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Why Are Cats So Captivated by Cardboard Boxes?

When it comes to understanding cats, mankind has long tried to think outside the box, but maybe we should start thinking inside of it, instead. While studying the behavior of cats that had just arrived at an animal shelter in the Netherlands, researchers from the University of Utrecht discovered that the cats that were given access to boxes displayed noticeably lower stress levels than those that were not. The researchers explained that cats instinctively seek out hiding places, especially when dealing with environmental changes and new situations. And since cats have a higher normal body temperature than people, they also enjoy the added warmth that comes from being curled up inside a corrugated cardboard box, which is a good insulator. In the Dutch study, the sense of safety that the cats derived from the presence of box also appeared to make them more ready to interact with people.

Is that normal for a cat?:

  • A cat will often miss a piece of food directly under its nose because it has a blind spot there, due to the positioning of its eyes.
  • Cats with polydactyly -- more than the usual number of toes -- are sometimes called "Hemingway cats" because the author Ernest Hemingway had a particular fondness for them.
  • Cats meow in an effort to communicate with humans, not with other cats.
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