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Experiment: Which Cardboard Box Is My Cats’ Preference?

Three boxes and two cats -- I let science reveal which variation Cosmo and Phoebe like best.

Angie Bailey  |  Oct 10th 2016


Friends! It’s time for another exciting experiment! It’s all about cats and boxes. You’re paralyzed with anticipation, right? I thought so. And why wouldn’t you be? No worries — I won’t tease you any longer. Let’s move on to the business at hand!

It’s widely known that cats like boxes. Shoot, even non-cat people know this little bit of information. I’ve lived with cats my entire life, and have rarely — if ever — seen a cat who refused any kind of relationship with a box. So it’s high time to take the whole cat-box thing into my lab and discover if cats have a preference when it comes to those cubical cardboard treasures. My cats seemed like the perfect participants and I, of course, had a few boxes on hand. Woohoo! Time for an experiment!

Don’t laugh, people — science is a thing. #lookitup

Three boxes await my cats' judgement.

Three boxes await my cats’ judgment.

I wanted to give Phoebe and Cosmo three choices in boxes. First, I included a recently delivered one because of the whole packing tape situation. My cats go nuts for the tape, so I thought it’d be an interesting option. Plus, I wondered whether it would drive them crazy that they couldn’t get inside the box. Next I chose a plain ol’ cardboard box without any accessories. Lastly, I grabbed the lid of a Connect Four game. I assumed it would be a nice addition because of the low sides and the inviting colors on the side.

Cosmo's curious as Phoebe pretends like I don't exist.

Cosmo is curious as Phoebe pretends like I don’t exist.

Cosmo was immediately interested in the enticing display and examined each one of the options. I could practically hear his thought process has he sniffed the boxes.

First box: This packing tape is a definite plus, but I how do I get inside this thing? My brain hurts. 

Second box: Ah, now this is a BOX. The flaps are well worn and there’s plenty of room for me and a selection of my favorite toys. And the high walls mean one thing: secret lair.

Third box: Wow — I’m kind of intrigued by this one with the short walls. It pleases the exhibitionist in me, and the colors on the side look inviting!

"I have no time for these shenanigans."

“I have no time for these shenanigans.”

Meanwhile, Phoebe sat smugly on a stool and refused to participate in the experiment. It was like she didn’t want to do it because I wanted her to do it. Typical cat. She wouldn’t even look at the camera when I tried to capture her smug little face full-on. She smugly looked away.

"Pretty sneaky, sis!"

“Pretty sneaky, sis!”

Cosmo continued his trip down Box Lane, and, after careful consideration, landed in the Connect Four lid. I wish he could explain how he came to his final choice, but he wasn’t talking. In fact, he seemed slightly annoyed and tossed out the, “Leave me alone — I’m busy” vibe. Well, I suppose if you’ve found a perfect match, you’d enjoy a little private time with that special something … even if it is a cardboard lid. Who am I to judge? I’ve spent my fair share of time all alone with pints of ice cream, and my cats never judge me. Or else they pretend not to judge me in the hopes that I’ll share the sweet treat.

Like a true scientist, I recorded my results so you can see everything for yourself and know I’m not making up any of this business. And honestly, why in the world would I make up anything as important as the results of a cat-box experiment? This is serious data, and you’re lucky you get to bear witness to it. You’ll notice that Cosmo takes his participation with a giant dose of sincerity. Phoebe, on the other hand, tries to distract him.

So here you go — the video results of the “Which Box Do My Cats Prefer” experiment. Hold your applause because I don’t want to to miss hearing the phone call from the Nobel Prize committee. I’ve already built a shelf for my forthcoming science award.

Do your cats show preferences when it comes to boxes? Tell us about it in the comments!