The videos about adorable kitty run into the box, especially the part recorded its stubborn reliance upon the box will always make us can’t help but to laugh out loud.

Have you ever curious about why they are so fond of the box? Since one of their earliest foes, those rodent animals seem to live in the hole, do they need to good at finding enclosed space to find them?

Let’s stop the guesswork and follow the post to find what the relative researchers can bring us.

cat with light strip

Zachary Spears

Release the stress

Claudia Vinke, the ethologist of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is one of the researchers has been focusing on the cats’ stress condition in recent years.

In her recent research, she divided some new-coming cats nurtured into two groups in a Dutch animal shelter. One of the groups has been supplied with the boxes, while another has not.

And then there is a noticeable discrepancy on their stress level. Those cats with boxes are obviously faster in adapting to the new environment. Since the sense of security from the box, the lower level of stress makes them much eager to interact with a human.

For most cats, the first reaction when suffering the circumstances in tension will be falling back and hiding away. Claudia explained this as “Hiding is the behavioral tactic which cats will adopt when suffered the environment change and stress.”

No matter for the cats at home or wild in nature, such a feature will be the same. The only difference will be the place where they hide, the wild one may appeal to the cave or tree hole while the domestic cat will find a tree box for hiding.

sleeping cat with a toy rat

Lodewijk Hertog

Avoid the problems in a secured place

One important feature about the cats is that they do not good at coping with the conflict. For this point, The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour[1] explains such feature of the cat as “Unlike other kinds of a social animal, the cats seem not to develop a tactic to handling with conflict. Thus, they prefer to hide from their rivals or decrease their activities to avoid the conflict”.

So we may get the conclusion that the cat inclines to bypass the problem rather than solving them. And the box here will a secured zone for them to intentionally ignore the anxiety, hostility, and unnecessary concerns.

a sleepy cat in a basket

Cecilia Rodríguez Suárez

A common physical need: for warm

If you are a cat owner, you may find that the cats will not only like to squeeze themselves into the box but also can find many other quirky places to hide.

Some prefer to curl up in the sink while some others will choose shoes, big bowel, shopping bag, egg box, and other narrow places. The reason that they like the little box and some other places for our humans seem to be extremely uncomfortable is: they feel cold.
According to the research, the thermal neutral zone (the ambient temperature range in which the homothermal’s metabolism decreases to the minimum level) for the cats nurtured at home is from 30 to 36℃ (86-96℉).

They will be comfortable when staying at the proper temperature. Furthermore, they neither need to generate the heat to keep warm nor consume metabolic energy to cool down. The value of their thermal neutral zone is about 6.7℃ higher than which of the humans.

So, in the summer, when you see the neighboring cat stretch its limbs and lie in the middle of the road to expose himself/ herself under the sunlight, you really don’t need to feel weird of this.

That is why the cats like to curl up in a little box and some other narrow spaces. The thick paperboard performs well in heat insulation. The narrow space requires them to curl up the body which will further help them to keep warm.

Another research also indicates that most cat houses are located under the circumstance below 22℃. Uh-huh, now you know why they will always need to get themselves a box to hide.


[1] Turner D C . The domestic cat: the biology of its behavior [J]. Quarterly Review of Biology, 2013.