Unveiling the Mystery: Why Do Cats Choose Cardboard Boxes Over Luxurious Beds?

Dive into the feline psyche with our exploration of a peculiar cat quirk: their curious preference for a plain cardboard box over the comfort of a plush bed.

This seemingly whimsical choice is actually a complex tapestry woven from the threads of instinct, necessity, and play.

From the cozy confines that cater to their warmth-seeking behaviors to the textured surfaces that call to their primal instincts, cardboard boxes are more than meets the eye. They are a haven, a playground, and a stress-reliever all rolled into one.

1. How Cardboard Boxes Serve as the Perfect Insulation for Cats

Cardboard is a material with a high thermal property due to its corrugated design, which traps air and creates a layer of insulation.

This natural characteristic makes cardboard boxes an ideal place for cats to seek warmth. In a box, a cat’s body heat is retained more effectively than in an open bed, creating a snug and warm environment that adjusts to their body temperature.


2.The Intriguing Texture of Cardboard for Feline Scratching

The unique texture of cardboard is particularly appealing to cats. It is satisfying to scratch, allowing them to mark their territory with the scent glands in their paws.

This scratching also serves as a form of exercise, helping cats to stretch their muscles and maintain claw health by removing the dead outer layers.

Additionally, the noise cardboard makes when scratched can be intriguing and enjoyable for cats, providing sensory feedback that softer beds don’t.


3. Cardboard Boxes as a Natural Safe Haven for Cats

Cats are descendants of hunters who used stealth and the element of surprise to catch their prey. Small, confined spaces like boxes simulate the environmental niches cats would seek out in the wild—places where they can hide and feel secure.

A box’s walls also give them a visual advantage, as they can see out without being seen, tapping into their predatory instincts to observe and plan their “attack” even if it’s just on a passing toy or an unsuspecting human foot.

4. Understanding Cats’ Need for a Secure Environment

The security a box provides can be incredibly calming for a cat. In the wild, being exposed could mean a higher risk of being caught by a predator.

A box feels safer to a cat because it limits the angles from which they can be approached. For domestic cats, this translates into reduced stress because the box serves as a controlled environment where external stimuli are minimized, and they can relax fully.


5. How a Simple Container Becomes a Center of Feline Play

Cats are inherently curious creatures who enjoy exploring their environment. A cardboard box represents an ever-changing playground. They can jump in and out, claw at it, and even chew on it without being reprimanded.

The box’s confined space also appeals to their instinct to burrow and hide, and the sound of the cardboard responds to their play with crinkling noises, which can be similar to the sound of small prey moving through grass or leaves.

So the next time you find your cat ditching the expensive bed for a simple box, remember, they’re embracing an instinctual comfort that we might not fully understand, but can certainly appreciate.

What has been your cat’s most amusing box-related antic? Share your stories with us and let’s celebrate the quirky, endearing behaviors that make our cats the beloved and mysterious companions we adore.


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.