Why All Cats Love Cardboard Boxes

Why All Cats Love Cardboard Boxes

How many of us have purchased an expensive carpeted climbing tree for our cat, only to discover that Kitty’s favorite hide out is still the empty Amazon box from yesterday’s delivery?

A Reader’s Digest article I read in my doctor’s office offered some explanations for this feline fascination. There’s the obvious predation advantage: Cats are ambush predators, and boxes provide great hiding places to stalk prey from (and retreat to). But there’s much more going on here.

Dutch animal behavior researchers provided hiding boxes for a group of newly arrived cats at a Dutch animal shelter, while depriving another group of cats access to boxes entirely. The researchers found a significant reduction in the stress levels of cats that had boxes compared to those who didn’t. The box cats got used to their surroundings faster, were far less stressed early on, and were more interested in interacting with humans.

Hiding is their method of dealing with stress. I sometimes see cats run across the exam table to hide in the sink, and often we will leave stressed cats in the bottom half of their carriers for an exam which usually makes the whole process calmer for all involved.

When we hospitalize cats, we provide what we call “hide boxes” for them, which most take advantage of.

According to a 2006 study, the thermoneurtral zone for a domestic cat is 86 to 97 F. Tn that range they don’t have to expend heat or cool themselves. Our neutral range in our houses is 20 degrees cooler, so it’s no wonder cats sleep on top of radiator boxes or seek out that sunny spot on the floor. Corrugated cardboard is a great insulator, and confined spaces force the cat to curl up, which helps to preserve body heat.

So, at least one feline mystery is solved. Boxes are insulating, stress-relieving comfort zones where a cat can hide, relax, sleep, and occasionally launch a sneak attack against it’s animal house mates or the huge, unpredictable apes they live with.

SUMMER BOARDING KENNEL ALERT! Many kennels and doggie day cares will be requiring Canine Flu vaccines by this summer. The two strains of Canine Flu in the US are novel viruses that ALL DOGS WHO CONTACT IT WILL CONTRACT.

Social dogs who frequently go to day care, dog parks, or kennels should be immunized twice the first year, then annually. Many of our local doggie daycares and kennels have imposed a time deadline by which your dog must be immunized. To assist our clients’ compliance, if your pet has had a wellness exam within the past six months and is not obviously ill, a technician visit can be scheduled for the initial immunization and boost 2-4 weeks later.

Call our receptionists to set up a flu vaccine appointment.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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