Have you ever found yourself running around the house in a frantic mission to find your kitty cat? Where has that cute ball of fur run off to now? Perhaps she’s at the neighbours manipulating them with her adorable ways to get some yummy treats, or perhaps she is chasing a poor bird in the back yard again…
You feel like you’re playing a game of hide and seek, and indeed that is exactly the case. When you finally discovered your beloved kitty in a box in the spare room. ‘What on earth are you doing in here?’ you ask, followed by a purr and meow.
‘I have your bed in my room my dear cat.’ She just looks at you and poof! There she’s off again on another adventure. ‘Was I just played?’
What is it about cats and boxes? They are always hiding in them. Well, Stephen Zawistowski, a science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, “Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide and a box gives them a place of safety and security”.
Cats don’t like to be snuck up on. If anything is to approach them, they would like it to be directly in front of them from where they can see you coming. The box allows them to hide and see when something is approaching.
So if something interesting passes by, and kitty can see, they can pounce out at any given time and get whatever critter it’s after before quickly retreating to the safety zone. They prefer to have the upper hand and would prefer being 10 steps ahead. They just love to be unseen. They can sit at a comfortable view point and watch the world around them in peace. Nothing can bother them from their safety box.
The box also provides the cat a cosy place to sleep in. It is nice and warm because it blocks out most of the breeze. Your cat can safely take a nap and not be disturbed. This is important for the cat, as they sleep up to 20 hours a day. A box is most certainly the purrrfect place for our kitties to sleep in peace.
All pets have their toy of preference. Dogs love balls and sticks, hamsters love hamster wheels. Cats however have plenty of toys. Some you bought; some they stole from the neighbours; some were the dreaded little creatures they brought in from the garden, but nothing compares to their safety spot they discovered all on their own, “The Box”.
Cats are a lot like people in that they have their own unique personalities and quirks. If you search the internet, you will find all sorts of funny cat videos and pictures. With their cute faces, hilarious antics, and snuggly personalities. One thing that many cats owners notice is that their cats love boxes. One day I was running around the house in a frantic mission to find Tiggy my Ragdoll cat? Where has that cute ball of fur run off to now? Perhaps she’s at the neighbours manipulating them with her adorable ways to get some yummy treats, or perhaps she is chasing a poor bird in the back yard again…
I felt like you’re playing a game of hide and seek, and indeed that is exactly the case. When I finally discovered Tiggy in a box in the spare room. ‘What on earth are you doing in here?’ it followed by a purr and meow.
In this blog post, we will cover the behaviour linked to cats hiding in a box and why playtime is important for your cat. We will help you find the right toy for your furry companion!
If you struggle with your cat’s behaviour or have a multi-cat household where certain cats behave quite the opposite, understanding your cat’s personality can help you understand why your cat is behaving in certain ways.
Normal Cat Behavior
The instinctual behaviour of cats is fascinating, especially from an evolutionary standpoint due to its similarity between domesticated pet cats today and wildcats who still exist out there in nature – one could argue that the instincts have been passed down through generations. One so much common is that cats love to hide, stalk and pounce on toys or food
Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, a science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, “Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide and a box gives them a place of safety and security”. Making boxes into little dens, or “cat beds” is natural for cats. This instinctual behaviour for shelter from predators and the use of small spaces as hiding places. The instinctual need for safety still exists today!
Cats don’t like to be snuck upon. If anything is to approach them, they would like it to be directly in front of them from where they can see you coming. The box allows them to hide and see when something is approaching. So if something interesting passes by, and kitty can see, they can pounce out at any given time and get whatever critter it’s after before quickly retreating to the safety zone. Playing games such as hide and seek is satisfying because it helps them sharpen their hunting skills. They prefer to have the upper hand and would prefer being 10 steps ahead. They just love to be unseen. They can sit at a comfortable viewpoint and watch the world around them in peace. Nothing can bother them from their safety box.
Responding to Stress
Cats are often thought of as solitary creatures who cautiously always keep watch on everything around them. They tend not to show overt signs of emotion as some other species do; instead, withdrawing into themselves quietly when things get tough – an example being if they feel threatened by another animal or person near them, they tend to avoid the situation (which is why you might see a cat run away at the sight of someone).
For many cats, hiding is a preferred coping strategy when stressors occur. This response provides them with time to reduce their level of emotional arousal so that they can return to normal functioning. New spaces, visitors (particularly if unfamiliar), loud noises such as thunderstorms, separation anxiety when left at home alone etc., all provoke hiding behaviour in cats who find these situations stressful.
An Invitation to Play?
Playing with your cat is not just about giving them a chance to exercise and have fun. It also helps strengthen their bond with you, as well as mentally stimulating the owner so that they can get some much-needed attention too!
Playing hide-and-seek may not be as much fun when you are being chased. Unlike playing with a wand cat toy, it is possible to get hurt if someone catches up and starts scratching or biting you. In the same way, executing ambushes would potentially instil fear into the cat at first glance and compromise the cat-owner relationship.
Positive Reinforcement Through Play Time
Cats need mental stimulation and their environment should provide opportunities for them to create their own positive experiences, including interactive toys, new objects to explore, hide and seek games (eg, hidden food), and visual stimulation (eg, window seats). Providing a positive environment will help your cat to be active, reduce stress and may prevent problematic behaviour.
Cats are territorial animals, with their senses so sharp that they can detect the scent of a new human in an unfamiliar house. Providing space to expand their territory will reinforce safety. Cat trees with hiding spots, perches and shelves are perfect for your kitty to explore and feel safe.
A common type of interactive toy is the laser pointer. This can be used to play a game like hide and seek as described above, or it can be simply placed on the floor for the cat to chase around. There are many other types of toys that work well with cats such as feathers on strings, fake mice attached to a string, balls of paper etc.
For cats that enjoy exploring, a cat tunnel can provide hours of entertainment. Imagine the thrill they get when chasing something through this tube and not being able to see where it’s coming from! Cat tunnels are typically made from waterproof material with small openings at each end which make them very easy for your kitty to enter or exit.
Cat’s love climbing. Cat trees give them a place to perch and survey their territory. They also like the security that comes with being higher up in case there are any predators lurking nearby. The best cat trees have a variety of levels where your kitty can climb, sleep or play.
Cat Scratching Posts
Scratching is something cats do naturally as part of their marking behaviour, and they need somewhere scratch so it doesn’t happen on your furniture! There are many types of scratching posts ranging from carpet covered cardboard to elaborate tree-like structures made from wood that will suit different budgets and tastes. You may even want to put two or more together for an extra-large scratcher that will accommodate multiple cats at once!
Puzzles are great boredom busters for cats. They are a good way to keep your kitty entertained and active which is great for their mental and physical wellbeing. There are shapes to put together, food dispensing puzzles or play tunnels that can be used with cat nip… the possibilities are endless!
Cats are known for their curiosity and playfulness, but they also tend to hide their emotions. They love boxes because it gives them a sense of security and control over the environment that surrounds them – there are only general explanations such as exploration, anxiety reduction, and hunting instincts why cats tend to crawl into cardboard cubes in-boxes. Playtime can help stimulate important behaviours traits while strengthening the bond between pet parents and cat at home by providing mental stimulation as well as physical exercise which will lead to improved health outcomes for both parties involved. So, why does your kitty hide in a box? Let us know what you think. Not all cats are made the same.