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Which Size Cardboard Box Is Best? My Cats Make the Call

With boxes of varying size, I use my cats in an experiment; the results will surprise you -- or not.

Angie Bailey  |  Oct 17th 2014


For whatever reason, cardboard boxes have invaded my home. Really. I suddenly looked up and saw piles of of them stacked in various corners around my house. Guess who’s not complaining? That’s right — my three cats.

I saw the box invasion as the perfect opportunity for a little experiment. My cats have never turned down a nice box, but I wondered if, given a choice in box sizes, they’d show a preference. Science!

I picked out five boxes of various sizes and arranged them on a rug in our family room. Then I called my cats and waited, camera at the ready to take pictures and document the experiment. Phoebe was the first to arrive in “the lab.” She looked slightly confused and carefully sniffed each box. I’m sure she was thinking: Is this for real? Am I dreaming, because if I am, don’t wake me up!

Then Cosmo appeared and skittishly examined the collection of cardboard. When presented with something new, he acts like he’s tip-toeing through a minefield. Any sudden movement or noise makes him jump.

Finally Cosmo and Phoebe selected their favorites. I was kind of surprised that Cosmo took the largest one. I sort of took him for a snug-box kinda guy. Phoebe snagged one of the smaller ones, which I expected.

And there they sat and looked around the room. They didn’t do anything special — not that I was thinking they would.

Lastly, Saffy wandered in, curious about the activity happening on the lower level of the house. I’m pretty sure she was disappointed to find boxes and not food. But still, she sniffed around the empty spots.

She initially landed in the second-to-largest box, but didn’t seem especially happy there. She continued to look longingly at the smaller ones in front of her. Cosmo and Phoebe basically ignored her.

After a few minutes, Saffy made the leap to a smaller box directly in front of the one she initially chose. She seemed so pleased with herself as she settled her ample form into the coziness.

I’ve written about how Saffy’s a total purr-machine. Seriously — you just have to look at her sideways and the motor starts revving. Well, there she sat, purring and looking completely satisfied. Listen to her!

Well, I wasn’t sure exactly what kinds of results I’d receive with my little cardboard-box experiment. I guess what I learned is the obvious: Cats love boxes of all sorts, and sometimes they like to switch boxes if the spirit moves them. They’re like Goldilocks looking for the “just rightness” in everything. They know when they find what they like — but they’re cats, so they’ll probably change their mind 10 minutes later.

Science!

What size box does your cat prefer? All of them? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.