Why Do Cats Love Boxes So Much?

For a cat, a box offers hours of entertainment — and it doesn't hurt that they look cute in them too. andrewpotter4/Shutterstock

Cats love boxes: big boxes, small boxes, even items that resemble boxes, such as drawers, sinks and laundry baskets. But what is it about boxes that sends our feline friends into a frenzy?

Cats are instinctively drawn to boxes because they offer security. The confined space provides protection from predators, and it’s a great place to stalk prey while remaining virtually unseen.

Climbing onto, jumping into and hiding in boxes is simply part of a cat's natural behavior, so providing an empty box or two is an inexpensive way to enrich your pet’s environment.

Leave a box in a safe place for your cat to play. You can drop in a couple of favorite toys or cut a few holes in the side so he can peek through or stick out a paw to swat at toys — or people.

Boxes also offer safe, cozy places for felines to nap. Cats sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, so it makes sense they’d seek out places where they’d be safe from attack.

Place a blanket in a box that's about the right size for your cat and it will likely become one of his favorite places to nap. The confined space provides a sense of safety, and the sides of the box help maintain the animal’s body heat.

But while all cats instinctively appreciate a good box, no feline seems to enjoy cardboard quite as much as Maru, the Internet-famous cat with more than 400,000 YouTube subscribers.

In a 2010 interview with cat blog LoveMeow, Maru (as told to the blogger behind the website) said, "I don’t know why, but I can't seem to stop going into a box when I see one. When I nap, I like a small box because it is snug and fits me just right. However, when I play, I prefer a huge one."

Watch Maru interact with some of his favorite boxes in the videos below.

Maru fits

Maru's big box

Maru's box experiment

Big cats love boxes too.