Mystery of Cats' Love of Boxes Tackled by Science

CC0 / / Cat and Box
 Cat and Box - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2022
A study from 2021 also suggests that cats would even sit not only in actual boxes, but even in 2D illusions of them.
While cats' extreme fondness for squeezing themselves into boxes and other tight enclosed spaces is hardly a secret, researchers are now striving to determine what exactly motivates the cats to act that way.
According to Live Science, a doctoral candidate in comparative animal cognition at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna named Gabriella Smith has explained that this behaviour apparently stems from cats' desire for comfort.
"What we know is that it is a form of comfort," she said. "This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Side pressure is comforting."
Last year, Smith also led a study whose goal was to determine whether cats would also sit inside a so-called Kanizsa contour - "a rectangle created by corners that are taped off on a floor" – and in which a number of cats did display a certain fondness of illusory "2D boxes".
One of the possible explanations of how such behaviour benefits cats is that helps the felines to avoid dangerous situations.
"Why that would make sense from an evolutionary standpoint is, you don't want to walk into things; you don't want to fall off a cliff, you want to understand when two things have different colour intensities," Smith elaborated.
Another possible, albeit not tested scientifically, explanation is that this behaviour is related to the cats' nature as ambush predators, the media outlet notes, adding that other, larger felines, such as pumas, tigers and lions, enjoy sitting in and playing with "boxes of all sizes".
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