Yasmine Surovec at Cat vs. Human has a good handle on why cats love boxes, but that’s not the full story.
You can buy your cat the nicest new cat gadget there is, but first he has to check out the box it came in. Every cat owner is familiar with the feline tendency to cuddle up in a good box -usually, the smaller, the better. What is it about boxes that cats love so much? A better question might be how many ways do cats love boxes, because there are multiple reasons. Wired goes through several of them, including this bit that I never knew:
According to a 2006 study by the National Research Council, the thermoneutral zone for a domestic cat is 86 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the range of temperatures in which cats are “comfortable” and don’t have to generate extra heat to keep warm or expend metabolic energy on cooling. That range also happens to be 20 degrees higher than ours, which explains why it’s not unusual to see your neighbor’s cat sprawled out on the hot asphalt in the middle of a summer day, soaking in the sunlight.
It also explains why many cats may enjoy curling up in tiny cardboard boxes and other strange places. Corrugated cardboard is a great insulator and confined spaces force the cat to ball up or form some other impossible object, which in turn helps it to preserve body heat.
Read more about feline research and the findings about cats and boxes at Wired, plus a slideshow of cats blissfully occupying boxes. -via Digg