We get it, you’re a curious cat. You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers. For this series, we send your burning kitty q’s to our panel of experts who can help you get inside your cat’s high-held head.
We consulted Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Mikel has worked professionally with cats for almost twenty years, starting in the Cat Behavior Program of the San Francisco SPCA, and more recently through her cat behavior consulting partnership, Feline Minds. She’s also co-author with Jackson Galaxy of the 2017 book “Total Cat Mojo,” and has published her research in several academic journals.
I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but I do know there are a few universal truths about cats:
1. Cats are obligate carnivores (thank you, Smalls) 2. Every cat loves a nap in the sun and 3. Cats. Love. Boxes. Any vessel really, as if pulled by a magnet (or laser pointer), can coax a cat. Last week we got a fresh batch of Smalls and it was almost like I couldn't get the food out fast enough. As soon as everything was cleared out, sure enough, she was there in the box.
Why do cats love boxes? And not just boxes, but almost every container or rectangular shape?
— Thinking Outside the Box
This is a great question! So many of our favorite viral cat videos involve a cat hopping into a box, and the "why" is just as interesting as the behavior itself.
We believe that the main reason cats enjoy sitting in squares (often taped on the floor, but also cardboard boxes) is that it creates a feeling of safety. As predators AND prey animals, cats need hiding spaces to retreat to or from which they can hunt. The square on the floor might create a visual illusion that gives cats a sense of security, keeping in mind that their up-close vision isn't great - their eyes are optimized for detecting movement a few meters away. It might look more secure than it really is!
[#BeginTLDR#] Animal behaviorists believe that cats enjoy boxes (or squares) because they could provide a sense of security[#SplitTLDR#] Because cats are both biologically predator and prey animals, they love hiding spaces where they can keep an eye on things[#SplitTLDR#] Cats also love containers and rectangles because they're something new to explore in your home! [#EndTLDR#]
Have questions for a Dear Smalls? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org