As long as the box is placed on the ground, on a chair or on a bookcase, the cat will quickly lie in and take possession of it. How do we explain the attraction of empty boxes to cats? Behavioral biologists and veterinarians offered some interesting explanations.
First of all, the box may be a good helper for cats to deal with stress. For them, who are often in a stressful environment, they will feel comfortable and safe in a confined space. A box or other type of “single house” will have a profound impact on their behavior and physiological functions.
Claudia Wink, a veterinarian at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, studied the psychological conditions of cats in the shelter. In an animal shelter in the Netherlands, Wink divided the cats into two groups, provided one group with boxes, and the other group did not. She found that the psychological stress levels of the two groups of cats are significantly different-cats with boxes can adapt to the new environment faster, eliminate tension earlier, and prefer to communicate with humans. This experiment proved that the box is a good helper for cats to reduce environmental stress.
Of course, some cats who love to drill boxes do not seem to have any psychological pressure. Therefore, we need to pay attention to the second possible reason why cats like to drill boxes-escape.
Scientists believe that cats do not seem to have developed the ability to resolve conflicts like other social animals, so they may avoid intense “encounters” by avoiding each other or reducing their activities. When a cat is more inclined to avoid problems, it will find a box to get in. Because at this time, a box often represents a safe zone-a place where anxiety, hostility and unnecessary attention will disappear.
A careful observer will find that cats not only like to drill boxes, but also relax themselves in many strange places. Some cats will curl up in the sink, while others like to hide in shoes, bowls, shopping bags, or other small spaces. Therefore, the simpler third explanation is also very reliable-they feel cold and find a warm place to stay.
The most suitable temperature for domestic cats is 30℃～36℃, and the cat will feel comfortable within this range. This temperature range is just about 10°C higher than the most suitable temperature for humans. This also explains why many cats like to curl up in small spaces. Cardboard is usually a good thermal insulation material, and the narrow space makes the cat have to curl up, which in turn helps it conserve heat.