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You may have asked yourself, ‘why does my cat have such an attraction to empty boxes?’ Scientists have actually studied this phenomenon. They did not find a definitive reason for the behavior, but they did develop several theories about the strange allure boxes hold over the feline species.

Temperature

Cats have natural behavioral tendencies and biological needs that boxes help facilitate. First of all cats have a higher thermoneutral temperature than humans.  The temperature in most homes is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, while your cat is truly comfortable when he is in a zone of 86 to 97 degrees. That’s 20 degrees warmer than the comfort range for the average human, which explains why we often find the cat sprawled on top of the radiator or lying directly on the register vents in the winter. This leads to one of the reasons a cat finds the box so intriguing. Curled tightly in a ball within the box’s corrugated and insulated walls, your cat finds additional warmth.

Hunting

The cat’s natural behavioral tendency is the need to stalk his prey.  Boxes make excellent hiding places to lie in wait undetected.  On that same theme, cats are not good at conflict resolution.  Instead of being aggressive, they would prefer to hide. They hide in situations when they fear harm; they also hide when they are faced with the unknown.  If you move to a new home, you may notice for a few days or even as much as a week that you cannot find Tabby.  He will find a dark enclosed space like a box to hide in until he feels comfortable. For cats, the box is the perfect way to deal with stress.

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A Safe Haven

Because the box suggests a safe haven for cats, they’ll choose that empty box as a place to sleep and relax, even though you just purchased an upholstered scratching tower with three separate levels for your cat to rest.  It doesn’t matter, that new tower lacks the appeal of that scrappy box you just emptied and were planning to break down and discard.  Your cats not looking for that new tower smell, he’s doesn’t care about newness, all he wants is comfort, warmth, stress-free safety and the peace his box inevitably affords him every time.