by Kimberly Wade
The doorbell rings. Dogs bark. Cats scramble to hide. Or maybe they run to greet your visitor. Either way, something big is happening. You answer the door to find the Fed Ex guy with a giant cardboard box. It’s like Christmas, Halloween and a birthday all rolled into one—for the cats.
My husband and I get our pet food delivered each month by Chewy.com. No matter what’s in the box, the cats always are the most excited for the box. Just the box. Maybe the paper stuffing too, but really, just the box. And if you have cats, you know that no matter what we buy them, not matter how fabulous the toy, they will always prefer just the box.
Cats and boxes go together like ribbons and bows. There’s just some sort of attraction. Feline experts have discussed a variety of reasons why cats prefer boxes and it actually makes sense when you think about it.
Reason one—for play. Cats can peer out of a box, climb into it, bat it around, or hide under it. They can scratch it, chew on it or throw their toys into it. No matter what they do with it, a box is exciting for just about any cat.
Reason two—for security. Shy cats, or maybe those who simply need some quiet time, can find privacy and a good hiding spot in a box. Boxes can make them feel secure and safe. That’s also true in animal shelters. At Nevada Humane Society, we have these boxes called Hide, Perch and Go habitats. The bottom has a little cubby hole for them to hide, the top has an area to perch, and when they are adopted, they fold up into a temporary cat carrier so that you can safely transport them home. Cats genuinely love them and it’s a wonderful tool for them in the busy, shelter environment.
Another reason is the principle we’ve all seen on the internet—“If it fits, I sits.” I’m not kidding. If you haven’t before, Google it. You’ll see more photos of cats cramming themselves into boxes of all sizes. While there is no expert study on why this happens, cats are known for their oddball places to relax or curl up. Mine at home are obsessed with my husband’s shoes, the sink, and any size box. Even if they only can fit in one leg, they will find a way to make their entire body fit, no matter how tight the space.
Finally, the latest box trend, one I am newly obsessed with. If you follow cats on Instagram you know the the hashtag #fridaynightboxpawty is a hit. From Amazon boxes to Chewy boxes to everything in between, my cats join this party every Friday night. We take a picture with their preferred box of the week, post it on their Instagram, tag their furriends (fur friends, get it?) and have a good laugh. Yes, I realize your cat needs to have his own Instagram account for this, but I promise it’s worth it.
There are so many ways to build relationships and create a bond between you and your pet. The #boxpawty is only one of them. And if you’ve adopted a pet from Nevada Humane Society, you know this. If you haven’t, well, you really need to get on that bandwagon, visit our shelter (one in Reno and one in Carson City!) and fall in love with someone because we promise it’s worth it.
By the way, you all know I’m a cat lady, but my husband and I do have dogs too. Three, to be exact. They too have their quirks, but other than food, they don’t have a “specific thing” like our cats do. So feel free to share your dog stories because I know they deserve it too. And I’m curious as to what silly dog topic I can come up with for this column.
Until next time, send me your cat box photos or other fun ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to share stories of adopted pets and can’t wait to read them!