Purr-fectly Explained: Why Do Cats Like Cardboard?

why do cats like cardboard

Have you ever observed your beloved feline friend’s irresistible fascination with a humble cardboard box?

It’s a phenomenon that resonates with cat owners around the globe.

In this article, we’ll delve into the enigma surrounding why cats are naturally drawn to cardboard and share some wonderful suggestions for bestowing upon your furry companion the cardboard delight they so dearly desire.

Why Do Cats Like Cardboard?


So, what’s the deal with cats and cardboard? Here’s the lowdown:

Textural delight

Cats, with their finely tuned senses, have a particular affinity for textures, and cardboard happens to be a favorite among them.

It’s akin to their version of a luxurious spa day, where the corrugated surface offers an irresistibly satisfying tactile experience.

When they knead it with their dainty paws, it’s as if they’re indulging in a sensory delight that soothes their feline souls.

The gentle resistance and soft friction against their sensitive pads create a symphony of sensations that cats find utterly captivating.

Warmth and comfort

Beyond its textural allure, cardboard boxes also offer a warm and snug environment that’s incredibly inviting for our feline friends.

It’s like having their very own cocoon of comfort, a personal haven where they can retreat and find solace.

Cardboard’s insulating properties make it an excellent choice for preserving warmth, which is especially appreciated during chilly days or when they simply crave a toasty nook to curl up in.

It’s akin to the warmth of a soft blanket on a cold winter night, enveloping them in a gentle embrace that guarantees comfort and contentment.

Environmental exploration

Cardboard boxes are more than just cozy retreats; they’re also a realm of exploration for cats.

These inquisitive creatures revel in the mystery of confined spaces and secret hideaways.

Within the cardboard confines, they embark on imaginative adventures, channeling their inner explorers.

It’s like a mini jungle gym, where they can stalk imaginary prey, engage in playful antics, and satisfy their curiosity as they navigate the labyrinthine corridors of their cardboard kingdom.

Territorial instincts 

Cats, by nature, are fiercely territorial creatures, and the allure of cardboard boxes lies in their ability to provide a sense of security and ownership. These boxes transform into miniature fortresses where our feline friends can hunker down and establish their personal domain. From the confines of their cardboard kingdom, they feel a reassuring sense of control over their environment, allowing them to survey their surroundings from a vantage point of safety. It’s akin to having their own watchtower, where they can keep a vigilant eye on the world outside while basking in the comforting boundaries of their cardboard sanctuary.

Hunting and hiding 

Beyond their territorial significance, cardboard boxes offer a multifaceted world of play and imagination for our cats.

These unassuming containers become versatile tools for both hiding and hunting.

In the blink of an eye, a cardboard box transforms into a secret hiding spot, an ideal location for ambushes and surprise attacks.

From the shadows of their cardboard refuge, cats can unleash their inner hunters, stalking imaginary prey with all the grace and cunning of their wild ancestors.

It’s as if they are embarking on epic quests within the labyrinthine walls of their cardboard realm, satisfying their primal instincts in the process.

Comfort and familiarity

Moreover, cardboard boxes offer a comforting sense of familiarity for our feline companions.

The scent of the cardboard and the snug enclosure evoke a feeling of home and security, akin to a warm, inviting burrow in the wild.

This sense of coziness and reassurance is deeply comforting for cats, helping them alleviate stress and anxiety.

Tips for Providing Your Cat with Cardboard


Now that we’ve unraveled the enigma of cardboard’s appeal to cats, here are some tips to enhance your feline friend’s cardboard experience:

Variety is key

Just like us, cats appreciate a bit of variety in their lives.

When it comes to cardboard boxes, offering a diverse selection can be a game-changer in keeping them engaged and excited.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and different sizes and shapes of cardboard boxes provide them with a delightful assortment to explore.

It’s like presenting them with a menu of options, allowing them to choose the perfect box for their mood or activity.

A larger box might be their go-to spot for lounging and stretching, while a smaller, more enclosed one can become their secret hideaway for moments of solitude.

DIY creations 

If you’ve got a creative streak and you’re looking to forge a deeper connection with your furry companion, consider elevating your cardboard box game with a touch of do-it-yourself magic.

Crafting cardboard forts, mazes, or playful little hideaways can evolve into a wonderfully enjoyable project for both you and your cat.

It’s an artistic outlet that lets you personalize the cardboard landscape to align with your cat’s unique personality and play preferences.

Collaborating on these ventures not only fosters a stronger bond but also leaves you with enduring memories of shared moments.

Regular rotation 

Just as variety is key to keeping our feline friends engaged, so is the concept of regular rotation.

Cats are creatures of habit, and while they adore their cardboard kingdoms, they can grow weary of the same old cardboard setups.

By periodically swapping out cardboard items, you’re essentially introducing a refreshing twist to their environment.

It’s like giving them a new adventure to embark on within the familiar confines of your home.

A different box or cardboard creation can ignite their curiosity, encouraging them to explore and play with renewed enthusiasm.

Safe environment 

While cardboard unquestionably offers an enticing playground for cats, it’s absolutely paramount to keep their safety at the forefront.

It’s imperative to ensure that the cardboard you offer is devoid of any perilous elements that your cat might accidentally ingest.

Eliminate any traces of tape, glue, or other substances that could pose a health hazard if chewed or swallowed.

The safety of your feline friend should always be the top priority, as a cardboard environment free from hazards grants your cat the freedom to play and explore with untroubled peace of mind.


The captivating charm of cardboard for cats can be attributed to its sensory delights, cozy warmth, reassuring security, and versatility as both a play area and a relaxation spot.

Recognizing and appreciating this unique attraction enables us to enhance our feline companions’ lives by offering them these simple yet cherished cardboard treasures that bring immeasurable joy to their days.


Can I use any cardboard, or are there specific types cats prefer?

Most cats are content with regular cardboard, but some may enjoy the thicker, sturdier cardboard found in appliance boxes. Experiment and see what your cat prefers.

Are there any health concerns with cats playing in cardboard boxes?

Cardboard itself is safe for cats. However, ensure there are no small pieces they can ingest, and keep an eye on their play to prevent any accidents.

Why do cats like to scratch cardboard?

Scratching cardboard helps cats maintain their claws and is a way for them to mark their territory. It’s a natural behavior that should be encouraged with scratch-friendly cardboard products.

Can I use cardboard as a litter box alternative?

While some cats may be drawn to cardboard as a toileting spot, it’s best to stick to traditional litter boxes to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

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