A Study Shows That Cats Love Boxes So Much Because They Reduce Stress

Cats have some habits that are not quite understandable but are incredibly funny.

Stuffing themselves into small spaces is one of the favorite activities for cats. A drawer, cardboard box, or a laundry basket look so tempting to them. Of course, it is frustrating when they choose such places to take a nap over a special custom-made bed that you have paid dearly.

There is no conclusive explanation for this obsession, but there is a theory that cats love them so much because it is a stress-reducing activity to them. Back in 2014, researchers from the University in Utrecht conducted a study in order to verify this theory.

The study involved cats from a Dutch shelter, 19 of them in total. 10 cats had a box with them.

The research result came out as expected – stress levels go down when cats are laying in boxes.

The scientists confirmed in their report: “Stressful experiences can have a major impact on the cats’ welfare and may cause higher incidences of infectious diseases in the shelters due to raised cortisol levels causing immunodeficiency. Though several studies showed a preference for hiding places and stress-reducing effects of hiding boxes on cats in combined studies, none of these studies determined if proper hiding enrichment would be effective in a quarantine cattery.”

The researchers used the Kessler and Turner Cat-Stress Score (CSS) to measure the results. Shortly after the initial measurements, a difference between the cats that had boxes and those without them was obvious. The cats that were provided with boxes had lower stress levels than the other group. After a few weeks, the measurement showed the same CSS levels in both groups.

The researchers concluded: “The hiding box appears to be an important enrichment for the cat to cope effectively with stressors in a new shelter environment the first weeks after arrival.” Scientists indicated that further study is required to find out how would house cats respond, and a correlation between possible outbreaks of infectious diseases and the boxes.

If you have some photos of cats in boxes, we would be happy to see them in the comment section.

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