Boxes offer cats a place to sleep, hide and play. Offering empty boxes to cats is an inexpensive way to enrich their environment and support their natural habits.
Cats innately prefer enclosed areas where they feel protected, or when they wish to be alone. In nature, this type of environment keeps them safe from predators and helps them stalk prey. Cats sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, and a box gives them a cozy place to nap. Owners can place a blanket in a box for extra comfort during nap time, or toys for enhancing play time. Placing a catnip toy or treat in the box gives cats simulated prey to stalk and pounce upon. Drawers, laundry baskets, sinks and paper bags are other items that provide the same type of cave-like environment that cats enjoy.
Pregnant cats may seek out a box or similar items for a safe place to give birth to their kittens and to nurse them. Owners can offer an expecting mother cat a roomy, but cozy, box lined with blankets in the corner of a quiet room. This provides a functional nest and a clean area for newborn kittens to stay until they're ready to walk.