FloridaWild Vet Hospital

Boxes or bags: Objets d’art impossible for cats to separate

Boxes or bags:  Objets d’art impossible for cats to separate

By: Jo Singer, CSW, LCSW, RCSW (retired)

Even though I consider myself a somewhat knowledgeable cat “purrson” who truly understands feline nature, I keep wondering why cats are so attracted to cardboard boxes or bags, no matter how hard I try. It is incredible how many felinophiles I know frequently use the expression, “Like a moth to a flame” when describing a cat’s fascination with cardboard boxes or bags.

Additionally, it’s incredibly frustrating when I attempt to explain how exceedingly cats are attracted to boxes or bags, to folks who aren’t feline aficionados. They don’t seem to “grok” that a cat’s passion for boxes and bags, can result in a kitty going “bananas” whenever it encounters any box or bag, no matter what size or shape they may be. It’s so darned annoying when I am out walking with someone who’s not a devoted cat lover who refuses to appreciate my delight if I happen to run across a stash of incredible boxes or paper bags, left in the back of our local supermarket.  After all, it’s a well-known fact that when kitty guardians gift their cats with boxes or bags, their cats will be eternally grateful.

But for those folks, who have never watched a cat’s reaction to the presence of a simple cardboard box, or a fascinating bag, trust me, these cats can be enraptured.    While some feline experts believe that cardboard boxes or bags resemble caves in which cats love to hide, don’t worry about the reason. All you need to know is that by putting a box or a bag in proximity to a feline while you are offering it up to the cat as a sacred object from the gods, more than likely, that thankful cat will give you great respect, often accompanied by eternal adoration.

Cats have long and limitless memories. They learn quickly from experience. Depending on the circumstances, this may not be such a good thing. When a kitty becomes ill,  requiring medications which,  to a sick cat, is highly unpalatable,  we may be the ones that end up as the target of their displeasure.

To digress for a moment with something that may seem off-topic, it really isn’t. Generally, when a cat develops an ear infection, its veterinarian may treat it with ear drops, an act of kindness which many cats detest. Not only that, since cats are such regimented beings, they memorize treatment schedules. It’s uncanny, but when medication time arrives, cats will often disappear, avoiding their guardian like the plague.  Even the most docile cat can be alarming for their guardian if put in the dog house (pardon the expression).  Is there anything we can do to get back in our kitty’s good graces?

Miraculously, the other day, I ran across the perfect video uploaded to YouTube by feline lover Billy Brown.  The video gives us a clear answer to our question.  After treating his cat Rufus for an ear infection, Brown made peace with his kitty by crafting an awesome cat tower and wrote the following explanation for building such an unusual tower.  “Rufus began to resent me due to painful ear drops to fix an infection. I would return from work, and he would run from me! Now that the ears are better, I wanted to do something to show my gratitude for his putting up with my torture. Rufus loves boxes as all cats do, so this is what I made for him.”


I trust you  enjoyed watching this “do it yourself” cat toy video as much as I did. However,  I wish I had the patience to make one of these toys myself.

Photo credit: Vadim, D.

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