Why Do Cats Love Boxes But Hate Carriers?
Cats and boxes. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Tom and Jerry, like cheese and crackers, like... you get the point. Why do cats like boxes? Trying to figure out why your cat is obsessed with them is a bit like looking for the reason why you like chocolate so much — it's just a quirk of the species, and there are probably as many theories as there are cats in the world. However, there are two main theories about why cats love boxes:
Boxes provide shelter, security, privacy, and comfort
Felines are territorial, and they enjoy the feeling of safety. Boxes offer an enclosed space for cats to enter and leave as they please. Cats see boxes as an extension of their den space. For some cats, the box may be the only place they feel safe enough to be on the prowl at night or nap during the day without being bothered.
Boxes are like cat hideaways
Cats love to pounce and chase things, and boxes allow them to do both. Their instinct is to hide in a small, dark place and ambush their prey as soon as it wanders by. This is the ultimate "hide-and-seek" game for your pet. Boxes provide safety while they stalk their prey, but they can also pounce at any moment if they decide to attack. Their favorite way to play is by chasing something - even if it's just their own tail! Boxes give them the opportunity to do this safely because they have a place to escape to if there's any trouble nearby.
Why does my cat hate carriers?
Cats love to sit in boxes, but they hate to be put into carriers. They'll explore every nook and cranny of your house, but as soon as you try to get them in their carriers, their claws out, hissing and spitting. Why do cats have such a strange relationship with carriers? Let's take a look at some possible explanations.
Cats don't like being confined
Cats have a natural instinct to explore and roam around. They're natural hunters and will instinctually stalk, capture and kill small prey. Because of this, they may see a carrier as a type of trap. They have this innate dislike for being confined in small spaces that they can't escape from. Your cat might associate the carrier with something that holds them captive until you return them to their normal routine.
Cats never know what's going on
Cats are creatures who thrive on routine and predictability — not only because it means they don't have to expend energy, but also because it gives them a sense of control over their environment. Cats have no idea where they're going or what's happening to them while they're in a carrier until they find themselves out of it and in a new place. Forcing cats into their carriers for a trip makes them feel like someone is trying to control them. They don't like that feeling at all, and the stress of being in a new environment can overwhelm them easily.
Cats associate their carriers with something unpleasant
Cats have an amazing memory. They remember what they liked, and didn't like, and they associate it with a specific place or object. So when you put your kitty in the carrier, they may pick up on a negative feeling or negative associations they had before, like being taken to the vet or groomer.
How to help my cat overcome their carrier-phobia?
The first thing you want to do is to choose the right carrier for your cat. The size of it should be appropriate for your cat's size. The material of the carrier can also make a difference in how easy it is to get into it without being scared. Some cats prefer soft-sided carriers made from cloth, while others prefer hard-sided ones that make them feel more secure. A comfortable and suitable cat backpack is an essential part of your outdoor adventure with your cat. Not only will it make vet visits go smoother, but it will also make moving to a new home with your cat easier.
Next is to desensitize your cat to the carrier. This means that you get them used to feeling comfortable around the carrier and in it without feeling fearful or panicky. You will start by setting up a safe space where they can become accustomed to seeing, touching, and smelling the carrier while they're calm and happy.
Once your cat is comfortable with the carrier, place some treats inside of it, and they'll associate it with getting something nice. Then allow your kitty to go in and out of it freely, so they get used to going in and out of it themselves.
Despite there is no surprise that a box is more appealing than a carrier for many cats, you can help your cat be more comfortable with their carrier by using some positive reinforcement.