Study Claims That Cats Love All Boxes, Even Imaginary Ones

A new study found that cats are drawn to boxes, but not just real boxes. As it turns out, cats love all boxes, even imaginary ones!

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ve probably found your feline tucked into a box at one point or another. It’s a stereotype that cats love boxes for a reason. It’s not uncommon to hear a cat owner that bought a nice bed or house for their cat only to find the cat prefers the box the item came in better!

Now, according to science, cats are not just obsessed with cardboard boxes, but also with imaginary boxes.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A study publised in the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science showed that cats are drawn to an illusion of a box, just like they would be to an actual box.

In the study, researchers used paper to make a Kanizsa square, a type of illusion that appears like a 3D box. They also created a regular square shape and a crooked square to see if the cats in the study showed any discernment for the shapes.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 6-day study began with 500 cats, but only 30 completed the study to the researchers’ satisfaction. Of those 30 cats, “nine cat subjects selected at least one stimulus by sitting within the contours (illusory or otherwise) with all limbs for at least three seconds.”

The study findings suggest that cats prefer to be inside squares, including illusions of squares. It further suggests that domestic cats can perceive illusions.

Photo: flickr/alan jones

This initial study was a first of its kind and could open the doors fur further research to be done on cats, their love of boxes and squares, and their perception of illusions.

Hopefully future researchers have a better success rate at getting the cats to participate – 30 out of 500 isn’t great odds! But, that’s cats for you.

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