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Why cats love empty boxes and bags

Why cats love empty boxes and bags

Posted by Patricia on 28th May 2022

If you've ever had the honor of living with a cat, you know they're different than dogs in a few ways. For example, most cats prefer empty boxes and paper bags over shiny new toys if given a choice. Many people say this is unexplainable, and they chalk it up to cats being quirky.

Which is only partly correct. Here are some more reasons:

1. Cats get many of their needs met with those cardboard and paper cast-offs. One is their desire for enclosed spaces which provide them with a feeling of security. Cats think the boxes and bags hide them. In their minds, predators can't surprise them from the side or rear, but they can identify and sneak up on prey (like you, the dog, and any other family member) from the front of their "secret" location.

2. Boxes and bags are natural mental health tools for cats. Most people don't realize that felines are not good at handling stressful situations. But if provided with secret hideaways, cats can destress in solitude.

3. While cats don't deal well with stress, they are even worse at handling change. If you have a specific box in the house where kitty likes to hang out, keeping it there all the time will help him deal with other changes in the house, such as strangers coming in and out or where you place his food bowl.

A study conducted by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands worked with a group of animal shelter cats. About half were assigned boxes, and the other half were not. Study results showed that "the cats with the boxes recovered faster and adapted to their environment quicker."

4. Cats adore warm spots and thrive in temperatures around 98.6F. Cardboard boxes fit the bill perfectly. They are insulated and become an excellent shelter where kitty can maintain his body heat, curl up, and feel safe and sound.

5. Felines love the texture of cardboard and the rattling of paper bags. They're like dreams come true. Cats can blow off some steam and get some exercise by biting, scratching, and shredding those boxes. Paper bags also entice kitty to get active and capture prey that may or may not be in the bottom of the bags.

While you may see a simple cardboard box, your cat sees a safe cave that promises warmth and protection. Try providing your cat with a box in your home to help him stay safe, and throw in a few paper bags to keep him entertained and happy.

Sources:

Purina

Why do cats like boxes?

https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/cats/behaviour/common-questions/why-do-cats-like-boxes#:~:text=Cats%20get%20comfort%20and%20security,from%20the%20side%20or%20behind.

Comfort Zone

Why do cats like boxes?

https://www.comfortzone.com/behavior-blog/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-like-boxes