Cats and Boxes - The Mystery Explained

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It’s a mystery that has perplexed cat owners for centuries: why do cats love boxes? Take Lola the cat for example; she loves nothing more than curling up in an empty vacuum cleaner box. But why? While the jury is still out on the exact reasons why cats are so fond of boxes, there are a few potential explanations.

Are there any evolutionary reason for cats to love boxes?

Studies have shown that cats may have an innate fascination with boxes due to evolutionary instincts. According to a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science quoted by some authoritative sources, cats may be instinctively drawn to boxes due to their resemblance to dens, which cats would have used in the wild to escape predators and hide from danger.

a black and white cat peeking out of a cardboard box
What did you say now?

Low Stress – More Boxes

Not only the evolutionary reasons have a play in the cat’s love of cardboard boxes. It is also well pictured in the physical and mental virtues that the purr bodies have in. Spending time in a box will reduce cat’s stress levels because it can observe the surroundings behind a wall. 

And the stress and anxiety levels go down while being in the dark as they know that no one is observing them. Three researchers from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht found this. Not only the reduction of stress and improvement of relaxation, the cats also experience the sense of comfort and safety within a confined space. Also it offers a way of self controlling sense. They usually use boxes as the favourite sleeping place. Talking about the sleep, wanna find out why cats sleep 16 hours a day? Follow the link to read more. 

What can we drive from the above? Well, we might not be able to solve the mystery fully. But now we know that cats benefit so much mentally from their time in the box.

Significance of Cats and Boxes – The Five Points

In addition to the above main reason, we have found that the following five reasons are why cats choose to select boxes as their instant love. 

an ash and white cat standing on a box
Time to sleep, AGAIN!!

1. Personal Panic Room

The safety and security are like the first two words of a cat’s dictionary. Do you notice how soon cats react to external stimuli from the environment? This is because they love safety. With the safety parameter, there comes the privacy. They love private security entities. In addition on a cold day, it would provide warmth and effectively act as the purrfect scratching post to sharpen their claws. So as a gist, cats love boxes because it is like their personal panic room.

2. Boxes are Cat’s Personal Spa

Apart from being used for panic and difficult situations, cats use boxes as their go to spa. In simpler words, the box acts as their personal destress station, like humans visit the retreats and wellness centres. Hence these provide an exceptional escape from their daily stress.

3. Not Stopping from being a relaxation centre, it is a stimulation point for cats

Cats have an innate fascination with boxes and exploring them can provide cats with both physical and mental stimulation. If you would like to enhance it more,  know that the boxes can be filled with toys or treats to keep cats entertained and encourage exploration.

Here’s the story of Cresendra, the cat and how boxes helped her to adapt the new environment after moving to a new home. 


Cresendra was a little calico cat that had just moved into a new house. Although she was a curious cat, she also exhibited a lot of timidity and was afraid of her new surroundings. Her veterinarian had suggested her owners to provide her a couple boxes so that she could use them for sleeping and as hiding places.

Cresendra hesitated to approach the boxes at first, but she eventually became accustomed to them. Soon after she started looking inside the boxes, she realized how comfortable and secure they made her feel. She would cuddle up in the boxes, purring happily as she slept off.

Cresendra began to enjoy spending time in the boxes over time. When she felt stressed or overwhelmed, she would frequently withdraw to the boxes. She felt comfortable and satisfied while she was inside the boxes because they gave her a sense of protection and solitude.

a cat in an amazon delivery box
Hey Mister, what are you looking at?

Cresendra soon became accustomed to her new residence, but she was never forgot the solace and protection the boxes offered. The boxes had aided her in settling into her new residence and adjusting to her new surroundings. Cresendra will always hold her boxes in a special place in her heart.

a cat in a box turned upside
A belly rub please, while I have some relaxation in here.

4. It can be their Gym

Boxes can also be used for playtime. Cats can hide inside a box and pounce out at unsuspecting victims, or they can climb in and out of the box for some exercise.

5. Evolutionary Significance as Lion’s Den

On an evolutionary level, boxes mimic a den and give cats a sense of security and privacy. The box can also be used as a hiding spot to protect cats from potential predators and conserve energy. In fact cats are related to Lions and other big cats and said to have evolved from them. 


In conclusion, it is clear that cats have an innate fascination with boxes. This fascination could have evolved over time as a way to protect cats from potential predators and conserve energy. Boxes also provide cats with physical and mental stimulation, as well as social and psychological benefits. From providing a cozy, enclosed space to act as a refuge from the outside world to helping cats feel safe and secure, boxes are a great way for cats to relax and find comfort. The mystery behind cats and their love for boxes may never be fully solved, but one thing is certain – cats will always be drawn to boxes time and time again. And talking about the mystery, we will constantly keep an eye on new research findings and keep updating you. 

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