place in the world. Read on for the details.

The 5 Possible Reasons Cats Love Boxes

1. It’s a Safe Place

Cats might be predators out in the wild, but evolution has given them a hardwired need for safe spaces. Enclosed spaces like paper bags and cardboard boxes fit the bill to a T, with just one small entrance. It makes them feel safe to be enclosed because it means a predator can’t sneak up on them when they’re sleeping. Some speculate that the closeness reminds the cat of when they were snuggled up to their mom and litter as kittens.

And since cats much prefer to flee than fight when confronted, a box could serve as a place to retreat and observe. In one 2016 study, researchers even found that shelter cats given a cardboard box displayed markedly lower stress levels compared to boxless cats!1

cat inside cardboard box
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Cardboard Is a Good Insulator

Cardboard is a widely available, cheap material with good insulating properties, so it’s no wonder cats love them. Our feline friends run a little warmer than us, with an average body temperature of 99 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, so cooler homes might be a bit uncomfortable. A nice cardboard box keeps your kitty off the ground, which could be even colder than your thermostat.

3. They’re Handy Ambush Spots

As ambush predators, cats are always on the lookout for places to hide, watch, and stalk prey. Even our domesticated house cats have this natural urge, and cardboard boxes satisfy it wonderfully. Cats will sit and watch any nearby moving targets, waiting for the perfect chance to pounce. With enclosed spaces like boxes, it lets them focus without worrying about being snuck up on.

cat in cardboard box
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. They’re Fun!

Cats see novelty value in things we humans would never consider: a ball of yarn, a new rug, fake plants, and yes, even boxes. A box gives a cat not only a cozy, warm sleeping spot but a way to blow off some steam. They can bat it around, roll around in it, knead on the cardboard, and even shred thinner boxes. A cat might love a new toy, but they’ll love the box that comes with it too.

5. They’re Cozy Beds

Cats spend a lot of their time sleeping, so it’s essential you give your kitty a space they feel comfortable in. With all the benefits listed above, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place your cat would prefer to sleep. Before investing in an expensive cat bed they might not even like, consider just putting a nice, clean blanket in a regular old box and seeing how they like it.

white cat lying on cardboard box
Image Credit: Piqsels


Cats like the weirdest stuff, and cardboard is one of the cheapest ways you can keep your furry friend happy. The enclosed space will make them feel safe, warm, and even keep them occupied on lazy afternoons.

Featured Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

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