Cat’s Out of the Bag…and in the Box

By: Jennifer Hennessey, DVM

TVMA Member
Cypress, TX.

Published November 2017

High and mighty, your little lion likely declares its place as king of the household jungle on a daily basis. Independent in character and predatory at that, cats tend to follow their own personal agenda. Our furry felines find happiness in unconventional ways, including seeking places of high status or tight quarters. Ever ponder the instinctive purpose of your flexible feline’s antics other than to show off how they reign over you?

Lounging on High Areas Gives Cats Sense of Security

Cats naturally enjoy scratching, climbing and hiding in the cuddliest of cubbies. It’s part of being a prey animal as well as a predator. From the top of your china cabinet to the highest point of the stairway banister and down to the smallest shoebox, furry felines find delight in these locations. High places offer a secure, stealthy spot for the enjoyment of the penthouse view of the creatures below. By climbing trees or your furniture, your little Tarzan and Jane also can find safety, satisfying their instinct to hide from any predators, even if it’s their canine counterparts or the cat-crazy kiddos at home.

Cats Sit and Sleep Inside Boxes for Protection and a Stress-free Environment

The smallest boxes or drawers also are difficult to pass up. Even the most robust felines cannot resist these petite seclusions. The purr-fect tiny hiding spot creates security for your little king’s naps. The tightest location is glorious to them while hilarious to those who love them. Securely snug hiding spots and boxes are proven to reduce stress and provide comfort to your feline. Those close quarters—even if only part of your silly Simba fits inside—offer security and confidence. Boundaries are protective and make your feline friends feel protected and calm. Cats also enjoy restful warmth when they find a way to fit into boxes, drawers and other devised dens.

Our felines feel most relaxed for those quality catnaps when they feel cozy and hidden. Cats sleep for 12 to 16 hours out of the day, and feeling confined helps them also feel protected from predatory parents and other household pets because their natural instincts still have them living life on the wild side. Selectively social, cats also enjoy having a hiding spot, even if they only fit halfway into it, to recline and observe their “prey.”

Snug Spots Are Not Always Safe

Overall, small resting boxes and nooks provide cats with the opportunities for relaxation, much like a child enjoys his or her security blanket, and to cope with stress that can arise due to environmental changes. One “cat-veat” is that the small places cats often choose for snuggling may be less than the safest of locations. This may include the clothes dryer or other areas of possible danger.

Watch your little fur-baby display its wild side by enriching its den with boxes for comfort and naptime snuggles. What’s even more fun is when playtime means tuck-in. Pounce those toys and stomp your feet as you pass by their location. Our furry felines know how to enjoy themselves with their propensity for games of hide-and-seek, making them the true rulers of their (and formerly your) domain.

Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, CVJ, is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine who lives in Cypress, Texas. Dr. Hennessey practices at Animal ER of Northwest Houston, where she is the practice owner.