Scenic Erie Station Village

Make Your Cat Happy with Boxes

Cat laying on its back in a cardboard box. Image credit: Arina Krasnikova

May 2024


Cats and cardboard boxes are a match made in feline heaven. If you’ve ever left an empty box lying around, you’ve probably noticed how quickly your cat claims it as their new favorite spot. But why do cats love cardboard boxes so much? The reasons are rooted in their biology and behavior, and understanding these can help you use boxes to entertain and comfort your furry friend.

Why Cat’s Love Boxes

Cats are natural hunters and survivors. In the wild, they seek out enclosed spaces to hide from predators and to ambush prey. A cardboard box provides a safe, enclosed space where your cat can feel secure and hidden from the world. The walls of the box offer protection, making it the perfect spot for your cat to relax without feeling exposed.

Cats are known for their love of warmth. The insulating properties of cardboard help retain heat, creating a cozy environment for your cat to curl up in. This is especially appealing in cooler months or in homes that may not always be warm enough for your cat’s liking.

In addition, enclosed spaces like boxes can help reduce a cat’s stress levels. When faced with a new environment or stressful situation, a box provides a safe haven where your cat can retreat and feel secure. Studies have shown that cats in shelters with access to boxes adapt more quickly to their surroundings and exhibit less stress-related behavior.

How to Entertain Your Cat with Boxes

Sometimes, the simplest toys are the best. An empty box can provide hours of entertainment for your cat. They can jump in and out, hide, and even nap in it. The unpredictable nature of a box’s flaps and openings makes it a constantly changing playground for your cat.

The Box Maze

If you have multiple boxes, you can create a box maze or fortress for your cat. Cut holes in the sides of the boxes and connect them with tunnels made from additional cardboard or other materials. This setup mimics the complexity of a wild environment, allowing your cat to explore and satisfy their natural curiosity and hunting instincts.

Toys and Treats

Enhance your cat’s box experience by adding toys or treats inside. This encourages your cat to play and explore the box even more. You can dangle a feather toy from the top of the box or hide treats inside to make a fun, interactive game.

Scratch and Sniff

Cats love to scratch, and cardboard boxes provide a satisfying surface for this activity. You can sprinkle a bit of catnip inside the box to make it even more enticing. Scratching not only helps cats keep their claws in good condition but also allows them to mark their territory with scent glands in their paws.

Using Boxes to Comfort Your Cat

When introducing a new cat to your home, providing a cardboard box can help them acclimate more quickly. The box offers a safe space where they can observe their new environment without feeling overwhelmed. Place the box in a quiet area where your cat can retreat whenever they need to.

Even in familiar surroundings, cats sometimes need a place to hide. Keeping a few boxes around the house gives your cat options for when they want to retreat from the hustle and bustle. These hiding spots can be particularly useful during loud events, such as parties or thunderstorms.

Try turning a box into a cozy bed by adding a soft blanket or towel. This combination of a secure, enclosed space and a comfortable sleeping surface is irresistible to many cats. You can also add a piece of your clothing to the box. Your scent will be comforting to your cat, making the box an even more attractive spot.

Cardboard boxes are more than just simple playthings for cats. They tap into their natural instincts, providing comfort, security, and entertainment. By understanding why cats love boxes, you can use them to enrich your cat’s environment and improve their overall well-being. At Erie Station Village, we love cats and think that having a pet enhances life. That’s why we’re pet friendly! If you’re interested in getting a cat, dog, or other pet, please reach out to the leasing office to learn more about our pet policy.