So, you think you have found the greatest cat toy on the face of this planet. Maybe it has catnip on the inside, or makes sounds, or even has feathers. However, as most of us know, cats can take one look at the toy, turn around and plop themselves in the nearest cardboard box for entertainment. This can leave us wondering how we came to own such an ungrateful feline (and trust me you are not alone), however, there is some science as to why cats tend to prefer cardboard boxes over fancy cat toys.

There are several reasons why cats love boxes, but the main reason is that they feel confined in closed, tight spaces. Cats are ambush predators by nature, and they seek out confined, snug, warm spaces to feel safe. Cats often get security and comfort from enclosed spaces where predators cannot sneak upon them. Enclosed spaces also offer a safe zone for your cat where they can observe their environment and not be seen. They often run to enclosed spaces when feeling stressed. Cats do not have conflict resolution skills, so they tend to run and hide from their problems. A recent study found that cats who have access to cardboard boxes are more likely to adapt better to new environments and change.

Studies also noted that cardboard is a great insulator, and the material helps keep cats warm as they seek comfort. Cardboard material is also a great texture for scratching and biting, and you might find that your cat loves nothing more than to destroy your old cardboard boxes. Also, very interesting, big cats, such as lions and tigers, also love cardboard boxes. Sometimes, zoos and wildlife reserves give big cats large cardboard boxes! Big cats often respond by jumping in and out of them and having a grand time! If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s cardboard box habit, feel free to mention it to your vet at your next visit.