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The Science Behind Why Cats Need Boxes

Posted by Sisley Dickson on

Cats all around the world are known for their strange, often unexplainable habits. They curl up in weird positions, sleep in the strangest spots, and often avoid you for no reason at all.  Cats are the world’s biggest mystery.  However, we do know that
some of this anti-social behavior is caused by stress.

A book called, The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior, states "Cats do not appear to develop conflict resolution strategies. . . so they may attempt to circumvent agonistic encounters by avoiding others or decreasing their activity." This means that cats avoid negative feelings and stress by hiding.  So, they will be more agitated and angry if they do not have a safe place to cool off by themselves.

One animal behavior scientist, Claudia Vinke, conducted an experiment on this exact topic. She had two groups of cats, onewas introduced to the study room with some boxes, and the other without them.  The study showed that the cats who had boxes to sit and hide in were in the end much less stressed when humans entered the room.  This proves that boxes can be safe places that calm cats. Professor Vinke said, “Hiding is a behavioral strategy of the species to cope with environmental changes and stressors."  This means that a cat will feel more comfortable in it’s surroundings if it has a place to hide.

Then, there is the question of comfort. There was a study conducted by the National Research Council that said that the best living temperature for a cat is 86 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.  A humans living temperature is about 20 degrees higher than that. In a cardboard box, a cat will be able to maintain a cooler temperature, and be much more comfortable.

All in all, cats will overall be much less stressed and much more happy with a safe place to hide. They will be more comfortable with their environment, and be able to live in a more pleasant climate.






Gardiner, Bryan. “Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?” Wired, Conde Nast, 25 Sept. 2019,



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